Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Non-Fiction Preview

Books on nature, politics, family, current events, travel, health, sports, relationships, food, history ... and everything. The non-fiction we're most looking forward to this fall covers the world and its many fascinations. 

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A work of memoir, history, and a call to action, In Search of a Better World (September), the 2017 CBC Massey Lecture delivered by International Law Professor and former UN Prosecutor Payam Akhavan, is a powerful and essential work on the major human rights struggles of our times. Ven Begamudré traces the history of both sides of his family in Extended Families: A Memoir of India (September). In The World's Most Travelled Man (October), Mike Spencer Bown shares stories from his decades of wandering, voyaging and trekking through every single country in the world. Opera sensation Measha Brueggergosman shares her story in Something Is Always on Fire: My Life So Far (October). Aileen Burford-Mason makes the link between nutrition and brain health in The Healthy Brain (December), following up Eat Well, Age Better. And in The Rights of Nature (September), noted environmental lawyer David Boyd tells a hopeful story which is, at its heart, one of humans as a species finally growing up.

Essayist Mandy Len Catron’s debut is the collection How to Fall In Love With Anyone (June), a candid examination of what it means to love and be loved. Health/science writer Timothy Caulfield debunks the myths and false assumptions about vaccination safety and effectiveness in The Vaccination Picture (October). Lily Chow’s third book about Chinese immigration in Canada is Blossoms in the Gold Mountains (October), the story of those that stayed in BC and settled in the Fraser Canyon, Okanagan and the Spallumcheen Valley after the Fraser Gold Rush and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Nicolas Coghlan's Collapse of a Country (September) gives an insider’s glimpse into the chaos, violence, and ethnic conflicts that emerged out of the civil war in South Sudan. 

Caryss Cragg’s suspenseful and raw memoir, Dead Reckoning (October), is about her determination to confront the man who murdered her father. Ken Cuthbutson’s The Halifax Explosion (October) is a fresh and revealing account of Canada’s worst disaster, answering questions that have been lingering for more than a century. Kit Dobson explores Canadian mall culture in Malled (October), which seeks to find peace with consumer culture. In A Newfoundlander in Canada (October), Alan Doyle tells his story of leaving Newfoundland and discovering Canada for the first time. Glen C. Filson and Bamidele Adekunle show how culture, food, and migration are intertwined in Eat Local, Taste Global: How Ethnocultural Food Reaches Our Table (October). With Best Canadian Sports Writing (September), Stacey May Fowles and Pasha Malla offer a long overdue showcase of top literary sports writing from diverse talent.

Yolanda Gampp brings her Youtube genius to book form in How to Cake It: A Cakebook (October), a how-to book for cake-making superstardom. Greg Gilhooly's I Am Nobody (October) is the Bay Street lawyer’s devastating account of the sexual abuse he experienced as a young, up-and-coming hockey player from his mentor, Graham James. Poet and essayist Lorri Neilsen Glenn works to unravel issues of racism, sexism, and colonial nation-building in Following the River: Traces of the Red River Women (November), which explores her Indigenous roots and haunting family secrets. In At the Strangers’ Gate (September), Adam Gopnik writes about his experience of New York in the 1980s. And environmentalist Thom Henley's Raven Walks Around the World (September) is a moving account of a life lived in harmony with the land and community.  

From esteemed naturalist Trevor Herriot and acclaimed nature photographer Branimir Gjetvag, Islands of Grass (September) is a beautiful, well-researched call-to-action and a passionately wrought love letter to the disappearing prairie grasslands. Nothing is sacred in Shawn Hitchins’ essay collection A Brief History of Oversharing: One Ginger’s Anthology of Humiliation (September). Helen Humphreys explores the history of the apple in North America in The Ghost Orchard (September), a fascinating journey into the secret history of an everyday food. Nicholas Jennings’ Lightfoot (September) is billed as the definitive biography of Canada’s beloved singer-songwriter. 

From Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh, the authors of the bestselling cookbook How to Feed a Family and the bloggers behind The Sweet Potato Chronicles, comes The School Year Survival Cookbook (July) to help parents navigate the perils of the busy school year, one meal (and snack) at a time. Sheila Johnson Kindred's Jane Austen's Transatlantic Sister (October) is a  is a rich new source for Jane Austen scholars and fans of her fiction as well as for those interested in biography, women’s letters, and history of the family. In Hard To Do (January), Kelli María Korducki turns a Marxist lens on the relatively short history of romantic partnership, tracing how the socio-economic dynamics between men and women have transformed the ways women conceive of domestic partnership. And Liisa Kovala, in Surviving Stutthof (September), writes of her father's struggle to survive in a Nazi concentration camp, resulting in a tale of survival, hope, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit. 

Darwin’s Moving (September) explores class and work in this story of the furniture moving trade and the lives of its colourful characters trying to make it in Boomtown Calgary, written by journalist Taylor Lambert, who has worked in the industry. JonArno Lawson, whose work includes the award-winning wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, playfully examines our understanding of childhood in But It’s So Silly (September). With Freethinker, Lazer Lederhandler translates the 2011 Clio prize winner, Éva Circé-Côté, libre penseuse, 1871–1949, written by Andrée Lévesque, a biography of the prolific feminist poet, playwright, and librarian. Shadows of the Crimson Sun (September), Julia Lin’s biography of Akihisa Takayama—who at age 8 escapes the Chinese-ruled Manchuria to Chinese Taiwan in 1945 and eventually becomes one of the first Taiwanese Canadians in Vancouver—illuminates the repression in Taiwan, and the ongoing dispute between Communist China and Taiwan over the meaning of “One China.”

