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New B.C. scholarly book prize shortlist announced

Sandra Djwa didn’t win the Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction, but a week later her book, Journey With No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page (McGill-Queen’s University Press), is up for another award,  alongside Derek Hayes’ British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas (Douglas & McIntyre) and Jim McDowell’s Father August Brabant: Saviour or Scourge? (Ronsdale Press). The three titles have been shortlisted for the new Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia.

Sponsored by the UBC Library and BC Bookworld, the prize was established in memory of former UBC librarian and School of Library, Archival and Information Studies director Basil Stuart-Stubbs, who passed away last year. The inaugural prize recognizes the best scholarly book by a Canadian author on a subject related to British Columbia.

“Funds are being raised largely through contributions from supporters of UBC Library, including Basil’s family, friends and former colleagues,” UBC communications manager Glenn Drexhage said in an email Tuesday. UBC is also looking for community partners to help organize the event and raise awareness of the project.

Calls for submissions were sent out to publishers last fall and 20 titles were received for consideration, according to jury member and UBC liaison librarian Brenda Peterson. Along with Peterson, the jury consists of BC Bookworld publisher Alan Twigg, and two historians and UBC professors emeritus, Roderick Barman and Jean Barman.

The prize is worth $1,000 and will be announced in April. The award will be presented at a reception will be held on May 7 in UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

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BookNet bestsellers: non-fiction

Although Lawrence Wright’s Scientology exposé still isn’t available in this country, many Canadians are reading Jenna Miscavige Hill’s tell-all Beyond Belief, which lands at #10 on this week’s non-fiction bestsellers list.

For the two weeks ending Feb. 10:

1. Wheat Belly Cookbook, William Davis
(HarperCollins, $24.99 pa, 9781443416337)

2. Wheat Belly, William Davis
(HarperCollins, $17.99 pa, 9781443412735)

3. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, Akira Himekawa, and Patrick Thorpe
(Dark Horse Comics/Canadian Manda Group, $38.99 cl, 9781616550417)

4. Money Rules, Gail Vaz-Oxlade
(HarperCollins Canada, $21.99 pa, 9781443408950)

5. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander
(Simon & Schuster, $18.99 pa, 9781451695199)

6. How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You, Matthew Inman
(Andrews McMeel/S&S, $16.99 pa, 9781449410247)

7. Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook
(John Wiley & Sons, $32.99 cl, 9781118476536)

8. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain
(Broadway/Random House, $18 pa, 9780307352156)

9. The Cold Hard Truth about Men, Women and Money, Kevin O’Leary
(Doubleday Canada, $22.95 pa, 9780385678506)

10. Beyond Belief, Jenna Miscavige Hill
(William Morrow/HarperCollins, $18.99 pa, 9780062263438)

11. The Looneyspoons Collection, Janet and Greta Podleski
(Granet Publishing, $34.95 pa, 9780968063156)

12. Cesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog, Cesar Millan
(National Geographic, $21.95 cl, 9781426211904)

13. The Juicing Bible, Pat Crocker
(Robert Rose, $27.95 pa, 9780778801818)

14. The Miracle Ball Method: Relieve Your Pain, Reshape Your Body, Reduce Your Stress, Elaine Petrone
(Workman Publishing/Thomas Allen & Son, $23.95 bk, 9780761128687)

15. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels among Us, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark
(Chicken Soup for the Soul/S&S, $16.95 pa, 9781611599060)

16. The Power of Why, Amanda Lang
(HarperCollins Canada, $29.99 cl, 9781443413183)

17. The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? Jared Diamond
(Viking, $38 cl, 9780670024810)

18. Meatless: More than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes
(Clarkson Potter/Random House, $29.95 pa, 9780307954565)

19. Bossypants, Tina Fey
(Little Brown/Hachette, $9.99 mm, 9780316056892)

20. Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook, Sally Vaughan-Johnston
(Robert Rose, $29.95 spiral, 9780778804130)

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Chrystia Freeland makes Lionel Gelber Prize shortlist

Chrystia Freeland (photo: Brian Ferraro)

Alberta-born writer Chrystia Freeland’s non-fiction book Plutocrats, which examines the global rise of the super-wealthy, has made the shortlist for the Lionel Gelber Prize. The $15,000 Canadian award celebrates the best English-language non-fiction on foreign affairs.

