Past Non-Fiction

    • The current month's picks

      Past DVD picks

      Past fiction

      Past graphic novels

      Past children’s books

      Past picks by students

      Former staff members’ picks


      50 Photographers You Should Know

      50 Photographers You Should Know
      by Peter Stepan
      Dalene's Pick

      I like the time lines that are included at the top of every page. One of my favorite photographers is on page 80!
      Active Vancouver

      Active Vancouver
      by Roy Jantzen
      Michelle’s Pick

      If you love outdoor activities and recreation in Vancouver, this is the book you MUST read! It gives you details on how to prepare for trips, resources, and recommendations which include trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, cycling, paddling, picnicking, and other adventures. Subtitled “A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Recreation in the City’s Natural Environments” the book will give you a lot of ideas about what to do in Vancouver via statistics, directions, maps, and images by a variety of photographers.
      Bad Feminist

      Bad Feminist
      by Roxanne Gay
      Jocelyn’s Pick

      A collection of essays that tackles gender and racial inequality from a stance that is at once pop culture and academic, humorous, and deeply critical.
      Baghdad Burning

      Baghdad Burning
      by Riverbend
      Jessica’s Pick

      “I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend.” So begins Baghdad Burning, part one of a compilation of blog entries by Riverbend, a young Iraqi woman, whose acclaimed award-winning blog started on August 17, 2003 and describes in scorching detail how Iraqi civilian freedoms, especially those of women, have steadily diminished since the U.S. occupation, and the terrible costs all Iraqi people have had to pay, often with their lives. Riverbend’s witty, humorous, and sometimes elegantly solemn stories of her everyday life and experiences, both wonderful and tragic, is what makes this “girl blog” so exceptional.
      Best Movie Scenes

      Best Movie Scenes
      by Sanford Levine
      Tania’s Pick

      Who doesn’t love a good list book? Relive old favourite movies and find out which ones you’ve been missing.
      Biggest and Best of Canada

      Biggest and Best of Canada
      by Aaron Kylie
      Michelle’s Pick

      When you open the book, the first thing that catches your eyes will be the incredible, beautiful images. This book shares the interesting people, places, wildlife, and facts about this country. Readers will explore the best of Canada: the biggest, tallest, and longest, as well the firsts and the world bests. You might find out the continent’s first chocolate nut bar was from Canada, the first kiss in movie history involved a Canadian, the first Hollywood star to be known by her real name was Canadian, that Canada is the birthplace of hockey, lacrosse, ringette, and 5-pin bowling, that the first recorded baseball game was played in Beachville, Ontario, or that McGill University played the first “American” football game in the world.

      There are hundreds more of these biggest and best facts and figures about Canada in this book. After you read it, you will be amazed by how great the country is and by how many wonderful things you will be able to tell your friends and families.
      British Columbia’s New North

      British Columbia’s New North
      by Ramona Materi
      Michelle’s Pick

      As a grad from CAP U, Ramona Materi’s first published book is targeted to small and medium companies looking to start up or expand in BC's North.
      The Elements of Style

      The Elements of Style
      by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White
      Michael’s Pick

      Whether you’re writing novels or essays, if you want to become a better writer, this book, known to many as “The Writer’s Bible,” is the first one you should read (and some would say the only one you need).
      Felt

      Felt
      Edited by Katharina Thomas
      Dalene’s Pick

      Who can resist touching felt? Many of us will remember a felt board with animal-shaped pieces that were used to tell a story, but if you delve inside the fuzzy slipcover you will discover the long and diverse history of felt, ranging from fashion “Felt apron with underpants,” to more practical uses such as covering yurts in Mongolia to regulate temperatures in summer and winter. If I am ever in Mouzon, France, I will stop in to visit the felt museum.
      Fun Fact: Castlegar, B.C. held the first international felt conference in North America.
      firewater

      Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours)
      by Harold R. Johnson
      Chelsea's Pick

      A personal yet level-headed book about the effects of alcohol in Aboriginal communities. Concise and eloquently presented, it will make you look at alcohol's lasting effect in a whole new light.
      froth

