Books·Holiday Gift Guide

10 books for the pop culture person on your list

Get hip to these books all about popular culture.

Looking for books about pop culture for your gift list? Here are 10 books that are positively percolating with pop culture references.

You can see the complete CBC Books gift guide here

How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

Lily Singh with her book How to be a Bawse
Lilly Singh is a Toronto-born YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian, author, and actress. (Doubleday/Wikimedia Commons)

What it's about: Lilly Singh isn't just a superstar. She's Superwoman — which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life is exactly what it sounds like. It's an inspirational memoir, reflecting on her personal journey to superstardom and sharing lessons learned along the way. 

Canadianity by Jeremy Taggart & Jonathan Torrens

Jeremy Taggart and Jonathan Torrens have turned their podcast, Taggart and Torrens, into a book. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: Based on their podcast, Canadianity, Taggart, the former Our Lady Peace drummer, and Torrens, the former host of Jonovision, share a collection of tales from the road and relatable everyday anecdotes, infused with both nostalgia and nationalism.

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown

Tina Brown is a journalist, magazine editor and columnist. (Henry Holt and Co./Wikimedia Commons )

What it's about: Tina Brown is regarded as one of the greats of magazine publishing, brought over from London to New York in the mid-1980s to turn around a flailing publication called Vanity Fair. Brown melded serious journalism and celebrity culture into a must-read magazine for anyone who wanted to be plugged into the zeitgeist, and this remarkable rise is chronicled in Brown's new memoir, The Vanity Fair Diaries

​Gentlemen of the Shade by Jen Sookfong Lee

Jen Sookfong Lee is a Vancouver-based broadcaster and author. (ECW/

What it's about: Gus Van Sant's 1991 film My Own Private Idaho was about two young hustlers, Mike and Scott, on a journey to find Mike's mom. The film starred two 1990s teen hearthrobs, River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. Novelist Jen Sookfong Lee looks at the film's cultural impact and how it shaped the worldview of an entire generation.

Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies by Tabatha Southey

Tabatha Southey is a columnist at Maclean's. (Basil Southey/Douglas & McIntyre)

What it's about: Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies is a collection of essays from newspaper and magazine columnist and satirist Tabatha Southey, who takes on all manner of Canadiana and pop culture issues with a cutting wit and equally sharp insight. 

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is Samantha Irby's second book. (Kirsten Jennings/Penguin Random House)

What it's about: This funny and admittedly raunchy collection of essays by author Samantha Irby tackles the banalities of life, love and watching television. Whether it's explaining how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making "adult" budgets or why she should be the new Bachelorette, Irby's fearlessness makes for compelling reading.

Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagan

Joe Hagan is a journalist and author. (Knopf Random Vintage Canada/

What it's about: Journalist Joe Hagan spent four years researching and writing this comprehensive and eye-popping biography of Jann Wenner, the reclusive and iconic founder of Rolling Stone magazine. Sticky Fingers is a look at  rock 'n' roll, politics, media and pop culture, from the Summer of Love to the internet age.

A World Without Whom by Emmy J. Favilla

Emmy J. Favilla's book A World Without Whom is a guide to language on the internet. (Taylor Miller)

What it's about: BuzzFeed's global copy chief Emmy J. Favilla serves up a witty guide to language and grammar in the digital age. A World Without Whom reflects on the limitless possibilities of language online and how culture is evolving as a result. 

Waiting for the Punch by Marc Maron & Brendan McDonald

WTF podcaster Marc Maron compiles stories from his interviews with rockstars, politicians and comedians in Waiting for the Punch. ( Books)

What it's about: Marc Maron has interviewed comedians, rock stars and a U.S. president on his podcast WTF, which reaches over a million listeners every week. Each chapter in his book has a different theme, from parenting and childhood to success and failure, and contains anecdotes from his interviews with people like Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen and Amy Schumer.   

Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld is the illustrator behind Baking with Kafka. (Virginia Prescott)

What it's about: U.K.-based cartoonist Tom Gauld delights with this absurd and serious look at the literary and pop culture worlds. Gauld cleverly uses the comic book medium to make witty statements on the world we live in.