Recommended New Non-Fiction — Spring 2018

March 27, 2018 | Viveca

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Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, prefers the term 'verity' over 'non-fiction.'  "Why should an entire rich field of human endeavor — factual narrative — be defined by a negative?" He has a point. Here is a recommended list of new verity available at the Toronto Public Library.  

Heart Berries

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot. Described by the New York Times as a "sledgehammer" of a memoir, Mailhot's experience growing up on Seabird Island, British Columbia, and the trauma her family experienced as a direct result of colonial policies makes this a must-read for all Canadians. 


Calypso by David Sedaris.  Kirkus Reviews describes this slim volume as "Sedaris at his darkest — and his best," as he ruminates on growing older, Trump and tumours.  

I've Been Meaning to Tell You A Letter to My Daughter

I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy. This Toronto author reflects on race and politics in a letter to his young daughter. His latest book is often compared to Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me. Both are highly-recommended. Chariandy's other critically-acclaimed works are Brother (winner of the Rogers Trust Writers' Fiction Prize) and Soucouyant.

The Never-Ending Present Story of Gord Downie

The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip by Michael Barclay covers the Hip's history and the late Gord Downie's legacy. This Toronto journalist and author is coming to the Toronto Reference Library on June 11:  The Hip: More Than a Band With Michael Barclay.

Brazen Ladies

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu. Bagieu, a French graphic novelist and popular blogger, has compiled this collection of awesome women who have been overlooked by history. Bagieu was featured at the 2017 Toronto Comic  Arts Festival held at the Toronto Reference Library.  The original online version is available (in French) in Le Monde - and unlike the English translation which was typeset - you can see the artist's original handwritten entries. 

How To Change Your Mind

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence by Michael Pollan. The best-selling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Cooked and The Botany of Desire now turns his mind to feeding your head — via his first-hand experience with LSD. Dude. 

This is Me

This is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today by Chrissy Metz. Metz, who stars as Kate Pearson on the blockbuster television series, "This is Us," shares stories of her life (her real-life father was no Jack Pearson) and offers inspirational advice for overcoming negativity in your life. 

Don't Let My Past Be Your Future

Don't Let My Past Be Your Future by Harry Leslie Smith. This 95-year-old British political commentator, now living in Canada, continues to rage against the machine. He is a passionate advocate against austerity, racism, war and the collapse of democratic values. He's seen it all — and he wants to make sure that the kids are all right.  His other books include Harry's Last Stand and Love Among the Ruins: A Memoir of Life and Love in Hamburg, 1945

Becoming Madam Chancellor

Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic by Joyce Marie Mushaben. This biography of Merkel traces her career as one of the world's most powerful women (not in the Upside-Down where Stormy Daniels gets 24-hour news coverage). 

Autonomy The Quest to Build the Driverless Car

Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car and How it Will Reshape Our World by Lawrence D. Burns. While recent news may have dampened some enthusiasm for this disruptive technology, Burns, an adviser to Google's Self-Driving Car Project, sees self-driving cars as an inevitability with huge advantages.  I mean, what could go wrong?

Just the Funny Parts

Just the Funny Parts . . . And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boy's Club: A Memoir by Nell Scovell.  Scovell, a successful television writer for over 30 years, shares her experience working in a male-dominated profession. Funny and entertaining, her memoir also resonates seriously in the year of #MeToo.

Energy A Human History

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian traces the history of energy in what Kirkus Reviews describes as a "tour de force of popular science." Timely and readable — from the author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb.


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