Books·Fall Book Preview

25 works of Canadian nonfiction to watch for this fall

Wondering what new books are coming this fall? We have you covered.

Here are 25 works of Canadian nonfiction coming out in the second half of 2018 that we can't wait to read.

Clifford by Harold R. Johnson

Harold R. Johnson is the author of Clifford. (House of Anansi)

What it's about: In Clifford, Governor General's Literary Award-nominated writer Harold R. Johnson recounts the life of his beloved brother, who is deceased. The two brothers were raised in northern Saskatchewan by their father, a quiet man of Swedish descent, and mother, a formidable Cree trapper. This memoir imagines Clifford following his curiosity for the universe into science. Johnson's previous book was Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People and Yours.

When you can read it: Aug. 28, 2018

I'm Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya​

I'm Afraid of Men is a book by Vivek Shraya. (Zachary Ayotte, Penguin Canada)

What it's about: Multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya recounts a lifetime of resilience in her new nonfiction book, I'm Afraid of Men. From childhood to adulthood, Shraya maintains a constant survival act, combating misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, and candidly shares the ways she's been shaped by trauma. Shraya is also a poet, musician and filmmaker.

When you can read it: Aug. 28, 2018

Dreaming Sally by James FitzGerald

Dreaming Sally is a memoir by James FitzGerald. (Penguin Random House Canada/Christine Buijs)

What it's about: When George Orr dreamed that his girlfriend Sally Wodehouse would die on her trip to Europe, he pleaded with her to stay home. But Sally left, and hours after getting engaged to George by telegram, she was killed in a freak accident. Sally was also loved by 17-year-old James FitzGerald, who was as devastated as George was to learn of her death. For 50 years the two men mourned the loss of the bright, warm 18-year-old woman, whose love represented a stark contrast to that afforded by their cold, demanding families.

When you can read it: Aug. 28, 2018

No Place to Go by Lezlie Lowe

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

What it's about: 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?"

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2018

Northern Wildflower by Catherine Lafferty

Northern Wildflower is a memoir by Catherine Lafferty. (Fernwood Publishing)

What it's about: Northern Wildflower is Catherine Lafferty's memoir of growing up in Canada's North. The book describes the writer's powerful journey as a Dene woman, contending with intergenerational trauma, discrimination, poverty, addiction, love and loss.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2018

Big Lonely Doug by Harley Rustad​

Big Lonely Doug is a nonfiction book by Harley Rustad. (Harley Rustad, House of Anansi Press)

What it's about: Big Lonely Doug is about an ancient Douglas fir tree that stands at roughly the height of a 20-storey building on Vancouver Island. Saved by a logger named Dennis Cronin, the tree stands alone in the forest near Port Renfrew, as its neighbouring cedar, hemlock and great fir trees were clear cut and hauled away. Big Lonely Doug was originally a magazine article, which won silver at the National Magazine Awards.

When you can read it: Sept. 4, 2018

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman

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

What it's about: Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 book Lolita, the controversial novel of a professor who falls obsessively in love with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, has sold over 60 million copies worldwide. The novel was based on the real abduction of an 11-year-old American girl named Sally Horner. Writer Sarah Weinman pores over news articles and conducts interviews with Horner's living relatives to chronicle the young girl's life, including her kidnapping and rescue, in mid-century America. She also investigates how much Nabokov knew about Horner's case and the ways he hid it when publishing what is considered both an infamous and classic novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 11, 2018

Mamaskatch by Darrel J. McLeod

Mamaskatch is a memoir by Darrel J. McLeod. (Ilja Herb, Douglas & McIntyre)

What it's about: Darrel McLeod's Mamaskatch is a memoir of his upbringing in Smith, Alta., raised by his fierce Cree mother Bertha. McLeod describes vivid memories of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, surrounded by siblings and cousins. From his mother, McLeod learned to be proud of his heritage and also shares her fractured stories from surviving the residential school system.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2018

nîtisânak by Lindsay Nixon

nîtisânak is a memoir by Lindsay Nixon. (Metonymy Press, Jackson Ezra/Writers' Trust of Canada)

