January is a fine time for looking ahead, and for scoping out the scene on the forthcoming reading year. Spoiler: it's going to be a good one. Throughout the month, we'll be sharing titles of books you're going to be falling in love with. This week it's non-fiction; don't miss our fiction preview from last week, and the kids' book preview from the week before.
Celebrated food writer Jeffrey Alford, in recipes and stories, brings the distinctive culinary tradition of the rural Thai village of Kravan to Canadian readers in Chicken in the Mango Tree: Food and Life in a Thai Khmer Village (March). Disaster in Paradise (March) explores the story of the 2012 landslide in Johnson's Landing, BC, written by Mandy Bath, a former resident who lost her home in the tragedy. Part polemic, part travelogue, part natural history, Bonobo Inc. (April), by Deni Béchard (April), presents the threats presenting against the last living bonobos—great apes that are among our species' closest living relatives—and also efforts toward their preservation. Worth Fighting For Canada’s Tradition of War Resistance from 1812 to the War on Terror (March), edited by Lara Campbell, Michael Dawson, and Catherine Gidney, offers a timely response that explores the complexity of Canada’s position in times of war and the role of social movements in challenging the militarization of Canadian society. And in Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? (April), health science expert Timothy Caulfield debunks the messages and promises of celebrity science.
Saving Farmland: The Fight for Real Food (May), by Nathalie Chambers, documents the author's experiences in small-scale agriculture, and is a practical treatise to help us all support local farming and sustainable land development and indulge in good eating. In A Youth Wasted Climbing (May), by David Chaundy-Smart, one of the key figures in Canadian rock cilmbing tells his own story. Everybody wins with The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook (April) by Cinda Chavich, whose recipes show how to shop, cook, and eat with zero waste. And May Chazan tells a story of hope while challenging conventional understandings of the global AIDS response, solidarity, and old age in The Grandmothers’ Movement: Solidarity and Survival in the Time of AIDS (April).
Former Ontario MPP Marilyn Churley tells a story both personal and political in Shameless: The Fight for Adoption Disclosure and the Search for My Son (February). In her lyrical memoir The Death of Small Creatures (May), Trisha Cull lays bare her struggles with bulimia, bipolar disorder and substance abuse. In Missing Link: The Evolution of Metaphor and the Metaphor of Evolution (January), Jeffery Donaldson unites literary criticism and evolutionary and cognitive science to show how metaphor has been with us since the beginning of time as a seed in the nature of things. From Ann Douglas, Canada's bestselling and trusted parenting authority, comes Parenting Through the Storm (January), an honest and authoritative compendium of advice for parents who are living with children who have mental illnesses. And in Breaking and Entering: The Contemporary House Cut Spliced and Haunted (May), edited by Bridget Elliott, contributors consider how contemporary artists and filmmakers address anxieties and vulnerabilities around housing and the house by prying open both physical and metaphorical domestic structures.
Under the covers of Where the Nights Are Twice as Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets (February), David Eso and Jeanette Lynes collect letters and epistolary poems from more than 120 Canadian poets, including Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Louis Riel, Alden Nowlan, Anne Szumigalski , Leonard Cohen, John Barton, and Di Brandt, and many others, encompassing the breadth of this country's English literary history. Mary-Jo Eustace explores the gluten-free life in Scared Wheatless (March). Joanne Findon's Seeking Our Eden: The Dreams and Migrations of Sarah Jameson Craig (February) documents the fascinating life of the nineteenth-century Canadian feminist. A View from the Porch: Rethinking Home and Community Design (May), by Avi Friedman, is an illuminating collection of 22 essays about the points where design touches life and the big and small things that make us appreciate, or become disconnected from, our homes and neighbourhoods.
In As Always: A Life in Writing (May), translated by Phyllis Arnoff and Howard Scott, Madeleine Gagnon reflects on life at the centre of Quebec literary arts. The wonder of a human hand; the tenacity of trillium; the restorative power of a hymnal: these topics and many more are explored in In the Spirit: Reflections of Everyday Grace, a collection of 80 spiritual essays from author-journalist Monica Graham. Sweet Lechery (January), by Jeet Heer, is a wide-ranging collection of literary criticism, served with a twist of social commentary. And in The Flour Peddler: A Global Journey Into Local Food (March), Chris Hergesheimer and Josh Hergesheimer tell their story of two community-minded entrepreneurs setting out to build and deliver their bicycle-powered grain mill to rural communities on a cross-continental adventure (which incudes broken-down market vans, fraudulent bus tickets and hungry bears to a Russian helicopter, an attempted coup and a heart-wrenching homecoming).
