Memoir, food writing, nature, ideas, politics, sports, health, music, and more! Here's the nonfiction we're excited about for the second half of 2022.
Part travelogue, part philosophical musing, Tree Abraham's Cyclettes (November) probes the millennial experience, asking what a young life can be when unshackled from traditional role expectations yet still living in consistent economic and environmental uncertainty. In Aboriginal™ (October), Jennifer Adese explores the origins, meaning, and usage of the term “Aboriginal” and its displacement by the word “Indigenous.” Michael Andruff’s The Russion Refugees (October) is a sweeping family history, chronicling the journey of a group of Russian refugees who settled in rural Alberta in 1924, also paying tribute to countless people who have found a safe haven in Canada over the past 100 years. And for the meat-eater looking to incorporate vegetarian options into their repertoire; for the novice chef trying to develop new techniques; for the home cook who wants to dazzle with recipes that are bold, flavourful, and totally unique—French-trained chefs Romain Avril and Richelle Tablang want to introduce you to the Vegan Bridge (October).
With full-colour graphic artwork and detailed illustration, Matthew Barrett and Robert Engen picture battles of WW1 from different perspectives—a strategic view at high command, a junior officer’s experience at the platoon level, and the vantage points of many lesser-known Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice—in Through Their Eyes: A Graphic History of Hill 70 and Canada's First World War (August). With a blend of science and memoir, health journalist and former cellist Adriana Barton explores music as a source of resilience, health, and joy in Wired For Music: A Search for Health and Joy Through the Science of Sound (October). Aaron Berhane’s The Burden of Exile (October) is a true story of bravery amid complicated international geopolitics, of spies and guns and betrayal and—ultimately—of triumph and the piecing together of family in a cold new country. In Shopomania: Our Obsession with Possession (October), Paul Berton argues that if we invented today’s consumer culture, then we can invent something to replace it. And in Death Interrupted (September), ICU doctor Blair Bigham shares his first-hand experiences of how medicine has complicated the way we die and offers a road map for dying in the modern era.
Walk along with award-winnng artist and educator Diane Borsato and illustrator Kelsey Oseid as they inspire foragers at all levels to see the wondrousness of fungi in Mushrooming: The Joy of the Quiet Hunt (September). A mid-level drug trafficker and self-proclaimed low-life with a big vocabulary comes to terms with his actions and mental health in memoir Babble On (August), by Andrew Brobyn. And while writers and critics have long acknowledged Bronwen Wallace’s unique contribution to Canadian literature, her work has received little academic recognition, and so the collection Bronwen Wallace: Essays on Her Works (October), by Wanda Campbell, attempts to remedy this with voices old and new.
David Carpenter’s collection of essays I Never Met a Rattlesnake I Didn't Like (August) explores a city boy’s love of the wild, a passion that has enriched his life from boyhood. Mary Anne Chambers, whose life experiences span the worlds of business, government, and community services, shares lessons from the moments that defined her values in new memoir From the Heart (August). With writing provocative and contemporary, Scenes from the Underground (October), by Gabriel Cholette, translated by Elina Taillon, is a stunning portrait of the Instagram generation. And during a pandemic lockdown full of pajama dance parties, life talks, and final goodbyes, a family helps their father die with dignity in Home Safe (November), by Mitchell Consky.
From Tim Cook, Canada’s top war historian, Lifesavers and Body Snatchers (September) is a definitive medical history of the Great War, illuminating how the carnage of modern battle gave birth to revolutionary life-saving innovations. The Possession of Barbe Hallay (October), by Mairi Cowan, is both a fascinating account of a case of demonic possession and an accessible introduction to social and religious history in early modern North America. Leslie A. Davidson’s Dancing in Small Spaces (October) is an unstintingly honest and surprisingly humorous memoir that charts a couple’s parallel diagnoses of Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia. And The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case (October), by Jon S. Dellandrea, takes readers back to 1962, a time when forgeries were turning up on gallery walls, in auction houses, and (unwittingly) being hung in the homes of luminaries across Canada.
