Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Nonfiction Preview

Our Most Anticipated selections continue with this eclectic list of nonfiction: history, ecology, cookbooks, memoir, biography and more. 

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Book Cover Once They Were Hats

MP Charlie Angus tells the story of Shannen Koostachin and the long history of denying human rights to Canada's First Nations children in Children of the Broken Treaty, Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream (August). The contributors to The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada (November), edited by Nurjehan Azis, ask vital questions about what it means to be Muslim in a secular country. In Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver (October), Frances Backhouse examines humanity’s 15,000-year relationship with Castor canadensis, and the beaver’s even older relationship with North American landscapes and ecosystems. Ted Barris, whose previous book was the award-winning The Great Escape, releases Fire Canoe (October), the story of steamboating in the Canadian West. And Spirit Builders (October), by James Bacque, is a book about centuries of broken promises and the Frontiers Foundation, a cooperative building movement to address problems faced by Canada's First Peoples. 

In Flanders Fields: 100 Years (October), edited by Amanda Betts, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the writing of Canada's most famous poem, contributors including Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (ret'd),  Tim Cook, Frances Itani and more. Chataqua Serenade (September), by Jay Sherwood, tells the story of Ruth Bowers, a violinist who toured North American becoming financially independent and expanding ideas of what women could do as part of the first wave of the women's liberation in the twentieth century. While L.M. Montgomery will always be associated with Prince Edward Island, the anthology L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942 (October), edited by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement, accounts for the three decades she lived in Ontario and the role that province played in her work. David R. Boyd gives us a hopeful and honest take on the environment in The Optimistic Environmentalist (August), showing the change is possible and leading readers to take action.

Book Cover Tuco

Brian Brett, whose previous memoir, Trauma Farm, won the 2009 Writers' Trust of Canada Nonfiction Prize, releases Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and A Scattershot World (September), an exploration of the history of birds/dinosaurs, the relationships between humans and birds, our notions of language and intelligence, and our tendency to "other" anything that is different from us, also describing Brett’s own painful experience of being othered as an androgyne. Ian Brown follows up his award-winning memoir, The Boy in the Moon, with Sixty (September), a dispatch from the border between middle-age and being elderly. Thea Cacchioni's Big Pharma, Women, and the Labour of Love (September) asks how the medicalization of female sexuality affects women's lives. The United States of Wind: Travels in America (September), by Daniel Canty, translated by Oana Avasilichioaei, mixes the tropes of road narrative, poetic fabulation, and philosophical memoir to tell the story of a journey aboard a midnight-blue Ford Ranger crested with a weathervane and a retractable windsock.

Book Cover Three Times a Day

Founded by poet Mona Fertig and inspired by Shakespeare and Company in Paris, The Literary Storefront was Canada’s first non-profit literary centre and flourished in Vancouver’s colourful Gastown district from 1978-84, a pivotal time in west coast history when feminist, nationalist, and multicultural passions surged to redefine what a socially-committed literary community could be. This history is recounted in The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years (October), by Trevor Carolan. Started as a healing project after years of anorexia, Quebec pop-star Marilou aimed to have her food blog—created with her husband, photographer Alexandre Champagne—transform the relationship readers had with their food. The blog was a sensation and then a bestselling book in Quebec that appears now in English as Three Times a Day (October).

Book Cover Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Decoded

In Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them (October), Shakil Choudhury argues that to really work through issues of racial difference and foster greater levels of fairness and inclusion, we need a greater understanding of the human mind. Austin Clarke's 'Membering (August) is a memoir of the experiences of the man who has been called "Canada's first multicultural writer." Edge (October) collects thirty years of essays, reviews, and interviews by celebrated Newfoundland poet Mary Dalton. True North (November), by Chef Derek Dammann, promises "exceptional insight" into Canadian cuisine to celebrate the country's culinary coming-out. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded (August), David Day reveals the many layers of teaching, concealed by manipulation of language, that are carried so lightly in the beguiling form of a fairy tale in Lewis Carroll's story. And comedian Charles Demers, whose previous collection of essays, Vancouver Special, was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans BC Book Prize, releases his second, The Horrors: An A to Z of Funny Thoughts on Awful Things (October).