      Froth! The Science of Beer
      by Mark Denny
      Dalene's Pick

      Chat with a brew master at one of the many local breweries around town and sound like you know what you are talking about! At the very least you can impress your friends with new words like Fobbing (excessive foaming of beer when it is poured), Dunkel (malty lager from Bavaria), and Hydrometer (measures the density of wort.)
      Funny in Farsi

      Funny in Farsi
      by Firoozeh Dumas
      Dalene's Pick

      Firoozeh Dumas was 7 years old when her family moved from oil rich Abadan, Iran to Newport Beach, California in 1972. She recounts her family’s experiences with poignant descriptions and a wry sense of humour. Highly recommended!
      Gender Failure

      Gender Failure
      by Rae Spoon & Ivan Coyote
      Elizabeth’s Pick

      Gender Failure is a collection of autobiographical essays written by Canadian authors/performers Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon. It is a written account of their cross Canada performance and tour under the same name. Their essays address and explain their experiences being of transgender and failing to fit into the binary of gender. Both identifying as gender neutral, these stories are about their growth and acceptance of living outside of the restrictions of gender binary. Funny and heartbreaking, their stories are an eye opening experience.
      How to Be a Woman

      How to Be a Woman
      by Caitlin Moran
      Michelle’s Pick

      This book is not only for women. Everyone should read it! It is like a good friend who sits beside you and reminds you how important you are, just being exactly who you are. Moran discusses all kinds of subjects, including makeup, birth, motherhood, sex, love, work, misogyny, fear, and just how to feel in your own skin. Overall, this is what feminism needs right now.
      Immortal Life

      The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
      by Rebecca Skloot
      Brook's Pick

      Rebecca Skloot weaves the life-story of a woman and her family with the incredible scientific breakthrough that was the result of her cells and makes the whole story fascinating and understandable, even to the unscientific mind. I couldn't put this book down.
      Independence Days

      Independence Days
      by Sharon Astyk
      Joshua's Pick

      I love fermentation and this book has a great section on the topic. It is also an introduction to anarchy philosophy and hands on techniques.
      Infographic History of the World

      The Infographic History of the World
      by Valentina D'Efilippo & James Ball
      Tania’s Pick

      Who doesn’t love history? Who doesn’t love infographics? Put them together and data about the past comes alive.
      Lord of the Rings

      J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
      by Humphrey Carpenter
      Michael’s Pick

      I’m generally not that big on biographies. That said, this one is very good, providing a good look at what Tolkien was like. The thing that struck me the most about it was how normal he was. (Well, apart from the fact he was ultra nerdy when it came to languages … he was fluent in something like 12 or 13, and familiar to varying degrees with another 9 or 10…)
      Lenin’s Tomb

      Lenin’s Tomb
      by David Remnick
      Michael’s Pick

      Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1994, this book offers a detailed look at the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is written from the interesting perspective of a Westerner who actually lived there at the time as a news correspondent. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of the U.S.S.R.
      The Life You Can Save

      The Life You Can Save
      by Peter Singer
      Maryann's Pick

      The Life You Can Save helped me think more clearly about charity in many communities. Charity and giving and politics and caring seem sort of mixed up and this is a good book for sorting things out and building your own opinion.
      Lion

      Lion
      by Saroo Brierley & Larry Buttrose
      Sabrina's Pick

      Lion is the story of Saroo Brierley, who fell asleep on a train as a young boy in India and ended up being adopted by a family in Tasmania. As an adult, Saroo painstakingly matched landmarks from his memories to images from Google Earth in order to find his way home to "Ginestlay." Lion was recently made into an Academy Award-nominated movie starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, and Nicole Kidman. It is a quick, heart-warming read, perfect for a rainy day.
      Milk and Honey

      milk and honey
      by rupi kaur
      Elizabeth's Pick

      From the book:
      “milk and honey is a collection of poetry about
      love
      loss
      trauma
      abuse
      healing
      and femininity
      it is split into four chapters
      each chapter serves a different purpose
      deals with a different pain
      heals a different heartache
      milk and honey takes readers through
      a journey of the most bitter moments in life
      and finds sweetness in them
      because there is sweetness everywhere
      if you are just willing to look

      - about the book”
      Mondo Cocktail

      Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History
      by Christine Sismondo
      Dalene's Pick