Bloom Where You Are Planted (October), by Beka Shane Denter, is a collection of interviews and photography that honours a group of innovative, hard-working, diverse people, whose creative and business ventures inspire, support, and infuse others’ lives with purpose and positivity. In Navigating the Messy Middle (October), Ann Douglas pushes back against the toxic narrative that women at midlife have passed their best-before dates, providing a fierce and unapologetic celebration of the beauty and injustices of this life stage. We, the Others (August), by Toula Drimonas, takes a contemporary look at xenophobia, ethno-nationalism, and fear of the other that leads to discrimination and the belief that immigration is a polluting force in Canada. And physician and medical historian Jacalyn Duffin presents a global history of Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on Canada, in Covid-19: A History (October).
From Norma Dunning, winner of the 2021 Governor General's Award for literature, Kinauvit? What’s Your Name? The Eskimo Disc System and a Daughter’s Search for her Grandmother (October), is a revelatory look into an obscured piece of Canadian history: what was then called the Eskimo Identification Tag System. From the incredible highs of winning the Super Bowl to the burnout of working as an orderly, Red Zone (October) takes readers inside Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff’s life as he grapples with his roles of medical professional and NFL football player during a global pandemic. And acclaimed historian and military expert Gwynne Dyer tells the story of war from its earliest origins up to the present age of atom bombs and algorithms in The Shortest History of War (October).
In Media Parasite (October), Marc Edge takes Canada's dominant newspaper chain, Postmedia, as a case study laying bare the changes in news economics that over the past two generations have hollowed out the nation's newsrooms, undermining not just citizens' trust in what is reported to them, but the very foundations of a democracy steered by an informed electorate. Part love story, part survival story, part meditation on family dysfunction, the offbeat memoir Cooking Tips for Desperate Fishwives (October), by Margo Fedoruk, chronicles the unpredictable life of a young wife and mother on Gabriola Island. And Chasing Rivers (October), by Tamar Glouberman, is the story of a female whitewater guide working on some of the most challenging and remote rafting rivers in North America.
Connie Guzzo-McParland writes her own aria with a real-life family dynasty that takes readers through the world of opera, all its high notes, tragedies and artistry intact, in An Opera in 3 Acts, Starring Gino Quilico (September). From Wes Hall, one of Canada's most successful business leaders, the founder of the BlackNorth Initiative and the newest and first Black Dragon in the Dragon's Den comes No Bookstraps When You're Barefoot (October), a rags-to-riches story that also carries a profound message of hope and change. Letters From Montreal: An Anthology (October), edited by Madi Haslem, documents the experiences of Montrealers past and present, creating a portrait of the storied city unlike any other. Comedian Ali Hassan’s Is There Bacon in Heaven? (September) has Rick Mercer calling it “perhaps the funniest and most heartfelt Canadian memoir yet.” And Tomson Highway offers generous personal anecdotes, including of his beloved accordion-playing father, and plentiful Trickster stories as guides through such crises as climate change, economic disparity, racial intolerance, and all-out unhappiness in this year’s Massey Lecture, Laughing with the Trickster (September).
Drawing on a cast of characters that includes forgotten sci-fi novelists, alcoholic poets, vegetarian publishers, and Nobel Prize frontrunners, The Kingdom of Redonda (September), by Michael Hingston, is a rollicking literary history that blurs the line between fantasy and reality to the point that it may never be restored. John Honderich’s Above the Fold (November) is a remarkable memoir and journalistic history of the Toronto Star, the newspaper that has shaped and continues to shape the issues most important to Canadians. And in Modern Fables (September), a darkly funny book about love in the digital age, Mikka Jacobsen challenges the notion that a single woman in her thirties writing about love is simply desperate and, in an unflinching collage of coming-of-age narratives, she both elevates singledom and upholds the value of finding profound love.
