21 Fascinating Non-Fiction Books That Should Be On Your Radar This Autumn

Hundreds of new titles will hit shelves on 'Super Thursday'. We've narrowed down your wish list.

A fascinating work of non-fiction has the ability to change the way we view the world – and there are plenty of new titles on sale.

The first Thursday of September has long been known as “Super Thursday” in UK publishing: the day in the calendar when the largest number of new releases hit shelves. It’s also Bookshop Day – a nationwide celebration of all high street bookshops, big and small – on October 9, making autumn an even better time to stock up.

To mark the most wonderful time of the year for bookworms, we asked a leading bookseller which new non-fiction titles they’re most excited to read. We’ve also added a few suggestions of our own. Happy reading!

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10 books recommended by Kate McHale, non-fiction buyer at Waterstones.

Renegades – Barack Obama & Bruce Springsteen, £35 Penguin

“Following on from their brilliant podcast, Obama and Springsteen discuss life, music and America alongside an array of photos and archive material.”

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows – Ai Weiwei, £25 Vintage

“The seminal artist looks back at both his own life and that of his father to create a memoir that is both an intimate personal and family story and a powerful portrait of twentieth century China.”

Windswept and Interesting – Billy Connolly, £20 Hodder & Stoughton

“The first full-length autobiography from the comedy legend, recounting his tough early days and later rise to stardom – with the odd digression along the way…”

Don’t Laugh, It Will Only Encourage Her – Daisy May Cooper, £20 Penguin

“A warm, honest and hilarious autobiography from the star of This Country.”

Don’t Laugh, It Will Only Encourage Her, Beautiful Country and 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.
HuffPost UK
Don’t Laugh, It Will Only Encourage Her, Beautiful Country and 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.

And Away… – Bob Mortimer, £20 Simon & Schuster

“Irrepressibly funny autobiography from one of our best-loved comedians.”

Beautiful Country – Qian Julie Wang, £16.99 Penguin

“A lyrical memoir of a family’s life as undocumented migrants in America. Written from the author’s childhood perspective, it is a powerful read but one that is full of love and hope.”

Manifesto – Bernardine Evaristo, £14.99 Penguin

“A powerful and urgent manifesto on never giving up from the Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman Other.”

Storyland – Amy Jeffs, £20 Quercus

“A beautifully illustrated mythology of the British Isles that uncovers the founding legends of our islands and brings them vividly to life.”

Powers and Thrones – Dan Jones, £25 Head of Zeus

“An epic new history of the Middle Ages, which grippingly chronicles the forces that defined the period – and which would go on to shape ours.”

A Cook’s Book – Nigel Slater, £30 HarperCollins

“A collection of over 200 favourite recipes from a life in the kitchen.”

Storyland, Manifesto and A Cook’s Book.
HuffPost UK
Storyland, Manifesto and A Cook’s Book.

3 non-fiction titles the HuffPost UK team are excited about

Black Joy – Edited by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff and Timi Sotire, £14.99 Penguin

This uplifting and empowering anthology, edited by award-winning journalist Charlie Brinkhust-Cuff and up-and-coming talent Timi Sotire, sees 28 inspirational voices come together to celebrate being Black British, sharing their experiences of joy and what it means to them.

Rough – Rachel Thompson, £14.99 Vintage Publishing

Rough explores the narratives of sexual violence that we don’t talk about. Through powerful testimony from 50 women and non-binary people, this book shines a light on the sexual violence that takes place in our bedrooms and beyond, sometimes at the hands of people we know, trust, or even love. Read our interview with the author here.

The Transgender Issue – Shon Faye, £20 Penguin

Author Shon Faye reclaims the idea of the ‘transgender issue’ to uncover the reality of what it means to be trans in a transphobic society. The book is a manifesto for change, and “a call for justice and solidarity between all marginalised people and minorities”.

8 recommendations from Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the Bookseller’s Association.

The Sweet Roasting Tin – Rukmini Iyer, £15.99 Penguin

“From the bestselling author of The Green Roasting Tincomes the last in the Roasting Tin series, offering seventy-five easy yet delicious one-tin bakes. I’m such a fan of this series. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I’ve been cooking my way through The Quick Roasting Tin page by page. I will definitely be adding this one to my collection.”

Amy Winehouse Beyond Black – Naomi Parry, £30 Thames & Hudson

“10 years after her untimely death, this affectionate and evocative visual celebration tells the definitive story of the life and career of Amy Winehouse through photographs, memorabilia and recollections of those whose lives she touched. A must-have for anyone who’s a Winehouse fan, and who isn’t?”

Outdoor Europe – DK Eyewitness Travel, £20 DK

“Epic adventures, incredible experiences and mindful escapes. Bursting with beautiful images, this inspirational book rounds up Europe’s most incredible outdoor experiences, covering everything from birdwatching and forest bathing to scuba diving and wild swimming. While holidays are on hold for me, and many others, I shall be doing some armchair travelling and planning for the future with this gorgeous DK title.”

Of This Our Country Acclaimed Nigerian writers on the home, identity and culture they know, £14.99 Harper Collins

“Within these pages, acclaimed and award-winning writers share memories and experiences of Nigeria that can be found nowhere else, bringing to the fore a country whose influence can be found everywhere. The cover is stunning and I can’t wait to read this one.”

The Storyteller – Dave Grohl, £16.99 Simon & Schuster

“I suspect this will be in many a stocking this Christmas and I for one know several people who would be thrilled to receive a copy. You only have to watch an interview with him to know that Dave Grohl is indeed a storyteller. Whether you are a Nirvana and Foo Fighters fan or not, I reckon this will be a great read. Available to pre-order from your local bookshop now.”

The Power of Geography – Tim Marshall, £14.99 Elliott & Thompson

“Marshall explores ten regions that are set to shape global politics in a new age of great-power rivalry: Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Greece, Turkey, the Sahel, Ethiopia, Spain and Space. Delivered with Marshall’s trademark wit and insight, this is an exploration of the power of geography to shape humanity’s past, present – and future. Tim’s books are a big hit with many of our members.”

Letters of Great Women – Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, £20 Welbeck Publishing

“A collection of the most inspiring, illuminating, poignant and compelling correspondence from remarkable women through history, including Greta Thunberg, Harriet Tubman and Jane Austen. I will definitely be gifting this one to my girlfriends.”

A Year Unfolding – Angela Harding £20 Little, Brown Book Group

“A beautifully illustrated guide to nature through the seasons by popular artist and printmaker, Angela Harding. The evocative imagery of the prose makes this a wonderful book for nature lovers everywhere. I’m a big fan of Angela’s work. Simply stunning!”