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What to Read This Summer: The Tyee’s Picks of 2024

33 book recommendations on everything from epic feuds to dirty dancing, radical generosity and more.

Tyee Staff and Contributors 7 Jun 2024The Tyee

It’s been a tough year so far owing to many things — drought, wildfire — but a great year for books.

Below, Tyee staffers and contributors offer selections that help us analyze and prepare for the difficult political and environmental times ahead, and navigate through tricky social and familial moments. And, of course, allow us to imagine futures where the world is not on fire.

Let us know what you think and share what you’re reading in the comments. Weighty tomes and confectionary diversions equally welcome.

Three book covers, from left: 'The Adversary' by Michael Crummey; 'Signs of Life' by Sarah Cox; 'Boys Don't Fry' by Kimberly Lee.

For everyone who loved the film The Banshees of Inisherin:

The Adversary
Michael Crummey
(Penguin Random House)

There’s nothing like an epic feud to fuel the plot of a novel and reveal the darkness lurking within human character. Like the offbeat Irish movie The Banshees of Inisherin, The Adversary takes place in an isolated rural community among characters who love to hate each other and will stop at nothing to gain the upper hand.

Author Michael Crummey has returned again and again to the outports of Newfoundland in different time periods in novels like Galore, The Wreckage and The Innocents. In The Adversary he sets the action in the early 1800s during the colonial fishing trade, setting a dissolute brother and an ambitious sister against each other with disastrous consequences. Also like The Banshees of Inisherin, this tale includes bolts of humour and quirk alongside tragedy and the bitter whims of fortune.

For hikers, kayakers and everyone else worried about the natural world:

Signs of Life: Field Notes from the Frontlines of Extinction
Sarah Cox
(Goose Lane)

The newest book from environmental journalist Sarah Cox, Signs of Life delves into the world of species on the brink of extinction in Canada, following the stories of the activists, scientists and Indigenous guardians who are endeavouring to help save them.

Cox covers the stories of saving Canada’s final three wild spotted owls, culling species such as cormorants in order to make space for other species, relocating species such as bison to repopulate an extirpated area, and plenty of other human interventions designed to address and correct what, ultimately, are problems stemming from the impacts of capitalism and colonialism. Signs of Life is a thoroughly researched, engagingly written, impeccably crafted book.

For the young parents in your life who want their kids to cook with them:

Boys Don’t Fry
Kimberly Lee
(Macmillan Publishers)

Lawyer turned children’s book author Kimberly Lee of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, teams up with illustrator Charlene Chua of Hamilton, Ontario, to deliver a book that will delight the four-to-six set alongside their parents.

Chua’s career has gained momentum through her collaboration with author Kat Zhang on a series of children’s books aimed at families of the Chinese diaspora (she illustrated the 2019 banger Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao), and here she brings a deft hand and knowing eye to her work in Boys Don’t Fry.

The story stars Jin, who comes home from school to find his extended family busily preparing for a Lunar New Year feast, but is shut out from helping because he is a boy. A rule-breaking grandma comes to his rescue, and we learn how everyone is welcome in the kitchen, including Jin’s non-binary auntie. The book speaks volumes without being prescriptive. It’s a style that kids wholeheartedly embrace, and which adults can learn from too.

Three book covers, from left: 'Midway' by Kayla Czaga; 'This American Ex-Wife' by Lyz Lenz; 'Apocalypse Child' by Carly Butler.

For everyone who’s grieved the loss of a parent:

Kayla Czaga
(House of Anansi)

Victoria-based poet Kayla Czaga has a particularly special way with words — a mix of playfulness and poignancy that really sneaks up on you. Her debut, For Your Safety Please Hold On, won the Gerald Lampert Award and was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, simultaneously introducing her poetry and establishing her as a key figure in contemporary literature. Czaga’s third book, Midway, is an exploration of grief. Born in 1989, Czaga has now lost both her parents and must learn what it means to live in the world without them.

