Our non-fiction preview is a little bit of everything: politics, memoir, cookery, ideas, science, history, and more. It's the most spectacular catch-all. Here are the books that are going to be expanding your mind during the first half of 2016.
With Mexican Hooker # 1 (April), Carmen Aguirre follows up her acclaimed memoir, Something Fierce. The memoir The Bad Mother (March), by Marguerite Andersen (who was the editor of Canada’s first feminist anthology in the 1970s), tells the story of woman trying to regain the agency she lost when she had children. In Garage Criticism: Missives in the Age of Distraction (June), Peter Babiak takes on some of the sacred cows of our time. The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed (April), by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau, is a book "as fizzy as a bottle of French champagne" that explains the way in which the French don’t just communicate, they converse.
No more explanation than its title is needed for Closer: Notes from the Frontier of the Female Orgasm (June), by Sara Barmak, latest volume in Coach House Books’ Exploded Views series—you know you want to read it. James Bartleman looks back on his extraordinary life and career in Seasons of Hope: Memoirs of Ontario’s First Aboriginal Lieutenant Governor (April). The Killing Game (April), by Mark Bourrie, expands on the story of two Canadian men fighting in the Middle East—one for ISIS, the other against—to examine what it is that draws young men and women to join violent social/political movements. In The Hockey Scribbler (May), George Bowering tells the story of his life through his hockey fandom. And A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder (May), by Ma-Nee Chacaby, with Mary-Louise Plummer, is a story of enduring and ultimately overcoming the legacies of colonialism.
Her Paraphernalia: On Motherlines, Sex/Blood/Loss and Selfies (May) is a book of creative non-fiction by acclaimed poet Margaret Christakos, about midlife and motherhood. downstream: reimagining water (June), edited by Dorothy Christian and Rita Wong, brings together artists, writers, scientists, scholars, environmentalists, and activists who understand that our shared human need for clean water is crucial to building peace and good relationships with one another and the planet. Michael Coren's new book is a surprising addition to his oeuvre, Epiphany: A Christian’s Change of Heart and Mind Over Same-Sex Marriage (April). Craig Davidson too reveals a change of literary pace with Precious Cargo: My Year of Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077 (May), a memoir of his experiences driving a school bus for children with special needs. Hilary J. Dawson chronicles early Black history in Ontario in A Black Family’s Journey (February).
Ujjal Dosanjh tells his own story in Journey After Midnight (March), describing his path from rural India to the highest echelons of Canadian politics. With Conversations on Dying: A Palliative-Care Pioneer Faces Down His Own Death (April), Dr. Larry Librach makes the end of his life another teachable moment, telling his story with Phil Dwyer. Making Out in the Mainstream: GLAAD and the Politics of Respectability, by Vincent Doyle is the first full-length study of LGBT media activism, revealing the daily struggle to reconcile economic and professional pressures with conflicting personal, organizational, and political priorities. Max Eisen's harrowing story is told in By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz (April), whose proceeds will be donated to registered charities that promote education and humane causes. And Ginger Goodwin: A Worker’s Friend (January), by Laura Ellyn, tells the BC Labour Activist Albert “Ginger” Goodwin.
In the tradition of Daniel Levitan’s This is Your Brain on Music and Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, Tim Falconer presents Bad Singer: The Surprising Science of Tone Deafness and How We Hear Music (May), based on his National Magazine Award-winning article first published in Maisonneuve. Andrew Forbes' The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays (April) is a book about finding respite and comfort in the order, traditions, and rituals of baseball. Essay collection Queers Were Here (June), by Robin Ganev and Richard Gilmour, examines and celebrates Canadian LGBT history. Readers and writers are looking forward to beholding the treasures contained in Startle and Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing (April), by Anne Giardini and Nicholas Giardini. Whose Man in Havana? Adventures on the Far Side of Diplomacy (January), by John D. Graham, is a memoir of Graham's experiences in the Canadian foreign service.
With words and drawings, Teva Harrison shares her story of living with metastatic breast cancer in In-Between Days (April), based on her popular series of comics in The Walrus. Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired (March), by Nicola Harwood, is a memoir of a lesbian couple’s experiences foster-parenting a transgendered child. Women Redefined: Dignity, Beauty and Breast Cancer (April), by Kristina Hunter and ML Kenneth, captures images of women after breast cancer surgery, helping these women and others with cancer reclaim their bodies and their lives. In The End of Memory (January), award-winning science writer Jay Ingram charts the history of the disease from before it was noted by Alois Alzheimer right through to the twenty-first century, as researchers continue to search for a cure.