From acclaimed author Mark Anthony Jarman comes Touch Anywhere to Begin (September), his first book of travel essays since the publication of the critically acclaimed Ireland’s Eye in 2002. Award-winning Indigenous author, the late Harold R. Johnson, discusses the promise and potential of storytelling in The Power of Story: On Truth, the Trickster, and New Fictions for a New Era (September). Consummate storyteller and bestselling novelist Wayne Johnston reaches back into his past to bring us a sad, tender and at times extremely funny memoir of his Newfoundland boyhood with Jennie’s Boy (October). And in Abolitionist Intimacies (November), El Jones examines the movement to abolish prisons through the Black feminist principles of care and collectivity.
Until Further Notice (September), by Amy Kaler, is a real-time personal account of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic through the prism of one woman’s consciousness. In Frequently Asked White Questions (November), Alex Khasnabish and Ajay Parasram answer ten of the most common questions asked of them by people seeking to understand how race structures our every day. In Singular Creatures: Robots, Rights, and the Politics of Posthumanism (October), Mark Kingwell plumbs the depths of cultural and political meaning in the apparent transition to posthuman life. And in Fortune Knox Once (October), as in his previous humour collections, Jack Knox gathers together his favourite Time Colonist pieces that best sum up the absurdity of our times.
In Ghosts in a Photograph: A Chronicle (October), award-winning nonfiction author Myrna Kostash delves into her family’s various and complicated paths from Galicia (Ukraine) to Alberta. Prompted by the countries’ historical and geographical entanglement, Volodymyr Kravchenko asks what the words Ukraine and Russia really mean in The Ukrainian-Russian Borderland (August). A Gelato A Day (September), by Claudia Laroye, is a collection of travel tales that highlights the good, the bad and the not-really-that-ugly of the family travel experience. And what if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it's possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics and to bring about liberation? Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha considers this question and others in The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs (October).
In Ordinary Deaths (September), Dr. Samuel LeBaron reminds us of our need for human connection when experiencing death and loss. Stephen McNeil: Principle and Politics (September), by Dan Leger, is a biography of the polarizing former Nova Scotia premier, from award-winning journalist and author of Duffy. Canada and Climate Change (November), by William Leiss, is an essential primer on where we stand on the issue of climate change in Canada and what will unfold in the years ahead. And High Friends in Low Places (November) features in lurid detail Alan Lord's epic romp through the riotous avant-underground scene of Montreal, New York, and Europe in the 1980s.
In the unique anthology What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings (October), edited by John Lorinc, food writers, journalists, culinary historians, and musicians share histories of their culture’s version of the dumpling, family dumpling lore, interesting encounters with these little delights, and even recipes to unwrap the magic of the world's favourite dish. Morris Lukowich played with his heroes Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull, and helped lead the Winnipeg Jets to the AVCO, but his transformation to life after hockey was fraught with PTSD, financial troubles and thoughts about suicide, a story he tells in Heaven and Hell in the NHL (October).
Tattoo artist Chris MacDonald tells the story of his life and art in The Things I Came Here With (October). In Tracking the Caribou Queen (October), a challenging memoir about her formative years in Yellowknife in the ’60s and ’70s, Margaret Macpherson lays bare her own white privilege, her multitude of unexamined microaggressions, and how her childhood was shaped by the colonialism and systemic racism that continues today. And Anne Mahon shares stories of women who faced endless challenges, oppression, and trauma but discovered their power through creativity, self-awareness, education, motherhood, and extreme empathy in Overcome: Stories of Women Who Grew Up in the Child Welfare System (October)
The Last Doctor (September), by Jean Marmoreo, with Johanna Schneller, is an urgently important exploration of the human stories behind Canada's evolving acceptance of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), from one of its first and most thoughtful practitioners. Working with geographer Warren Bernauer and social scientist Jack Hicks, Inuk Elder Joan Scottie tells the history of her community’s decades-long fight against uranium mining in I Will Live for Both of Us: A History of Colonialism, Uranium Mining, and Inuit Resistance (September). And Gabor Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of commonly held myths about what makes us sick, and connects the dots between personal suffering and the pressures of modern-day living in The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture (September), with Daniel Maté.