For your unmarried friend who’s annoyed by all the money and time she’s spending as a guest at too many weddings this summer:

This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life
Lyz Lenz
(Penguin Random House)

Compelling, funny and true, Iowan journalist and author Lyz Lenz’s reported memoir pulls back the curtain on the darkest nights of her Midwestern married life to shed light on the structural inequalities of straight marriage in America. The book dives into the dissolution of Lenz’s marriage to demonstrate the systemic injustices and gendered inequities that are perpetrated by our collective valuation of marriage above other relationships.

Considering the Christian context in which she was raised, it’s brave of Lenz to write this book, and heartening to witness her journey of reclaiming herself and finding a new kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on having a husband.

To get a peek into what it’s like to be raised in conservative, end-times-focused Christianity:

Apocalypse Child: Surviving Doomsday and the Search for Identity at the End of the World
Carly Butler
(Caitlin Press)

Carly Butler was raised in a conservative Christian faith focused on the end times. Her mother was convinced the apocalypse was coming — and soon. As soon as midnight, on Jan. 1, 2000. This belief led Butler’s mother to move from Montana to B.C. in search of an isolated rural property where they could raise animals and become self-sufficient. It meant Butler’s mother chose to home-school; it meant she eschewed orthodontics for her daughter — who needs braces when the world is ending?

But of course, the world did not end at midnight on Jan. 1, 2000. Instead, that date marked the moment when doubt began to creep in. Butler’s gripping memoir, Apocalypse Child, traces her childhood in conservative evangelical Christianity, offering a window into these beliefs — and how people can begin to emerge from them to make their own way in life.

Three book covers, from left: 'The Power Broker' by Robert A. Caro; 'A City on Mars' by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith; 'A Map of the New Normal' by Jeff Rubin.

For those looking for the best master class in power and politics to understand the times:

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Robert A. Caro
(Penguin Random House)

Yes, we realize that this influential title came out in 1974 and not 2024. But we have the 99% Invisible podcast to thank for the recent spike in interest. Its virtual book club, timed with the book’s 50th anniversary, is running this year, releasing episodes every month. The podcast’s hosts summarize the behemoth and invite special celebrity guests along the way. So far, Conan O’Brien, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and none other than the author, Robert Caro himself, have shown up. We recommend following along.

The Power Broker has been called the best non-fiction book of all time. It is the painstakingly researched biography of Robert Moses, the New York park commissioner who never held elected office but used his intellect and personality to wield unprecedented power and physically transform the state in ways that will never be seen again, while stepping over all those in his way. This brickly of a book is more than a braggadocious prop: if you can finish it, you’ll finally be worthy of showing it off on your Zoom background.

For big fans of Elon Musk:

A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through?
Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith
(Penguin Random House)

This is a serious, careful analysis of what it would take to set up a permanent human settlement on a very unpleasant planet. The Weinersmiths make a solid case against the viability of lunar and Martian settlements, not to mention space habitats. But they are actually pro-settlement, and willing to think that technology might overcome these obstacles. They look beyond settlement to other issues, like space law and the likelihood that small colonies would die out — so a city on Mars would need a million residents arriving in a very short time. That is, if you can find a million people who seriously want to live in tunnels and drink desalinated Martian water.

For those who prefer no sugar coating on their lenses:

A Map of the New Normal: How Inflation, War and Sanctions Will Change Your World Forever
Jeff Rubin
(Penguin Random House)

The former top strategist for CIBC crafts bestsellers by examining the chugging train that is the global economy and warning passengers to brace for derailment. This time the tracks are blocked by rising inflation and a major realignment of dominant national economies. He’s betting on Russia, China and their fellow BRICS nations over Canada and the G7. Don’t expect even two cheers for democracy from realpolitik Rubin. His unapologetic outlook, as he said in a recent North Vancouver appearance, is “more Game of Thrones than biblical good and evil.”