The UN has declared 2016 "International Year of Pulses," and so there's never been a more perfect time for a book like The Power of Pulses:Saving the World with Peas, Beans, Chickpeas, Favas and Lentils, by Dan Jason, Hilary Malone, and Alison Malone Enthrone, which posits pulses as a healthy and environmentally responsible alternative to meat and tofu. Mining and Communities in Northern Canada (January), by Arn Keeling and John Sandlos, combines oral history research with intensive archival study to examine historical and contemporary social, economic, and environmental impacts of mining on Aboriginal communities in northern Canada. And The Seven Oaks Reader (April), by the award-winning Myrna Kotash, incorporates period accounts and journals, histories, memoirs, songs and ctional retellings, from a wide range of sources to offer readers a new understanding of the Fur Trade Wars in the early nineteenth century.
Polarizing critic Michael Lista burns more bridges with Strike Anywhere: Essays, Reviews and Other Arsons (June). In One Bead at a Time (June), two-spirit Lakota Elder Beverly Little Thunder tells her story to celebrated poet and memoirist Sharron Proulx-Turner. Canadian Wonder Tales (May), by Cyrus MacMillan, launches Invisible Books’ Throwback Books series—this one is a collection of Canadian fairy tales first published in 1918. A Good Death (April), by Sandra Martin, takes up the national debate about dying, our ultimate and universal experience. Based on a series of Facebook posts, Neal McLeod's 100 Days of Cree is based on advice from an Elder: "Learn one Cree word a day for 100 days and emerge a different person." In the spirit of the diaries of Antarctic explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, Jean McNeil mixes travelogue, popular science, and memoir to examine the history of our fascination with ice in Ice Diaries: A Memoir (March). And notions of reconciliation are transformed into actual stories in the anthology, In This Together: Fifteen True Stories of Reconciliation (April), edited by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.
Sean Mills follows up his prize-winning history of 1960s' Quebec, The Empire Within, with A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Quebec (February). Ukkusiksalik: The People’s Story (January), by David F. Pelly, gives a history of a pocket of the remote Arctic, and includes oral testimony from the last Inuit elders to live there. The essay collection Subdivided: City Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity (May), edited by Jay Pitter and John Lorinc, explores how to create an urban diversity that ensures inclusiveness. In Wordplay (March), Howard Richler considers how we manipulate language for the purpose of wit. Cracked: How Telephone Operators Took On Canada’s Largest Corporation…and Won (January), by Joan M. Roberts, is the story of the Bell Canada union drive and the phone operator strike that brought sweeping reform to women’s workplace rights during the 1970s.
Mythologizing Norval Morrisseau: Art and the Colonial Narrative in the Canadian Media (May), by Carmen L. Robertson, examines the complex identities assigned to the iconic painter. Lives of the Poets With Guitars (March), by Ray Robertson, is a collection of biographical and critical portraits of 13 of rock & roll, blues, folk, and alt-country’s most inimitable artists. Harvey Sawler explores the life of the late Newfoundland musician Ron Hynes in One Man Grand Band: The Lyrical Life of Ron Hynes (March). With This Is Not My Life: The Story of My Prison Years (April), award-winning writer Diane Schoemplerlen writes about her relationship with a prison inmate serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. And truths are untangled from the myths in Price Paid: Aboriginal Rights in Canada (May), by Bev Sellars, retired chief of the the Xatsu’ll (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia and author of the award-winning memoir, They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School.
William Shatner celebrates the man behind Mr. Spock in Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendshp With a Remarkable Man (February), with David Fisher. In What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy (Februrary), Tom Slee argues that the so-called sharing economy damages development, extends harsh free-market practices into previously protected areas of our lives, and presents the opportunity for a few people to make fortunes by damaging communities and pushing vulnerable individuals to take on unsustainable risk. Awkward Politics: Technologies of Popfeminist Actions (May), by Carrie Smith-Prei and Maria Stehle, breaks new ground in the intersections of technology, consumerism, and the political in pop-feminist work. And in The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours (April), LaineyGossip contributor Duana Taha writes about what names really mean and how they influence who we are.
The report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will be published this year and available in its entirety. Exploring ideas contained within it is A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (January), with a forward by Phil Fontaine, gathering materials from several TRC reports to contextualize Canada's journey to reconciliation. BC locavores and foodies in general won't want to miss Out of the Orchard: Recipes for Fresh Fruit from the Sunny Okanagan (May), by Julie van Rosendaal. Drawing on her experiences as a Cape Breton farm girl who went on to lead Home Depot Canada’s expansion from 19 to 179 stores, Annette Verschuren shares her secrets to success in Bet On Me: Leading and Succeeding in Business and in Life (April). The Best of Writers and Company (March), by Eleanor Wachtel, collects great interviews to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary. The memoir Oscar of Between (March), by Betsy Warland, is described as a contemporary Orlando. And Lori Weidenhammer helps us help our pollenating friends in Victory Garden for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees (March).
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