In The Future Is Now (September), Bob McDonald turns his focus to global energy sources, and shows how the global shutdowns may have been exactly what we needed to show us that a greener future is achievable. With honesty, a poet’s turn of phrase, and a bit of sly humour, John Brady McDonald pulls us deep into the life he has lived in Kistahpinanihk and asks us to consider what life could be like in a New North Territory in Carrying It Forward: Essays from Kistahpinanihk (November). In A Sentimental Education (September), Hannah McGregor, the podcaster behind Witch, Please and Secret Feminist Agenda, explores what podcasting has taught her about doing feminist scholarship not as a methodology but as a way of life. And Holden After and Before (October) is a moving meditation on grief tracing Tara McGuire's excavation and documentation of the life path of her son Holden, a graffiti artist who died of an accidental opioid overdose at the age of twenty-one.
A riveting and devastating portrait of mother and daughter, Leah McLaren's Where You End and I Begin (July) explores how trauma is shared between women and how acts of harm can be confused with acts of love. Susan Mockler’s memoir Fractured (October) is a compelling illumination of the challenges of acquired disability and the ways in which people with disabilities are sidelined and infantilised. Harrison Mooney’s Invisible Boy (September) amplifies a voice rarely heard—that of the child at the centre of a transracial adoption—and is a searing account of being raised by religious fundamentalists. And A Journey of Love and Hope: The Inspirational Words of a Mi'kmaw Elder (September) is the long-awaited collection of talks, presentations, prayers, and ceremonies of renowned Mi'kmaw Elder, human rights activist, and language and culture warrior, Sister Dorothy Moore.
From her time as a foster kid and runaway who fell victim to predatory men and an oppressive system to her career as an internationally acclaimed journalist, Our Voice of Fire (August) chronicles Brandi Morin’s journey to overcome enormous adversity and find her purpose, and her power, through journalism. Shezan Muhammedi’s Gifts from Amin (September) documents how Asian Ugandans in the 1970s—including doctors, engineers, business leaders, and members of the author’s own family—responded to the threat in Uganda and rebuilt their lives in Canada. Country of Poxes (November), by Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, is the story of land theft in North America through three diseases: syphilis, smallpox and tuberculosis. And using research, lyric prose, and first-hand experiences, Alessandra Naccarato’s Imminent Domains: Reckoning with the Anthropocene, addresses fundamental questions about our modern relationship to nature amidst depictions of landscapes undergoing dramatic transformation.
Sideways: The City Google Couldn't Buy (September), from Globe and Mail tech reporter Josh O’Kane, who revealed countless controversies while following the Sidewalk Labs fiasco in Toronto, is an uncompromising investigation into the bigger story and what the Google sister company’s failure there reveals about Big Tech, data privacy and the monetization of everything. Author and radio personality Stanley Péan is a jazz scholar who takes readers seamlessly and knowledgeably through the history of the music, stopping at a number of high points along the way in Black & Blue: Jazz Stories (September). From Denmark to the Cariboo (October), by Linda Peterat, is the captivating account of the lives of Laura, Christine, and Caroline Lindhard, three sisters who left their home in Stege, Denmark, in 1870 due to war, political turmoil, and limited opportunities, seeking out new lives in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.
For the Love of Learning: A Year in the Life of a School Principal (August), by Kristin Phillips, is an illuminating and refreshing memoir about a year in the life of an elementary school principal, outlining the joys and challenges—for teachers and students—of education today. Aaron Saad takes the reader on a journey through competing ideas about how we can think about and address our collective responsibility to a livable global future in Worlds at Stake (October). And Gary Saunders’ Earthkeeping (October) is an evocative, lyrical, and immersive collection of personal essays on our relationship with nature and with each other.
From his days helping to lay the foundation of the Vancouver punk scene with The K-Tels, to his acclaimed solo work in the '80s and '90s, and a late career resurgence that has culminated with being named to the Order of Canada, The Longest Suicide (September), by Jason Schneider, chronicles every unlikely twist and turn Art Bergmann’s life has taken. And Linda Schuyler, co-creator and executive producer of the long-running Degrassi series, shares her personal stories about the grit and determination necessary to make it as a woman entrepreneur in the burgeoning independent Canadian television industry of the early 1980s in The Mother of All Degrassi (November).