This year’s five finalists are:

  • Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944–1956, Anne Applebaum (Signal/McClelland & Stewart)
  • The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics, Paul Bracken (St. Martin’s/Raincoast)
  • Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, Chrystia Freeland (Doubleday Canada)
  • Ghosts of Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World, Kwasi Kwarteng (PublicAffairs/Publishers Group Canada)
  • From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia, Pankaj Mishra (Doubleday Canada)

The winner of the prize, founded in memory of Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber and co-presented by Foreign Policy magazine, will be announced March 25.

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Spring preview 2013: non-fiction and international titles for young people

Rumours to the contrary notwithstanding, publishing is alive and well moving into spring. In the January/February issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the spring’s biggest books.


The April release of Pedal It! ($19.95 cl.) by Victoria author Michelle Mulder marks the introduction of Footprints, a new series on environmental issues from Orca. The book looks at how bicycles can make the world a better place. • Athletic kids will love Weird Zone: Sports (Owlkids, $22.95 cl., $13.95 pa., April), in which former OWL magazine managing editor Maria Birmingham relays interesting facts about zany sporting activities, with the help of illustrations by Jamie Bennett. • For those looking to try something out of their comfort zones, Inhabit Media presents Games of Survival: Traditional Inuit Games for Elementary Students, ($12.95 pa., March), in which arctic athlete Johnny Issaluk and photographer Ed Maruyama provide instruction for traditional Inuit activities used to teach kids survival skills for Northern climes.

From Rona Arato comes the harrowing true story of how brothers Paul and Oscar Arato and their mother survived the Second World War. The Last Train: A Holocaust Story (Owlkids, $16.95 cl.) will be published in March. • Until his recent retirement, Ken Setterington was the first Children and Youth Advocate for Library Services for the Toronto Public Library. His new book, What Is the Pink Triangle? (Second Story, $15.95 pa., April), informs readers about the persecution of gays and lesbians by Nazis during and following the Holocaust. • Toronto social worker Steven Solomon explains the ramifications of using put-downs and other homophobic language in Homophobia: Deal with It and Turn Prejudice into Pride (Lorimer, $24.95 cl., $12. 95 pa., April).

Zoocheck Canada founder Rob Laidlaw tugs on animal lovers’ heartstrings with Saving Lives and Changing Hearts: Animal Sanctuaries and Rescue Centres (Fitzhenry & Whiteside $19.95 cl., Jan.), in which he explores efforts to improve the lives of animals around the world. • Budding entomologists will be drawn like moths to a flame to a pair of titles by Chris G. Earley. Caterpillars: Find, Identify, Raise Your Own ($19.95 cl., $6.95 pa.) and Dragonflies: Hunting, Identifying, How and Where They Live ($19.95 cl., $6.95 pa.) will both be released by Firefly Books in March.

Neil Flambé creator Kevin Sylvester teams up with fellow CBC personality Michael Hlinka to track what happens to hard-earned cash after it’s handed over to a cashier in Follow Your Money: Who Gets It, Who Spends It, Where Does It Go? (Annick, $24.95 cl., $14.95 pa., Feb.). Presumably, the authors hope some of it comes back to them after you buy the book.


Irish writer John Boyne tells of The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket (Doubleday Canada, $19.95 cl., Jan), in which our hero has problems staying Earth-bound. Oliver Jeffers, no stranger to whimsical predicaments in his own books, provides spot illustrations for the novel.

From Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler* – the creative team behind The Gruffalo – comes The Highway Rat (Scholastic $18.99 cl., March), about a snack-stealing rodent. • Renowned Brazilian children’s author Ana Maria Machado adds another title to her vast cannon with What a Party! (Groundwood, $18.95 cl., March), in which a pre-birthday fête gets a bit out of hand. Parisian illustrator Hélène Moreau provides the visuals. • The adventures of a girl and her amphibious pal continue in the graphic novel Anna and Froga: I Dunno, What Do You Want to Do? (Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95 cl., June) by Anouk Richard.

From The Secret Mountain comes a storybook and CD combo that explores how birds have influenced music throughout history. Classical pianist Ana Gerhard contributes text to Listen to the Birds ($22.95 cl., May), illustrated by Cecilia Varela, which accompanies the CD of 20 recordings by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, and more.

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 31, 2013. • All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.

*Correction Jan. 17: In the print and an earlier online version of this story Axel Scheffler’s name is spelled incorrectly.

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Spring preview 2013: Canadian non-fiction, part two

Rumours to the contrary notwithstanding, publishing is alive and well moving into spring. In the January/February issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the spring’s biggest books.

Health & self-help

Sociologist Lyndsay Green had a surprise hit with the boomer-oriented You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? She’s back with The Perfect Home for a Long Life: Housing Ourselves for the Future (Thomas Allen Publishers, $19.95 pa., May), a practical guide for seniors anxious about where they will live as they grow old • Supporting Parents with Alzheimer’s (Self-Counsel Press, $19.95 pa., March), by Tanya Lee Howe, is a guide for caregivers who may be struggling to balance their daily lives with the need to support an aging loved one.

Motivational speaker and doctor David Posen hit a nerve with his self-help guide The Little Book of Stress Relief. He follows it up with a volume tailored to the professional class. Is Work Killing You? A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress (Anansi, $18.95 pa.) drops in February, in time to cure the winter blues. • Can money buy happiness? It sure can, as long as you’re spending it right. That’s the argument in Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending (Simon & Schuster, $28.99 cl., May) by University of British Columbia associate professor Elizabeth Dunn and Harvard University instructor Michael Norton, two rising stars in the field of behavioural psychology.


At the close of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, more than 2,700 blacks joined other loyalists in fleeing the American colonies to settle in Nova Scotia. The Black Loyalists: Southern Settlers of the First Free Black Communities in Nova Scotia (Nimbus Publishing, $29.95 cl., April), by Ruth Holmes Whitehead, describes the lives of those settlers before and after coming to Canada. • Another overlooked facet of Canadian history is the role of women during the First World War. At least that’s the argument of Sarah Glassford and Amy Shaw in A Sisterhood of Suffering and Service: Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the First World War (UBC Press, $34.95 pa., Jan.), a collection of scholarly essays examining the absence of women from official accounts of the war effort. • In The History of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (OUP, $32.95 cl., March), long-time board member Bill Freedman examines the work of one of this country’s leading environmental not-for-profit organizations.

Art & literature

Oxford University Press is publishing the unabridged diaries of one of Canada’s most beloved authors. The second volume, The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1901–1911 ($29.95 cl., March), edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, covers the years leading up to the author’s marriage. • McMaster University prof Lorraine York examines “the complex process whereby literary celebrity is managed and maintained” by looking at the career of one of Canada’s most famous living writers in Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary Celebrity (UTP, $29.95 pa., May).

For much of the past decade, Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery had been locked in a legal battle with the U.K.-based Beaverbrook Foundation over who owned some of the museum’s most valuable pieces. Now that the dispute has been resolved in the gallery’s favour, the collection is ready to tour Canada and the U.S. for the first time, and Goose Lane has produced a lavish edition to accompany the exhibit. Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery ($65 cl.), edited by gallery curator Terry Graff, ships in February.


Cookbooks used to be the focus of a handful of specialty publishers in Canada, but with the explosion of cooking shows and celebrity chefs, it seems everyone wants to get in on the latest foodie trend.
Penguin Canada hops on the food-truck bandwagon with the Food Network–­inspired Eat St. ($24 pa., March), in which James Cunningham takes readers on a culinary road trip to find the tastiest – and most extreme – street food on the continent. • Not to be outdone, HarperCollins Canada is set to release a new tome from Chuck Hughes, known for his Gallic spin on traditional comfort food. Chuck’s Day Off ($34.99 cl., June) draws on recipes from the chef’s Food Network show of the same name, as well his two Montreal boîtes, Garde Manger and Le Bremner.

