18 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 Oct. 11 to Oct. 18, 2019.

Here's a round-up of the best book and author interviews from CBC Radio from Oct. 11 to Oct. 18, 2019.

Me by Elton John

Me is a memoir by Elton John. (Valentin Flauraud/Keystone/Associated Press, Henry Holt & Co.)

Elton John's autobiography describes the evolution of a shy boy named Reginald Dwight to the legendary musician he is today. Me chronicles the ups and downs of John's stardom — from dancing with Queen at disco clubs to hiding his drug addiction.

Heard on: q

Hard to Love by Briallen Hopper

Hard to Love is an essay collection by Briallen Hopper. (Bloomsbury Publishing, submitted by Briallen Hopper)

New York-based writer Briallen Hopper says that we put way too much focus on our romantic relationships and friendships simply aren't honoured in the same way. In her new book Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions, Hopper makes the case that we need to invest more in the important platonic relationships in our lives. 

Heard on: Tapestry

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl's new book is called Save Me the Plums. It's a memoir of her time as the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. (Michael Singer, Penguin Random House Canada)

Ruth Reichl is a giant in the world of food writing. Her new book, Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir, chronicles her 10-year tenure as the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. Reichl brought a new perspective to the magazine that turned food writing on its head and she explains how being an outsider and a novice in the world of food writing was the key to reinvigorating and revamping Gourmet.   

Heard on: q

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

Lucy Ellmann is an American-born British novelist based in Scotland. (Caroline Forbes/Biblioasis)

Lucy Ellmann's epic Ducks, Newburyport stretches, bends and pushes the boundaries of what the novel can do. It's told from the point of view of an Ohio housewife, as she tries to make sense of the Trump era, her anxiety about climate change, why her teenage daughter won't speak to her and how to manage her pie-baking business. The book was a finalist for the 2019 Booker Prize

Heard on: Ideas

Things No One Else Can Teach Us by Humble the Poet

Things No One Else Can Teach Us is a nonfiction book by Humble the Poet. (CBC, HarperCollins Canada)

Humble the Poet, a pseudonym for Kanwer Singh, is an MC, rapper, poet and spoken word artist. He has previously written two books, Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life and Beneath the Surface: 101 Honest Truths to Take Life Deeper. He won Canada Reads 2017, when he successfully defended André Alexis's novel Fifteen Dogs

Heard on: q

Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon

Adam Rippon's new memoir is called Beautiful on the Outside. (Hachette Book Group Canada, Peter Yang)

After an impressive figure skating performance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games that earned him a bronze medal, Adam Rippon shot to fame as the first openly gay male athlete from the U.S. to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. Now, Rippon has released a new memoir all about his journey to that moment titled, Beautiful on the Outside.    

Heard on: q

Sontag by Benjamin Moser

Sontag is a nonfiction book by Benjamin Moser. (HarperCollins)

Sontag is a biography of American intellectual and writer Susan Sontag, who died in 2004. Benjamin Moser chronicles her life as a first-person witness to historic events and a woman who struggled privately while presenting a grounded sense of self to the world. 

Heard on: As It Happens

Fighting Over God by Janet Buckingham

Fighting Over God is a nonfiction book by Janet Buckingham. (BYU International Center for Law and Religious Studies, McGill-Queen's University Press)

Janet Buckingham is a professor at Trinity Western University and an academic advisor to the International Institute for Religious Freedom. She claims that it is religious belief that motivates politicians toward doing better by Canadians. In her book Fighting Over God, Buckingham looks at historical religious conflicts in Canada, their legal resolutions and the impact of those decisions on religious freedom in the country.   

Heard on: The Sunday Edition

Scandal on the South Side by Jacob Pomrenke

Scandal on the South Side is a nonfiction edited by Jacob Pomrenke. (, Society for American Baseball Research)

For over 100 years baseball historians have been trying to get to the bottom of the Black Sox Scandal, where eight Chicago White Sox players threw the 1919 World Series — earning the nickname the Black Sox. Edited by Jacob Pomrenke and published by the Society of American Baseball Research, Scandal on the South Side, features biographies on the eight infamous players and everyone else involved in the scandal. 

