52 works of Canadian nonfiction coming out in spring 2021

Here are the Canadian works of nonfiction we are excited to read in the first half of 2021!

 Here are the Canadian works of nonfiction we are excited to read in the first half of 2021!

A Love Letter to Africville by Amanda Carvery-Taylor

A Love Letter to Africville is a book by Amanda Carvery-Taylor. (Fernwood Publishing)

A Love Letter to Africville is a compilation of stories and photos compiled by photographer Amanda Carvery-Taylor from former residents of Africville. Africville was home to a vibrant Black community in Halifax for more than 150 years, but never received basic city services and was demolished in the 1960s. A Love Letter to Africville focuses on the positivity and the community of the neighbourhood, bringing to light an important story in Canadian history.

When you can read it: Jan. 25, 2021

Amanda Carvery-Taylor is a writer and photographer from Halifax. Her father grew up in Africville. A Love Letter to Africville is her first book.

Remembering Africville

12 years ago
Duration 6:45
Writer George Elliott Clarke discusses the resurrection of the Africville church that was knocked down in the 1960s when the entire community was razed. Still photos are courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives

Can You Hear Me Now? by Celina Caesar-Chavannes

Can You Hear Me Now? is a book by Celina Caesar-Chavannes. (Random House Canada)

Can You Hear Me Now? is a memoir by entrepreneur and former politician Celina Caesar-Chavannes. Caesar-Chavannes was the first Black MP to represent the riding of Whitby, Ont. But her political career wasn't easy, and she was known for speaking out about social and racial injustices within political institutions and in her community. She eventually decided to leave the party she ran for, the Liberals. Can You Hear Me Now? tells Caesar-Chavannes' story, from her early childhood through her business and political careers to today, where she is a sought-after consultant, alongside offering leadership advice.

When you can read it: Feb. 2, 2021

Celina Caesar-Chavannes is an equity and inclusion advocate and leadership consultant from Whitby, Ont. She is a former Member of Parliament. In 2017, she was named one of the Global 100 Under 40 Most Influential People of African Descent and in 2019, she was named one of Chatelaine magazine's Women of the Year. Can You Hear Me Now? is her first book. 

Ryerson University assistant professor Cheryl Thompson has traced the roots of black and brownface performances in Canada back to the 1840s.

Uncle by Cheryl Thompson

Uncle is a book by Cheryl Thompson. (Coach House Books)

Uncle Tom is the titular character in the seminal anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. He was a loyal Christian who died a martyr. But he was quickly parodied by theatre troupes and minstrel shows, often with white performers performing in blackface. In UncleCheryl Thompson explores this history and rewriting of the character, and along the way explores how racial stereotypes are produced, permeate society and harmfully misinform our larger culture.

When you can read it: Feb. 9, 2021

Cheryl Thompson is a professor at Ryerson University. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and Spacing. She is also the author of Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada's Black Beauty Culture.

Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke is on a mission to make his role relevant to the average Canadian. more stories from this episode

White Coal City by Robert Boschman

White Coal City by is a book by Robert Boschman. (Robert Boschman Photography, University of Regina Press)

Robert Boschman grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in between a jail and a residential school. His family was haunted by tragedy: his grandmother was killed in a hit-and-run accident when she was six months pregnant, an accident witnessed by her husband. His sister, Crystal, was a survivor of the Sixties Scoop, and adopted by the Boschmans after she was taken from her Cree family. Colonialism, industrial development and the eventual collapse of the industries that drove the town made Prince Albert a difficult place, one scarred by poverty and trauma. White Coal City is the story of the town of Prince Albert, and of Canada, as told through the history of one family.

When you can read it: Feb. 13, 2021

Robert Boschman is a professor at Mount Royal University. He is also the author of In the Way of Nature and the co-editor of Found in Alberta: Environmental Themes for the Anthropocene.

A Short History of the Blockade by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

A Short History of the Blockade is a book by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. (University of Alberta Press, Zahra Siddiqui)

A Short History of the Blockade was a lecture given by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, as part of the CLC Kreisel Lecture Series. In A Short History of the Blockade, Simpson uses Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg storytelling techniques to look at Indigenous blockades through the lens of the beaver, an animal known for building dams, which are natural blockades. A Short History of the Blockade looks at the intersection between culture, politics and nature and posits that dams, and blockades, are world-building and life-giving practices that have the potential to shape, or reshape, life as we know it.

When you can read it: Feb. 15, 2021

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, activist, musician, artist, author and member of Alderville First Nation. Her work often centres on the experiences of Indigenous Canadians. Her books include Islands of Decolonial LoveThis Accident of Being LostDancing on Our Turtle's Back and As We Have Always Done. Simpson was chosen by Thomas King for the 2014 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award.

Telling stories can change lives, and no one knows this better than André Picard. This week we chat with the big daddy of healthcare journalism. As Canada’s most prominent journalist on the health beat André has been through every major health event in the past few decades. He's been a long time dream guest of ours and we are absolutely honoured that André sat down with us nincompoops to talk about covering healthcare, protecting sources & keeping the powerful accountable.

