Books

16 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 Nov. 23 to Nov. 30, 2019.

Here's a round-up of the best book and author interviews from CBC Radio from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30, 2019. 

This Life by Martin Hägglund

This Life is a nonfiction book by Martin Martin Hägglund (Twitter.com/martinhaegglund, Pantheon)

Martin Hägglund is an author and teacher who blends an atheistic worldview with a sincere approach to Christian thought. In his latest book, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, Hägglund questions the usefulness of religion, with its fixation on the infinite.  To bolster his argument, he doesn't look to atheist philosophers and firebrands, but to Christian heavyweights: St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Luther King Jr.    

Heard on: Ideas

How We Did It by Karl Subban & Scott Colby

Karl Subban is an educator and father of NHL players P.K., Jordan and Malcolm Subban. (Getty Images, Random House of Canada)

Karl Subban is a teacher, coach, community leader and father. All three of his sons went on to play in the NHL — including Nashville Predators star P.K. Subban — and his two daughters are accomplished teachers. Subban combines his family's story with his parenting philosophy in How We Did ItThe book aims to help teachers, coaches and parents inspire the young people in their own lives.

Heard on: The Current

1966 by Jon Savage

1966: The Year The Sixties Exploded is a book by John Savage. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images, Faber & Faber)

English rock critic Jon Savage has been writing about music for over 40 years. He is best known for his book England's Dreaming, a history of punk music and the Sex Pistols. In his latest book, 1966: The Year The Sixties Exploded, Savage uses songs by the Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett, Sgt. Barry Sandler and more to make the argument that the year 1966 was an important turning point for all pop culture that followed.   

Heard on: q

The Beautiful Ones by Prince & Dan Piepenbring

The Beautiful Ones is Prince's posthumous memoir, which was finished by Dan Piepenbring. (Getty Images, Penguin Random House Canada)

After Prince's sudden death in 2016, many expected the mystery and mystique he had in life to remain unchanged in death. Little did they know, the music icon spent his final days meticulously planning his memoir, The Beautiful Ones. It was finished by his co-author, Dan Piepenbring, a then-29-year-old online editor at The Paris Review who had never written a book at the time.

Heard on: q

 Artificial Unintelligence by Meredith Broussard

Artificial Unintelligence is a nonfiction book by Meredith Broussard. (Lucy Baber, The MIT Press )

Meredith Broussard started her career as a computer scientist and is now a data journalist. Throughout her career she's viewed technochauvinism from many different perspectives. Her book Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World is described as a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology.

Heard on: Spark

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery Shop is the second novel by Marjan Kamali. (David E. Lawrence, Simon & Schuster)

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali is a story of unrequited love, which starts in a stationery shop amidst the 1950s political unrest in Tehran. The story follows a teenager named Roya who meets and falls in love with a handsome young man named Bahman, only to be separated due to the coup d'etat that changes Iran and the young couple's future forever.

Heard on: q

Tough Love by Susan Rice

Tough Love is a nonfiction book by Susan Rice. (Andrew Nguyen/CBC, Simon & Schuster)

In her memoir Tough Love, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice discusses the Benghazi attack — where four Americans were killed in a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya — and how the media coverage affected her family.     

Heard on: The Current

End Times by Bryan Walsh 

Bryan Walsh's new book End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World takes a hopeful look at a pretty grim topic. (Hachette Book Group)

Writer and editor Bryan Walsh started looking at extinction-level events after working as a journalist on SARS and climate change. His new book, End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, looks at threats like those — plus asteroids, nuclear war and supervolcanoes — as well as the people working to stop them. 

Heard on: The Current

Let's Talk About Love by Carl Wilson

Céline Dion is an award-winning singer from Montreal. (Getty Images, Bloombury)

With more than 250 million albums sold, Céline Dion is a music superstar and singing legend. Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, written by Canadian music critic and journalist Carl Wilson, takes a look at the singer's career and her standing in pop culture. The book delves into her impoverished childhood, her husband's struggle with cancer and why her music connects with so many people.    

Heard on: Front Burner

Voice of Rebellion by Roberta Staley

Voice of Rebellion is a biography by Roberta Staley. (@robertastaley/Twitter.com, Greystone Books)

Mozhdah Jamalzadah, who arrived in Canada as a child refugee and later hosted a groundbreaking television show in Afghanistan, is the subject of Voice of Rebellion by Roberta Staley. Called the "Oprah of Afghanistan," Jamalzadah became known for tackling taboo subjects like divorce and domestic violence on The Mozhdah Show. Despite its success, Jamalzadah also received death threats and was eventually advised to return to Canada for her safety.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Akin by Emma Donoghue

Akin is a novel by Emma Donoghue. (HarperCollins Canada)

Emma Donoghue's latest novel, Akin, begins as Noah, an elderly man, prepares for a trip to Nice. A social worker calls Noah out of the blue to ask him to temporarily take in his 11-year-old great nephew, whom he's never met. He agrees to take Michael to France and the two clash — but together the odd couple uncover old family secrets hiding in the French Riviera. 

Heard on: The Next Chapter

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (Little, Brown and Company/Beowulf Sheehan)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is about a young boy whose life is upended after his mother is killed in an art gallery bombing. The coming-of-age tale of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption was adapted into a 2019 film starring Luke Wilson, Nicole Kidman and Sarah Paulson.    

Heard on: The Next Chapter

This Little Light by Lori Lansens

Lori Lansens is the author of This Little Light. (Random House Canada)

Set in the year 2023, This Little Light takes place in a version of the U.S. that has re-criminalized abortion and birth control. Over the course of 48 hours, two best friends are on the run from police after being accused of bombing an American Virtue Ball at their posh California high school. One of the teenagers is Rory Ann Miller, whose activist mother has been arrested while her father works with the authorities.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

McMindfulness by Ronald Purser

Ronald Purser is the author of McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. (Repeater Books)

Over the past couple of decades, mindfulness meditation in the west has gone from fringe practice to mainstream phenomenon. Ronald Purser argues that on the path to popularity, mindfulness has been divorced from its community-minded context, corrupted by capitalist forces and co-opted for nefarious purposes by corporations and the US military. Purser lays out his argument in his book McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality.

Heard on: Tapestry

Making Comics by Lynda Barry

Making Comics is a nonfiction comic by Lynda Barry. (CBC, Vivian Rashotte, Drawn & Quarterly )

Lynda Barry is a pioneering cartoonist, a professor and a MacArthur Genius Grant winner. Her new book is called Making Comics and it's full of drawing exercises that help you access your creativity and silence your inner critic. The exercises are based on the curriculum of a class Barry teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   

Heard on: q

The Two Popes by Anthony McCarten

Anthony McCarten is a New Zealand-born novelist, playwright and filmmaker. (20th Century Fox, Jack English, Netflix)

Anthony McCarten is best known for his films about high-profile people such as Stephen Hawking, Winston Churchill and Queen singer Freddie Mercury. McCarten is also the author of six novels and two works of nonfiction. In The Two Popes McCarten takes an intimate look at two unlikely subjects. The Two Popes imagines a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, shortly before Benedict's surprising resignation in 2013.

Heard on: Writers & Company

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