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True Stories

A collection of true stories. Get lost in the past with these fascinating biographies, memoirs, historical accounts, and more.  

The Wide Wide Sea

- Hampton Sides

Hardcover $48.00
Reader Reward Price: $43.20

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER o An epic account of the most momentous voyage of the Age of Exploration, which culminated in Captain James Cook's death in Hawaii, and left a complex and controversial legacy still debated to this day.

"Sides has mastered the art of you-are-there historical narrative. A thrilling and necessary update to one of history's most consequential cultural collisions." --John Vaillant, New York Times bestselling author of Fire Weather and The Tiger


On July 12th, 1776, Captain James Cook, already lionized as the greatest explorer in British history, set off on his third voyage in his ship the HMS Resolution. Two-and-a-half years later, on a beach on the island of Hawaii, Cook was killed in a conflict with native Hawaiians. How did Cook, who was unique among captains for his respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures, come to that fatal moment?

Hampton Sides' bravura account of Cook's last journey both wrestles with Cook's legacy and provides a thrilling narrative of the titanic efforts and continual danger that characterized exploration in the 1700s. Cook was renowned for his peerless seamanship, his humane leadership, and his dedication to science--the famed naturalist Joseph Banks accompanied him on his first voyage, and Cook has been called one of the most important figures of the Age of Enlightenment. He was also deeply interested in the native people he encountered. In fact, his stated mission was to return a Tahitian man, Mai, who had become the toast of London, to his home islands. On previous expeditions, Cook mapped huge swaths of the Pacific, including the east coast of Australia, and initiated first European contact with numerous peoples. He treated his crew well, and endeavored to learn about the societies he encountered with curiosity and without judgment.

Yet something was different on this last voyage. Cook became mercurial, resorting to the lash to enforce discipline, and led his two vessels into danger time and again. Uncharacteristically, he ordered violent retaliation for perceived theft on the part of native peoples. This may have had something to do with his secret orders, which were to chart and claim lands before Britain's imperial rivals could, and to discover the fabled Northwest Passage. Whatever Cook's intentions, his scientific efforts were the sharp edge of the colonial sword, and the ultimate effects of first contact were catastrophic for Indigenous people around the world. The tensions between Cook's overt and covert missions came to a head on the shores of Hawaii. His first landing there was harmonious, but when Cook returned after mapping the coast of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, his exploitative treatment of the Hawaiians led to the fatal encounter.

At once a ferociously-paced story of adventure on the high seas and a searching examination of the complexities and consequences of the Age of Exploration, THE WIDE WIDE SEA is a major work from one of our finest narrative nonfiction writers.

Every Living Thing

- Jason Roberts

Hardcover $42.00
Reader Reward Price: $37.80

From the bestselling author of A Sense of the World comes this dramatic, globe-spanning and meticulously-researched story of two scientific rivals and their race to survey all life on Earth.

In the 18th century, two men dedicated their lives to the same daunting task: identifying and describing all life on Earth. Their approaches could not have been more different. Carl Linnaeus, a pious Swedish doctor with a huckster's flair, believed that life belonged in tidy, static categories. Georges-Louis de Buffon, an aristocratic polymath and keeper of France's royal garden, viewed life as a dynamic swirl of complexities. Both began believing their work to be difficult, but not impossible--how could the planet possibly hold more than a few thousand species? Stunned by life's diversity, both fell far short of their goal. But in the process they articulated starkly divergent views on nature, on humanity's role in shaping the fate of our planet and on humanity itself.  

The rivalry between these two unique, driven individuals created reverberations that still echo today. Linnaeus, with the help of acolyte explorers he called "apostles" (only half of whom returned alive), gave the world such concepts as mammal, primate and homo sapiens--but he also denied species change and promulgated racist pseudo-science. Buffon coined the term reproduction, formulated early prototypes of evolution and genetics, and argued passionately against prejudice. It was a clash that, during their lifetimes, Buffon seemed to be winning. But their posthumous fates would take a very different turn.

With elegant, propulsive prose grounded in more than a decade of research, featuring appearances by Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Darwin, bestselling author Jason Roberts tells an unforgettable true-life tale of intertwined lives and enduring legacies, tracing an arc of insight and discovery that extends across three centuries into the present day.