Stalled: Jump-Starting the Economy (March), by Michael Hlinka, explains what drove Canada's five-decade economic expansion, and what has put us in our current rut. With a subtitle like that, Stephen Harper: The Arrogant Autocrat Who Has Been Ruining the Country That We Love (April), by political writer and activist Mel Hurtig, needs no further explanation. In Dismantling Canada: Stephen Harper’s New Conservative Agenda(March), Brooke Jeffrey outlines how Harper’s agenda is driven by a desire to impose order and tradition at home, and to take firm stands on emerging issues abroad. Nothing to Lose but Our Fear: Resistance in Dangerous Times, edited by Fiona Jeffries, brings together an international group of scholars and activists and asks them how can we think critically and act productively in a world awash in fear. Sometimes tragic, sometimes uproariously funny, This Place a Stranger (April), edited by Vici Johnstone, is a diverse collection of Canadian women writing about their experiences of travelling alone. Part medical history, part personal case study, The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times (August), by Peter Kavanagh, is a story of healing and rehabilitation, and learning the same lesson—walking—over and over.
Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, by Arthur Manuel, chronicles the modern struggle for Indigenous rights covering fifty years of struggle over a wide range of historical, national, and recent international breakthroughs. BlackBerry's rise and fall is a modern-day tale of the unrelenting speed of success and failure, documented by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff in Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Blackberry (April). Former Ambassador to China, David Mulroney, discusses the importance of China in Canada's future, and how healthy relations between the two nations can be achieved in Middle Power, Middle Kingdom (March). Susan Musgrave gathers recipes and stories in A Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World (May). Armed with a passion for food and farming, and a PhD in conservation biology and sustainable agriculture, Michelle Nelson shares her hard-won knowledge and recipes with readers interested in collecting, growing and preserving sustainable food—even when living in an apartment or condo—in The Urban Homesteading Cookbook (April), with photographs by Alison Page. In Humans 3.0 (March), Peter Nowak presents the potential outcomes of key, rapidly advancing technologies and explores both the ramifications of adopting them and what doing so will reveal about the future of our species.
Food blogger Tara O'Brady's first book is Seven Spoons: My Favourite Recipes for Any and Every Day (April), featuring distinctive, crowd-pleasing recipes; engaging, writerly essays; and the same stunning photography that has earned her website a devoted following. Catherine Owen sketches a compelling picture of the possibilities of the literary life in her new book, The Other 23 and a Half Hours: Or Everything You Wanted to Know That Your MFA Didn’t Teach You (May). The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (May) is the first official biography of the “father of Canadian ecology.” In Buying a Better World (February), Anna Porter gives a critical examination of the new world of billionaire philanthropy on the international stage. And Honey: Everyday Recipes for Cooking and Baking with Nature's Sweetest Secret Ingredient (May), by Angelo Prosperi-Porta, is a collection of recipes that showcase the sweet delight created by nature’s hardest worker—the bee.
Per La Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Home Cooking (May), by Emily Richard, fetes the celebrations and foods of an Italian-Canadian through the years by writing down family recipes that can be shared with generations to come. The Painter in the City: A Life of Phillip Surrey and His Works (April), by T.F. Rigelhof, investigates the life of the painter and the influence of his art. Michael L. Ross studies the symbiotic relationship between literary and advertising in Designing Fictions: Literature Confronts Advertising (May), whose final chapter considers the TV series Mad Men. Equal parts literary memoir, reckless tirade, and unsolicited advice for the aspiring writer, Further Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (June) continues the story of Stuart Ross in his own words. And Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act (April), by Dan Rubinstein, positions the ordinary act of walking not just as a mode of transportation and recreation, but also as a path to a better world.
What Was I Thinking: An Autobiography of an Idea and Other Essays (May) collects essays by Rick Salutin, Canadian journalism’s agent provocateur. In My Body is Yours (May), Michael V. Smith asks how might understanding gender as metaphor be a tool for a deeper understanding of identity, and offers a new way of thinking about breaking free of gender norms. Vivian Smith examines obstacles to women in the newspaper business in Outsiders Still: Why Women Journalists Love (and Leave) Their Newspaper Careers (April). In Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun (June), novelist, sports shooter and former army reservist A.J. Somerset offers up a look at the gun as the pre-eminent cultural symbol of power in North America and asks how it got that way. In the vein of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Kara Stanley tells the compelling story of her husband’s life-changing brain and spinal cord injury and the role of music, science, and love in his recovery with her memoir, Fallen: A Trauma, A Marriage and the Transformative Power of Music (April).
In Post-TV: Piracy, Cord-Cutting and the Future of Television (May), Michael Strangelove explores the viewing habits and values of the post-television generation. Award-winning biographer Rosemary Sullivan's latest book is Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Stalina (June). In Letters to My Grandchildren (May), David Suzuki ponders life's deepest questions and offers up a lifetime of wisdom. After a year spent talking to theatre goers, theatre makers and non-theatre goers from Australia to Berlin, Jordan Tannahill addresses what he calls the culture of "risk adversity" paralyzing the form in Theatre of the Unimpressed (April). Following the highly successful Me Funny and Me Sexy anthologies, the essays in Me Artsy (April), edited by Drew Hayden Taylor, provide insight into the paths that led 14 First Nations artists to pursue and develop his or her craft. Part parenting memoir, part cultural critique and part travelogue, Beyond the Pale (March), by Emily Urquhart, is an investigation of the cultural meanings of albinism and difference. And Let the Elephants Run (March), by David Usher, is based on his popular speaking engagements, and is an essential guidebook to reconnecting with our imaginations and nurturing our creativity in accessible and productive ways.
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