Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Fall Nonfiction Preview

Our Fall Preview continues with nonfiction, which is basically the world in a list of books. Literary hoaxes, family life, weather, bathrooms, music, parasites, recipes, true crime ... and more.

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In her memoir, Home Ice (September), Angie Abdou writes about the ups and downs of amateur hockey from a mother’s point of view. Collectively, the essays in the anthology Waiting (August), edited by Rona Altrows and Julie Sedivy, are as much about hope as they are about waiting. Luanne Armstrong’s memoir, The Bright and Steady Flame (September), is a story of enduring friendship. And Mike Barnes’ Be With: Letters to a Caregiver (September) is what its title promises: four letters to a long-term dementia caregiver, drawing on Barnes’ own years of caring for his mother through the stages of moderate, severe, very severe, and late-stage Alzheimer’s.

In Born Into It (October), billed as Fever Pitch meets Anchor Boy, Montreal Canadiens superfan Jay Baruchel tells us why he loves the Habs—no matter what. Award-winner Ted Barris’s latest is Dam Busters (September), which recounts the dramatic story of young Commonwealth bomber crews tasked with a high-risk mission against an enemy prepared to defend the Fatherland to the death. Facing the Monumental (July) presents 28 of artist Rebecca Belmore’s most famous works, including Fountain, her entry to the 2005 Venice Biennale, and At Pelican Falls, her moving tribute to residential school survivors, as well as numerous new and in-progress works. 

Book Cover Magnetic North

In Midnight Light (September), Dave Bidini uses his stint as guest columnist at the Yellowknifer newspaper to explore the “Gateway to the North,” the meaning of community, and the issues facing residents and their daily lives. Jenna Butler’s latest book is Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard (August), a sea voyage that connects continents and traces the impacts of climate change on northern lands. And One Strong Girl (October) is Lesley Buxton’s account of what it is like to lose her daughter, India, to a rare debilitating disease, a description of what it means to deal with deep sorrow and still find balance and beauty in an age steeped in the denial of death. (Read an essay by Buxton we published earlier this year.

 Comedian Mark Critch’s memoir is Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir (October). White Out (September), Martine Delvaux's aching take on her own origin story, translated by Katia Grubisic, is a book about words lost in a lifetime of storms, about truth and fiction, a book about how something as seemingly commonplace as parentage can undermine everything. Michael Dawson, Catherine Gidney, and Donald Wright reveal the true, often contentious and contested histories of some of Canada’s most iconic symbols in Symbols of Canada (October). And in The Cowkeeper’s Wish (September), Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski trace their ancestors’ path to Canada, using a single family’s saga to give meaningful context to a fascinating period in history. 

From Christopher Dewdney, author the bestselling Acquainted with the Night, comes 18 Miles (October), a smart and witty look at everybody’s favourite topic—weather. Anne T. Donahue (“The internet’s best friend,” according to Flare Magazine) brings her sharp and hilarious perspective to Nobody Cares (September), a collection of personal essays. In Unleash Different (September), Rich Donovan shows how replacing “nice to do” with “return on investment” allows market forces to take over and the world’s leading brands to do what they do best: serve a market segment—in this case, the disability market. And Canada’s leading writers delve into the joys and challenges of teaching creative writing in Writing Creative Writing (May), an anthology edited by Rishma Dunlop, Daniel Scott Tysdale, and Priscila Uppal. 

Prudence Emery tells the story of a life spent defying convention in Nanaimo Girl (September). There's no straightforward path to LGBTQ2 parenthood and just as every queer person has their own coming out story, every LGBTQ2 family has a unique conception or adoption story; in Swelling With Pride (September), edited by Sara Graefe, creative nonfiction writers celebrate these journeys. Muscle on Wheels (September), by M. Ann Hall, is a fascinating account of high-wheel bicycle racing and one of North America's first women professional athletes. Carissa Halton’s Little Yellow House: Finding Community in a Changing Neighbourhood (September) tells the story of life in an urban neighbourhood, and asks questions about the social and economic forces that shape our cities. And the first collection of its kind to feature the art, activism, and writings of QTBIPOC in Toronto, Marvellous Grounds (September), by Jin Haritaworn, Ghaida Moussa and Syrus Marcus Ware, tells the stories that have shaped Toronto’s landscape but are frequently forgotten or erased. 