Three book covers, from left: 'The Curious Case of Gina Adams' by Michelle Cyca; 'Always on Call' by Marion McKinnon Crook; 'Monsters, Martyrs and Marionettes' by Adrienne Gruber.

For your book-loving, design-enthusiast friend who wishes they owned a letterpress machine:

The Curious Case of Gina Adams: A “Pretendian” Investigation
Michelle Cyca
(Hingston & Olsen)

The latest instalment of the Permanent Record series by Alberta boutique book publisher Hingston & Olsen celebrates Vancouver journalist Michelle Cyca’s award-winning feature that explores Indigenous identity while investigating a woman who built a career on false claims to Indigeneity.

The book includes a new afterword by Cyca, who weaves her own experiences as a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation into her investigation on Gina Adams, a former professor at Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where Cyca used to work. This defining work of journalism is given a “forever home” in book form. As the publishers say, “We present these stories in hardcover editions to ensure that they will live on long after the newsprint crumbles and the link goes dead.”

For everyone curious about what it was like to be a nurse in northern BC in the 1970s:

Always On Call: Adventures in Nursing, Ranching and Rural Living
Marion McKinnon Crook
(Heritage House)

Marion McKinnon Crook arrived in the Cariboo in the 1960s, fresh from earning a bachelor of science in nursing. Always Pack a Candle, which covers her early years in the region, won the BC Historical Federation’s Community History Award in 2021. Always on Call, Crook’s followup, is an account of her life a decade later, in the mid-1970s, with more experience behind her — but still much to learn.

Crook’s frank, entertaining prose offers a window into her life as she balances rural nursing, which emerges as equal parts scientific and social, with raising three kids — and some farm animals, as a bonus.

For any parent who’s experienced moments of profound struggle:

Monsters, Martyrs and Marionettes: Essays on Motherhood
Adrienne Gruber

Adrienne Gruber’s new book of essays, Monsters, Martyrs and Marionettes, is an unflinching and deeply personal examination of motherhood — and it will be a balm to those whose families, despite their best efforts, are mired in both the banal difficulties of everyday life and the bigger, more serious difficulties, the ones that threaten to swallow us whole. Read the excerpt “Can a Dead Mother Be Sad,” which we published last month, for a sneak peek and a sense of the way Gruber uses her poetic sensibilities to climb inside the parts of parenthood that can be so hard to share with others.

Three book covers, from left: 'Teeth' by Dallas Hunt; 'How to Pronounce Knife' by Souvankham Thammavongsa; 'The Time of My Life' by Andrea Warner.

For everyone who can think of three different metaphorical and literal uses of the word ‘teeth’:

Dallas Hunt
(Nightwood Editions)

Dallas Hunt’s first poetry collection, Creeland, was nominated for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Indigenous Voices Award. His newest, Teeth, “grapples with the material realities and imaginaries Indigenous communities face, as well as the pockets of livability that they inhabit just to survive.” It is also about joy, and flourishing; about grief; about squirrels, and bears, and cavities; about what it means as an Indigenous poet to have one’s work be “legible” as Indigenous poetry.

For that family member who side-eyes ‘immigrants’:

How to Pronounce Knife
Souvankham Thammavongsa
(Penguin Random House)

The world Souvankham Thammavongsa builds in How to Pronounce Knife focuses specifically on the Laos diaspora. But its themes of alienation — from community, from culture, from family — are universal. Questioning the lies of capitalism, Canadian exceptionalism, colonialism, patriarchy and parental infallibility, How to Pronounce Knife covers both political and personal divides, tenderly illustrating the heartbreak, joy, frustrations, hypocrisy and hilarity of living here. Unless you’re Indigenous, you’re an immigrant, too. And as How to Pronounce Knife demonstrates, long-term settlers have more in common with newcomers than we think — if only we bothered to listen.

