Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Nonfiction Preview

Our 2018 Spring Preview continues with spectacular nonfiction, books on art, literature and music, travellers and refugees, nature and history, fathers and family, marriage and feminism, and so much more.  

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Sport literature is never just about sport; the essays in Writing the Body in Motion (May), edited by Angie Abdou and Jamie Dopp, offer a variety of ways to read, consider, teach, and write about sport literature. Homes (May), Abu Bakr al Rabeeah’s story as told to Winnie Yeung, tells of how a young boy emerged from a Syrian war zone to find safety in Canada. In Luminous Creatures (May), Michel Anctil shows how mythical perceptions of bioluminescence gradually gave way to a scientific understanding of its mechanisms, functions, and evolution, and to the recognition of its usefulness for biomedical and other applied fields. And Keetsahnak/Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters (April), edited by Kim Anderson, Maria Campbell, and Christi Belcourt, witnesses the significance of the travelling exhibition Walking With Our Sisters and creates a model for antiviolence work from an Indigenous perspective. 

Sonny Assu: A Selective History (February) highlights the playfulness, power, and subversive spirit of Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Sonny Assu. Michael Barclay’s The Never-Ending Present (April) is the first print biography of The Tragically Hip. Avant Canada (July), edited by Gregory Betts and Christian Bök, presents original essays and creative works on avant-garde literary movements in Canada from the past 50 years, from Leonard Cohen and bpNichol to that of Jordan Abel and Liz Howard. Otter’s Journey (March), by Lindsay Keegitah Borrows, employs the Anishinaabe tradition
of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform Indigenous legal revitalization. Dionne Brand, Tessa McWatt and Rabindranath Maharaj, edit the anthology Luminous Ink (May), with 27 Canadian writers on the topic of how they see writing today.

Rower Jeremiah Brown tells the story of his journey from novice to Olympic rower in under four years in The Four Year Olympian (March). Marusya Bociurkiw follows up her award-winning queer food memoir Comfort Food For Breakups with Food Was Her Country (March), tracking a tempestuous mother-daughter relationship and the lifelong culinary journey that leads them from estrangement to common ground. In Journey Through Genocide(April), Raffy Boudjikanian travels to communities that have survived genocide to understand the legacy of this most terrible of crimes against humanity. In the tradition of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, acclaimed novelist David Chariandy's I've Been Meaning to Tell You (May) is an intimate and profoundly beautiful meditation on the politics of race today. And Elaine Craig interrogates sexual assault law and the legal process that traumatizes complainants in Putting Trials on Trial: Sexual Assault and the Failure of the Legal Profession (February).

Celebrated writer Susan Crean’s new memoir is Finding Mr. Wong (April), chronicling the author’s search for Wong Dong Wong as she attempted to piece together his life beyond what she knew of him as a cook and housekeeper growing up in Vancouver. Cathy Converse explores the life of Agnes Dean Cameron, BC’s first female principal, who was also an itinerant traveller and journalist, in Against the Current (May). Marcello Di Cintio follows up his award-winning Walls: Travels Along the Barricades with Pay No Heed to the Rockets (April), the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors, books, and literature. And in Napi the Trickster (April), Hugh Dempsey, venerable historian and strong ally of the Blackfoot Nation, has gathered Napi stories passed on through oral tradition, many recorded and analysed by outsiders, here used by permission of Blackfoot elders.

In Punching and Kicking (May), the sequel to the highly-praised With a Closed Fist, Kathy Dobson shares her journey of trying to escape from what was once described as the toughest neighbourhood in Canada. Cait Flanders dives head-first into the minimalist lifestyle in The Year of Less (January). In an attempt to open a dialogue, Natasha Kanape Fontaine and Deni Ellis Béchard use personal stories to understand words and behaviors that are racist or that result from racism in Kuei, My Friend (March), translated from French by Bechard and Howard Scott. And Max Foran denounces the failure of Canadian government and society to protect wildlife from human exploitation in The Subjugation of Canadian Wildlife: Failures of Principle and Policy (June).

From Bill Gaston, Just Let Me Look at You (May) is a memoir of all the things fathers and sons fail to say to each other. Rachel Giese investigates what it means to be growing up male right now in Boys: What It Means to Become a Man in the Twentieth Century (May). ER Physician and radio personality Brian Goldman’s latest book is The Power of Kindness (April), in which he investigates his own capacity for kindness and that of others. In his memoir of a life in classical music, acclaimed cellist Ian Hampton (Jan to his colleagues) shares stories of years of performance and camaraderie in Jan in 35 Pieces (May). And in Taking the Rap (May), prison abolitionist Ann Hansen shares gripping stories of women caught in a system that treats them as disposable—poor women, racialized women, and Indigenous women, whose stories are both heartbreaking and enraging.

Adventurer Kate Harris’ Land of the Lost Borders (January) is a memoir about travelling wildly out of bounds on the fabled Silk Road. Michael Hingston demonstrates how imagination helped make Calvin and Hobbes North America’s last great comic strip in Let’s Go Exploring (May). In Children’s Literature and Imagination Geography (June), edited by Aida Hudson, scholars and authors explore the geography of places from those of Indigenous myth to the fantasy worlds of Middle-earth or Earthsea, and real world places including Chicago’s World’s Fair, or the modern urban garden. Tracey Isaacs and Samantha Brennan, academics and the writers behind the blog Fit is a Feminist Issue, release Fit at Midlife: A Feminist Journey (April), providing a realistic plan to becoming fit later in life. And in the essay anthology Love Me True (February), edited by Fiona Tinwei Lam and Jane Silcott, creative nonfiction writers and poets reflect on the bonds of marriage.