The Honourable John Norquay

- Gerald Friesen

Hardcover $39.95
Reader Reward Price: $35.96

The life and times of the Premier from Red River 

John Norquay, orphan and prodigy, was a leader among the Scots Cree peoples of western Canada. Born in the Red River Settlement, he farmed, hunted, traded, and taught school before becoming a legislator, cabinet minister, and, from 1878 to 1887, premier of Manitoba.

Once described as Louis Riel's alter ego, he skirmished with prime minister John A. Macdonald, clashed with railway baron George Stephen, and endured racist taunts while championing the interests of the Prairie West in battles with investment bankers, Ottawa politicians, and the CPR. His contributions to the development of Canada's federal system and his dealings with issues of race and racism deserve attention today.

Recounted here by Canadian historian Gerald Friesen, Norquay's life story ignites contemporary conversations around the nature of empire and Canada's own imperial past. Drawing extensively on recently opened letters and financial papers that offer new insights into his business, family, and political life, Friesen reveals Norquay to be a thoughtful statesman and generous patriarch. This masterful biography of the Premier from Red River sheds welcome light on a neglected historical figure and a tumultuous time for Canada and Manitoba.

Other People's Words

- Lissa Soep

Hardcover $37.95
Reader Reward Price: $34.16

What if the great love of your life is friendship?In their twenties, Lissa Soep and her boyfriend forged deep friendships with two other couples--Mercy and Christine; and Emily and Jonnie--until, decades later, Jonnie died suddenly, in an accident, and Christine passed away after a mysterious illness. Christine had been a writer, Jonnie a storyteller. Lissa couldn't imagine a world without their letters, postcards, texts--a world without their voices. Then she found comfort in a surprising place. As a graduate student, she had studied the philosophy of the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin, who wrote about the many voices that can echo through a single person's speech. Suddenly, Bakhtin's theory that our language is "filled to overflowing with other people's words" came to life.  Lissa began hearing Jonnie and Christine when least expected. In a conversation with Emily, a familiar phrase was spoken, and suddenly, there was Jonnie, with his riotous laugh, vibrant in her mind. Mercy recited an Adrienne Rich poem in just the way Christine used to and, for a moment, Christine was with them in the room.Other People's Words shows us how we carry within us the language of loved ones who are gone, and how their words can be portals to other times and places. Language--as with love--is boundless, and Other People's Words is an intimate, original, and profoundly generous look at its power to nurture life amid the wreckage of grief. Dialogues do not end when a friendship or person is gone; instead, they accrue new layers of meaning, showing how the conversations we share with those we love continue after them, and will continue after us.

Space Oddities

- Harry Cliff

Hardcover $39.00
Reader Reward Price: $35.10

Experimental physicist at CERN and acclaimed science presenter Harry Cliff offers an eye-opening account of the inexplicable phenomena that science has only recently glimpsed, and that could transform our understanding of the fundamental nature of reality.

Something strange is going on in the cosmos. Scientists are uncovering a catalogue of weird phenomena that simply can't be explained by our long-established theories of the universe. Particles with unbelievable energies are bursting from beneath the Antarctic ice.  Unknown forces seem to be tugging on the basic building blocks of matter. Stars are flying away from us far faster than anyone can explain.  

After decades of fruitless searching, could we finally be catching glimpses of a profound new view of our physical world? Or are we being fooled by cruel tricks of the data? 

In Space Oddities, Harry Cliff, a physicist who does cutting-edge work on the Large Hadron Collider, provides a riveting look at the universe's most confounding puzzles.  In a journey that spans continents, from telescopes perched high above the Atacama Desert to the subterranean caverns of state-of-the-art particle colliders to balloons hovering over the frozen icesheets of the South Pole, he meets the men and women hunting for answers--who have staked their careers and reputations on the uncertain promise of new physics. 

The result is a mind-expanding, of-the-moment look at the fields of physics and cosmology as they transform before us.  With wonder, clarity, and a dose of humor, Cliff investigates the question: Are these anomalies accidents of nature, or could they be pointing us toward vast, hidden worlds?