For fans (and haters!) of Dirty Dancing:

The Time of My Life: Dirty Dancing
Andrea Warner
(ECW Press)

Andrea Warner’s latest book, The Time of My Life: Dirty Dancing, doesn’t miss the importance of reproductive health care to the movie’s plot. “Dirty Dancing is an abortion movie,” Warner writes. “Yes, ‘dirty’ and ‘dancing’ are in the title, and dance is the medium through which our leads fall in love and ultimately find their own liberation, but it’s the pressing need for an abortion that drives the action.”

Warner, a pop culture journalist, thinks critically about why this 1987 classic film, starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, can’t be put in a corner. “I started to analyze what was so good about Dirty Dancing, and why I want to watch that more than, say, Footloose.... I started to figure out the pieces of it that made it so special,” Warner told The Tyee. “And that is the abortion, the stuff around class.”

Three book covers, from left: 'Reservations' by Steve Burgess; 'Broken City' by Patrick M. Condon; 'Ultra-Processed People' by Chris van Tulleken.

For the simultaneously reluctant and enthusiastic traveller:

Reservations: The Pleasures and Perils of Travel
Steve Burgess
(Douglas & McIntyre)

Tyee contributing editor Steve Burgess has woven his yarns and skilful reporting into a wonderful new book, Reservations: The Pleasures and Perils of Travel. It’s amusing, soulful and fascinatingly informative about the tourism industry. Burgess, who strives to be a “mindful tourist,” can be devastatingly hilarious about the selfie-collecting boors who throng (and almost inevitably ruin) famous destinations. But he doesn’t let himself off the hook. Instead, he puts his own privilege and carbon footprint on trial while exploring one big question: Can the positives of travel done better outweigh the damage tourism does to cultures and nature?

For NIMBYs, YIMBYs and everyone in between:

Broken City: Land Speculation, Inequality and Urban Crisis
Patrick M. Condon
(UBC Press)

Here on The Tyee, UBC professor of landscape architecture Patrick Condon has often written against the assumption that merely rezoning land for density and fast-tracking more condo and rental towers will fix affordability crises in cities like Vancouver. He’s drawn ire from developers and their pals by urging further fixes such as zoning for co-ops and non-profit housing, requiring new projects to have higher ratios of sub-market units, and taxing to quell land speculation. Having poked the bear, Condon took a break to further research and explain his diagnoses and prescriptions. The academic peer-reviewed result, Broken City, is neither NIMBY nor YIMBY. Outside the box, indeed.

For noshers, snackers and readers who get the munchies:

Ultra-Processed People: Why We Can’t Stop Eating Food That Isn’t Food
Chris van Tulleken
(Knopf Canada)

That frozen pizza, those bags of chips, that tasty big bottle of pop — they’re really just “industrially produced edible substances,” according to Dr. Chris van Tulleken and a lot of Brazilian researchers. His appetite-killing conclusion about ultra-processed food: “A vast body of data has emerged in support of the hypothesis that UPF damages the human body and increases rates of cancer, metabolic diseases and mental illness, that it damages human societies by displacing food cultures and driving inequality, poverty and early death, and that it damages the planet. The food system necessary for its production... is the leading cause of declining biodiversity and the second-largest contributor to global emissions.”

Three book covers, from left: 'Solidarity' by Leah Hunt-Hendrix and Astra Taylor; 'The Lantern and the Night Moths' by Yilin Wang; 'Weather' by Rob Taylor.

A book to radicalize you and everyone you know:

Solidarity: The Past, Present and Future of a World-Changing Idea
Leah Hunt-Hendrix and Astra Taylor
(Penguin Random House)

Building upon the ideas in Astra Taylor’s Massey Lectures book and lecture series, Taylor and Leah Hunt-Hendrix’s Solidarity: The Past, Present and Future of a World-Changing Idea is exactly the book we need in this particularly dark and dire moment. More than a road map, it is part history, part polemic and part plan for a better future. It’s a necessary and beautifully constructed investigation of what has created the deep, nay, cavernous, divisions that separate us and how to build bridges to bring us back together.

