This season, two books from seasoned writers take very different approaches to their investigations into Indigenous culture and identity. A new illustrated edition of Thomas King’s bestselling The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Doubleday Canada) employs more than 150 images to help visually articulate how Indigenous people have been understood and represented in North America. Cree playwright, novelist, and kids’ author Tomson Highway catalogues Indigenous literature published over recent decades in From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980–2010 (Talonbooks).
Over 11 years, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario, hundreds of miles away from their homes. Toronto Métis journalist Tanya Talaga investigates a long, wrongfully overlooked history in Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City (House of Anansi Press).
Dying to Please You: Indigenous Suicide in Contemporary Canada (Theytus Books), by Roland D. Chrisjohn, Shaunessy M. McKay, and Andrea O. Smith, examines the political and primary causes of the ongoing tragedy and offers alternative solutions to traditional psychiatric care.
J.R. Miller’s Residential Schools and Reconciliation (UTP Publishing) analyzes institutional responses to residential schooling and the fundamental unwillingness of many Canadians to accept that it was people like them who acquiesced to assimilative politics.
Indigenous artist James Simon Mishibinijima is inspired by the landscape of the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, which he shares in the illustrated Pictographs (The Porcupine’s Quill).
During the late 18th century, many Indigenous people travelled to Britain and other overseas locations. Cecilia Morgan examines their routes, motivations, and international impact in Travellers through Empire: Indigenous Voyages from Early Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
Strong and free?
Indigenous author and scholar Lee Maracle responds to questions about citizenship, segregation, labour, prejudice, and reconciliation in her new essay collection, My Conversations with Canadians (BookThug). • Up until the early 1970s, children such as Pookie “the Monkey Girl” were exhibited as freaks at the Can-adian National Exhibition and other fairs. Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body, 1900–1970s (University of Toronto Press) by Jane Nicholas, examines this history and surrounding issues involving disability, childhood, and consumer culture. Former Yukon premier Tony Penikett strips away the Dudley Do-Right stereotypes to give a first-hand look at Northern realities in Hunting the Northern Character (UBC Press). • George Hunter’s 70-year career, featuring more than 100 expeditions across all provinces and territories, is posthumously celebrated in George Hunter’s Canada: Iconic Images from Canada’s Most Prolific Photographer, one of the first titles in Firefly Books’s new partnership with the National Film Board. • Veteran writer Ken Cuthbertson commemorates the 100th anniversary of one of the deadliest human-caused disasters in history with The Halifax Explosion: Canada’s Worst Disaster (Patrick Crean Editions).
There must be a few drops of explorer blood in the Bown family gene pool. Steven R. Bown’s latest book follows the triumphs and horrific disasters of the 10-year, three-continent Great Northern Expedition in Island of Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska, published by Douglas & McIntyre. The B.C. publisher is also releasing another Bown book in October. Steven’s brother, Mike Spencer Bown, known as the “patron saint of backpackers,” shares experiences from his two decades of traversing the Earth in The World’s Most Travelled Man: A Twenty-three Year Odyssey to and through Every Country on the Planet.
Nevertheless, she persisted
Despite the fact that the Women’s Marches in January drew millions of attendees worldwide, there is still a strong movement of global anti-feminism that shows no signs of backing down. Journalist Lauren McKeon isn’t afraid to ask tough questions about why women are abandoning the label in F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism (Goose Lane Editions). ♦ Feminist author Martine Delvaux links her own life and experiences to that of a revered American artist in Nan Goldin: The Warrior Medusa, translated by David Homel (Linda Leith Publishing). ♦ In the latest instalment of Heritage House’s Amazing Stories imprint, Barbara Smith travels back to the suffragette era with The Famous Five: Canada’s Crusaders for Women’s Rights, about a group of activists who fought to have women considered “persons” in the eyes of the law.