There's Always This Year

- Hanif Abdurraqib

Hardcover $42.00
Reader Reward Price: $37.80

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER o A "powerful" (The Guardian) reflection on basketball, life, and home--from the author of the National Book Award finalist A Little Devil in America

"Mesmerizing . . . not only the most original sports book I've ever read but one of the most moving books I've ever read, period."--Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1990s, Hanif Abdurraqib witnessed a golden era of basketball, one in which legends like LeBron James were forged and countless others weren't. His lifelong love of the game leads Abdurraqib into a lyrical, historical, and emotionally rich exploration of what it means to make it, who we think deserves success, the tension between excellence and expectation, and the very notion of role models, all of which he expertly weaves together with intimate, personal storytelling. "Here is where I would like to tell you about the form on my father's jump shot," Abdurraqib writes. "The truth, though, is that I saw my father shoot a basketball only one time."
 
There's Always This Year is a triumph, brimming with joy, pain, solidarity, comfort, outrage, and hope. No matter the subject of his keen focus--whether it's basketball, or music, or performance--Hanif Abdurraqib's exquisite writing is always poetry, always profound, and always a clarion call to radically reimagine how we think about our culture, our country, and ourselves.

Shakespeare's Sisters

- Ramie Targoff

Hardcover $44.00
Reader Reward Price: $39.60

This remarkable work about women writers in the English Renaissance explodes our notion of the Shakespearean period by drawing us into the lives of four women who were committed to their craft long before anyone ever imagined the possibility of "a room of one's own."

In an innovative and engaging narrative of everyday life in Shakespeare's England, Ramie Targoff carries us from the sumptuous coronation of Queen Elizabeth in the mid-sixteenth century into the private lives of four women writers working at a time when women were legally the property of men. Some readers may have heard of Mary Sidney, accomplished poet and sister of the famous Sir Philip Sidney, but few will have heard of Aemilia Lanyer, the first woman in the seventeenth century to publish a book of original poetry, which offered a feminist take on the crucifixion, or Elizabeth Cary, who published the first original play by a woman, about the plight of the Jewish princess Mariam. Then there was Anne Clifford, a lifelong diarist who fought for decades against a patriarchy that tried to rob her of her land in one of England's most infamous inheritance battles.

These women had husbands and children to care for and little support for their art, yet against all odds they defined themselves as writers, finding rooms of their own where doors had been shut for centuries. Targoff flings those doors open, revealing the treasures left by these extraordinary women; in the process, she helps us see the Renaissance in a fresh light, creating a richer understanding of history and offering a much-needed female perspective on life in Shakespeare's day.

Normal Women

- Philippa Gregory

Hardcover $49.99
Reader Reward Price: $44.99

"Lively, timely and gloriously energetic. Each page bursts with life, and every chapter swirls with personalities left out of traditional narratives of Britain's past. Philippa Gregory has produced something rare and wonderful: a genuinely new history of [Britain], with women at its beating heart." --Dan Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets

"You've devoured her novels, but now Gregory shows off chops as a historian. . . . An amazing read." --The Los Angeles Times

The #1 New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her magnum opus--a landmark work of feminist nonfiction that radically redefines our understanding of the extraordinary roles ordinary women played throughout British history.

AN INDIE BESTSELLER

Did you know that there are more penises than women in the Bayeux Tapestry? That the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 was started and propelled by women who were protesting a tax on women? Or that celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin believed not just that women were naturally inferior to men, but that they'd evolve to become ever more inferior?

These are just a few of the startling findings you will learn from reading Philippa Gregory's Normal Women. In this ambitious and groundbreaking book, she tells the story of England over 900 years, for the very first time placing women--some fifty per cent of the population--center stage.

Using research skills honed in her work as one of our foremost historical novelists, Gregory trawled through court records, newspapers, and journals to find highwaywomen and beggars, murderers and brides, housewives and pirates, female husbands and hermits. The "normal women" you will meet in these pages went to war, ploughed the fields, campaigned, wrote, and loved. They rode in jousts, flew Spitfires, issued their own currency, and built ships, corn mills and houses. They committed crimes or treason, worshipped many gods, cooked and nursed, invented things, and rioted. A lot.

A landmark work of scholarship and storytelling, Normal Women chronicles centuries of social and cultural change--from 1066 to modern times--powered by the determination, persistence, and effectiveness of women.