As Taylor said in a recent interview about the book, “I’m a big fan of [the organizer and educator] Mariame Kaba and her wonderful phrase, ‘hope is a discipline.’ We’re looking back at this history — from abolitionists to disability justice movements and workers — and seeing that people fought against incredible odds in conditions where they had no reason to be optimistic. Only by working together can we save ourselves and each other.” Amen, sisters and brothers!

If language and dialect remind you of home:

The Lantern and the Night Moths
Yilin Wang
(Invisible Publishing)

Yilin Wang’s rich collection of poetry in translation brings the work of five Chinese poets — Qiu Jin, Zhang Qiaohui, Fei Ming, Xiao Xi and Dai Wangshu — into English, alongside essays about their lives, the context from which they were writing, and the politics of translation and study of literature. “Translating Sinophone poetry,” Wang writes in their essay about Zhang’s work, “has become the most meaningful way in which I have been able to maintain a deep connection with my mother tongues.” This connection is visible both in Wang’s translations and in the essays that place their translations in conversation with the original works.

For parents who want to slow down their daily rush:

Rob Taylor
(Gaspereau Press)

Having published The News in 2016, Lower Mainland poet Rob Taylor is back with Weather, a book that collects haikus and other fairly short poems. Weather is a book that witnesses — the seasons, the rain, the sounds of children, the passage of time; its snippets and space offer the suggestion of stolen moments, the pauses between the activities of daily life full of work and parenting. As Taylor slows down to do this witnessing, so, too, do the readers who pick up the book.

Three book covers, from left: 'The Darkest White' by Eric Blehm; 'The Last Logging Show' by Aaron Williams; 'Talking to Strangers' by Rhea Tregebov.

For mountaineers and backwoods explorers:

The Darkest White: A Mountain Legend and the Avalanche That Took Him
Eric Blehm

In The Darkest White, New York Times bestselling author Eric Blehm delves deep into the life of snowboarding legend Craig Kelly, whose life was cut short by an avalanche that killed seven people in the Selkirk Mountains in early 2003. The story begins with Kelly’s upbringing in the United States and follows his tracks to Canada, where Kelly would take his final turns while training to become a certified ski guide — the first snowboarder to be accepted into the program. The Darkest White is the first thorough accounting of that tragic day, which shook the mountain community and ended the life of a snowboarding pioneer who continued to smash boundaries until his death.

For everyone who’s curious about what it’s like on the other side of BC’s logging debates:

The Last Logging Show: A Forestry Family at the End of an Era
Aaron Williams
(Harbour Publishing)

“By the time I stood on a dock waiting for a float plane to take me to logging camp, my family had been making clearcuts on B.C. hillsides for the better part of a century,” Aaron Williams writes in the prologue of The Last Logging Show: A Forestry Family at the End of an Era. The book follows Williams, a third-generation logger who has mostly found employment elsewhere, as he treks to Haida Gwaii to embed with a mostly aging workforce and document the twilight of conventional logging as a new set of possibilities opens in B.C.’s forests.

For those contemplating life and mortality:

Talking to Strangers
Rhea Tregebov
(Véhicule Press)

Rhea Tregebov’s newest poetry collection, Talking to Strangers, takes grief as one of its prongs of exploration. “I was smug in Grade One, judging the idolators / and their little gods as I learned that first / commandment. I continue smug, sure we’re / meat: matter not spirit,” Tregebov writes in “God.” So what does it mean to age, to lose friends and family, within this painful certainty? How do we do it? While Talking to Strangers doesn’t offer answers, it does offer rich moments of reflection.

Three book covers, from left: 'Peacocks of Instagram' by Deepa Rajagopalan; 'Coexistence' by Billy-Ray Belcourt; 'Held' by Anne Michaels.

