12 books you heard about on CBC Radio this week

Here's a round-up of the best book and author interviews from CBC Radio from July 12-19, 2019.

Here's a round-up of the best book and author interviews from CBC Radio from July 12-19, 2019.

Our Universe by Jo Dunkley

Jo Dunkley's new book, Our Universe: An Astronomer's Guide, aims at reigniting the curiosity in over ever-more complex understanding of what lies beyond the stars. (Suki Danda, Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)

In Our Universe, astrophysicist Jo Dunkley looks at the history of our universe, from the Big Bang 14 billion years ago to black holes, supernovas and the possibility that our rapidly expanding universe is just one of many. Dunkley explores some of the mysteries of the galaxy and seeks to answer some of the questions that the stars have always inspired in humanity.   

Heard on: The Current

One Giant Leap by Charles Fishman

One Giant Leap by Charles Fishman looks at the behind-the-scenes effort that went into putting man on the moon. (NASA/Associated Press, Simon & Schuster)

Fifty years ago, the world watched in awe as the first humans set foot on the moon. But while just two people took that small step for man, hundreds of thousands had worked to get them there in a gargantuan effort that took almost a decade. Charles Fishman has written about that behind-the-scenes effort in his new book, One Giant Leap. 

Heard on: The Current

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys is a novel by Colson Whitehead. (Madeline Whitehead, Doubleday Canada)

Based on a real reform school in Florida that operated for over a century, The Nickel Boys is the chilling tale of a young black man named Elwood Curtis who is sent to live at a juvenile reformatory after an innocent mistake. The Nickel Academy bills itself as a place of "physical, intellectual and moral training," but in reality it is a place where young boys are subject to physical and sexual abuse. Coming of age in the early 1960s, Elwood struggles to hold onto the words of his idol, Dr. Martin Luther King, in the face of cruelty. 

Heard on: q

Death Threat by Vivek Shraya, illustrated by Ness Lee

Death Threat is a comic by Vivek Shraya (right) and Ness Lee. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Tanja Tiziana)

In Death Threat, poet and musician Vivek Shraya collects the transphobic hate mail she received from a stranger in the fall of 2017. These disturbing letters, along with her responses, are accompanied by illustrations from Toronto artist Ness Lee, culminating in a surreal and satirical comic book about the spread of hatred, violence and dangers of the Internet. 

Heard on: q

Anointed with Oil by Darren Dochuk

Darren Dochuk is the author of Anointed with Oil. (Hachette Book Group)

In Anointed with Oil, history professor and author Darren Dochuk explores the links between Christianity and the oil industry on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. 

Heard on: The Current

Paternity by Nara B. Milanich

Historian Nara B. Milanich's new book explores the origins and consequences of paternity testing. (Submitted by Nara Milanich, Harvard University Press)

Long before scientists discovered accurate methods of establishing family links, paternity tests still had the power to re-unite or divide families or cause people to question their identities. In her book Paternity, Nara Milanich delves into the murky history of paternity testing. It's a story that took her from a celebrity court case against Charlie Chaplin to Nazi Germany to the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year. 

Heard on: The Sunday Edition

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman

The Real Lolita is a nonfiction book by Sarah Weinman. (Knopf Canada, Anna Ty Bergman)

In 1948, an 11-year-old girl named Sally Horner was kidnapped by a convicted rapist named Frank La Salle. He held her captive for 21 months and made her pretend to be his daughter in public. Her ordeal was the inspiration for Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita, which has sold over 50 million copies and was one of the most controversial novels of the 20th century. Canadian author Sarah Weinman's The Real Lolita is an extensively reported account of Horner's life and captivity.

Heard on: The Sunday Edition

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney's second novel is Normal People. (Knopf Canada/Jonny L. Davies)

Normal People follows the lives of Connell Waldron, a popular football star from a poor family, and Marianne Sheridan, a teenage outcast from a wealthy background. Despite being opposites in many ways, Connell and Marianne form a lifelong friendship, straying in and out of romance along the way. Irish writer Sally Rooney's sophomore novel won the 2018 Costa Novel Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Heard on: q

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Thea Lim is the author of An Ocean of Minutes. (Elisha Lim, Viking Canada)

Thea Lim's An Ocean of Minutes is a novel set in an alternative timeline: one where a deadly flu ripped through America, forever changing the country. When Polly Nader's partner Frank becomes infected, she makes a drastic decision in order to save him. A company called TimeRaiser agrees to pay for life-saving treatment if Polly time travels 12 years into the future, where she can be reunited with Frank and work as a bonded labourer. But Polly is accidentally sent 17 years into a future, where Frank is nowhere to be found.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Beirut Hellfire Society by Rawi Hage

Rawi Hage is one of Canada’s most celebrated writers. His latest book is set in 1978, in the early days of the Lebanese civil war. (Penguin Random House Canada, CBC)

From the author of De Niro's Game and Cockroach comes the story of a secret society that gives proper burials to those who were denied them for reasons such as being an atheist or being gay. Pavlov, a 20-year-old undertaker, joins the society after his father's death and what unfolds is an examination of what it's like to live through war, and what it's like to face death.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Women Talking is Miriam Toews's latest novel. (Carol Loewen, Knopf Canada)

In Miriam Toews's powerful novel, eight Mennonite women come together to talk. Why? They have 48 hours to make a decision that will impact every woman and child in their community. Women Talking is inspired by a real-life case in the 2000s, when women in a Bolivian Mennonite community began whispering that they were waking up groggy, in pain, feeling like they had been sexually molested.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan is a Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist. (Canadian Press, HarperCollins)

Esi Edugyan's Washington Black tells the story of 11-year-old Washington Black, a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. His master is Englishman Christopher Wilde, who is obsessed with developing a machine that can fly. The two develop a bond, but when a man is killed, Wilde must choose between his family and saving Washington's life — and the choice results in an unforgettable adventure around the world.

Heard on: The Next Chapter


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