Chelene Knight’s second book is Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir (March), about home and belonging set in the ‘80s and ‘90s of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Boy on the Beach (April), by Tima Kurdi, is an intimate memoir about the family of Alan Kurdi—the young Syrian boy who became the global emblem for the desperate plight of millions of Syrian refugees—and of the many extraordinary journeys the Kurdis have taken, spanning countries and continents. Gain rare insight into the private lives of CanLit icons in Margaret Laurence and Jack McClelland: Letters (April), edited by Laura K. Davis and Linda M. Morra. And Rachel Lebowitz’s first book since the amazing Cottonopolis is The Year of No Summer (March), which weaves history, fairytale, mythology, and memoir to ruminate on weather and the natural world, motherhood, transformation, war, the human appetite for destruction, and our search for God and meaning in times of disaster.

From Shawna Lemay, the bestselling author of Rumi and the Red Handbag, comes The Flower Can Always Be Changing (May), a new collection of brief essays about the intersection of poetry, painting, photography and beauty. A care and feeding guide for new moms sounds like the most terrific idea, and Maria Lianos-Carbone delivers in Oh Baby: A Mom's Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year (January). Out of Line: How to Be an Artist Outside the Big City (May) is poet and scholar Tanis MacDonald’s answer to the question, “How to be a writer?” In All Together Healthy (April), award-winning author Andrew MacLeod digs deep to discover how to build a healthy society. And Thumbing a Ride (June), by Linda Mahood, asks new questions about hitchhiking as a rite of passage, and about the adult interventions that turned a subculture into a moral and social issue.

Heart Berries (March), by Terese Marie Mailhot, is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. Mark A. McCutcheon’s The Medium Is the Monster (April) shows how we cannot talk about technology—that human-made monstrosity—today without conjuring Frankenstein, thanks in large part to its Canadian adaptations by
pop culture icons. Alok Mukherjee, who spent ten years as chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, writes about the present and future of policing in Canada in Excessive Force (March). 

As part of the CLC Kreisel Lecture Series, Heather O’Neill shares the wisdom of her father in the wryly humorous, Wisdom in Nonsense: Invaluable Lessons from My Father (February), a fitting companion to her novel Lullabies for Little Criminals. With Heroes in My Head (April), Judy Rebick, one of Canada’s best-known feminists, lays bare the public and private battles that have shaped her life. In the tradition of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Jan Redford’s End of the Rope (April) is the gritty, funny, achingly honest story of a young climber’s struggle to become whole by testing herself on mountains and in life.

Elizabeth Renzetti’s essay collection, Shrewed (March), draws on her decades reporting on women’s issues to show how far we’ve come—and how far is left to travel. On the eve of celebrating the 100th anniversary of (most) women’s right to vote in Canada comes One Hundred Years of Struggle: The History of Women and the Vote in Canada (March), the first in a series on women’s suffrage and the struggle for democracy, by acclaimed historian Joan Sangster. Marlene Schiwy’s Gypsy Fugue (January) celebrates fantasy, yearning, and the strange unbidden passions that lie inside our souls. Julia Shaw’s Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side (May) explores the darkest recesses of the human mind. And taking on issues of sex, race, contestants-as-villains, the controversial spin-offs, and more, Susannah Showler’s Most Dramatic Ever (March) is both love letter to and deconstruction of The Bachelor.

Claire Sicherman’s Imprint (December) is an original take on surviving the Holocaust three generations later. George Smitherman, the first openly gay Deputy Premier of Ontario, tells the story of his life in and out of politics in Unconventional Candour (April). The Running-Shaped Hole (April), by poet Robert Earl Stewart, examines how running affected Stewart as a husband, father, recovered alcoholic, journalist, bookseller, and writer, following him through various adventures, injuries, and spiritual epiphanies had while running. Joanna Streetly’s Wild Fierce Life (March) is a collection of true stories that blend life on the Pacific Coast with the life of a girl unfurling into a woman and learning how a landscape can change her.

Rebecca Tucker goes beyond heirloom tomatoes with A Matter of Taste (July), showing readers how to undue the moral coding used to interpret how we come by the food we put on our plates and suggesting the scientific innovation is necessary for the future of food. Part memoir, part nature writing, part love story, Bay of Hope (April) is an occasionally comical, often adversarial, and always emotional story about the five years ecologist David Ward lived in an isolated Newfoundland community. In Listening To the Bees (April), through the distinct but complementary lenses of science and poetry, Mark Winston and Renée Saklikar reflect on the tension of being an individual living in a society, and about the devastation wrought by overly intensive management of agricultural and urban habitats. And with Getting a Life: The Social Worlds of Geek Culture (March), Benjamin Woo explores what the “triumph of the nerds” can tell us about the place of media in people’s lives.

January 22, 2018
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