Whether you read non-fiction books out of curiosity or necessity, it’s hard to deny their relevance. From a good celebrity biography to a parenting book helping us on the always-challenging journey of parenthood, non-fiction is a staple on any reader’s bookshelf. With so many great sub-genres to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down a list of great picks, but here are some non-fiction reads currently getting buzz:
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land | Available here
An unexpected pregnancy during university forced Land to work to support herself and her child while doing night school to finish the degree she started. For those who have always lived in middle or upper-class comfort, this is an honest look at what living below the poverty line in the USA is like. There are uncomfortable truths, but the lessons learned by both Land and readers make it worth the read.
Calm The F*#k Down by Sarah Knight | Available here
While we all may be over the thrill of seeing a barely-disguised F-bomb in the title of a book, Knight has made an industry of naughty words on her cover pages and this latest installment shouldn’t be dismissed because of its profanity. The solid advice on learning to simply chill and not get too stressed by too much appeals to anyone who has ever over-thought anything. With humour not intended to overcome mental illness but rather give readers a simple diversion tactic to cope with everyday life, this may be a handy bedside staple for those days that make you want to pull your hair out.
The Yes-Brain Child: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity and Resilience by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson | Available here
The studies and books of Dr. Siegel are legendary in the parenting world, as are those of his co-author and psychotherapist Dr. Bryson. With this, their third book together, the parenting experts provide tools to develop what they call a “Yes-Brain” which based on scientific evidence, will help a child deal with life’s challenges in a way that is positive and healthy. On the surface, it may sound too simple when we all know parenting is anything but, yet the easy-to-read explanations and compelling evidence make this a must-read for parents who are always looking for new concepts and ideas to raise kids equipped to handle our rapidly-changing world.
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to my Daughter by David Chariandry | Available here
Twice long-listed for Canada’s Giller Prize for his fiction books, Chariandry decided to tackle the multi-layered facets of explaining race to his young daughter from his perspective as the son of immigrants of colour in Canada. It’s something many Canadians wouldn’t think to consider, but also a narrative that the diverse population of Canada can relate to in many ways. A poignant work of love from a father, this book is more than just a lesson in diversity.
Son of a Critch — A Childish Newfoundland Memoir by Mark Critch | Available here
If you enjoy Mark Critch on CBC’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”, you’ll love his autobiographical, coming-of-age story from his childhood in 1980’s Newfoundland. Critch’s humour shines through stories of his repeated troublemaking and trouble-finding, but also offers up intelligent insights and heartwarming takes on his home province, the people of Newfoundland and some of their history.
Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts by Brené Brown | Available here
The latest installment from the queen of self-discovery and empowerment, Dr. Brown tackles not only how to see ourselves and others through a more positive lens, but how to channel our best selves into leadership roles. Whether at work, at home, in familiar or friendship relationships, the tips shared focus on honesty and vulnerability as a gateway to enlightened interactions with others.
In Pieces by Sally Field | Available here
Beloved Academy and Emmy-award winning actress Sally Field wrote this autobiography in her own words and shares some of her most intimate stories. With the honesty and charm her fans expect of her, Field writes of her challenges and successes in a way that only makes her more endearing, if such a thing is possible. Yes, Sally — we really do love you!
Sisters and Spies by Susan Ottaway | Available here
World War Two British history buff Ottaway tells the tale of two sisters who worked as special agents for England’s Special Operations Executive during the war. Incredible stories of courage in these women who took on extremely dangerous missions, this is a new book getting loads of hype and containing all the makings of an excellent feminist movie someday.
Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga | Available here
This is not a new book, but the thirst for understanding and knowledge about Canada’s own Indigenous people is growing and Talaga’s book provides a primer on the part of history left out of public education. A recipient of numerous awards and told from an Indigenous journalist’s perspective, Talaga gives added depth to the heart-wrenching stories of the deaths -and lives – of seven Indigenous youth in the Thunder Bay area. The reader will be forever changed and hopefully inspired to support change.
There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman | Available here
If you loved the bestselling “Bringing Up Bébé”, Druckerman lays out her hilarity again in this book about turning 40. Her funny observations about how life changes as we age are an easy way to take our inevitable growing older in stride and accept the rights of passage in adulthood as something we can all experience with some self-deprecating laughs.
Becoming by Michelle Obama | Available here
Drop everything and curl up with this incredible autobiography from the USA’s most prolific First Lady if you haven’t already read it. Michelle Obama charmed the world while her husband was President, and her book continues our love affair with her usual cool wit, warm grace and perceptive intelligence. Michelle Obama for President in 2020, anyone?