Heard on: The Sunday Edition

No Place To Go by Lezlie Lowe

No Place to Go is a nonfiction book by Lezlie Lowe. (Riley Smith/Coach House Books)

Lezlie Lowe takes a critical tour of the world's public washrooms — from London to San Francisco to Toronto and beyond — and declares them insufficient. Lowe investigates how public washrooms fail those who are homeless or have disabilities, and delves into the politics of legislating who can go where. Ultimately, Lowe argues that access to public washrooms is an issue of equity, and seeks to answer the question: "Why are public toilets so crappy?"

Heard on: Ideas

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of The Testaments. (McClelland & Stewart)

The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale and includes the "explosive testaments" of three women. It promises to answer readers' questions on the inner workings of Gilead, the oppressive dystopia where Offred, the novel's original narrator, was stripped of her freedoms and forced to be a handmaid for powerful men.

Heard on: As It Happens

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

British author Bernardine Evaristo poses with her book 'Girl, Woman, Other' on Oct. 13, 2019. (Tolga Akmen/AFP)

Bernardine Evaristo's 2019 Booker Prize-winning book, Girl, Woman, Other, tells the interconnected stories of 12 characters, most of them black British women. Each character is given their own chapter. Their stories overlap over a century of living as characters face their own unique set of dilemmas and choices.

Heard on: As It Happens

Celia's Song by Lee Maracle

Celia's song is a novel by Lee Maracle. (Columpa Bobb, Cormorant Books)

Family is at the centre of Lee Maracle's novel Celia's Song. Its main character, Celia, first appeared in the writer's earlier novel, Ravensong, but disappeared quite quickly. In Celia's Song, its protagonist — now in her 40s — is dealing with the loss of her only son to suicide. As the novel progresses, a five-year-old relative endures a brutal assault, and Celia and her family are left reeling in its aftermath. Celia's Song was a finalist for the 2019 Neustadt International Prize

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Lampedusa by Steven Price

Steven Price is the author of Lampedusa. (McClelland & Stewart)

In Steven Price's novel Lampedusa, the last prince of Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi, faces the end of his life in 1950s Sicily. He spends his final days labouring over the manuscript of his novel, The Leopard, which he believes will be his lasting legacy. The novel is on the shortlist for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji

Shut Up You're Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

Shut Up, You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Téa Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes. Shut Up You're Pretty is on the shortlist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

Heard on: The Next Chapter

Something in the Blood by David J. Skal

David J. Skal is a leading American cultural historian and critic of horror films and Gothic literature. (Brian J. Showers/Liveright)

Behind the striking figure of the vampire Dracula is a relatively unknown author — Bram Stoker. When the Irish writer published Dracula in 1897, the novel was well-reviewed but sold modestly, leaving Stoker poor and needy by the time of his death in 1912. After its author's death, though, Dracula took on a life of its own. Horror and Gothic expert David J. Skal delves into the little-known details of the life of Bram Stoker in his biography titled Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of the Man Who Wrote Dracula

Heard on: Writers & Company

The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis

Eleanor Davis' new graphic novel is called The Hard Tomorrow. (Drawn & Quarterly)

In graphic novel The Hard Tomorrow, trees are dying, Mark Zuckerberg is president, and the main character, Hannah, is trying to figure out what she can do in her own small way to help, while she and her husband ponder the existential question facing many young couples today: is it wrong to bring new life into a world that's so chaotic?   

Heard on: q

Home Work by Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews has released the second part of her memoirs, Home Work. (The Associated Press, Hachette Books)

Known for her iconic role as Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews has had an extraordinary career in Hollywood. In Home Work, the second part of her memoirs, the Academy Award winner reflects on the highs and lows of her decades-long career on the silver screen.  

Heard on: q



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