For those who love short stories even more than novels:

Peacocks of Instagram
Deepa Rajagopalan
(House of Anansi)

Smart, funny and incisive, Deepa Rajagopalan’s debut about diasporic Indians proves once more that a book of short stories can carry as much, or more, of a punch than a novel. Sharp characters make their way in a world that is consistently underestimating them; as readers, we’re privy to the ironies of these encounters, shown what bubbles under the surface of “resilience.” There are downfalls and triumphs, victories and failures. Characters hustling, clear-eyed about their motives and what compromises they’re making to get by. Fans of the complex and well-wrought characters in short story collections by Alice Munro, Kim Fu and Alexander MacLeod will love this one, too.

For your cool younger cousin in grad school and on summer break, enduring both heartbreak and career angst:

Billy-Ray Belcourt
(Penguin Random House)

Billy-Ray Belcourt’s short story collection follows his characters into lecture halls and campus coffee shops, into their tiny rental apartments and back home through the boreal forests in northern Alberta to the reserves where they grew up.

Belcourt, an author and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta, is assistant professor of Indigenous creative writing at the University of British Columbia. His writing on contemporary academic life and queer Indigeneity sparkles with a special kind of magic that is a joy to behold.

One of the most delicious features of Coexistence is the unabashed permission Belcourt provides for his Indigenous characters to get what they want in the form of receiving the love they desire and deserve. We all know, of course, it’s not that easy in real life. But in the world of Belcourt’s stories, we get to rest in the beauty of his radical generosity. And that’s a revelatory gift.

When you want and need to be reminded of what words can do:

Anne Michaels
(McClelland & Stewart)

Anne Michaels’ fearsome capacity with language is abundantly clear in her novel Held. The celebrated Canadian writer and poet’s 1996 Fugitive Pieces is one of the most extraordinary works to come out of the national literary scene. After working on Held for a decade, Michaels’ ability to capture the heave and flow of the human history is matched only by her equal capacity for conjuring the most fragile of emotions.

The long process of distillation, of bringing things down to their very essence, creates series of intensities more akin to poetry than to narrative. Small piercing details of intimacy between lovers, parents and children, and dying soldiers are caught and stilled in Michaels’ language, long enough that you’re able to look at them closely and feel them even more deeply. A true work of art.

Three book covers, from left: 'The Medicine Chest' by Dr. Jarol Boan; 'Remembering Our Relations' by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation with Sabina Trimble and Peter Fortna; 'Smoke and Ashes' by Amitav Ghosh.

For those wanting to learn more about — and dismantle — racism in medicine:

The Medicine Chest: A Physician’s Journey Towards Reconciliation
Jarol Boan
(University of Regina Press)

Though Dr. Jarol Boan grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, she spent 20 years treating patients and working in academic institutions south of the border before deciding to return to her home province. The Medicine Chest: A Physician’s Journey Towards Reconciliation, which The Tyee excerpted earlier this year, documents Boan’s shift towards focusing on Indigenous health once she moved home. Learning from her Indigenous patients, she began to understand why mainstream approaches to medicine were so often failing them — and what she as a physician should be doing differently.

For everyone who visits Canada’s national parks:

Remembering Our Relations: Dënesųłıné Oral Histories of Wood Buffalo National Park
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation with Sabina Trimble and Peter Fortna
(University of Calgary Press)

In Remembering Our Relations, a collaborative oral history led by members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Dënesųłıné people tell the stories of betrayal, dispossession and erasure that enabled the creation of Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta.

When the park was established in 1922, Parks Canada imposed tight controls over who was allowed to trespass the new and arbitrary boundaries overlaid on 4.5 million hectares of Dene, Cree and Métis land. To protect the wood bison herds brought to the brink of extinction by European colonizers, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation members were required to apply for a permit to live, harvest and even visit relatives in the newly created park. Many Dene families weren’t eligible for a permit, so they had to transfer their membership to the Cree band or leave everything behind.