The Quest for a National Nationalism by George Elliott Clarke

The Quest for a National Nationalism is a book by George Elliott Clarke. (Breakwater Books, Camelia Linta)

The Quest for a National Nationalism is part of the Pratt Lecture Series at Memorial University in St. John's. In his 2018 lecture, George Elliott Clarke focused on celebrated Newfoundland poet E.J. Pratt and his quest to become "the epic poet of Canada." Clarke looked at Pratt's life, his noted works and the limitations of who Pratt could speak to, and for, given that he was white, heterosexual, male and anglophone.

When you can read it: Feb. 21, 2021

George Elliott Clarke served as Canada's 2016-2017 parliamentary poet laureate and as the poet laureate of Toronto from 2012 to 2015. His awards include the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award. His books include Whylah FallsGeorge and Rue and The Motorcyclist. He is a member of the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada.

Meg Remy from the band U.S. Girls shares what she's learned about grief from the memoir Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.

Ten Garments Every Man Should Own by Pedro Mendes

Ten Garments Every Man Should Own is a book by Pedro Mendes. (Dundurn Publishers)

Ten Garments Every Man Should Own is a guide for men for building a stylish, classic and sustainable wardrobe. Each chapter looks at an essential item, including shirts, jackets, shoes and hats. Ten Garments Every Man Should Own doesn't focus on trends. Rather, it looks at what makes true style timeless, what makes garments worth investing in and why men should care about what they wear.

When you can read it: March 2, 2021

Pedro Mendes is a writer and style expert from Toronto. His work has appeared in Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail and Zoomer. He is a former producer with CBC, and  can be heard regularly on CBC Radio. Ten Garments Every Man Should Own is his second book.

100 Miles of Baseball by Dale Jacobs & Heidi L.M. Jacobs

100 Miles of Baseball by is a book Dale Jacobs, top right, and Heidi L.M. Jacobs, bottom right. (Biblioasis, Gene Kannenberg, Jolie Inthavong)

Dale Jacobs and Heidi L.M. Jacobs are huge baseball fans and have been long-time Detroit Tigers season-ticket holders. But in 2018, they decided to spend their summer of baseball doing something different. Instead, they decided to take in as many different baseball games, from different levels of the sport, as they could within 100 miles of their home in Windsor. 100 Miles of Baseball is the story of that summer.

When you can read it: March 2, 2021

Dale Jacobs is a professor at the University of Windsor and the editor of the Windsor Review. He is also the author of Graphic Encounters: Comics and the Sponsorship of Multimodal Literacy and has edited several academic anthologies.

Heidi L.M. Jacobs is a writer and librarian who was born in Edmonton and now lives in Windsor. Her debut novel, Molly of the Mall, won the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

Humboldt Broncos crash survivor Kaleb Dahlgren's road to recovery

5 years ago
Duration 4:59
Humboldt Broncos crash survivor Kaleb Dahlgren is on a long road to recovery — one Dahlgren sees ending with him playing hockey again.

Neglected No More by André Picard

Neglected No More is a book by Andre Picard. (Random House Canada, Della Rollins/Canadian Press)

André Picard is one of Canada's leading health reporters and has been a frequent voice heard during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most heartbreaking stories during the pandemic was the state of Canada's long-term care homes, especially in Ontario and Quebec. In Neglected No More, Picard shows that this crisis has been percolating long before COVID. He demonstrates why these homes got to this place, how we are failing our country's seniors because of it, and what we can do to fix it.

When you can read it: March 2, 2021

André Picard is a health reporter and columnist for the Globe and Mail. He can frequently be heard on CBC Radio. He has been nominated for the National Newspaper Awards eight times. His other books about health care include Matters of Life and Death, The Gift of Death and Critical Care.

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England and former Governor of the Bank of Canada, warns corporations and governments that if they do not have a strategy for mitigating climate change they will face financial consequences. Carney, who begins his next role as the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change in March, says the smart money is on a transition from fossil fuels and that “it’s time to get on with it.”

Northern Light by Kazim Ali

Northern Light is a book by Kazim Ali. (Goose Lane Editions)

Kazim Ali was the child of South Asian immigrants, who unexpectedly spent years of his childhood in the small Manitoba town of Jenpeg, a town that existed because of the hydroelectric dam nearby. As an adult, he found himself wondering about the town: did it even exist any longer? And if it did, what was it like? These questions sent him on a journey, one that looked at the environmental destruction the dam caused, and the  local Pimicikamak community that fought against it. Northern Light is Ali's story, the story of the Pimicikamak community and the story of a town that no longer exists.

When you can read it: March 9, 2021

Kazim Ali is an academic, poet and writer who currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego. His poetry collections include Sky Ward and The Far Mosque. Northern Light is his first work of nonfiction.

Be Safe, Be Calm, Be Kind by Dr. Bonnie Henry & Lynn Henry

Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe is a book by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Lynn Henry. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press, Allen Lane, Derek O'Donnell)

Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe: Four Weeks that Shaped a Pandemic is the latest book from B.C. public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Co-written with her sister, editor Lynn Henry, Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe is about the first four weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reflects on "communication, leadership and public trust" and examines the balance between politics and policy in society. The book is derived from Dr. Henry's tagline at her regular media update briefings on COVID-19.

When you can read it: March 9, 2021

Dr. Bonnie Henry is an epidemiologist, or microbe hunter, and is currently the provincial health officer for British Columbia. She is also the author of the 2009 book Soap and Water & Common Sense.

Lynn Henry is the publishing director of Knopf Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada.  Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe is being published by Allen Lane, also an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada.

