Hey, is this thing on? Former stand-up Kliph Nesteroff ambitiously covers more than a century of yuks in The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy (Grove Press).
If you didn’t have an older sibling to introduce you to cool underground tunes, there was always campus radio. Brian Fateaux celebrates the airwaves in Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio (WLU Press).
Titles that travel
In 2010, University of Victoria assistant professor Thea Cacchioni testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration against a drug dubbed the “pink Viagra,” intended to treat low sexual desire in women. Her new book, Big Pharma, Women, and the Labour of Love (University of Toronto Press), asks broad questions about women’s sexuality and its medicalization.
For Memory Serves and Other Essays (NeWest Press), B.C. author Lee Maracle (above) collected 20 years of speeches in which she shares the knowledge, history, and culture of the Sto:lo people.
Stephen R. Bown writes the first full-length biography of controversial 20th-century Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen, best known for his 18,000-mile journey across the Northwest Passage by dogsled. White Eskimo: Knud Rasmussen’s Fearless Journey into the Heart of the Arctic comes out with D&M in October.
Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner interviewed 30 immigrants, refugees, and descendants in hopes of documenting their journeys and travails over the past two centuries. Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (Between the Lines) asks whether Canada, given its current policies, is still a safe haven for those fleeing their home countries.
Twenty years after Rwanda’s horrific genocide, Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Will Ferguson travels to the African country with his friend Jean-Claude Munyezamu, who escaped right before the killings began. Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey Into the New Heart of Africa (Viking Canada) arrives in September.
In Stolen Sisters (HarperCollins Canada), Montreal journalist Emmanuelle Walter reaches beyond the horrific statistics to reveal the lives of Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander, two young Quebec aboriginal women who have been missing since 2008.
For The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children: The Hurt, the Hope, and the Healing (Nimbus Publishing), journalist Wanda Taylor interviewed former residents of the orphanage who have filed a class action lawsuit alleging generations of physical and sexual abuse.
Most of us readily accept that buying locally grown food is good for producers and consumers, but our attitude toward clothing is far behind, even after 2012’s devastating factory fire in Bangladesh. Clothing industry veteran Michael Lavergne exposes some of the worst international manufacturing practices in Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market, and Buy Clothes (New Society Publishers).
From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians (UBC Press), by Greg Poelzer and Kenneth S. Coates, examines how the co-operative spirit of aboriginal treaties has been lost in arguments over “First Nations issues,” and recommends ways of realistically moving forward.
Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre education director Adara Goldberg spent time researching dusty archives and conducting first-hand interviews at kitchen tables for her comprehensive Holocaust Survivors in Canada: Exclusion, Inclusion, Transformation, 1947–1955 (University of Manitoba Press).
When former professional skier, field biologist, and wolf activist Gudrun Pflüger was diagnosed with a brain tumour and told she had 18 months to live, she took refuge in the mountain ranges of B.C. Her inspirational story is told in Wolf Spirit: A Story of Healing, Wolves and Wonder (Rocky Mountain Books).
Roberta Laurie combines personal anecdotes with scholarly research to tell the story of Memory Chazeza’s quest for an education and to build a school for girls in Weaving a Malawi Sunrise: A Woman, A School, A People (University of Alberta Press).
▶In 2012, David Stouck’s biography Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life (D&M) was one of the year’s most celebrated non-fiction titles, demonstrating a lingering fascination with the modernist architect.
Before Erickson’s death in 2009, the prolific Vancouver-born architect and planner – who was responsible for more than 500 international projects, including Simon Fraser University and the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. – wrote a manuscript about his longtime partner, Francisco Kripacz, who designed many of the glamorous interiors to his buildings.
The photography-rich Francisco Kripacz: Interior Design comes out in October with Figure One Publishing, coinciding with the relaunch of Kripacz’s Erickson Design Collection furniture line.
▶ Historian Maria Tippett profiles West Coast cultural producers, including Erickson, Bill Reid, George Woodcock, and Emily Carr in an effort to define B.C. culture. Harbour Publishing brings out Made in British Columbia: Eight Studies in Artistic Achievement in September.