In All Things Consoled (September), Elizabeth Hay has written a poignant, complex, and resonant memoir about the shift she experienced between being her parents’ daughter to their guardian and caregiver. In Literary Impostors (September), Rosmarin Heidenreich tells the intriguing stories, both the "true" and the fabricated versions, of six Canadian authors who obliterated their pasts and re-invented themselves in the early twentieth century. The Antifa Comic Book (September), a graphic nonfiction book by Gord Hill, author of The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, looks at the history of fascism over the last 100 years, and the concurrent antifa movements that have worked fastidiously to topple it. Douglas Hunter tells the story of how the discovery of a Viking grave in Northern Ontario became a major museum controversy when it was exposed as a hoax in Beardmore (September). Kate Inglis's Notes for the Everlost (September) is part memoir, part handbook for the heartbroken, a powerful, unsparing account of losing a premature baby that will speak to all who have been bereaved and are grieving, offering inspiration on moving forward, gently integrating the loss into life.

Heather Jessup’s This is Not a Hoax (November) examines contemporary Canadian hoaxes in visual art and literature,and celebrates the surprising ways hoaxes call attention to human capacities for flexibility, adaptation, and resilience. From Harold Johnson, the author of the Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Firewater, comes Clifford (August), a moving tribute to an older brother that traverses the thresholds of memoir, fiction, and fantasy, and reimagines what could have been. And in Trust (October), David Johnston—reflecting on seven decades of personal experiences including seven years as Governor General—identifies the 20 ways we can make ourselves, our organizations, and our institutions even more worthy of trust, and in doing so build a better Canada for coming generations and the world.

Recalling a time when wearing a zippered, chainmail-laden Michael Jackson jacket seemed like a good idea, and The Beachcombers seemed to make sense, Cathal Kelly recounts growing up in the 1980s in a working-class Irish household in Boy Wonders (September). How can a country at peace suddenly be plunged into war? What compels hitherto peaceable citizens to take up arms and kill one another? In For Want of a Fir Tree: Ukraine Undone (September), Frédérick Lavoie tells Artyom, a four-year-old child he saw lying in his little blue coffin on a January afternoon in 2015, about the sequence of events that led to his death. And in Atelier (September), chef and restauranteur Marc Lepine shares his unique culinary philosophy. 

Becky Livingston's The Suitcase and the Jar (September) is the story of a grieving mother who is determined to continue her daughter’s journey. Structures of Indifference (September), by Mary Jane Logan MacCallum and Adele Perry, examines an Indigenous life and death in a Canadian city and what it reveals about the ongoing history of colonialism. No Place to Go (September), by Lezlie Lowe, is a marriage of urbanism, social narrative, and pop culture that shows the ways in which public bathrooms just don’t work. And Falling For London (October) is the hilarious and touching story of Sean Mallen’s adventures working as a London-based foreign correspondent and living there with his family.

Topics such as literary celebrity, white power, appropriation, class, rape culture, and the ongoing impact of settler colonialism are addressed by a diverse gathering of writers from across Canada in the much talked about essay collection Refuse: CanLit in Ruins (November), edited by Hannah McGregor, Julie Rak & Erin Wunker. Darrel J. McLeod’s Mamaskatch (September) is an uplifting account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles, a story of resilience and survival. Rick Mercer's Final Report (November) collects never-before-published rants and new essays. And in From Bear Rock Mountain (October), Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from residential school to art school—and his path to healing

In Violence No More (August), Wanda Nanibush offers a personal, political and historical account of violence against Indigenous women, children and two-spirited people. Beyond the Sea (November), edited by Felan Parker and Jessica Aldred, is a collection of innovative essays on the iconic, dystopian video game series Bioshock and its lasting influence. Rooster Town (October), by Evelyn Peters, Matthew Stock, and Adrian Werner, shows how in contrast to other growing settler cities during the twentieth century, where Indigenous experience was largely characterized by removal and confinement, the continuing presence of Métis living and working in Winnipeg and the establishment of Rooster Town itself, made the city’s experience unique. In Care Work (October), Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime disability justice activist and performance artist Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centres the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people.