*INCLUDES ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT AND A FULL-COLOR INSERT*

"An expansive, inclusive and elegantly woven nonfiction account of the lives of women in England from the Norman Conquest to the modern day. To describe it as merely a retelling is to undermine a core principle: This is a history of women in England, yes, but it is also a history of England, full stop. . . . At more than 500 pages, with extensive endnotes and a 30-page index, Normal Women is a behemoth you may be inclined to skim, until you realize you're actually luxuriating in every word." --The New York Times

Rogers v. Rogers

- Alexandra Posadzki

Hardcover $38.95
Reader Reward Price: $35.06

A riveting, deeply reported account that takes us inside the dramatic battle for control of Canada's largest wireless carrier, and paints a broader picture of the cutthroat telecom industry, the labyrinth of regulatory and political systems that govern it, and the high-stakes corporate games played by the Canadian establishment.

Alexandra Posadzki's ground-breaking coverage in the Globe and Mail exposed one of the most spectacular boardroom and family dramas in Canadian corporate history--one that has pitted the company's extraordinarily powerful chairman and controlling shareholder, Edward Rogers, against not only his own management team but also the wishes of his mother and two of his sisters. Hanging in the balance is no less than the pending $20 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications, a historic deal that promises to transform Rogers into the truly national telecom empire that its late founder, Ted Rogers, always envisioned. 

Based on deeply sourced, investigative reporting of the iconic $30 billion publicly traded telecom and media giant, Posadzki takes us inside a company that touches the lives of millions of Canadians, challenging what we thought we knew about corporate governance and who really holds the power. Rogers v. Rogers is also a story of family legacy and succession, of an old guard pushing back at the new guard, and of a company struggling to find its footing in the wake of its legendary founder's death. At the heart of it all is a dispute between warring factions of the family over how they each interpret the desires of the late patriarch and the very identity of the company that bears their name.

Never Better

- Gonzalo Riedel

Trade paperback $23.99
Reader Reward Price: $21.59

His wife died before their second son turned one. How can he keep her memory alive when there's so much he wants to forget?

There was a time before his wife got sick when Gonzalo could think about other things. They had full lives where death didn't factor. Where humour was more than a coping mechanism. Life wasn't all about treatments and recovery, or the emptiness he felt when she died.

They had kids together. Young kids. Less than a year after their youngest was born and suddenly he was strapping them both into their car seats to drive to their mother's funeral.

He used to think he was the glue holding the household together. It didn't take long for him to realize how wrong he'd been. A grieving husband is in no condition to raise kids alone. There were times when he wanted to toss himself into a raging river that would suck him under and bash his skull on the rocks. That's always an option for another day. For now, he'll just squash those feelings and drive the kids to daycare.

Does it get easier? Of course. But not right away. They say that hope only comes at the end of a long dark journey, but that isn't entirely true because the journey never really ends. But that means there's good news: hope is everywhere you look.

One in a Millennial

- Kate Kennedy

Hardcover $40.00
Reader Reward Price: $36.00

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

From pop culture podcaster and a voice of a generation, Kate Kennedy, a celebration of the millennial zeitgeist


One In a Millennial
is an exploration of pop culture, nostalgia, the millennial zeitgeist, and the life lessons learned (for better and for worse) from coming of age as a member of a much-maligned generation.

Kate is a pop culture commentator and host of the popular millennial-focused podcast Be There in Five. Part-funny, part-serious, Kate navigates the complicated nature of celebrating and criticizing the culture that shaped her as a woman, while arguing that great depths can come from surface-level interests.

With her trademark style and vulnerability, One In a Millennial is sharp, hilarious, and heartwarming all at once. She tackles AOL Instant Messenger, purity culture, American Girl Dolls, going out tops, Spice Girl feminism, her feelings about millennial motherhood, and more. Kate's laugh-out-loud asides and keen observations will have you nodding your head and maybe even tearing up.

Outspoken

- Sima Samar, Sally Armstrong

Hardcover $36.00
Reader Reward Price: $32.40

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

The impassioned memoir of Afghanistan's Sima Samar: medical doctor, public official, founder of schools and hospitals, thorn in the side of the Taliban, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and lifelong advocate for girls and women.


"I have three strikes against me. I'm a woman, I speak out for women, and I'm Hazara, the most persecuted ethnic group in Afghanistan."

Dr. Sima Samar has been fighting for equality and justice for most of her life. Born into a polygamous family, she learned early that girls had inferior status, and she had to agree to an arranged marriage if she wanted to go to university. By the time she was in medical school, she had a son, Ali, and had become a revolutionary. After her husband was disappeared by the pro-Russian regime, she escaped. With her son and medical degree, she took off into the rural areas--by horseback, by donkey, even on foot--to treat people who had never had medical help before.