Three more titles focusing on women’s lives:
- Emily Patterson: The Heroic Life of a Milltown Nurse, by Lisa Anne Smith (Ronsdale Press)
- 150 Fascinating Facts About Canadian Women, compiled by Margie Wolfe (Second Story Press)
- Freethinker: The Life and Works of Éva Circé-Côté by Andrée Lévesque; Lazer Lederhendler, trans. (Between the Lines)
- Self-taught Edmonton baker Giselle Courteau turned her passion for French macarons and other fancy pastries into a beloved local business. She now introduces her pains au chocolat and brioche to the rest of Canada in Duchess Bake Shop: French-Inspired Recipes from Our Bakery to Your Home (Appetite By Random House).
- There’s nothing fishy about chef and seafood advocate Ned Bell’s approach to Pacific Coast cooking or his new book, the beautifully illustrated Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast (Figure 1 Publishing).
- Ridiculously charming Quebec husband-and-wife food-blogging team Marilou and Alexandre Champagne return with Three Times a Day: Simple and Stylish (House of Anansi Press), the follow-up to their popular debut cookbook.
Food for thought
Outgoing Vancouver poet laureate Rachel Rose invited B.C. chefs and writers to pay homage to the province’s culinary and literary scenes in Sustenance: Writers from BC and Beyond on the Subject of Food (Anvil Press). Susan Musgrave, Lorna Crozier, Ayelet Tsabari, Adèle Barclay, and Meeru Dhalwalla are among the contributors.
In Curry: Eating, Reading and Race (Coach House Books), Toronto author Naben Ruthnum examines novels, recipes, travelogues, and his own background to explore how the distinctive taste of the iconic dish has become an aesthetic genre and a limiting shorthand for brown identity and experience.
Glen C. Filson and Bamidele Adekunle investigate the distance between the locavore movement and corporate food regimes, along with suggestions for policy changes and multicultural integration in Eat Local, Taste Global: How Ethnocultural Food Reaches Our Tables (Wilfrid Laurier University Press).
Editors Stacey May Fowles and Pasha Malla collect the country’s finest sports journalism in the first-ever Best Canadian Sports Writing anthology (ECW Press), featuring work by Stephen Brunt, Rachel Giese, Eric Koreen, Morgan Campbell, Cathal Kelly, and more.
The puck stops here
Ken Dryden shares the story of late NHLer Steve Montador, who was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease, in hopes of drawing attention to the league’s head-injury crisis in Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey (Signal). • Sports journalist Gare Joyce examines how Auston Matthews and other young NHL players are rekindling Toronto’s love for the team in Young Leafs: The Making of a New Hockey History (Simon & Schuster Canada). • Hockey superstar and noted jokester Doug Gilmour shares his “exploits and escapades” with Dan Robson in Killer: My Life in Hockey (HarperCollins). • NHL bad boy Sean Avery takes on his opposers in his new autobiography, Offside: My Life Crossing the Line (Penguin Canada). • Obsessive skate collector and authority Jean-Marie Leduc draws from his collection of more than 350 pairs of historical blades for Lace up! A History of Skates in Canada (Heritage House) co-written with Sean Graham and Julie Léger.
If you thought the premise of Jurassic Park was silly, Britt Wray’s Rise of the Necrofauna: A Provocative Look at the Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction (Greystone Books) will be an eye-opener in its documentation of the real-world use of resurrection science to bring back animals such as the woolly mammoth.
- Toronto indie press Between the Lines celebrates 40 years of socially conscious publishing with a graphic memoir of its history. Books without Bosses: Forty Years of Reading Between the Lines is written by BTL editor Robert Clarke, with illustrations by Graphic History Collective member Kara Sievewright.
- Vancouver journalist Travis Lupick shares a timely story of grassroots activism from his Downtown Eastside neighbourhood in Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction (Arsenal Pulp Press).
- Environmentalist Thom Henley shares his life story – from draft dodger to human-rights advocate – in Raven Walks around the World: An Activist’s Life (Harbour Publishing).
Veteran CBC journalist Carol Off straddled the line between media and activism when she became deeply involved with an Afghan family attempting to escape local warlords. She recounts the experience in All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others (Random House Canada).
Globe and Mail columnist Tabatha Southey brings her razor-sharp wit to a series of essays in Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies (Douglas & McIntyre).
