Nonfiction for Your Summer Reading

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Find your next summer read with these nonfiction titles.

  • Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family

    2022 by Chaudry, Rabia

    In her candid and engaging memoir, Chaudry recounts how her life has been shaped and complicated by her relationship with food and culture. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • In Limbo

    2023 by Lee, Deborah

    Lee shows no fear in this candid graphic memoir when it comes to unearthing some of the uncomfortable details of growing up as an Asian immigrant in the U.S. Exploring themes of mental health, domestic trauma, and self-sabotage--lost in the space between two cultures--Lee's memoir is a beautiful example of vulnerability and art. Suggested by Elise.

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  • Where We Meet the World: The Story of the Senses

    2023 by Ward, Ashley

    Summertime is a feast for the senses. This joyfully engaging work of pop science explores the myriad ways our senses (and those of animals and even plants) take in "terabytes of information every second" and make sense of the world. Suggested by Chris.

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  • An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms around Us

    2022 by Yong, Ed

    The title isn't false advertising: this really is a book that makes the world seem far more "immense" than it did before. Yong invites readers to consider planet Earth through the senses (spoiler: there are a lot more than five) of the creatures that share it with us. And like all the best science books, it tells us a lot about ourselves. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • More Than a Woman

    2020 by Moran, Caitlin

    A funny and brutally honest take on what it is like to be a modern woman in today's society. Filled with some of life's poignant lessons and hard-earned wisdom, Moran tackles topics such as aging and caring for elderly parents. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Born to Be Hanged: The Epic Story of the Gentlemen Pirates Who Raided the South Seas, Rescued a Princess, and Stole a Fortune

    2022 by Thomson, Keith

    Ahoy mateys! Sail the "South Seas" (the South Pacific) with some roguish pirates in this action-packed history book. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • Home Therapy: Interior Design for Increasing Happiness, Boosting Confidence, and Creating Calm

    2022 by Yokota, Anita

    Leave spring (and its cleaning) behind and head into summer with a vision or, at the very least, a hope for what your home can be. Yokota shows you how to turn your home into a place where you can boost your mind, body, and spirit. Suggested by Paul.

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  • Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American

    2022 by Ali, Wajahat

    I really had a hard time putting down this passionate and insightful memoir that isn't afraid to tackle the tough topics of Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia while also being hopeful and hilarious. If you are a fan of Hasan Minhaj's Homecoming King and Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, this book is for you. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America

    2022 by Sen, Mayukh

    In one of my favorite books of 2022, food historian Mayukh Sen presents seven short, intimate biographies of women who, while not household names, managed to radically alter (for the better!) how and what we eat in the U.S. An important, necessary work of great scholarship and care that will also make your mouth water. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation

    2022 by Gadsby, Hannah

    Those who encountered Australian comedian Gadsby through her Netflix specials Nanette and Douglas will devour these essays about her life and interests. Newcomers will hopefully get on her offbeat wavelength as she offers her brutally frank takes on family, trauma, queer identity, art history, and being diagnosed with ADHD and autism as an adult. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • Forest Bathing: The Rejuvenating Practice of Shinrin Yoku

    2020 by García, Héctor

    Summer is the perfect time to get out in nature. Whether you're an avid camper or city dweller, this book will not only encourage you to get out but will tell you why it is so important to do so. Suggested by Paul.

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  • Meaty: Essays

    2018 by Irby, Samantha

    Irby's fun and entertaining writing is perfect for a warm summer afternoon. She discusses a variety of topics, including obesity, living with Crohn's disease, and sex. This refreshing book is a cross between a memoir and a podcast. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Solito: A Memoir

    2022 by Zamora, Javier

    At age nine, Zamora left El Salvador to join his parents in California. Two decades later, he remembers the harrowing journey with the vocabulary of an award-winning poet but the eyes of a child who seldom fully grasped what was happening. The result is an epic of family, migration, and the bonds that formed among an unlikely band of travelers. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm

    2022 by Charnas, Dan

    The late James Dewitt Yancey, who went by J Dilla, was one of the most influential musicians of the last 50 years. And his instrument was the sampler. Using an Akai MPC (now permanently on display in the Smithsonian), Dilla revolutionized the sound of hip hop and R&B. This amazing, beautifully written biography helps to share and preserve his awesome legacy. Suggested by Chris.

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  • The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History

    2019 by Hill, Libby

    Hill offers a comprehensive account of the Chicago region's waterways, from Native American portages to the invention of the Skokie Lagoons. Expanding on a book originally published in 2000, the author explores such 21st Century topics as climate change, environmental justice, invasive species, and the continued importance of Skokie's O'Brien Water Reclamation Plant. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard

    2019 by Pastiloff, Jennifer

    An inspirational memoir about how a waitress became a yoga teacher and a blogger on self-discovery. Pastiloff embarks on a journey of healing and learning to love herself. Her writing is full of "aha" moments and life lessons without being preachy. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home

    2003 by Colt, George Howe

    I adored this memoir about Colt's extended family's summer house in Cape Cod. In the family for close to a century, where the author spent 43 of his summers, this is a beautifully written homage to family, place, summer, and how one lets go of something that contains a universe of memories. Suggested by Chris.

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