Sima Samar's wide-ranging experiences both in her home country and on the world stage have given her inside access to the dishonesty, the collusion, the corruption, the self-serving leaders, and the hijacking of religion. And as a former Vice President, she knows all the players in this chess game called Afghanistan. With stories that are at times poignant, at times terrifying, inspiring as well as disheartening, Sima provides an unparalleled view of Afghanistan's past and its present. 

Despite being in grave personal danger for many years, she has worked tirelessly for the dream she is convinced is an achievable one: justice and full human rights for all the citizens of her country.

A Stroke of the Pen

- Terry Pratchett

Trade paperback $31.99
Reader Reward Price: $28.79

Far away and long ago, when dragons still existed and the only arcade game was ping-pong in black and white, a wizard cautiously entered a smoky tavern in the evil, ancient, foggy city of Morpork...

A truly unmissable, beautifully illustrated collection of unearthed stories from the pen of Sir Terry Pratchett: award-winning and bestselling author, and creator of the phenomenally successful Discworld series.

Twenty early short stories by one of the world's best loved authors, each accompanied by exquisite original woodcut illustrations.

These are rediscovered tales that Pratchett wrote under a pseudonym for newspapers during the 1970s and 1980s. Whilst none are set in the Discworld, they hint towards the world he would go on to create, containing all of his trademark wit, satirical wisdom and fantastic imagination.

Meet Og the inventor, the first caveman to cultivate fire, as he discovers the highs and lows of progress; haunt the Ministry of Nuisances with the defiant evicted ghosts of Pilgarlic Towers; visit Blackbury, a small market town with weird weather and an otherworldly visitor; and go on a dangerous quest through time and space with hero Kron, which begins in the ancient city of Morpork...

A STROKE OF THE PEN is a must-have collection for fans of all ages.

Praise for Terry Pratchett

'Pratchett is a master storyteller' - A. S. Byatt, Guardian

'The Discworld novels have always been among the most serious of comedies, the most relevant and real of fantasies' - Independent

'Compulsively readable, fantastically inventive, surprisingly serious exploration in story form of just about any aspect of our world . . . There's never been anything quite like it' - Evening Standard

'Like most true originals, Pratchett defies categorisation' - The Times

'Pratchett found something better than literature' - Frank Cottrell Boyce, Guardian

Listen

- Michel Faber

Hardcover $37.00
Reader Reward Price: $33.30

"I'm not here to change your mind about Dusty Springfield or Shostakovich or Tupac Shakur or synthpop. I'm here to change your mind about your mind."

There are countless books on music with much analysis given to musicians, bands, eras and/or genres. But rarely does a book delve into what's going on inside us when we listen.

Michel Faber explores two big questions: how do we listen to music and why do we listen to music? To answer these questions, he considers a range of factors, which includes age, illness, the notion of "cool," commerce, the dichotomy between "good" and "bad" taste and much more.

From the award-winning author of The Crimson Petal and the White and Under the Skin, this idiosyncratic and philosophical book reflects Michel Faber's lifelong obsession with music of all kinds. Listen will change your relationship with the heard world.

My Effin' Life

- Geddy Lee

Hardcover $50.00
Reader Reward Price: $45.00

The long-awaited memoir, generously illustrated with never-before-seen photos, from the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Rush bassist, and New York Times bestselling author of Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass.

Geddy Lee is one of rock and roll's most respected bassists. For nearly five decades, his playing and work as co-writer, vocalist and keyboardist has been an essential part of the success story of Canadian progressive rock trio Rush. Here for the first time is his account of life inside and outside the band.

Long before Rush accumulated more consecutive gold and platinum records than any rock band after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, before the seven Grammy nominations or the countless electrifying live performances across the globe, Geddy Lee was Gershon Eliezer Weinrib, after his grandfather was murdered in the Holocaust.

As he recounts the transformation, Lee looks back on his family, in particular his loving parents and their horrific experiences as teenagers during World War II.

He talks candidly about his childhood and the pursuit of music that led him to drop out of high school.

He tracks the history of Rush which, after early struggles, exploded into one of the most beloved bands of all time.

He shares intimate stories of his lifelong friendships with bandmates Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart--deeply mourning Peart's recent passing--and reveals his obsessions in music and beyond.

This rich brew of honesty, humor, and loss makes for a uniquely poignant memoir.

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