In Quack Quack (September), Dr. Joe Schwarcz, who has been battling flimflam for decades, focuses on the deluge of anecdotes, cherry-picked data, pseudoscientific nonsense, and seductive baseless health claims that undermine efforts to educate the public about evidence-based science. Me & Issy: A Four Seasons Romance (September), by Rosalie Wise Sharp, is the rags to riches tale of a larger-than-life romance of over seven decades. Amanda Siebert shares how psychedelics, including psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, ayahuasca, and peyote, are poised to revolutionize mental health and alter the wellness industry forever in Psyched: Seven Cutting-Edge Psychedelics Changing the World (October). And Olympic soccer gold-medallist Christine Sinclair, the top international goal scorer of all time and one of Canada's greatest athletes, reflects on both her exhilarating successes and her heartbreaking failures for the first time in her memoir, Playing the Long Game (November).
Divided by a beautiful valley and 150 years of racism, the Waywayseecappo reserve and the town of Rossburn have been neighbours for nearly as long as Canada has been a country, as Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson show in Valley of the Birdtail (August), their story reflecting much of what has gone wrong in relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians and offering an uncommon measure of hope. In Defence of Copyright (September), by Hugh Stevens, explores the nature of unauthorized use and piracy and reviews some of the new challenges for copyright in the Digital Age. By explaining how society’s misguided response to fire has led to our current situation, Dark Days at Noon: The Future of Fire (August), by Edward Struzik, warns of what may happen in the future if we do not learn to live with fire as the continent’s Indigenous Peoples once did.
In The Long Road Home (September), Debra Thompson follows the roots of Black identities in North America and the routes taken by those who have crisscrossed the world’s longest undefended border in search of freedom and belonging. In Low Road Forever (September), the Halifax-based filmmaker, arts critic, and recovering journalist Tara Thorne (a self-proclaimed "gay feminist harpy since before it was cool") gives readers her unvarnished take on the films and music that made her a feminist, how the #MeToo reckoning led her to write a misandrist vigilante film, what it’s like being the only woman in a band, and the snarky tweet that made her lose her position as CBC Radio’s arts and culture columnist. And following on the bestselling success of the inspiring All the Way, pioneering Inuit NHLer Jordin Tootoo begins the process of healing in the wake of the suicide and violence that marked his family in Mind Over Matter (October), only to discover the source of all that trauma in his father's secret past.
In essays on death and dying, pregnancy and prenatal genetics, psychics, chimeras, cottagers, and plague, Ordinary Wonder Tales (October), by Emily Urquhart, reveals the essential truth: if you let yourself look closely, there is magic in the everyday. In the wide-ranging memoir A Conspiracy of Chickens (November), David Waltner-Toews—a veterinarian, as well as a specialist in the epidemiology of food and water-borne diseases and infectious diseases transferred from animals to humans—shares not only his joys and misadventures with chickens, but also reflects our history and relationship with chickens, with the urban animals surrounding us and with the ecosystem that contains us all. And Russell Wangersky goes looking for the meaning of family and belonging on a glorious wild-goose-chase road trip across middle America in Same Ground: Chasing Family Down the California Gold Rush Trail (September).
Autobiography of a Garden (July) follows Patterson Webster’s twenty-five-year journey as she transforms a beautiful but conventional country property into a 750-acre landscape that challenges what a garden is, or can be. In Adele Weder’s new biography, Ron Thom, Architect: The Life of a Creative Modernist (September), Thom emerges as a complex figure, gifted with creative genius but pursued by demons. Karin Wells tells the stories of Canadian women whose accomplishments—in areas including arts, science, and politics—deserve to be widely known in More Than a Footnote (October). In Making Love with the Land (August), Joshua Whitehead brilliantly explores Indigeneity, queerness, and the relationships between body, language and land through a variety of genres (essay, memoir, notes, confession). And from Jody Wilson-Raybould, True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change (November), is a groundbreaking and accessible roadmap to advancing true reconciliation across Canada.
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