What it's about: Drawing from their Cree, Saulteaux and Métis heritage, Lindsay Nixon explores the profound loss of their mother in this memoir. Medicine and heartbreak are found in equal measure throughout this narrative, which tells stories of community, family and love.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2018

How to Invent Everything by Ryan North

How to Invent Everything is a nonfiction book by Ryan North. (Connie Tsang/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Humorist Ryan North has just the thing for someone who has been flung thousands of years into the past by a faulty time machine. His new book is a how-to guide for all of history's key scientific breakthroughs — from farming to buttons to birth control. North is a New York Times bestselling author and comic creator, whose previous work includes Marvel's The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series.

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay

All Things Consoled is a memoir by Elizabeth Hay. (Mark Fried/McClelland & Stewart)

What it's about: Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Hay channels her considerable writing abilities into nonfiction in this new memoir All Things Consoled. The book is about her aging parents — her mother a financially prudent artist and her father a schoolteacher with an short fuse — with whom she had a challenging relationship growing up. As Hay shifts from eldest daughter to primary caregiver, old resentments rise to the surface, eventually giving way to greater understanding.

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue​

Nobody Cares is an essay collection by Anne T. Donahue​. (Anne T. Donahue​/ECW Press)

What it's about: Anne T. Donahue, author of the newsletter That's What She Said, Nobody Cares and pop culture columnist on CBC Radio's q, pens a collection of personal essays about failure in this book about being in your 20s and 30s. Nobody Cares is Donahue's first book.

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

Midnight Light by Dave Bidini​

Midnight Light is a memoir by Dave Bidini. (Pat Kane/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Musician and author Dave Bidini shares stories from his sojourn to the Northwest Territories in his new book Midnight Light. Using the local newspaper The Yellowknifer as an introduction to life in the northern Canadian city, Bidini meets with Dene elders, entrepreneurs, artists, politicians and police officers who share their unique perspectives on home and the ways they seek to transform it.

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

Buffy Sainte-Marie ​by Andrea Warner

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a biography of the acclaimed singer-songwriter by Andrea Warner. (

What it's about: Music critic and CBC Music producer Andrea Warner drew from over 60 hours of interviews with iconic Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie for this authorized biography. The book goes deep into Sainte-Marie's childhood and through her storied career as a groundbreaking artist and tireless First Nations activist who won an Oscar and was blacklisted by two U.S. presidents.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

The Emperor's Orphans by Sally Ito

The Emperor's Orphans is a book by Sally Ito. (Marlis Funk, Turnstone Press)

What it's about: When approximately 4,000 Japanese-Canadians were "repatriated" to Japan during the Second World War, many of Sally Ito's relatives left their lives in Canada. Ito, who grew up in Edmonton, tells her family's story of displacement and their experiences in the dark days of the Pacific War.

When you can read it: Sept. 30, 2018

The Woo Woo by Lindsay Wong

The Woo-Woo is a memoir by Lindsay Wong. (Shimon/Arsenal Pulp Press)

What it's about: This dark, witty and touching memoir by Vancouver-based writer Lindsay Wong takes a look at the impact of mental illness on families. Wong, who is of Asian descent, delivers an honest and emotional look at whispered secrets, dysfunctional relationships — and how her grandmother, mother, aunt and even herself initially blamed the mythical "woo-woo," Chinese spirits that plague the living, for their mental health issues. The memoir is equal parts blunt, honest and hilarious.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2018

Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Care Work is a book by activist and author Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Naomi Ishisaka)

What it's about: This essay collection from award-winning writer and disability justice activist Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha examines the social, political and economic realities of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black and brown people. The nonfiction book highlights and celebrates modern-day disability justice initiatives designed to centre the lives and leadership within these respective communities. Care Work gathers insights on suicide in queer and trans communities, the economics of queer femme emotional labour and the importance of ensuring uninhibited, collective access for all.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2018

