Books·Spring Book Preview

19 works of Canadian nonfiction to check out in spring 2019

From biography to memoir to history, here are 19 books we can't wait to read this year.

A new year means new books! Here's a list of the 19 works of Canadian nonfiction to check out in 2019.

To the River by Don Gillmor

To the River is a memoir by Don Gillmor. (Ryan Szulc, Random House Canada)

When David Gillmor disappeared, his truck and cowboy hat were found at the edge of the Yukon River. His body was recovered six months later, just as his brother Don Gillmor journeyed to Whitehorse to canoe through the waters his brother had departed from. In this book, Gillmor explores how survivors of suicide cope with a loved one's decision to take their own life. Gillmor is a bestselling author of the two-volume series Canada: A People's History and winner of a National Newspaper Award and National Magazine Award for his journalism on suicide.

When you can read it: Dec. 31, 2018

The Unexpected Cop by Ernie Louttit

The Unexpected Cop is a book by Ernie Louttit. (University of Regina Press, Bill Hamilton)

Ernie Louttit is a bestselling author, veteran and retired police officer from Sask. Louttit was one of the first Indigenous police officers hired by the Saskatoon Police and has written about his experiences within the force in The Unexpected Cop. His previous books include Indian Ernie and More Indian Ernie.

When you can read it: Jan. 26, 2019

Soar, Adam, Soar by Rick Prashaw

Soar Adam Soar is a memoir by Rick Prashaw. (Dundurn)

In Soar, Adam, Soar, Rick Prashaw pays tribute to the short and inspiring life of his son, Adam. Born with epilepsy and assigned female at birth, Adam struggled with his health and gender identity throughout his life. He died after a tragic accident at the age of 22. Prashaw, a former priest and journalist, lives in Ottawa.

When you can read it: Feb. 2, 2019

Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui

Chop Suey Nation by is a nonfiction book by Ann Hui. (Amanda Palmer, Douglas & McIntyre)

In Chop Suey Nation, Ann Hui drives to small towns across Canada and visits the family-run Chinese restaurants that dot the country. She also discovers her own family's secrets of working in the industry. Hui, a journalist with the Globe and Mail, begins her journey as an authenticity snob, but comes to appreciate the determination and enterprise of families across the nation.

When you can read it: Feb. 2, 2019

The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari

The Art of Leaving is a nonfiction book by Ayelet Tsabari. (HarperCollins Canada, Jonathan Bloom)

After finishing her two mandatory years in the Israel Defense Forces and in the midst of grieving her father's death, Ayelet Tsabari leaves Tel Aviv to travel through India, Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Moving quickly through homes and cities, Tsabari eventually starts making trips back to Israel and digs deep into her Jewish-Yemeni background and Mizrahi identity in ways she'd never done before. Tsabari was a finalist for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize and won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for her debut short story collection, The Best Place on Earth.

When you can read it: Feb. 19, 2019

A Girl Named Lovely by Catherine Porter

A Girl Named Lovely is a nonfiction book by Catherine Porter. (Tara Walton/Simon & Schuster Canada)

When reporter Catherine Porter flew to Haiti in the days after the devastating 2010 earthquake, she was told of a "miracle child" who had survived six days trapped under rubble. The two-year-old girl was named Lovely and was eventually reunited with her family. Porter tells Lovely's story in this book, including the bond that has formed between them over the past several years. Porter is the Canada bureau chief of The New York Times in Toronto and is a National Newspaper Award winner.

When you can read it: Feb. 26, 2019

Woo, the Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr by Grant Hayter-Menzies

Woo, the Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr is a nonfiction book by Grant Hayter-Menzies. (Dave Traynor, Douglas & McIntyre)

In 1923, Canadian icon Emily Carr adopted a Javanese Macaque and named it Woo. The monkey played a major role in Carr's life, becoming an almost surrogate daughter and reflecting the artist's own sense of wildness and freedom within her conservative well-to-do family. Hayter-Menzies is a biographer based in Victoria, B.C., who has written about the lives of Princess Der Ling, Lillian Carter and Charlotte Greenwood and Billie Burke.

When you can read it: March 2, 2019

Spies of No Country by Matti Friedman

Spies of No Country is a nonfiction book by Matti Friedman. (Sebastian Sheiner, Penguin Random House Canada)

Matti Friedman tells the story of a espionage unit known as the "Arab Section," a small group of Jewish men who could pass as Arabs. Chosen by British spies and Jewish militia leaders during WWII, these men were disguised as Palestinian refugees when the first Jewish-Arab war broke out in 1948 and passed messages from Beirut to Israel for two years. Five were caught and executed. Friedman is a journalist and the author of the memoir Pumpkinflowers, which was shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize and Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

When you can read it: March 5, 2019

Legacy by Suzanne Methot

Legacy is a book by Suzanne Methot. (Nadya Kwandibens, ECW Press)

Nehiyaw writer Suzanne Methot traces her own roots to better understand how colonial trauma is passed down from generation to generation. In doing so, she investigates why Indigenous peoples suffer from disproportionately higher rates of addiction, depression, diabetes and other chronic health conditions compared to other groups. She also looks into Indigenous ways of knowing and how it can stem the flow of intergenerational trauma. Methot, who currently lives in Toronto, has worked in the nonprofit sector and is the co-author of the textbook Aboriginal Beliefs, Values and Aspirations.