Book Cover Bomb Girls

15 years after the publication of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, his Governor General's Award-winning book on the water crisis, Marq de Villiers returns with Back to the Well (September). Barbara Dickson describes the experiences of women making bombs during WW2 in Bomb Girls: Trading Aprons for Ammo (September). The Story of Jane Doe: A Book About Rape (October) is a new and revised edition of the book by the woman who set legal precedent when she sued the Toronto Police for being negligent and discriminatory in their investigation of the man dubbed "The Balcony Rapist." And Better Off Dead: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Canadian Armed Forces (September) chronicles veteran Fred Doucette’s efforts in helping to rehabilitate and support soldiers and vets suffering from what the military terms "operational stress injuries," as well as Doucette's own experiences with PTSD. 

Book Cover DOn't Panic

With Don’t Panic: ISIS, Terror and Today’s Middle East (October), Gwynne Dyer argues that the ISIS threat is overblown, and that the advent of a radical Islamist regime in the Arab world does not substantially raise the overall risk of major terrorist attacks in Western countries. From the Coltan Mines in the Congo, to electronics factories in China, to devastated Detroit neighbourhoods, Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex, by Nick Dyer-Witheford, shows the dark-side of the information revolution through an unsparing analysis of class power and computerization. Don Easton's new Jack Taggart mystery is Art and Murder (October), in which Taggart is out for justice, and just a little revenge, when he goes undercover as a pimp to hunt down the murderer of a cop to whom he owes an everlasting debt of gratitude. And Mary Jo Eustace is Scared Wheatless (September) in her new book, a humorous collection of recipes on the serious subject of healthy eating.  

No Fixed Address (October) is the real-life adventures of award-winning thriller writer Jon Evans as he travels through 66 countries over 16 years. Brian Fauteux recounts the history of Canadian campus radio in Music in Range (August), highlighting the factors that have shaped its close relationship with local music and culture. Ecologist Alejandro Frid shares his search for optimism in A World For My Daughter (September), steering readers toward imagining their own role in preserving the vibrancy of our planet. Celebrated novelist Camilla Gibb's memoir is This is Happy (August), about the disintegration and rebuilding of a family. And pop-culture writer Lindsay Gibb defends Nicolas Cage in National Treasure (October), arguing that there is method to Cage's madness and that he's always been in on the joke. 

Book Cover Across Canada By Story

Douglas Gibson follows up his memoir, Stories About Storytellers, with Across Canada Story by Story: A Coast-to-Coast Literary Adventure (October). Crash to Paywall: Canadian Newspapers and the Great Disruption, by Brian Gorman (October), shows that while the newspaper business was weakened by decreases in advertising revenues and circulation, much of its problems stem from self-inflicted damage and business practices dating back to the 1970s. Colin Henthorne gets the chance to tell his side of the story in Queen of the North Disaster: The Captain’s Story (October), about the 2006 fatal sinking of BC Ferries passenger vessel. In The River (October), Helen Humphreys mixes observation, prose, natural history and art in a remarkable examination of place. Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst discusses the fantasies of cosmetic surgery in Surface Imaginations: Cosmetic Surgery, Photography and Skin (November). And A Nation in Conflict: Canada and the Two World Wars (October), by Andrew Iarocci and Jeffrey A. Keshan, is an accessible introduction to the complexities of Canada’s involvement in the twentieth century’s most important conflicts.

Book Cover Deerholme Vegetable Cookbook

On the eve of the federal election, Globe and Mail political affairs columnist John Ibbitson's biography, Stephen Harper (September), promises essential reading on how a shy, closed, introverted loner united a fractured conservative movement, defeated a Liberal hegemony, and set out to reshape the nation. The Myth of the Born Criminal: Psychopathy, Neurobiology, and the Creation of the Modern Degenerate (September), by Jarkko Jalava, Stephanie Griffiths, and Michael Maraun, posits that psychopathy might not be a brain disorder, but instead is a reflection of modern society’s deepest fears. Nicole Moore tells her story of living through a shark attack that severed her arm in Shark Assault: An Amazing Story of Survival (October), written with Peter Jennings. And award-winning cookbook author Bill Jones' latest is The Deerholme Vegetable Cookbook (October).