Between the Lines launches a new series of social justice books geared toward young people with Fired Up About Capitalism, by Tom Malleson, and Fired Up About Reproductive Rights, by Jane Kirby. In My Conversations With Canadians (September), “the book that Canada 150 needs” Lee Maracle engages with questions that are too big to answer, but not too big to contemplate. Clem and Oliver Martini, of the award-winning memoir Bitter Medicine, tell their family’s story of mental illness, dementia, caregiving and the health care system in their graphic memoir The Unravelling (September). In Miss Confederation (June), Anne McDonald, through the diaries of Mercy Anne Coles, takes readers through the social whirlwind of Canada’s confederation from a (rarely depicted!) woman’s point of view.

Ken McGoogan recasts Arctic exploration history in Dead Reckoning (September), integrating non-British and fur-trade explorers and, above all, Canada’s indigenous peoples to bring the story of Arctic discovery into the twenty-first century. F-Bomb (September), by Lauren McKeon, takes readers on a witty, insightful, and deeply fascinating journey into today’s anti-feminist universe. 25 Years of 22 Minutes (November), by Angela Mombourquette, gives an oral history of the beloved satire of Canadian politics and power, This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

In Arrival (September), acclaimed writer and critic Nick Mount answers the question: What caused the CanLit Boom? Erin Moure's Sitting Shiva on Minto Avenue, by Toots (September) gives a glimpse into an entire era of urban Canada, from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Main Street and Chinatown to a long-ago Montreal between the Great Depression and Expo ’67. Stephen Leacock Medal-winner Dan Needles chronicles rural Canadian life in True Confessions from the Ninth Concession (August). Carol Off relates the gripping story of one family’s desperate attempts to escape Afghan warlords, Taliban oppression, and the persecutions of refugee life in All We Leave Behind (September). Hunting the Northern Character (November) not only tracks former Yukon Premier Tony Penikett's footsteps in his hunt for a northern identity but tells the story of an Arctic that the world does not yet know. And for political veterans and newbies alike, Matt Price's Engagement Organizing (July) shows how to combine old-school people power with new digital tools and data to win campaigns today

Trust No Aunty (August) is based on Maria Qumar’s popular instagram, @Hatecopy and her experiences in her South Asian immigrant family. Sustenance (November), edited by Rachel Rose, bring to the table some of Canada's best contemporary writers to celebrate all that is unique about Vancouver's literary and culinary scene, with a portion of sales from every book going towards providing a refugee or low-income family with fresh, locally grown produce, and at the same time supporting BC farmers, fishers, beekeepers, and gardeners. Naban Ruthnum grapples with novels, recipes, travelogues, pop culture, and his own background in Curry (August), which depicts how the distinctive taste of curry has often become maladroit shorthand for brown identity.

In Conform, Fail, Repeat (October), Christopher Samuel uses Pierre Bourdieu’s central “thinking tools” to show how power and domination force political movements into a no-win choice between conformity and failure. Doug Saunders argues that Canada has no choice but to triple its population in Maximum Canada (September). Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist (September), by Martina Scholtens, is the first book by a Canadian doctor on the topic of refugee health, drawing readers into the complicated, poignant, and often-overlooked daily happenings of a busy urban medical clinic for refugees. And in Growing Strong Girls (September), educator and girl expert and advocate Lindsay Sealey reveals the tremendous power of connection to activate self-awareness, self-acceptance, and healthy social and emotional development. 

Book Cover Seven Fallen Feathers

Donn Short shines a light on the marginalization and bullying faced by LGBTQ youth in schools in Am I Safe Here? (October). The biting, brilliant and hilarious Tabatha Southey showcases lessons learned from over a decade of column writing in Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies (September). Graham Steele, whose What I Learned About Politics was nominated for the 2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, returns with a new insiders’ guide to Canadian politics, The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work For You (September). In Seven Fallen Feathers (September), focusing on the lives of seven Indigenous young people who died in the city of Thunder Bay between 2000-2011, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against indigenous communities.

In the essay collection Ordinary Paradise (November), author, critic and editor Richard Telesky considers what it means to be engaged with a variety of artistic forms and celebrates the power of creative accomplishment in daily life. Janis Thiessen’s Snacks: A Canadian Food History (September) chronicles the history of Canadian snacks including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and Ganong, and unwraps a social history of junk food. Chris Turner’s The Patch (September) is the story of Fort McMurray and a close look at the how the oilsands impact lives across Canada and acround the world. And Family court judge Manjusha Pawagi (who is also author of the best-selling children’s book, The Girl Who Hated Books) shares the story of her experience with cancer in Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy (October), a wryly funny and stubbornly hopeful memoir.

What I Think Happened (October), the debut book by comedian Evany Rosen, is really two books: a no-holds-barred romp through the history of the western world, and the personal story of a self-described "failed academic" who recasts historiography from a feminist perspective—albeit an underqualified and overconfident one. In her new cookbook, Dutch Feast (October), beloved food blogger Emily Wight reimagines traditional Dutch cooking, which has always been known for its thriftiness and practicality, with an emphasis on the ways that simple meals bring joy and comfort to the people who share them. Aaron's Williams' memoir, Chasing Smoke (October), an inside-account of how wildfire season unfolds in BC. Chef David Wolfman and his wife, Marlene Finn, share their favourite recipes, combining classic cooking techniques with traditional ingredients in Cooking With the Wolfman (October). Jan Wong’s latest book is Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China (September), a memoir about family, the globalization of food culture, and the complexity of the mother/son relationship. And Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Rise of the Necrofauna, a provocative look at de-extinction from acclaimed documentarist and science writer Britt Wray.

July 24, 2017
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