Darrel McLeod talks to Shelagh Rogers about his new book Mamaskatch

Indigenous Toronto

Indigenous Toronto is a book about Toronto's Indigenous people and history. (Coach House Books)

Indigenous Toronto is a collection of essays from Indigenous elders, artists, activists, historians and elders about the Indigenous history, culture and community that can be found in what is now known as Toronto. For 12,000 years, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe, the Huron-Wendat and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation have lived on this land. Indigenous Toronto pays tribute to the past while celebrating the present.

When you can read it: March 16, 2021

Contributors to Indigenous Toronto include Hayden King, Wanda Nanibush, Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, Duke Redbird, Drew Hayden Taylor, Kerry Potts, Miles Morrisseau and Nadya Kwandibens.

The book was edited by Denise Bolduc, Mnawaate Gordon-Corbiere, Rebeka Tabobondung and Brian Wright-McLeod.

Begin by Telling by Meg Remy

Begin by Telling is a book by Meg Remy. (Book*Hug Press, Emma McIntyre)

Begin by Telling is a collection of essays from U.S. Girls' Meg Remy. The essays span Remy's life, from a young girl growing up in Illinois to becoming an experimental artist making a name for herself in Canada. Along the way, Begin by Telling deals with pivotal moments in American history, weaving together personal stories with reflections on contemporary American and popular culture.

When you can read it: March 16, 2021

Meg Remy is a visual artist, performer, musician and writer, best known from the pop project U.S. Girls. She is originally from Illinois, but now lives in Toronto. Begin by Telling is her first book.

'I never talked about it and I am now:' Perdita Felicien on growing up poor

4 years ago
Duration 5:44
Two-time Canadian World Champion Perdita Felicien opens up about growing up poor and why as an adult, she's found strength in her mother's wisdom.

Crossroads by Kaleb Dahlgren

Crossroads is a memoir by Kaled Dahlgren, a Humboldt crash survivor. (Collins)

On April 6, 2018, the news of a bus crash sent shock waves through Canada and around the world. The Humboldt Broncos, a junior hockey team, were travelling to an away game when a semi-truck missed a stop sign and the bus carrying the team crashed right into it. Sixteen people on board the bus were killed. Kaleb Dahlgren, the assistant captain of the team at the time, was one of the crash's 13 survivors. He shared his story of recovery, and eventually went on to study — and play hockey again — at York University. It's been three years since the crash and Dahlgren is now sharing his story in a memoir, Crossroads.

When you can read it: March 16, 2021

Kaleb Dahlgren is a student at York University, where he plays on the varsity hockey team. Crossroads is his first book.

Outdoor Comedy: Alex Wood

3 years ago
Duration 1:12
Outdoor Comedy: Alex Wood

Values by Mark Carney

Values is a book by Mark Carney. (Signal, Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Values is a book by the former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney. In Values, Carney looks at the "fault lines" that divide contemporary society — racial, geographical, cultural and economic — and argues that they all stem from the same thing: a crisis of values. Carney offers a vision of a better world, and a map toward getting there.

When you can read it: March 16, 2021

Mark Carney is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and the U.K.'s Finance Advisor for COP26. He was previously the Governor of the Bank of England and Governor of the Bank of Canada. He currently lives in Ottawa.

Extended interview with Johnny Sun

4 years ago
Duration 6:01
Canadian author and illustrator Jonny Sun talks about the impact social media had on his career, and the dangers of constantly creating content.

Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms by Grace Eiko Thomson

Chiru Sakura—Falling Cherry Blossoms is a book by Grace Eiko Thomson. (Caitlin Press, Vivien Nishi)

When Grace Eiko Nishikihama (now Thomson) was eight years old, she and her family were removed from their home and placed in an internment camp for Japanese Canadians in British Columbia. More than 22,000 fellow Japanese Canadians suffered the same way. In Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms, Thomson tells the story of her family, how they came to Canada and built a life, the pain and suffering they endured while interned and how they rebuilt their life after the internment ended. Thomson would go on to have a family, and build a career as an art curator. Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms, which includes passages from Thomson's mother's journal, was written so Thomson's children and grandchildren would know their family's story.

When you can read it: March 19, 2021

Grace Eiko Thomson is an art curator who launched the Japanese Canadian National Museum and a second generation Japanese Canadian. Chiru Sakura—Falling Cherry Blossoms is her first book.

Peyakow by Darrel J. McLeod

Peyakow is a book by Darrel J. McLeod. (Douglas & McIntyre, Ilja Herb)

Peyakow is a follow-up to Darrel J. McLeod's memoir Mamaskatch.The title is the Cree word for "one who walks alone." Peyakow tells the story of his childhood and youth. He was bullied by white classmates, lived in poverty, endured physical and sexual abuse and lost several people he loved. But the story is one of love and triumph, as McLeod goes on to become a teacher, the First Nations' delegate to the UN and an executive in the Canadian government. 

When you can read it: March 20, 2021

Darrel J. McLeod is a Cree writer from Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. Before his retirement, McLeod was chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. His first book was the memoir Mamaskatch, which won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction

Malcolm Gladwell is known for turning assumptions on their head, and looking at situations from a different point of view. In this chat recorded before COVID-19, the journalist and podcaster speaks to Anna Maria Tremonti about the importance of changing our minds. The good news is he’s hopeful about our ability to do so. In fact, Gladwell believes closed-minded dogmatists are the real outliers. “Most people are actually open to new interpretations — surprisingly so.” In a season finale that goes down many rabbit holes, Gladwell reveals why he’s rapidly losing interest in print; where he gets his best ideas; why overconfident people may be more dangerous than ignorant ones; and why people reacting with a “huh” is the ultimate compliment.