Could the next big culinary trend be raw food? If so, Raw Essence (Robert Rose, $24.95 pa., April) could become the go-to volume for meals prepared without a heat source. The book was cooked up by David Côté and Mathieu Gallant, co-founders of Montreal’s Crudessence chain of restaurants.

Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press continues its successful franchise of vegan- and vegetarian-themed books with Mérida Anderson’s Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen ($26.95 pa., April), which evolved from the author’s experiments with pop-up restaurants and an in-house supper club. • The All-new Vegetarian Passport (Whitecap Books, May), by Linda Woolven, takes a health-oriented approach to vegetarianism, offering recipes that aim to prevent or treat arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and other ailments.

Never know what edibles to pack on your outdoor adventures? Camping expert Kevin Callan has you covered with The New Trailside Cookbook (Firefly Books, $19.95 pa., March), which includes lightweight, high-energy, and gourmet recipes for your wild­erness excursions. The book is co-authored by nutritionist Margaret Howard.


In 2007, pro wrestler Bret Hart published his best-selling memoir, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. It turns out that won’t be the final word on the personal life of “The Pink and Black Attack.” Hart Strings: My Life with the Hart Family, Bret, and Me (Tightrope, $25 pa., June) by Bret’s ex-wife, Julie Hart, looks at the couple’s early romance and courtship, and the trials of raising a family of four while married to a wrestling superstar.

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 31, 2013. • All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.

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Spring preview 2013: Canadian non-fiction, part one

Rumours to the contrary notwithstanding, publishing is alive and well moving into spring. In the January/February issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the spring’s biggest books.

Memoir & Biography

Readers of Laurie Lewis’s previous memoir, Little Comrades, followed the author – who went on to have a successful career as a book designer – from her childhood in Western Canada to New York City. The follow-up, Love, and All that Jazz (The Porcupine’s Quill, $22.95 pa., June), describes her brief first marriage and remarriage to a man whose drug addiction (fuelled by his involvement in the 1950s jazz scene) forced her return to Canada.

There have been many memoirs describing the experience of coming out as gay, but few have dealt with what it’s like to be raised by a gay parent. Vancouver author Alison Wearing does just that in Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up with a Gay Dad (Knopf Canada, $24 pa., May), which originated as a one-woman show. • Men write about the loss of their fathers – from divorce, death, or emotional abandonment – in Lonely Boy: Stories About Sons and Fathers (Cormorant Books, $23 pa., June), a collection edited by journalist Carla Maria Luchetta and including pieces by David Miller, RM Vaughan, Tim Falconer, and JJ Lee.

Poet Priscila Uppal hadn’t seen her estranged mother for two decades when they spent 10 days together in Brazil. Despite discovering a shared passion for cinema, the reunion wasn’t as happy as the author would have liked. Uppal describes the intensely emotional experience in Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother (Thomas Allen Publishers, $24.95 pa., March). • A bestseller in Quebec, Lise Dion’s Secret of the Blue Trunk (Dundurn Press, $21.99 pa., Feb.) tells the life story of the author’s mother, a former nun who spent the Second World War in a German concentration camp.

Author and adventurer Jay Ruzesky follows in the footsteps of Roald Amundsen (a distant relation) and other explorers in his new book, In Antarctica: A Pilgrimage (Nightwood Editions, $28.95 pa., Feb.), which interweaves historical narratives with the author’s own insights on journeys to Canada, Norway, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. • In The Truth About Luck: What I Learned on My Road Trip with Grandma (House of Anansi Press, $22.95 pa., March), Iain Reid didn’t exactly hit the road when his 92-year-old grandmother came to stay with him in Kingston, Ontario. Instead, the author of One Bird’s Choice ended up going on a journey of a different sort, learning about his grandma’s inspiring life story and picking up some wisdom along the way.

