The holidays are coming, and we've got book recommendations for every kind of reader.
For the Armchair Explorer
Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search, by Russell A. Potter:
In 2014 media around the world buzzed with news that an archaeological team from Parks Canada had located and identified the wreck of HMS Erebus, the flagship of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Finding Franklin outlines the larger story and the cast of detectives from every walk of life that led to the discovery, solving one of the Arctic’s greatest mysteries. In compelling prose, Russell Potter details his decades of work alongside key figures in the era of modern searches and elucidates how shared research and ideas have led to a fuller understanding of the Franklin crew’s final months. Illustrated with images and maps from the last two centuries, Finding Franklin recounts the more than fifty searches for traces of his ships and crew, and the dedicated, often obsessive, men and women who embarked on them. Potter discusses the crucial role that Inuit oral accounts, often cited but rarely understood, played in all of these searches, and continue to play to this day, and offers historical and cultural context to the contemporary debates over the significance of Franklin’s achievement. While examination of HMS Erebus will undoubtedly reveal further details of this mystery, Finding Franklin assembles the stories behind the myth and illuminates what is ultimately a remarkable decades-long discovery.
For the Nostalgic Boomer
Trudeaumania, by Paul Litt:
In 1968, Canadians dared to take a chance on a new kind of politician. Pierre Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party in April and two months later won the federal election. His meteoric rise to power was driven by Trudeaumania, an explosive mix of passion and fear fueled by media hype and nationalist ambition. This book traces what happened when the fabled spirit of the sixties met the excitement of the Centennial and Expo 67. Canadians wanted to modernize their nation, differentiate it from the US, and defuse Quebec separatism. Far from being a sixties crazy moment, Trudeaumania was a passionate quest for a new Canada that would define the values of Canadians for decades to come.
For the Sci-Fi Lover Who Craves a New Perspective
A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective.
The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction—from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor's First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a "good Native" in such an unnatural situation as a space mission.
Infused with Native stories and variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.
For the Nature Lover
The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben:
Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.
After learning about the complex life of trees, a walk in the woods will never be the same again.
For the Beer Lover
The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, by Robin Leblanc and Jordan St. John:
Forget wine tours! This is the comprehensive guide to Ontario’s craft-beer revival and the brewers behind it.
The renaissance of craft beer that has swept North America over the past thirty years has transformed the Ontario landscape, leaving over two hundred breweries, both great and humble, dotting the province. The diversity of craft beers we now enjoy is unprecedented in history and dazzling to behold. For the growing number of people who find their interest piqued, the sheer selection of brews can be intimidating.
The Ontario Craft Beer Guide gives readers, whether bright-eyed beginners or aficionados of the highest calibre, a dependable field guide to the beers of Ontario. Noted experts Jordan St. John (Lost Breweries of Toronto) and Robin LeBlanc (The Thirsty Wench) tell the stories of some of Ontario’s most notable breweries and provide expert ratings for nearly a thousand beers.
For the True Crime Fan
A Daughter's Deadly Deception: The Jennifer Pan Story, by Jeremy Grimaldi:
From the outside looking in, Jennifer Pan seemed like a model daughter living a perfect life. The ideal child, the one her immigrant parents saw, was studying to become a pharmacist at the University of Toronto. But there was a dark, deceptive side to the angelic young woman.
In reality, Jennifer spent her days in the arms of her high school sweetheart, Daniel. In an attempt to lead the life she dreamed of, she would do almost anything: lie about her whereabouts, forge school documents, and invent fake jobs and a fictitious apartment. For many years she led this double life. But when her father discovered her web of lies, his ultimatum was severe. And so, too, was her revenge: a plan that culminated in cold-blooded murder. And it almost worked, except for one bad shot.
The story of Jennifer Pan is one of all-consuming love and devious betrayal that led to a cold-hearted plan hatched by a group of youths who thought they could pull off the perfect crime.
For Your Favourite Cowboy
Cowboys of the Americas, by Luis Fabini and Wade Davis:
For more than a decade, photographer Luis Fabini immersed himself in cowboy culture as he traveled through North and South America. This stunning collection of photographs from those travels reveals the cowboy who lives in silence and solitude, the interconnectedness of these men with the land, and a traditional way of life that exists on the outskirts of society but also vividly in our imaginations.
An eloquent text by anthropologist and author Wade Davis reflects on the long relationship between horses and humans, describes the significance of Fabini’s work, and illuminates the enduring spirit of cowboy culture.
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