Books·Fall Book Preview

Here are all the CBC Books fall 2019 preview lists

Here are all the books we are excited for this fall — from titles for kids to Canadian fiction to works from around the world.

Here are all the books we are excited for this fall — from titles for kids to Canadian fiction to works from around the world.

Canadian fiction

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

Our top pick: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale and includes the "explosive testaments" of three women. Little else is known about the hotly-anticipated novel, but Margaret Atwood has teased that the book will 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.

Atwood is a celebrated Canadian writer who has published numerous novels, poetry, nonfiction and comics.

The Testaments is on the longlist for the 2019 Booker Prize.

When you can read it: Sept. 10, 2019

Canadian nonfiction

From the Ashes is a memoir by Jesse Thistle. (Lucie Thistle, Simon & Schuster)

Our top pick: From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle has earned many honours for his work in academia, including the 2016 Governor General's Silver Medal. He is also a Trudeau and Vanier Scholar. He specializes in Indigenous homelessness, a topic he understands all too well. Abandoned by his parents and raised by his difficult grandparents, Thistle struggled with addiction as an adult and spent 10 years homeless. He shares his story of overcoming his circumstances in the memoir, From the Ashes.

When you can read it: Aug. 6, 2019

Canadian comics

Frogcatchers is a comic by Jeff Lemire. (Jaime Hogge, Simon & Schuster Canada)

Our top pick: Frogcatchers by Jeff Lemire

When a man wakes up without his memory, he finds himself in a strange hotel room with an old-fashioned keychain. He thinks the building is empty until he comes across a young boy, who begs him not to use the key for fear of releasing whatever else is locked away.

Jeff Lemire is an acclaimed Toronto comics creator who recently won an Eisner Award for the comic book series Gideon Falls. Some of his previous graphic novels include Roughneck and Essex County.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

Canadian poetry

NDN Coping Mechanisms is a poetry collection by Billy-Ray Belcourt. (House of Anansi Press)

Our top pick: NDN Coping Mechanisms by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt is a writer and academic from Driftpile Cree Nation. In his second poetry collection, NDN Coping Mechanismshe uses poetry, prose and textual art to explore how Indigenous and queer communities and identities are left out of mainstream media. The work has two parts — the first explores everyday life and the second explores influential texts such as Treaty 8.

Belcourt won the Griffin Poetry Prize for his first collection, This Wound is a World.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

Canadian middle-grade & YA

E.L. (Elaine) Chen is a Toronto-based artist and writer. (ChiTeen)

Our top pick: Summerwood/Winterwood by E.L. Chen

Summerwood/Winterwood contains two linked fantasy stories about a young girl named Rosalind Hero Cheung. The first, Summerwood, begins as 12-year-old Rosalind travels to Toronto to spend the summer with her teenage sister Julie and their grandfather, the author of a famous children's fantasy series. Their stay takes a turn when Julie disappears and Rosalind discovers the dark truth behind the mythical land their grandfather wrote about in his books. Rosalind undertakes a dangerous and costly journey into Summerwood in order to save her sister.

Winterwood picks up three years later. Rosalind has not recovered from her trip to Summerwood and is getting into trouble at school. Grounded by her exasperated mother, Rosalind runs away to Toronto and is confronted by an old enemy from Summerwood.

E.L. Chen is an author and illustrator based in Ontario. Her previous novel, The Good Brother, was published in 2015.

Summerwood/Winterwood is for readers aged 14 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 17, 2019

Canadian picture books

I Promise is a picture book by Catherine Hernandez (right) and illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Dahlia Katz)

Our top pick: I Promise by Catherine Hernandez, illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware

I Promise is a portrayal of all the joys and challenges of parenting and a celebration of the many different forms that loving families come in.

Catherine Hernandez is a playwright, performer and the author of the novel Scarborough.

Syrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, activist and scholar whose work has appeared in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Globe and Mail and part of Nuit Blanche.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2019

International fiction

The Water Dancer is a novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. (One World)

Our top pick: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates' first novel tells the story of Hiram Walker, who is born into bondage in Virginia. His father is plantation owner Howell Walker and his mother is Rose, who has been sold away. Despite having a photographic memory, Hiram has no memories of his mother until he has a vision of her during a near-death experience. After almost drowning, Hiram resolves to escape from the Deep South and becomes involved with the Underground.

Coates won the National Book Award in 2015 for his nonfiction book Between the World and MeHe is a MacArthur fellow and writes Marvel's Black Panther and Captain America comics.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

International nonfiction

Year of the Monkey is a memoir by Patti Smith. (Knopf Canada, Jesse Dittmar)

Our top pick: Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

After a series of shows in San Francisco, Patti Smith begins the New Year with a solitary journey along the west coast. Smith contemplates loss, aging and politics on her trip, all the while encountering strangers and listening to a testy talking sign that hangs over her head.

Smith is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and award-winning author. Her previous books include the National Book Award winner Just Kids and M Train.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

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