Not on My Watch by Alexandra Morton

Not On My Watch is a book by Alexandra Morton. (Random House Canada, Chris Corday/CBC)

Alexandra Morton is a biologist and activist with a mission: to save British Columbia's wild salmon. She's been dedicated to this cause for 30 years. Not on My Watch chronicles this long fight, but also provides a roadmap for those who want to take up the cause and protect other natural habitats themselves.

When you can read it: March 23, 2021

Alexandra Morton is a biologist and activist known for her research on ocean-based salmon farming. She has authored more than 20 scientific papers on the impact of salmon farming. Not on My Watch is her first book.

Ben Philippe on Charming as a Verb His debut YA novel, which features a smart and charismatic teenager of Haitian heritage who has the burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

Her Name Was Margaret by Denise Davy

Her Name was Margaret is a book by Denise Davy. (Wolsak & Wynn)

Her Name Was Margaret is the story of Margaret Jacobson, a woman who had a psychotic episode when she was a teenager, went in and out of psychiatric hospitals and boarding homes, and ended up living on the streets in Hamilton, Ontario. Journalist Denise Davy researched Jacobson's life, combing more than 800 pages of medical records and interviewing friends and family, to piece together the story of a woman who was failed by society and the institutions that were supposed to help and protect her.

When you can read it: March 23, 2021

Denise Davy is a journalist from Burlington, Ont., who specialises in mental health. She worked at the Hamilton Spectator for 26 years. Her Name was Margaret is her first book.

Stampede by Kimberly A. Williams

Stampede is a book by Kimberly A. Williams. (Fernwood Publishing)

In Stampede, feminist scholar Kimberly A. Williams uses theory, history, pop culture and politics to examine how race and gender have informed the Calgary Stampede. The long-standing event is rooted in Canada's colonial history, and Williams argues that it's time for the Stampede to change and to become a more inclusive experience.

When you can read it: March 25, 2021

Kimberly A. Williams is a teacher, activist and writer from Calgary. She directs the women and gender studies program at Mount Royal University. She is also the author of Imagining Russia.

In Praise of Retreat by Kirsteen MacLeod

In Praise of Retreat is a book by Kirsteen MacLeod. (ECW Press)

In Praise of Retreat is an exploration and celebration of solitude, of disconnection, of finding quiet — of retreats and retreating. Yoga teacher and writer Kirsteen MacLeod looks at the history of retreats and explores how the practice of retreat can enhance contemporary life.

When you can read it: March 30, 2021

Kirsteen MacLeod is a writer and yoga teacher from Ontario. She is also the author of the short story collection The Animal Game. She was a former finalist for the CBC Nonfiction Prize.

My Mother's Daughter by Perdita Felicien

My Mother's Daughter is a memoir by Canadian Olympian Perdita Felicien. (Martin Brown, Doubleday Canada)

Perdita Felicien's mom Catherine was a poor young woman in St. Lucia when she was given a seemingly random, but ultimately life-changing, opportunity: to come to Canada with a wealthy white family and become their nanny. But when she gets to Canada, life is tougher than she expected, as she endures poverty, domestic violence and even homelessness. However, she still encouraged and supported her youngest daughter's athletic dreams. Felicien would go on to be a world-class hurdler and one of Canada's greatest track athletes. My Mother's Daughter is the story of these two women, and how their love for each other got them through difficult times and changed their lives.

When you can read it: March 30, 2021

Perdita Felicien was a 10-time national champion, a two-time Olympian and became the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal at a world championships. She now works as a sports broadcaster and is part of CBC's team covering the Olympics. My Mother's Daughter is her first book.

Tributes have been pouring in for former Chicago Blackhawks player Fred Sasakmoose, one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the NHL. Sasakamoose died Tuesday after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Waubgeshig Rice spoke with Day 6 about what the hockey legend means to Indigenous players today.

Lunging into the Underbrush by David Homel

Lunging into the Underbrush is a book by David Homel. (Linda Leith Publishing, Marina Vulicevic)

David Homel escaped the draft for the Vietnam War by moving to Paris. But that wasn't the only event that changed the course of his life: while travelling in Europe, he went hiking in Spain, where he had a traumatic accident. The pain, the unsuccessful surgeries and a subsequent opioid addiction would endure for the rest of his life. Lunging into the Underbrush is Homel's story, as he grapples with body image issues, enduring pain, anxiety and paths not taken.

When you can read it: April 1, 2021

David Homel is a writer, teacher, filmmaker and translator living in Montreal. He has written eight novels, including Electrical Storms, The Speaking Cure and The Teardown.  He has won two Governor General's Literary Awards for translation, in 1995 for Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex? and in 2001 for his co-translation of Fairy Ring by Martine Desjardins. Lunging into the Underbrush is his first work of nonfiction.