First Gear: A Motorcycle Memoir is a compelling story of childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse that unrolls as the author, at age 50 and living with multiple sclerosis, rides her 2009 Harley-Davidson—named Thelma D.—from Ottawa to Winnipeg and back. Carla Kelly's new cookbook is True to Your Roots: Vegan Recipes to Comfort and Nourish You (September), in which root vegetables finally get the attention they deserve. Jennifer Kingsley's Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild (August) paints a portrait of the spectacular northern landscape and explores what wilderness means. Mark Kingwell's new essay collection is  Measure Yourself Against the Earth (October).

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Book Cover Riverton Rifle

y taking a hard look at the very real impacts of our consumer culture's addiction to disposable fashion, Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes (October), by Michael Lavergne, challenges consumers to take full responsibility for understanding the hidden cost of our clothes. Gordon Laxer's After the Sands (September) outlines a road map to transitioning Canada to a low-carbon society. Hockey hero Reggie Leach tells his story in The Riverton Rifle, My Story: Straight Shooting on Hockey and on Life (October). Ricepaper Magazine celebrates 20 years of cultivating an Asian-Canadian literary tradition with the anthology AlliterAsian (October), edited by Julia Lin, Jim Wong-Chu, and Allan Cho. And Canadian chronicler Roy MacGregor presents a personal, photo-filled history of the relationship between a country and its canoes in Canoe Country: The Making of Canada (September).

Book Cover History's People

This year's CBC Massey Lecture will be delivered by internationally acclaimed historian Margaret MacMillan. History's People: Personalities and the Past (September) is her personal selection of the great figures of the past who changed the course of history. Award-winning mountain writer Bernadette McDonald offers up Alpine Warriors (September), about the Yugoslavian climbing culture that flourished after the Second World War. Mountain City Girls: The McGarrigle Family Album (November), by Anna and Jane McGarrigle, is the first book and definitive memoir from the famed musical family, taking readers generations back into McGarrigle history and also including a tribute to the late Kate. Ian McGilliis' Higher Ground (September) is part memoir, part cultural history, the story of how working-class Canadian white boy fell in love with African American music. 

Book Cover Sir John's Table

Award-winner Ken McGoogan's new book (as promised!) is Celtic Lightning: How the Scots and Irish Created a Canadian Nation (September). Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty makes his foray into memoir with Dalton McGuinty: Making a Difference (November). Lindy Mechefske commemorates the 200th anniversary of Sir John A. MacDonald's birth with Sir John’s Table: The Culinary Life and Times of Canada’s First Prime Minister (August), tracing his life through common foods of the time. In The Malignant Metaphor: The Hidden Meaning of Cancer (September), award-winning science journalist Alanna Mitchell addresses cancer's hold over our collective imagination. And as he heads into election, Tom Mulcair tells his own story in Strength of Conviction (August).

Book Cover Dirty River

Investigative journalist Andrew Nikiforuk tells the story of Jessica Ernst, an Alberta woman fighting Encana after a secretly-fracked gas well around her home pierced her community's aquifer in Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry (September). Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (September), by Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner, is a collection of 30 interviews spanning two centuries of refugee experiences in Canada. In Indigenous Nationhood (October), lawyer, activist and academic Pamela Palmater has penned a fiercely anti-racist and anti-colonial book intended to help rebuild the connections between Indigenous citizens and their home communities, local governments and Indigenous Nations. And Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's memoir, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Colour Dreaming Her Way Home October), is a "a mixtape of dreams and nightmares, of immigration court lineups and queer South Asian dance nights; it is an intensely personal road map and an intersectional, tragicomic tale that reveals how a disabled queer woman of colour and abuse survivor navigates the dirty river of the not-so-distant past." 

Book Cover Canada Lives Here

Daphna Rabinovich brings years of experience and a keen eye for details to a comprehensive guide that lets home bakers take charge of their kitchen in The Baker in Me (October). The story of the only all-women's orchestra in Canadian history is told in From Kitchen to Carnegie Hall: The Story of the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra (October), by Maria Noriega Rachwal. Peace activist Ernie Regehr argues that war prevention is more successful when security policies address conditions that most directly affect people’s lives and that are most instrumental in generating deep grievances and the despairing conclusion that there are no alternatives to the violence in Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield (September). And Wade Rowland, in Canada Lives Here: The Case for Public Broadcasting (August), explores in detail the struggle to preserve public space and foster community in an environment devoted to profit-making, arguing that the ideals of public service broadcasting are more relevant now than ever.