Murder by Milkshake by Eve Lazarus

Murder by Milkshake is a true crime book by Eve Lazarus. (Kerp Photography Vance, Arsenal Pulp Press)

What it's about: Murder by Milkshake revisits the suspicious 1965 death of a popular radio personality's wife that became one of British Columbia's most sensational criminal cases of the century. When Esther Castellani — wife to charismatic CKNW radio personality Rene Castellani — passed away after a painful and prolonged illness, the cause of death was initially undetermined. But soon after Rene quickly moved on with his girlfriend Lolly, the truth was revealed: he had methodically poisoned his wife by putting poison in her vanilla milkshakes. This nonfiction work by Eve Lazarus provides a well-researched look at murder, infidelity and the social and political realities in 1960s Canada.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2018

All Our Relations by Tanya Talaga​

All Our Relations is the 2018 Massey Lectures. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star/House of Anansi)

What it's about: Journalist and writer Tanya Talaga — whose groundbreaking nonfiction work Seven Fallen Feathers recently won both the RBC Taylor Prize and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize — returns with a look at the alarming rise in youth suicides in Indigenous communities. All Our Relations — part of the 2018 Massey Lectures and based on Talaga's Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy series — is a call for action and justice for Indigenous communities and youth.

When you can read it: Oct. 16, 2018

The Kids in the Hall by Paul Myers​

The Kids in the Hall is a memoir by Paul Myers​. (House of Anansi)

What it's about: Formed in 1984, the Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall have become legends on the worldwide comedy scene. This nonfiction work by Paul Myers is a historical look at the group — including interviews, celebrity tributes and photographs — and was written with the full cooperation of members Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson.

When you can read it: Oct. 23, 2018

Defying Limits by Dr. Dave Williams

Dave Williams is a Canadian astronaut. (NASA/Simon & Schuster Canada)

What it's about: Dafydd Rhys Williams — also known as "Dr. Dave" — is a Canadian physician and retired astronaut. He's set records for spacewalking, saved lives as a ER doctor and  performed surgery in zero gravity. Defying Limits is a memoir about passion and exploring everything life has to offer from the perspective of one of the country's most accomplished astronauts.

When you can read it: Oct. 30, 2018

Born Into It by Jay Baruchel​

Born Into It is Jay Baruchel's first book. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: To say that actor Jay Baruchel is a superfan of the Montreal Canadiens would be an understatement. The Ottawa-born, Montreal-raised Baruchel examines his lifelong passion and love for the team with the colours rouge, bleu et blanc — and his obsession for the sport known as Canada's national pastime in his humorous memoir Born Into It.

When you can read it: Oct. 30. 2018

From My Mother's Back by Njoki Wane

From My Mother's Back is a nonfiction book by Njoki Wane. (Wolsak & Wynn)

What it's about: Njoki Wane is a Toronto-based author and a recognized scholar in the areas of Black feminism and African spirituality. Her memoir From My Mother's Back takes a look at her childhood living in Kenya where her parents owned a small coffee farm. It explores her African identity and how her upbringing and close relationship with her mother ensured her sense of self as a Black woman.

When you can read it: Nov. 6, 2018

Hungover by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall

Hungover is a nonfiction book by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: In Hungover, journalist Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall takes a look at alcohol intoxication and some of the purported cures available to combat the dreaded hangover. The book takes a historical and researched look at hangover cures —  polar bear swims, to saline IV drips, to the age-old hair of the dog — to figure out what works and what doesn't.

When you can read it: Nov. 27, 2018

Polyamorous by Jenny Yuen​

Polyamorous is a nonfiction book by Jenny Yuen. (Dundurn)

What it's about: Newspaper reporter Jenny Yuen delves into the issue of open relationships and how they are defined in the modern world. Polyamorous looks at the legal, ethical and emotional reasons why some are fighting for their right to love who and how many they choose.

When you can read it:  Nov. 17, 2018

​​​​​​​​​​​Correction: An earlier version of this story said the publication date for Polyamorous was Dec. 11, 2018. It is actually Nov. 17, 2018. 


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