Float Like a Butterfly, Drink Mint Tea by Alex Wood

Float Like a Butterfly, Drink Mint Tea is a book by Alex Wood. (Andrew Johnson, Arsenal Pulp Press)

Alex Wood is a comedian and an addict. When he was 28 years old and facing health problems, he decided to quit everything that was bad for him and holding him back: drugs and alcohol, yes, but also cigarettes, his phone, credit cards, social media, porn and more. To survive this drastic life change, he took up boxing and tea drinking. Float Like a Butterfly, Drink Mint Tea is Wood's story of addiction and recovery and his lifelong journey to stay sober.

When you can read it: April 1, 2021

Alex Wood is a comedian, podcaster and writer from Toronto. His podcast How Alex Wood Quit Everything is about his addiction and subsequent recovery. Float like a Butterfly, Drink Mint Tea is his first book.

Dr. Jen Gunter busts vaginal myths

4 years ago
Duration 8:10
Dr. Jen Gunter busts vaginal myths

The Girl from Dream City by Linda Leith

The Girl from Dream City is a book by Linda Leith. (University of Regina Press, Linda Leith)

Linda Leith is an influential figure in the Canadian literary landscape. She finally shares her story in the memoir The Girl from Dream City. Leith grew up in Europe, where her father — suffering from manic depression — moves the family around constantly, before finally coming to Canada and settling in Montreal. Leith returned to Europe as a young adult to pursue her education and writing dreams before finally returning to Montreal to embark on a career as a publisher and event organizer.

When you can read it: April 10, 2021

Linda Leith is a writer, translator and book publisher who lives in Montreal. She founded the literary festival Blue Metropolis and the publishing house Linda Leith Publishing. She is a member of the Order of Canada.

This One Wild Life by Angie Abdou

This One Wild Life is a book by Angie Abdou. (ECW Press, Arsenal Pulp Press)

This One Wild Life is the story of a mother and daughter bonding over hiking. When Angie Abdou sees her daughter becoming more introverted, she decides to give them a challenge one summer: to hike a different peak near their Fernie, B.C., home each week. This One Wild Life is the story of this summer, and how this goal changed their relationship and helped her daughter become more confident and more comfortable with who she is.

When you can read it: April 13, 2021

Angie Abdou is a teacher, writer and frequent columnist for The Next Chapter. Her first novel, The Bone Cage, was championed by Georges Laraque on Canada Reads 2011. Her other books include the novels The Canterbury Trail, Between and In Case I Go and the nonfiction book Home Ice.

The Bookseller of Florence by Ross King

Ross King is an author and historian. (Submitted by Ross King)

The Bookseller of Florence is the story of Vespasiano da Bisticci, who ran a prominent bookstore in Florence in the 15th century. The store was at the centre of the city's cultural life, with many leading poets and philosophers coming through, and with clients who were royalty and nobility ordering his detailed and ornate texts. But in 1476, the printing press threatened da Bisticci's life work. The Bookseller of Florence is also the story of the dawn of a world-changing technology, and what is lost in the wake of advancement.

When you can read it: April 13, 2021

Ross King is a writer, critic and historian who currently lives in the U.K. He has written several books about history, including The Judgment of ParisBrunelleschi's Dome, and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling. He has won the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction twice: in 2006 for The Judgment of Paris and in 2012 for Leonardo and the Last Supper.

The Devil's Trick by John Boyko

The Devil's Trick is a book by John Boyko. (Knopf Canada, Simon Spivey)

The Devil's Trick looks at Canada's involvement in the Vietnam War. Through the stories of six people, historian John Boyko tells the story of a moment in Canadian history often overlooked. A soldier in Vietnam before war broke out, a diplomat, a frontline hospital worker, a draft dodger, a Canadian who signed up to serve and a Vietnamese refugee who came to Canada share their stories, and what comes of it is a portrait of a war that's not well understood — and its impact on a country that thinks it wasn't involved in it in the first place.

When you can read it: April 13, 2021

John Boyko is the author of eight books, including Cold Fire: Kennedy's Northern Front and Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation. His work has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald and Maclean's.

Goodbye, Again by Jonny Sun

Goodbye, Again is a book by Jonny Sun. (Harper Perennial)

Goodbye, Again is a collection of essays that reflect on loneliness, being an outsider, productivity, anxiety, depression and more. Jonny Sun is open and vulnerable in these heartfelt and humorous pieces.

When you can read it: April 20, 2021

Jonny Sun is an engineer, artist, comic and PhD candidate at MIT. He gained fame on Twitter with comics featuring an alien trying to understand the human condition. He is also the author of the comic Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too.

Author Richard Wagamese speaks to The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers about his novel Indian Horse.

The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell

The Bomber Mafia is a book by Malcolm Gladwell. (Celeste Solomon, Little, Brown & Company)

The Bomber Mafia is an exploration of the relationship between technology and ideology and how they come together during times of war. Malcolm Gladwell uses a range of anecdotes and stories to examine how societal structures shape human behaviour, decision-making and the spread of ideas. The Bomber Mafia looks at the deadliest night during the Second World War, and how it was caused by the collision of different approaches and beliefs about air bombing. The book builds on themes that Gladwell explored in a 2020 episode of his podcast, Revisionist History.

When you can read it: April 27, 2021

Malcolm Gladwell is a bestselling author, journalist and staff writer at the New Yorker. His books include The Tipping PointBlinkOutliersWhat the Dog Saw and David and GoliathHis previous book, Talking to Strangerswas one of the top 10 bestselling Canadian books of 2019.