The Climate Nexus:Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity (November), by Robert William Sandford, Jon O’Riordan, and Deborah Hardford, outlines the interdependence among water, food and energy supplies, their dependence on a thriving ecosystem, and how this complex arrangement is becoming increasingly under pressure. And Robert William Sandford explains how changes in the water cycle have already begun to affect how we think and value about water security and climate stability and what we can do to ensure a sustainable future in Storm Warning: Water and Climate Security in a Changing World (November). Donald J. Savoie—whose previous book, Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher?, was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing—answers another question in his latest, What is Government Good At? (September), an analysis of an approach to government that has opened the door to those with the resources to influence policy and decision-making while leaving average citizens on the outside looking in.

Book Cover That Lonely Section of Hell

In Silenced: The Untold Story of the Fight for Women’s Equality in the RCMP, 1873-1990 (September), Bonnie Reilly Schmidt shows that the move to put women in uniform in 1974 was neither a beginning nor an end to women's journey toward equality in the RCMP. In That Lonely Section of Hell (August), police detective Lori Shenher describes her role in Vancouver’s infamous Missing and Murdered Women Investigation and her years-long struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of her work on the case. Mairlyn Smith, who won acclaim for The Vegetarian's Complete Quinoa Cookbook, returns with Homegrown: Celebrating the Canadian Foods We Grow, Raise, and Produce (November), about Canadian ingenuity and the delicious things that Canadians grow, produce and manufacture. A.J. Somerset's Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun (September) examines the gun as the pre-eminent cultural symbol of power in North America and asks how things got this way. And in Bird on an Ethics Wire: Battles About Ethics in the Culture Wars (November), Margaret Somerville explores the values needed to maintain a world that reasonable people would want to live in and pass on to their descendants.

Book Cover The Long Run

Former editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail John Stackhouse draws on decades on experience in newspapers in his new book, Mass Disruption: 30 Years on the  Front Lines of a Media Revolution (October). Kirstine Stewart draws on her own extensive leadership experience to take the conversation about women and work to a whole new level in Our Turn (October). Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia (October), by Michelle Stewart, is a collection of poignant pieces of writing and poetry from the late writer's blog. In The Urban Farmer (November), Curtis Stone provides a guide to making a good living growing high-yield, high-value crops right in your own backyard (or someone else's). Joan Sullivan, in The Long Run (October), tells the story of a man who was extraordinary twice: first by being one of the few surviving members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in 1916, and then four years later as the first born-and-bred Newfoundlander to compete in the Olympics. 

Book Cover Light Years

CBC-radio host Rich Terfry presents the true story of his alter ego, musician Buck 65, in Wicked and Weird: The Amazing Tales of Buck 65 (August), a memoir of growing up poor, talented, baseball-obsessed, music-mad and girl-smitten on the East Coast. Master engraver George A. Walker presents Trudeau: La Vie en Rose (September), a compendium of engravings celebrating the life of one of Canada's most well-known politicians: Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Journalist Emmanuelle Walter spent two years investigating the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Girls and Women in Canada and in Stolen Sisters has crafted a moving representative account of the disappearance of two young women, Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander, teenagers from western Quebec, who have been missing since September 2008. In The Inequality Trap: Fighting Capitalism Instead of Poverty (September), William Watson argues that focusing on inequality is an error because much inequality is good, the reward for thrift, industry, and invention, and it is also a trap because such focus leads us to fixate on the top end of the income distribution, rather than on those at the bottom who need help most. Oddballs (November) is wood engraver Jim Westergard's collection of forty portraits and brief biographical sketches of historical figures who gained fame or notoriety through curious behavior and circumstance. Caroline Woodward's Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper  (September) details the author's endurance of extreme climatic, interpersonal and medical challenges, as well as the practical and psychological aspects of living a happy, healthy, useful and creative life in isolation. And perpetual (November), by Rita Wong and Cindy Mochizuki, is a collection of drawings and graphic essays about the power of water. 

July 20, 2015
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