Former MuchMusic VJ Kim Clarke Champniss connects Hudson’s Bay fur trading to disco culture in his memoir, Skinheads, Fur Traders, and DJs: An Adventure Through the 1970s (Dundurn).
In Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China (Goose Lane Editions), Jan Wong, accompanied by her son Sam, lives and cooks with locals, while witnessing firsthand how globalization is changing home-cooking culture.
One of the country’s last alt-weeklies celebrates its birthday this year. The Georgia Straight: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Rocky Mountain Books) is a coffee-table book written by the Vancouver paper’s longtime staffer Doug Sarti, with contributions from Bob Geldof, Bif Naked, and more.
Persons of interest
Former Maclean’s music critic Nicholas Jennings shares stories from his unprecedented access to one of Canada’s most beloved and iconic figures, Gordon Lightfoot, in a new definitive biography. Lightfoot covers the musician’s life, from his early years to his international successes (Viking Canada). ♦ At age 22, Chris Urquhart dropped out for three years to follow runaways, crust punks, hippies, and other nomads. Urquhart’s personal chronicle, Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads (Greystone Books), documents the freedom and pains associated with this alternative, misunderstood lifestyle.
Vancouver physician Martina Scholtens’s portrait of life in a busy urban health clinic, Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist: A Doctor Reflects on Ten Years at a Refugee Clinic (Brindle & Glass Publishing) is one of the first non-fiction story collections touching on the refugee health experience. • Joanna Kafarowski reveals the little-known story of a wealthy socialite turned explorer in The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame: A Life of Louise Arner Boyd (Dundurn). • Family court judge Manjusha Pawagi tackles her cancer diagnosis with wry humour in Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy (Second Story Press). • At the heart of Ven Begamudré’s Extended Families: A Memoir of India (Coteau Books) is his relationship with his parents, and the family stories that have been passed down through the generations. • Frank Gronich’s posthumous memoir, Walking Towards Sunrise: An Immigrant’s Journey from Deprivation and Loss to the Halls of the NL Justice System (Creative Book Publishing), chronicles the author’s life, from his German family’s deportation following the Second World War to his career as a senior crown prosecutor. • Nova Scotia writer Lorri Neilsen Glenn lyrically examines, through prose and poetry, the life and tragic death of her great-grandmother in Following the River: Traces of Red River Women (Wolsak and Wynn).
Arsenal Pulp Press brings the chuckles with its new comedy imprint, Robin’s Egg Books, helmed by Vancouver comedian Charles Demers. The debut title is a “femoir” reinvention of the past called What I Think Happened: An Underresearched History of the Western World, from standup comedian, actor, and writer Evany Rosen, best known for her hilariously acerbic work with the comedy troupe Picnicface.
The Beaverton continues its quest for satirical-media dominance with The Beaverton Presents Glorious and/or Free: The True History of Canada (Penguin Canada). Written by Luke Gordon Field and Alex Huntley, the volume reimagines the country’s past, from Vimy Ridge to John A., in the Beaverton’s signature, sometimes groaner, comedic style.
Sustaining the story
- World Bank adviser and sustainability expert Marc de Sousa-Shields demonstrates how you can be a Gordon Gekko with a conscience in Invest Like You Give a Damn: Make Money, Change the World, Sleep Well at Night (New Society Publishers).
- Bestselling Calgary author Chris Turner (Planet Simpson) travels to Fort McMurray in hopes of answering the question: how do we fuel the world and save it, too? The Patch: The People, Pipeline and Politics of the Oilsands comes from Simon & Schuster Canada in September.
Toronto artist Maria Qamar, best known as @Hatecopy, fought against her traditional South Asian upbringing to pursue her creative dreams. Trust No Aunty (Touchstone), based on Qamar’s popular Twitter and Instagram accounts, is billed as a survival guide for dealing with overbearing relatives. • Jann Arden has been sharing online glimpses of life as a caregiver for her mother, who is coping with Alzheimer’s. Based on stories from her social-media accounts, the popular musician and broadcaster is revealing even more in Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss (Random House Canada).