Women of the Pandemic by Lauren McKeon

Women of the Pandemic is a book by Lauren McKeon. (McClelland & Stewart, Yuli Scheidt)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a story of women. It's a story of women leaders, in political office, medical fields and in public health. But it's also a story of how the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women: taking them out of the workforce, putting them in charge of virtual or homeschooling and making them the primary providers of childcare and elder care. Women of the Pandemic is the portrait of several women during the early months of the pandemic and how their resilience, perseverance and creativity can serve as inspiration for future challenges.

When you can read it: April 27, 2021

Lauren McKeon is also the author of the books F Bomb: Dispatches on the War on Feminism and No More Nice GirlsHer writing has appeared on CBC, Toronto Life, Hazlitt, The Walus and Chatelaine. 

Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend by Ben Philippe

Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend is a book by Ben Philippe. (, HarperCollins)

Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend is an essay collection from YA writer and journalist Ben Philippe. Philippe, who is the son of Haitian immigrants and grew up in Montreal and Texas, writes about being a lonely child, an awkward teenager and a Black man coming of age during the Obama, then Trump, administrations in the United States. He also delves into Black stereotypes and thoughtfully explores his own relationship with his Black identity and his family's history.

When you can read it: April 27, 2021

Ben Philippe is a writer of Haitian descent, who was raised in Montreal and is now a teacher at Barnard College in New York. He is also the author of the YA novels The Field Guide to the North American Teenager and Charming as a VerbCBC Books named Philippe a writer to watch in 2019.

    Take Me Outside by Colin Harris

    Take Me Outside is a book by Colin Harris. (Rocky Mountain Books)

    Colin Harris had a dream: to run across Canada —  7,600km in total — and visit schools along the way to encourage kids to get outdoors and get active. The trip was a huge undertaking, mentally, physically and financially. Take Me Outside is the story of thi mine-month journey, sharing the highs and lows, and the lessons Harris learned along the way.

    When you can read it: April 27, 2021

    Harris is the founder and executive director of Take Me Outside. He lives in Banff, Alta. Take Me Outside is his first book.

    Driven by Marcello Di Cintio

    Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers is a book by Marcello Di Cintio. (Biblioasis, James May)

    Marcello Di Cintio explores the role of the taxi cab in contemporary culture in DrivenTaxis are both public and private space, and their small dimensions mean strangers share an intimate closeness during the duration of a trip. Di Cintio interviews several taxi drivers from different backgrounds, and attempts to make sense of the role cabs plays in our culture, while also shedding light on those who drive them, often silently and anonymously.

    When you can read it: May 4, 2021

    Marcello Di Cintio is a writer from Calgary. His other books include Walls and Pay No Heed to the Rockets. Walls won the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. His work can also be found in the International New York Times, Afar and Canadian Geographic. 

    Seconds Out by Alison Dean

    Seconds Out is a book by Alison Dean. (Coach House Books)

    Alison Dean is an academic and a boxer. In Seconds Out, she combines research, her lived experience and interviews to explore the world of women fighters.The book looks at how women are changing the sport, but it also explores how the sport changes the way women view themselves and their bodies.

    When you can read it: May 4, 2021

    Alison Dean is a writer, educator and academic who currently lives in California. She competes in boxing and kickboxing. Seconds Out is her first book.

    DeRo by Dwayne De Rosario, with Brendan Dunlop

    DeRo is a book by Dwayne De Rosario. (ECW Press, Chris Young/Canadian Press)

    Dwayne De Rosario is one of Canada's greatest soccer players. He played soccer professionally for 18 years. He won the MLS championship four times and was named one of the league's top 25 greatest players. He grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, where his family struggled to get by. He struggled in school, and it was soccer that saved hm. He shares his journey from a street smart kid to the top of the sporting world in DeRo.

    When you can read it: May 11, 2021

    Dwayne De Rosario is one of Canada's greatest soccer players. DeRo is his first book.

    Brendan Dunlop is a sports broadcaster and writer from Toronto.

    Measuring Up by Dan Robson

    Measuring Up is a book by Dan Robson. (Viking, David Wile)

    Sportswriter Dan Robson always admired his father: a loving blue-collar man who worked hard and knew how to fix things. When his father dies, Dan is hit hard. He not only misses his father, he realizes there is so much he never learned from him. So he decides to learn all the skills his father had: plumbing carpentry, basic electrical work and more. Measuring Up is the story of Dan's father, their relationship, and how Dan found ways to keep his father's memory alive.

    When you can read it: May 11, 2021

    Dan Robson is the author of Quinn: The Life of a Hockey Legend, and the co-author of The Crazy Game with Clint Malarchuk, Change Up with Buck Martinez and Killer with Doug Gilmour. He is currently a senior writer at The Athletic.

    Gather by Richard Van Camp

    Gather us a book by Richard Van Camp. (University of Regina Press, William Au Photography)

    Richard Van Camp offers writing advice in Gather. He explores different storytelling techniques and looks at what makes a compelling story, from both a technical and emotional perspective. He also looks at the importance of storytelling in history and culture.

    When you can read it: May 14, 2021

    Richard Van Camp is a Tlicho Dene writer from Fort Smith, N.W.T., who has written over 20 books across multiple genres. His books include the novel The Lesser Blessed, the graphic novel A Blanket of Butterflies, the picture book Little You and the short story collection Moccasin Square Gardens The Lesser Blessed was adapted into a film by First Generation Films.