      The next best thing to drinking cocktails is talking about cocktails! Plenty of trivia and classic recipes!! Mint Julep, anyone?
      Napoleon Bonaparte

      Napoleon Bonaparte
      by Alan Schom
      Michael’s Pick

      While the author of this book doesn’t always take the most favorable view of Napoleon (for example, he ascribes many of his victories to blind luck … yeah, right), it is nonetheless a compelling read. The biggest reason for this is the author’s assertion that Napoleon was, indeed, poisoned – but not by the British. (If you want to find out who the author believes murdered the Emperor of the French, you’ll have to read the book!) Whether or not you believe his theory, it is a fascinating look at Napoleon’s life.
      North of Normal

      North of Normal
      by Cea Sunrise Person
      Brook's Pick

      This an amazing story about a young girl raised in a crazy, counter-culture family who lived off the land. When she realized all of that wasn't normal, she strove to find a way out and search for her own sense of normal. This story is about how she went from a tipi in the wilderness and eating bug stew and bear meat to how she navigated her way on her own to become an international model by the time she was 13. It's an amazing story and a quick read. You'll love it!
      On Writing

      On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
      by Stephen King
      Michael's Pick

      Part autobiography and part writer’s guide, Stephen King’s On Writing is a book any aspiring writer or King fan should read.
      One Thousand Beards

      One Thousand Beards
      by Allan Peterkin
      Dalene's Pick

      There is so much more to beards than just hipsters. Consider:

      The Medical Beard
      The Feminine Beard
      The Religious Beard
      The Gay Beard
      The Regulated Beard

      Who knows, maybe you will grow one of your very own.
      Paris Blues

      Paris Blues
      by Andy Fry
      Tania’s Pick

      Paris of the early 20th century became a haven for black musicians looking to escape the crushing culture of segregation and American race relations. Finding a knowledgeable and appreciative audience as well as some breathing room to be human, these scions of jazz made great strides in the development of their art thousands of miles away from the USA. Paris Blues explores the historical scene while Half-Blood Blues takes a fictional stroll down similar streets.
      Philosophy of the Coen Brothers

      Philosophy of the Coen Brothers
      edited by Mark T. Conard
      Tania's Pick

      What’s your favourite Coen Bros. movie? They did again recently with their finely-tuned, atmospheric look at the 1960’s New York folk scene, Inside Llewyn Davis. This essay collection tackles their ouevre film by film with provocative and insightful analysis.
      Reason You Walk

      The Reason You Walk
      by Wab Kinew
      Dalene’s Pick

      Forgiveness is a prominent theme in Wab Kinew’s memoir. In his words, “To be hurt, yet forgive. To do wrong, but forgive yourself. To depart from this world leaving only love. This is the reason you walk.” He hosted the CBC documentary 8th Fire series and is an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
      Recipes for Disaster

      Recipes for Disaster
      by CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective
      Jessica's Pick

      Do you ever dream of making secret plans? Wanting to challenge the status quo? Maybe being part of the Trump resistance? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook is for you.

      P.s. As the authors quote in this book, I also have never “engaged in any of the dumb and dangerous activities described herin.” Only dreamt of it.☺
      Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

      The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
      by William L. Shirer
      Michael’s Pick

      Don’t get put off by the thickness: this is the definitive work on the history of Nazi Germany. Author William Shirer had unprecedented access to the meticulous records the Nazis kept (what is it about dictatorships that they feel the need to document everything?) and was able to provide an in-depth look at the Third Reich that none have been able to equal.
      serpent

      The Serpent and the Rainbow
      by Wade Davis
      Jessica's Pick

      The Serpent and the Rainbow details Canadian ethnobotanist Wade Davis’s extraordinary discovery explaining the preparation and application of the zombie potion. What begins as a scientific investigation rising from the societal reemergence of two living Haitians formerly declared dead and buried, transcends into a journey rich in secret societies, astonishing rituals, and vibrant traditions. As Davis unravels the secrets of the zombie formula he elucidates the mystery and beauty of Haitian culture and spiritualism. Finishing this book I felt for Haiti a new understanding and admiration that I doubt I would have discovered had I not read Davis’s remarkable adventure.
      Shake Hands With the Devil