Remembering Our Relations illustrates the underhanded removal of the Dënesųłıné Peoples from Wood Buffalo National Park, and the Canadian government’s attempts to erase the essential role Indigenous Peoples played in maintaining a balanced ecosystem for the sake of buffalo conservation.

For politicians baffled by the toxic drug crisis:

Smoke and Ashes: Opium’s Hidden Histories
Amitav Ghosh
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

In this vivid and eye-opening book, Amitav Ghosh traces the history of opium and its derivatives from upper-class amusement to funder of the British Empire and now the scourge of ordinary people around the world — including B.C. Fun facts: some of the richest American families owed their wealth to selling opium in Guangzhou, China; the beautiful clipper ships were designed to get dope to China and Chinese goods home to America as fast as possible; George Orwell’s father was a minor official in the Indian opium trade.

Three book covers, from left: 'Woman, Life, Freedom' by Marjane Satrapi; 'Kenneyism' by Jeremy Appel; 'Points of Interest,' edited by David Beers and andrea bennett.

For anyone who needs to hear the phrase ‘Power to the women!’:

Woman, Life, Freedom
Marjane Satrapi
(Penguin Random House)

The author of the acclaimed graphic novel Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s new work brings together the words and images from a remarkable collection of Iranian artists, academics, writers and journalists. The history, present and potential future of the country is depicted in drawings and stories that illustrate the reality of living in Iran.

The book was inspired by the horrific death of a young woman named Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran by the religious morality police for the crime of not wearing a headscarf. After being beaten so severely that she went into a coma and died, Amini became not only a symbol of the Islamic republic’s brutality towards women but a rallying call for the protests that soon spread across the country. The words “Woman, Life, Freedom” soon radiated out beyond Iran itself, becoming a global movement for liberation.

For astute observers of political conservatism:

Kenneyism: Jason Kenney’s Pursuit of Power
Jeremy Appel
(Dundurn Press)

In the first major assessment of Kenney and his legacy, journalist Jeremy Appel’s Kenneyism: Jason Kenney’s Pursuit of Power charts in detail the rise, fall, effects and underlying philosophy of the enigmatic conservative’s political career. Grounded in the concept of “Kenneyism” — originally formulated by researcher John Carlaw — Appel explains Kenney’s thinking as a mix of neo-liberal and neo-conservative ideological commitments stuffed into an authoritarian populist package.

Through the concept, Appel reconciles seemingly contradictory political impulses, freedom and control, and tells a story worthy of the ancient Greeks, of hubris and irony, of rise and fall, of the costs of ambition and the punishments that often await the self-righteously self-assured. Appel’s effort is a success and the book ought to be on the shelf of any respectable political observer in this country.

For readers of The Tyee (our easiest recommendation yet!):

Points of Interest: In Search of the Places, People and Stories of BC
Edited by David Beers and andrea bennett
(Greystone Books)

More than a visitor’s guide to the region, The Tyee’s anthology of 30 essays and articles is “an insider’s guide to the hot spots, bright spots and dark corners of B.C., a place that never fails to surprise,” according to acclaimed author John Vaillant.

Edited by The Tyee’s David Beers and andrea bennett, Points of Interest includes pieces by many of The Tyee’s regular contributors, including Steve Burgess, Christopher Cheung, Amanda Follett Hosgood, Andrew Nikiforuk and Dorothy Woodend. Take the 100-Mile Diet north with J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith; discover the truth about blueberry picking in Abbotsford with Harrison Mooney; learn how seagulls on Granville Island are controlled using raptors with Michelle Cyca; and unearth the fate of Cumberland’s early Chinese community with Michael John Lo. These essays take readers on an eclectic literary road trip through B.C. culture.

With contributions from David Beers, andrea bennett, Christopher Cheung, Amanda Follett Hosgood, Ximena González, Katie Hyslop, Crawford Kilian, David Moscrop, Jen St. Denis, Dorothy Woodend and Jackie Wong.  [Tyee]

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