    Lawrencia's Last Parang by Anita Jack-Davies

    Lawrencia's Last Parang is a book by Anita Jack-Davies. (Inanna Publications)

    Lawrencia's Last Parang is a memoir by Anita Jack-Davies that focuses on her life after the death of her grandmother, Lawrencia, who raised her. Lawrencia was born in Trinidad, while Jack-Davies was born and raised in Canada. In Lawrencia's Last Parang, Jack-Davies pieces together memories of them together from the past while exploring her grief, her identity, her relationship to both Trinidad and Canada, and what it means to be a Black woman in Canada.

    When you can read it: May 15, 2021

    Anita Jack-Davies is a writer and educator who is currently a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. Lawrencia's Last Parang is her first book.

    Run as One by Errol Ranville

    Run as One is a book by Errol Ranville. (Great Plains Publications)

    One of 12 siblings, Errol Ranville grew up in rural Manitoba, where he dealt with poverty, racism and addiction. Ranville went on to have a successful music career, releasing 20 albums, getting nominated for Juno Awards and scoring some #1 hit songs. He shares his story in the memoir Run as One.

    When you can read it: May 15, 2021

    Errol Ranville is a musician and writer from Manitoba. Run as One is his first book, and he is also working on an album and a screenplay based on his life story.

    Nishga by Jordan Abel

    Nishga is a book by Jordan Abel. (McClelland & Stewart, Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

    Nishga is a memoir by Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel. In it, Abel grapples with his identity as a Nisga'a writer, with being an intergenerational residential school survivor and with his own Indigenous identity while consistently being asked to represent Nisga'a language and culture. Blending memoir, transcriptions and photography, Nishga is an exploration of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person and how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people engage with the legacy of colonial violence and racism.

    When you can read it: May 18, 2021

    Jordan Abel is a Nisga'a writer from British Columbia. He is the author of the poetry collections The Place of ScrapsUn/inhabited and Injun. In 2017, he won the Griffin Poetry Prize for Injun.

    The Day the World Stops Shopping by J.B. MacKinnon

    The Day the World Stopped Shopping is a book by J.B. Mackinnon. (Random House Canada, Alisa Smith)

    In The Day the World Stops Shopping, environmentalist and writer J.B. MacKinnon asks the question: What would happen if we stopped shopping? What impact on the environment would it have? How would the economy need to change? Is it the answer we need to help prevent further ecological and environmental damage? MacKinnon examines different cultures, from hunter-gatherer societies to North America's late capitalism, to understand the role resources play in society. He also looks at the impact on shopping in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then imagines what it would take to arrive at a shopping-free future.

    When you can read it: May 18, 2021

    J. B. MacKinnon is a journalist and writer who lives in Vancouver. He is also the author of the nonfiction books Dead Man in Paradise and The Once and Future World and is the co-author of the book The 100-Mile Diet, which popularized the local food movement.

    My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons by Glen Canning, with Susan McClelland

    My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons is a book by Glen Canning. (Goose Lane Editions)

    Rehtaeh Parsons was a teenage girl who loved nature, her family and hanging out with her friends. But when she was sexually assaulted at a party, everything fell apart. A photo of Rehtaeh circulated online, and Rehtaeh was bullied and shamed by classmates for months afterward. She became withdrawn and depressed, eventually dying by suicide. My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons is a book by Rehtaeh's father, Glen Canning. It tells the story of Rehtaeh's life, and explores how the criminal system, and the health care system, failed Rehtaeh and her family.

    When you can read it: May 18, 2021

    Glen Canning is the father of Rehtaeh Parsons and an advocate for victims of sexual violence. My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons is his first book.

    Susan McClelland is a journalist and author. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Guardian and the Sunday Times Magazine.

    Likeness by David Macfarlane

    Likeness is a book by David Macfarlane. (Doubleday Canada, Submitted)

    In Likeness, David Macfarlane weaves together the story of his son's cancer treatment and the story of his father and his own past. The frame for bringing these three narratives together is a giant portrait of Macfarlane, painted by the Canadian artist John Hartman, which hangs in Macfarlane's living room. Likeness is a story of family, memory, grief and identity.

    When you can read it: May 18, 2021

    David Macfarlane is a writer and editor from Toronto. He is also the author of the nonfiction book The Danger Tree and the novel Summer GoneSummer Gone was a finalist for the 1999 Giller Prize.

    Call Me Indian by Fred Sasakamoose

    Call Me Indian is a book by Fred Sasakamoose. (Viking, Canadian Press/Jason Franson)

    Fred Sasakamoose was the first Indigenous hockey player with Treaty status to play in the NHL. He was sent to residential school when he was seven years old, and endured that horror for a decade. But he became an elite hockey player, joining the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. He only played 12 games in the NHL, but the legacy he left would have a huge impact for decades to come. He became an activist, dedicated to improving the lives of Indigenous people through sport. He shares his story in the memoir Call Me Indian.

    When you can read it: May 18, 2021

    Fred Sasakamoose is a member of the NHL Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada. He died in 2020.

    The Menopause Manifesto by Dr. Jen Gunter

    The Menopause Manifesto is a book by Dr. Jen Gunter. (Random House Canada, Jason LeCras)

    Dr. Jen Gunter, the ob-gyn who has gained a following thanks to her Twitter commentary on health issues, tackles menopause in her latest book. The Menopause Manifesto tackles menopause head on, explaining what happens to women's bodies, while debunking myths and misconceptions and offering women a frank and clear guide to this phase of their lives.