      Shake Hands With the Devil
      by Roméo Dallaire
      Jessica’s Pick

      Shake Hands with the Devil is a haunting story beautifully composed by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force Commander Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire. He accounts firsthand the events leading up to and during the Rwandan 1994 genocide.
      Abandoned by the world powers, and crippled by ineffective UN mandates, Dallaire highlights the heroism and sacrifices of the Rwandan people and his meager UN peacekeeping force. Dallaire reveals that the tragedy which stole over 800,000 Rwandan lives was not inevitable, but easily avertible if only the world cared enough to stop it. This is a highly rewarding read despite its bleak content.
      Shrill

      Shrill
      by Lindy West
      Elizabeth's Pick

      Lindy West is a hilarious and sharp writer/performer. I had heard her on a couple different podcasts before reading this book and enjoyed listening to her witty and informed advocacy of self- acceptance, fat acceptance, and gender dynamics inside and outside the comedy world. In this memoir she mixes social and political observations with personal narrative. While she doesn’t make any ground breaking statements, her writing is succinct and approachable to a broad audience. This book pairs well to episode 589 of This American Life.
      Squamish-English Dictionary

      Squamish-English Dictionary
      by the Squamish Nation Dictionary Project
      Dalene’s Pick

      It is unlikely that I will ever be a fluent speaker of the Squamish language, but learning a few words is on my bucket list. Huy chexw (Thank You).
      Take It As A Compliment

      Take It As A Compliment
      by Maria Stoian
      Elizabeth’s Pick

      Take it as a Compliment is a collection of stories from anonymous users via Maria Stoian’s project tumblr. Stories by survivors of sexual abuse, harassment and assault, this graphic novel features some powerful narratives. With Stoian’s illustrations visually reflecting the stories, the graphic novel serves as a testament to all survivors as well as an open dialogue and a call for change.
      Wayfinders

      The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World
      by Wade Davis
      Jessica & Maryann's Pick

      From Jessica: Wade Davis’s The Wayfinders, a 2009 collection of the CBC Massey Lectures, eloquently and respectfully celebrates the diversity of human culture while examining what it means to be “human and alive.” Davis stresses the uniqueness and fragility of the human “ethnosphere” and urges modernity through examples of ancient wisdom and traditions to listen rather than dismiss “other ways of orienting human beings in social, spiritual, and ecological space.” The Wayfinders realizes the vulnerability of the human legacy, but more importantly gives us hope that if we listen we can change.

      From Maryann: The Wayfinders is a great piece for me and something I think of often as a DISCOVERY and Access librarian. I try to constantly remind myself of the power in the practices of indigenous systems of knowledge and not just get stuck in the dominant cultures of knowledge that libraries – especially – must navigate. My favorite part of this book covers the contrast to the navigation skills and approaches of south sea islanders in open water over the shore hugging and map reliant style of European countries in their “ages of exploration.”
      What Happened

      What Happened, Miss Simone?
      by Alan Light
      Tania's Pick

      The blurb says "Inspired by the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary" but any bio of this fabulous musical talent is inspired by the genius herself. Read about the incomparable Nina Simone here, then check out her live performance on our DVD, Nina Simone: Live in ’65 & ’68 (M1630.18 S46 N55 2008 1st Floor Media Video).
      When Breath Becomes Air

      When Breath Becomes Air
      by Paul Kalanithi
      Sabrina's Pick

      When you know that a book ends with the author’s death, it can be hard to form an attachment. Not in the case of When Breath Becomes Air. In the span of 225 pages, readers join Paul Kalanithi as he reflects on his life, from his childhood in Arizona, through medical school, as he pushes his limits as a neurosurgery resident, and finally his losing battle with cancer. His lyrical writing and storytelling voice make this book an unforgettable and heartbreaking read. Read with a box of tissues.
      Wilderness Pleasures

      Wilderness Pleasures: A Practical Guide to Camping Bliss
      by Kevin Callan
      Dalene's Pick

      Camping is Canada’s national pastime! Find out why “I Hate White Rabbits” works, etiquette for skinny dipping, and how to make the perfect bush martini! Kevin Callan also has an informative section on cool camp gadgets like how to make a beer can camp stove. There is also another book by him in the collection called The Happy Camper: An Essential Guide to Life Outdoors.