Must be something in the air. In the last few days, several people have asked for suggestions for good nonfiction books. Here are my two favourites from 2013.
This book was announced yesterday as a finalist for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (a BC Book Prize). (Go, Jane!) A beautiful collection of essays about aging and learning and fear. Writing and words and being human. Love and loss and teaching. Nature. Strength and weakness. And it has a gorgeous photograph on the cover that perfectly suits the book.
Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott (Douglas & McIntyre, 2013) by Mark Abley
A provocative look at Scott, a talented, obscure Canadian poet who was responsible for much of the suffering of First Nations people in Canada. Disturbing and at times difficult to read. And yet, a delight to read because of Mark’s unusual and ingenious trick of imagining debates with Scott’s ghost in hope of shining a light on the history behind the ongoing difficulties and injustices faced by Canada’s aboriginal people. Mark packs a lot of heavy historical info into this fairly slim volume, but the difficult parts are the things people did and the things other people suffered; this is not a dry info dump. The writing flows and this reader found herself engrossed from start to finish. Since I commented on the cover of Jane’s book, I’ll add here that the brooding photo on the cover of Mark’s book is just right too.
So what about you? What are your recommendations for a great work of creative nonfiction that I should add to my must-read list?