Helen Humphreys is the well-regarded author of the novels Coventry and Afterimage. In Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother (HarperCollins Canada, $24.99 cl., March), she writes about suddenly losing her brother to cancer when he was just 45.

Amber Dawn has developed something of a cult following as a filmmaker and for her Lambda Literary Award–winning first novel, Sub Rosa (2010). Her follow-up, How Poetry Saved My Life (Arsenal Pulp Press, $15.95 pa., April), uses poetry and prose to examine her experiences as a sex worker on the streets of Vancouver.

Canadian collectors are likely familiar with the name David Mason, an antiquarian bookseller who has maintained a shop in downtown Toronto since 1967. The Pope’s Bookbinder (Biblioasis, $37.95 cl., April), which includes personal anecdotes involving subjects as diverse as William Burroughs and Pope John XXIII, is billed as “a must-read memoir for Beat buffs and bibliophiles.” • Both Hands: A Life of Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press (McGill-Queen’s University Press, $49.95 cl., May), by Carleton University instructor Sandra Campbell, tells the story of a man who, as the driving force behind Ryerson Press from 1920 to 1960, once described his editorial desk as “an altar at which I serve – the entire cultural life of Canada.”

Politics & current affairs

As the former China correspondent for CBC and Radio-Canada, Michel Cormier witnessed first-hand the struggle for human rights and freedoms within the country. The Legacy of Tiananmen Square (Goose Lane Editions, $29.95 cl., April) takes an historical approach, chronicling the many failed attempts to bring democracy to China over the past century.

In 2012, the CBC dealt with significant budget cuts, but Wade Rowland argues the biggest challenges facing the national broadcaster are still to come. In Saving the CBC: Balancing Profit and Public Service (or Solving the Public/­Private Conundrum) ($14.95 pa., $12.95 ebook, May), Rowland charts a new course for the Mother Corp, laying out his argument in a slim, 80-page volume from Linda Leith Publishing.

Acclaimed journalist Sally Armstrong travels from Africa to Asia to explore the plight of women around the world who are fighting to gain control over their lives and their bodies. But Ascent of Women (Random House Canada, $32 cl., March) also offers hope, arguing that empowering women is key to social and economic justice.

Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? (MQUP, $34.95 cl., March) is not a book-length answer to the seemingly innocuous question in the title. Rather it examines how policy decisions are made by government and how the role of public servants is evolving, as described by Donald J. Savoie, who holds the Canada Research Chair in public administration.

Julie Devaney scored a Q&Q Book of the Year nod for 2012’s My Leaky Body, about her experience negotiating the Canadian health-care system as a patient. She’s back this season as co-editor, with Dave Molenhuis, of Mess (Tightrope Books), an anthology of hospital-themed writing. • After the Error: Speaking Out About Patient Safety to Save Lives (ECW Press, $19.95 pa., April), by Susan McIver and Robin Wyndham, collects true stories about the causes of medical errors – responsible for an estimated 24,000 Canadian deaths each year – and what we can do to fix them.

Child soldiers in Northern Uganda became a cause célèbre when the Kony 2012 video went viral, but abuses in the region continue. In Child to Soldier (University of Toronto Press, $24.95 pa., March), Toronto-based educator and broadcaster Opiyo Oloya examines how children in warlord Joseph Kony’s infamous Lord’s Resistance Army have been socialized into violence. • The Lucky Ones: African Refugees’ Stories of Extraordinary Courage (Great Plains Publications, April) collects first-hand stories of African refugees who have settled in Manitoba. The volume was compiled by Anne Mahon, a board member of Humankind International.

Good food is not only the domain of fine dining and celebrity chefs – it can also be a tool for social activism. At least that’s the argument of Nick Saul, who as executive director of Toronto’s The Stop transformed an inner-city food bank into an internationally recognized “community food centre” complete with gardens, greenhouses, and farmers’ markets. Saul makes his case in The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement (Random House Canada, $29.95 cl., March), written with Andrea Curtis.