When you can read it: March 19, 2019

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott is the author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. (Doubleday Canada, Ayelet Tsabari)

Alicia Elliott explores the systemic oppression faced by Indigenous peoples across Canada through the lens of her own experiences as a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River. Elliott examines how colonial violence, including the loss of language, seeps into the present day lives of Indigenous people, often in the form of mental illness. Elliott, who lives in Brantford, Ont., won gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2017 for the essay this book is based on.

When you can read it: March 26, 2019

This One Looks Like a Boy by Lorimer Shenher

This One Looks Like a Boy is a memoir by Lorimer Shenher. (Greystone Books, Jennifer Fell)

From childhood, Lorimer Shenher knew he was a boy, though he was being raised as a girl. Shenher tells his story of struggling with gender dysphoria before finally coming to accept he is trans and undergoing surgery in his 50s. Shenher is also the author of the book That Lonely Section of Hell, in which he describes his experiences working on the case of serial killer Robert Pickton.

When you can read it: March 31, 2019

Mistakes to Run With by Yasuko Thanh

Mistakes to Run With is a memoir by Yasuko Thanh. (Don Denton, Hamish Hamilton)

Yasuko Thanh opens up about her tumultuous life in Mistakes to Run With, from rebelling against her evangelical parents, living on the streets of Vancouver and becoming a sex worker to falling in love and writing an award-winning novel. Thanh writes that, despite her success, she still struggles with events of the past. Mistakes to Run With is Thanh's first nonfiction book, following the short story collection Floating Like the Dead and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize-winning novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains.

When you can read it: April 2, 2019

The Seed by Alexandra Kimball

The Seed is a nonfiction book by Alexandra Kimball. (Coach House Books)

Journalist Alexandra Kimball reflects on the experience of infertility for women, including herself, and the ways in which the feminist movement has left this issue out of its discourse. Kimball delves into online infertility support groups and discusses shifting cultural opinions over a woman's desire to have children. Kimball is an associate editor at Toronto Life magazine.

When you can read it: April 10, 2019

Me, Myself, They by Joshua M. Ferguson

Me Myself They is a memoir by Joshua Ferguson. (House of Anansi Press)

In Me, Myself, They, advocate and filmmaker Joshua M. Ferguson writes about making history as the first person in Ontario to receive a non-binary birth certificate. The memoir begins in childhood and moves into adulthood as Ferguson's understanding of gender identity evolves and grows into something beyond the binary. Films by the Vancouver-based artist include Whispers of Life and Limina.

When you can read it: May 7, 2019

Dirty Work by Anna Maxymiw

Anna Maxymiw is the author of Dirty Work. ( Random House)

At 23, Anna Maxymiw took a break from her master's degree and took a job as a housekeeper at a fishing lodge in Northern Ontario. She worked alongside 12 young men and women in a rugged environment, encountering bears and navigating tense relations between her fellow employees. Maxymiw, a writer from Toronto, has contributed to publications like the Globe and Mail, Maclean's, Hazlitt and Maisonneuve.

When you can read it: May 7, 2019

The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong

The Reality Bubble is a nonfiction book by Ziya Tong. (Noel Fox/Penguin Random House Canada)

Science journalist Ziya Tong reminds readers that the human eye pales in comparison to what animals with infrared, ultraviolet and 360-degree vision can see. She looks into 10 of humanity's biggest blind spots, including where our food and energy comes from and where our waste goes. Tong was the anchor of the Discovery Channel's science program Daily Planet.

When you can read it: May 14, 2019

Mind and Matter by John Urschel

Mind and Matter is a memoir by John Urschel. (John Urschel/Penguin Random House Canada)

John Urschel tells his story of excelling in two separate streams of life: football and math. As a 13-year-old, Urschel was taking college-level calculus courses, while playing on his high school football team. He went on to become an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and a PhD candidate at MIT. Mind and Matter, co-written by Louisa Thomas, is Urschel's first book.

When you can read it: May 14, 2019

Treed by Ariel Gordon

Treed is a collection of essays by Ariel Gordon. (Mike Deal/Wolsak & Wynn)

Treed is Ariel Gordon's poetic love letter to the urban forest of Winnipeg. Her essays take a detailed look at the lives of these trees and its residents as they move through the seasons of the city. Gordon is an award-winning poet and co-editor of the anthology Gush with CBC Radio host Rosanna Deerchild and Tanis MacDonald.

When you can read it: June 4, 2019

We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib

We Have Always Been Here is a memoir by Samra Habib. (Viking Canada, Yuula Benivolski)

Samra Habib's memoir We Have Always Been Here is an exploration of the ways we disguise and minimize ourselves for the sake of survival. As a child, Habib hid her faith from Islamic extremists in Pakistan and later, as a refugee in Canada, endured racist bullying and the threat of an arranged marriage. In travelling the world and exploring art and sexuality, Habib searches for the truth of her identity. We Have Always Been Here marks the book debut of Habib, a journalist, photographer and activist based in Toronto.

When you can read it: June 4, 2019