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2015 non-fiction fall preview

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1. Women only helm three per cent of the top 100 Canadian companies. But Twitter Canada CEO and former CBC head Kirstine Stewart believes it’s finally time to leave the Mad Men era. In Our Turn (Random House Canada), Stewart examines how digital and millennial cultures have created a need for a new model of business leadership best suited to women.

2. “Getting old ain’t for sissies,” quipped the great Bette Davis. In Sixty: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? (Knopf Canada), Ian Brown, the award-winning author of The Boy in the Moon, examines his personal feelings about aging while asking, “How much life can you live in the fourth quarter, not knowing when the game might end?”

3. Well before Rich Terfry was a CBC Radio host or a cult-favourite hip-hop artist, the small-town Nova Scotian dreamt of seeing his face on a baseball card (he came close, too). In his memoir, Wicked and Weird: The True Tale of Buck 65 (Doubleday Canada), the story-telling Terfry reveals “a life lived on the edge.”

4. Many kids go through a Houdini obsession, but for Dean Gunnarson, who survived juvenile leukemia, the famous illusionist inspired his future career as the World’s Great Escape Artist. With help from author Carolyn Gray, the Winnipeg television star recalls his youthful aspirations in Dean Gunnarson: The Making of an Escape Artist (Great Plains Publications).

5. Broadcaster, musician, and activist Wab Kinew spent a year tending to his dying father, an Anishinaabe traditional chief and residential school survivor. His father’s stories inspired Kinew to recall his own path in a memoir. The Reason You Walk comes in September from Viking Canada.


 

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If you are what you eat, Sir John A. Macdonald was cow heel, quince, fairy cakes, and fried oysters. Lindy Mechefske observes his life through food in Sir John’s Table: The Culinary Life and Times of Canada’s First Prime Minister (Goose Lane Editions).

Years before kale showed up at McDonald’s, Fresh convinced Torontonians that hippie food could be cool. In Super Fresh: Super Natural, Super Vibrant Vegan Recipes (Penguin Canada), restaurant co-owners Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston feature more than 200 healthy plant-based dishes and drinks.

Most of us will never have an opportunity to go foraging on Bill Jones’s Deerholme Farm in B.C.’s Cowichan Valley; the next best thing is to pick up a cookbook by the trained chef and wild-food expert. The Deerholme Vegetable Cookbook comes out in September with TouchWood Editions.


Terror inside the cage

Don’t go to sleep after reading Gina Freitag and André Loiselle’s The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul, which comes out during the dark month of November with University of Toronto Press. The Ottawa film scholars dig deep into topics such as Cronenberg, 1970s slasher films, and Quebec horror.

In National Treasure: Nicolas Cage (ECW Press), former Broken Pencil editor Lindsay Gibb goes beyond the memes to face off against the star’s critics by answering the pressing question: genius or joke?


A literary life

These five books prove there’s more to an author’s existence than self-imposed isolation and crippling self-doubt:

  • For those curious about what was really going on behind the giant beard and pocketwatch, there’s A Celtic Temperament: Robertson Davies as Diarist (M&S), edited by Jennifer Surridge and Ramsay Derry. Selected journal entries cover Davies’ tenure as editor of The Peterborough Examiner, founding master of Massey College, his failed attempts at being a playwright, and his life as an emerging author.
  • In ’Membering (Dundurn Press), Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Austin Clarke recalls his childhood in Barbados, moving to Toronto in 1955, and his journalistic encounters with figures such as Malcolm X, Chinua Achebe, and LeRoi Jones.
  • Clara Callan author Richard B. Wright shares the highs and lows of his 50-year writing career in A Life With Words, publishing with Simon & Schuster Canada in September.
  • Howard Akler reflects on his ailing father’s life and his own struggles with writing in Men of Action, coming in December from Coach House’s Exploded Views long-form essay series.
  • CanLit storyteller extraordinaire Douglas Gibson returns with Across Canada by Story: A Coast-to-Coast Literary Adventure (ECW), featuring tales of Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Al Purdy, Linwood Barclay, and, of course, Alice Munro.