Canada’s foremost aviation author Peter Pigott writes the history of hard-won feminist gains in Canada’s airlines in Coffee, Tea or ….? (July). Anna Porter shares her experiences from a life in the publishing trenches with In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time (September). Deep Water Dream (December), by Gretchen Roedde, is a hopeful memoir sharing the author’s voyage of discovery as a mother, wife, and physician in underserved communities in northern Ontario. And partial proceeds from the sale of The Scent of Pomegranates and Rose Water: Reviving the Beautiful Food Traditions of Syria (October), by Syrian-born Habeeb Salloum, Leila Salloum and Muna Salloum,will benefit Le centre culturel syrien (Syrian Cultural Centre), a non-profit organization based in Montreal 

In Hater (October), his rebuke of the status quo, journalist and pop-culture expert John Semley provides a rallying cry for a generation struggling to agree on what stuff is actually any good. In I’m Afraid of Men (August), Vivek Shraya delivers an important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. With The Little Book of Cannabis (October), Amanda Siebert delves deep into the latest research to separate marijuana fact from ction, revealing ten evidence-based ways this potent little plant can improve your life. And Being Prime Minister (June), by J.D.M. Stewart, collects the stories of Canadian PMs’ lives in office to show these twenty-two men and one women in a new light. 

An enthusiastic zoological tribute to birds and the parasites that live in and on them is revealed in Michael Stock’s exposé The Flying Zoo (October). Joan Sullivan writes about Newfoundland’s 1970s’ cultural renaissance and the iconic television quiz show Reach for the Top in Game (June). Tanya Talega (Seven Fallen Feathers) delivers this year’s Massey Lecture, All Our Relations: Finding Our Path Forward (September), addressing the mental healthcare and youth suicide crisis in Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond. Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, superstar Tanya Tagaq moves between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose in Split Tooth (September). And Cheryl Thomson’s Beauty In a Box (August) is one of the first transnational feminist studies of Black beauty culture in Canada, and the role that media, retail and consumers play in its development. 

Annabel Townsend’s It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time (August) is not a success story, instead a tale of ten years in the coffee industry, of what happens when you take the leap, seize the day, and follow your dreams—then discover you don't have any money, your landlord is an idiot, and the job you moved to another country for may not exist. In 100 Questions About Women and Politics (September), translated by Kathe Roth, Manon Tremblay asks why, after so many years of feminist struggle, are women still obstructed from full political citizenship by a glass ceiling. And music writer Andrea Warner’s latest book (following the fantastic We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ‘90s and Changed Canadian Music) is an intimate look at the life and music of folk icon and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie in Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography (October), featuring a forward by Joni Mitchell. 

Book Cover the Woo Woo

Sarah Weinman’s The Real Lolita (September) is a gripping true-crime investigation of the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner and how it inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel. He Speaks Volumes (October), by Rebecca Wigod, a biography of George Bowering, first Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, reveals the intimate, intellectual, and artistic life of one of Canada’s most prolific authors. In Return of the Wolf (September), Paula Wild offers a timely examination of this icon of the wilderness. Astronaut Dave Williams’ Defying Limits (October) is a memoir about passion, resilience, and living life to the fullest. In The Woo Woo (September), a darkly comedic memoir, Lindsay Wong tells the story of coming of age in a dysfunctional Asian family who blame their woes on ghosts and demons when they should really be on anti-psychotic meds. And City in Colour (October), by May Q. Wong, is a timely, intriguing collection of the overlooked stories of Victoria’s pioneers, trailblazers, and community builders who were also diverse people of colour.

July 23, 2018
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