    When you can read it: May 25, 2021

    Jen Gunter is a Canadian ob-gyn. Her web series Jensplaining is available on CBC Gem. She is also the author of The Vagina Bible.

    Richard Wagamese Selected, edited by Drew Hayden Taylor

    Richard Wagamese was a novelist, short story writer and journalist. (Yvette Lehmann)

    Richard Wagamese Selected brings together a collection of moving, inspiring and heartfelt essays from one of Canada's most beloved and celebrated Indigenous writers. Edited and curated by Drew Hayden Taylor, Richard Wagamese Selected is drawn from short writings, including essays, columns and blog posts.

    When you can read it: May 29, 2021

    Drew Hayden Taylor is an Ojibway playwright, author and journalist from Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario. He has worked on more than 17 documentaries examining Indigenous experiences. His books include the YA novel The Night Wanderer, the novels Motorcycles and Sweetgrass and Chasing Painted Horses and the short story collection Take Us to Your Chief. He has  served as the artistic director of Canada's premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. 

    Dad Up! by Steve Patterson

    Dad Up! is a book by Steve Patterson. (Penguin Canada, CBC)

    Dad Up!: Long-time Comedian. First-time Father is a humorous look at fatherhood from comedian and father of two Steve Patterson. It explores what it means to be a dad in today's world, offering up unexpected wisdom and funny anecdotes. Patterson also recalls his own childhood, growing up as the youngest of five boys in an Irish Catholic household, and reflects on the lessons his father imparted to him.

    When you can read it: June 1, 2021

    Patterson is the host of CBC Radio's comedy show The Debaters. He has taped numerous nationally televised comedy specials, toured his one-man show across the country and released a comedy album. He is also the author of the humorous essay collection The Book of Letters I Didn't Know Where to Send.

    Welcome Home by Najwa Zebian

    Welcome Home is a book by Najwa Zebian. (Penguin Canada, Farah Benni)

    Najwa Zebian is a poet who has gained a loyal following online for her moving and inspirational poems. Zebian's personal story is as powerful as her poetry. She came to Canada from Lebanon when she was 16 years old, and was faced with the challenge of figuring out who she was in a new country and who she wanted to be, while also dealing with racism and societal pressures. Welcome Home is her first work of nonfiction, and it combines Zebian's personal story with poetry and writing to inspire readers to live with vulnerability and authenticity.

    When you can read it: June 1, 2021

    Najwa Zebian is a Lebanese Canadian activist, educator and writer. Her books include the poetry collections Mind Platter, The Nectar of Pain and Sparks of Phoenix.

    The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream by Dean Jobb

    The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is a book by Dean Jobb. (HarperAvenue, Nicola Davidson)

    In The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream, Dean Jobb tells the story of  Dr. Thomas Neill Cream, a Canadian doctor who was stalking and murdering women in London, England, in the late 1800s, and who was also suspected of murders in Canada and Chicago. The press called him the Lambeth Poisoner and he was one of most prolific serial killers in history. In this true story of a notorious murderer, Jobb looks at who Cream was and why it took so long to catch and convict him.

    When you can read it: June 1, 2021

    Dean Jobb is a journalism professor and writer living in Halifax. He is the author of several nonfiction books, including Empire of Deception and Calculated Risk. Empire of Deception won the Arthur Ellis Award for best true crime book.

    Care Of by Ivan Coyote

    Ivan Coyote is a writer and storyteller born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon. They will be performing for Alberta students and teachers on Sunday for a Valentine's Day event called 'Eye Heart You'. (Ivan Coyote)

    Care Of is a collection of moving correspondence Ivan Coyote wrote in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown, in response to letters and communications they had received, some of which dated back to 2009. The correspondence ranges from personal letters to Facebook messages to notes received after performing onstage, Coyote told CBC Radio host Dave White on Airplay. 

    When you can read it: June 8, 2021

    Ivan Coyote is a writer, storyteller and performer from Yukon. They have written more than a dozen books, created four short films and released three albums combining storytelling with music, and are known for exploring gender identity and queer liberation in their writing. Their other books include Tomboy Survival GuideRebent SinnerGender FailureOne in Every Crowd and the novel Bow GripCoyote won the 2020 Freedom to Read Award, in recognition of their body of work that examines class, gender identity and social justice.

    Black Public Joy by Jay Pitter

    Jay Pitter is an author and placemaker from Toronto. (Submitted by Penguin Random House Canada)

    Black Public Joy is a book by activist and placemaker Jay Pitter about how Black lives are restricted and policed in public spaces. Divided into five essays, Black Public Joy examines systemic racism and oppression in cities, from streetscapes and parks to affluent neighbourhoods and everywhere in between. It also offers a vision of a way forward, one where Black joy can exist and be celebrated in these same public spaces.

    When you can read it: Aug. 3, 2021

    Jay Pitter is a placemaker, writer and educator living in Toronto. She works on city-building projects, public space design and public policy. She is the co-editor of Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity.


    • This list originally included We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu and Évangéline by Joseph Yvon Thériault. We Were Dreamers has been moved to 2022 and Évangéline has been delayed indefinitely.
      Feb 12, 2021 10:04 AM ET

    Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

    A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

    Sign up now