Science & environment

As a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Lee Smolin is on the front lines of scientific discovery. The U.S.-born physicist – a noted critic of string theory – also happens to be a leading popularizer of the latest theories about the origins of the cosmos. He brings readers up to date with Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Knopf Canada, $29.95 cl., April).

In The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be (Random House Canada, $29.95 cl., May), Vancouver journalist J.B. MacKinnon – perhaps best known as co-author of The 100 Mile Diet – meditates on the wonder found in nature, and calls on readers to rekindle their passion for the natural world. • Novelist George Szanto has long found inspiration in nature. In his memoir, Bog Tender: Coming Home to Nature and Memory (Brindle & Glass, $19.95 pa., March), the author reflects on his creative process and the sanctuary he has discover at his B.C. writing studio, which is situated on a bog. • In Spirit Animals: The Wisdom of Nature (Eschia Books, $18.95 pa., Jan.), Edmonton novelist Wayne Arthurson writes about the tradition of spirit animals in native culture.

How do you get readers excited about a book about, well, crap? A tongue-in-cheek title sure helps. According to the marketing material, in The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society (ECW, $16.95 pa., May), veterinarian and epidemiologist David Waltner-Toews “makes a compelling argument for a deeper understanding of human and animal waste.”

Residents of the Kirkland Lake region of Northern Ontario were understandably upset by a proposal to ship Toronto’s garbage to the remote community and dispose of it in an abandoned mine. The Watershed: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War (Between the Lines, $24.95 pa., Feb.) explores the grassroots movement to shut down the mine, as detailed by author and NDP MP Charlie Angus, who cut his teeth in politics protesting the project.

Whether you live in the eastern or western half of the country, Dorling Kindersley has you covered with Birds of Eastern Canada and Birds of Western Canada (both $22.95 pa., April) by the appropriately named ornithologist David M. Bird.

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 31, 2013. • All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.

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Canadian booksellers pick the top non-fiction books of 2012

Among Canadian booksellers contacted by Q&Q, there was a general consensus that 2012 was a conservative year for non-fiction.

David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books in Waterloo, Ontario, observed: “The big titles are spread out across genres. But there has been lots of interest in biographies, especially rock ’n’ roll biographies.”

Mike Hamm, manager of Bookmark in Halifax, found his customers gravitating toward more austere non-fiction narratives. “This year featured strong sales for titles that were very contemplative and ultra-serious in tone,” he says.

Click on the thumbnails to view booksellers’ picks for the top non-fiction titles of 2012.

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Books of the year 2012: non-fiction

Click on the thumbnails to find out which non-fiction titles mattered the most in 2012.

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Wade Davis wins Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

Wade Davis with the Samuel Johnson Prize judging panel (Photo: Samuel Johnson Prize 2012)

Wade Davis was awarded the £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest (Vintage Canada) at an award ceremony in London, U.K., last night.

Into the Silence, which recounts English mountaineer George Mallory’s attempt to climb Mount Everest in the 1920s, was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language non-fiction, The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the Boardman Tasket Prize for Mountain Literature.

Davis is the author of 15 books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow (Simon & Schuster), an anthropological investigation of Voodoo culture’s place in Haitian history. He is currently an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

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Richards, Thurston, Goyette win Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Awards

New Brunswick author David Adams Richards was the big winner at this year’s Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Awards, which were presented Oct. 12 at a ceremony in Halifax.

Richards received the $20,000 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award for his novel Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul (Doubleday Canada). Richards was up against two debut novelists: Valerie Compton (Tide Road, Goose Lane Editions) and Heather Jessup (The Lightning Field, Gaspereau Press).

Harry Thurston, who hails from Amherst, Nova Scotia, won the $2,000 Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award for The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History (Greystone Books), which recently won a Lane Anderson Award for science writing.

Halifax writer Sue Goyette won the $2,000 Atlantic Poetry Prize for outskirts (Brick Books), which received the Pat Lowther Memorial Award in June.

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