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True Stories

Get lost in the past with these biographies, memoirs, and history books.

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The Madman's Library

- by Edw Brooke-hitching

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This fascinating and bizarre collection compiles the most unusual, obscure books from the far reaches of the human imagination throughout history.

From the author of the critically acclaimed bestsellersThe Phantom Atlas andThe Sky Atlas comes a unique and beautifully illustrated journey through the history of literature.The Madman's Library delves into its darkest territories to hunt down the oddest books and manuscripts ever written, uncovering the intriguing stories behind their creation.

From the Qur'an written in the blood of Saddam Hussein, to the gorgeously decorated fifteenth-century lawsuit filed by the Devil against Jesus, to the most enormous book ever created,The Madman's Library features many long forgotten, eccentric, and extraordinary volumes gathered from around the world.

Books written in blood and books that kill, books of the insane and books that hoaxed the globe, books invisible to the naked eye and books so long they could destroy the Universe, books worn into battle and books of code and cypher whose secrets remain undiscovered. Spell books, alchemist scrolls, wearable books, edible books, books to summon demons, books written by ghosts, and more all come together in the most curiously strange library imaginable.

Featuring hundreds of remarkable images and packed with entertaining facts and stories to discover, The Madman's Library is a captivating compendium perfect for bibliophiles, literature enthusiasts, and collectors intrigued by bizarre oddities, obscure history, and the macabre.

o MUST-HAVE FOR BOOKLOVERS: Anyone who appreciates a good read will love delving into this weird world of books and adding this collection to their own bookshelf.
o DISCOVER SOMETHING TRULY UNIQUE:The Madman's Library will let you in on the secret and obscure histories of the strangest books ever made.
o EXPERT AUTHOR: Edward Brooke-Hitching is the son of an antiquarian book dealer, a lifelong rare book collector, and a master of taking visual deep dives into unusual historical subjects, such as the maps of imaginary geography inThe Phantom Atlas or ancient pathways through the stars inThe Sky Atlas.

Broken (in the best possible way)

- by Jenny Lawson

Hardcover $34.99 - Add to Cart
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy and Let's Pretend This Never Happened comes a deeply relatable book filled with humor and honesty about depression and anxiety.

As Jenny Lawson's hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we're not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny's long-suffering husband Victor--the Ricky to Jenny's Lucille Ball--is present throughout.

A treat for Jenny Lawson's already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.

Includes Photographs and Illustrations

Beautiful Things

- by Hunter Biden

Hardcover $37.00 - Add to Cart
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"I come from a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love," Hunter Biden writes in this deeply moving memoir of addiction, loss, and survival.

When he was two years old, Hunter Biden was badly injured in a car accident that killed his mother and baby sister. In 2015, he suffered the devastating loss of his beloved big brother, Beau, who died of brain cancer at the age of forty-six. These hardships were compounded by the collapse of his marriage and a years-long battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

In Beautiful Things, Hunter recounts his descent into substance abuse and his tortuous path to sobriety. The story ends with where Hunter is today--a sober married man with a new baby, finally able to appreciate the beautiful things in life.

The Politics of the Canoe

- by Bruce Erickson

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Popularly thought of as a recreational vehicle and one of the key ingredients of an ideal wilderness getaway, the canoe is also a political vessel. A potent symbol and practice of Indigenous cultures and traditions, the canoe has also been adopted to assert conservation ideals, feminist empowerment, citizenship practices, and multicultural goals. Documenting many of these various uses, this book asserts that the canoe is not merely a matter of leisure and pleasure; it is folded into many facets of our political life. Taking a critical stance on the canoe, The Politics of the Canoe expands and enlarges the stories that we tell about the canoe's relationship to, for example, colonialism, nationalism, environmentalism, and resource politics. To think about the canoe as a political vessel is to recognize how intertwined canoes are in the public life, governance, authority, social conditions, and ideologies of particular cultures, nations, and states. Almost everywhere we turn, and any way we look at it, the canoe both affects and is affected by complex political and cultural histories. Across Canada and the U.S., canoeing cultures have been born of activism and resistance as much as of adherence to the mythologies of wilderness and nation building. The essays in this volume show that canoes can enhance how we engage with and interpret not only our physical environments, but also our histories and present-day societies.

My Mother's Daughter

- by Perdita Felicien

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"A phenomenal, human story. . . . I could not put this book down." --CLARA HUGHES

A raw and affecting memoir about a mother and daughter who beat the odds together.

 
Decades before Perdita Felicien became a World Champion hurdler running the biggest race of her life at the 2004 Olympics, she carried more than a nation's hopes--she carried her mother Catherine's dreams.
 
In 1974, Catherine is determined and tenacious, but she's also pregnant with her second child and just scraping by in St. Lucia. When she meets a wealthy white Canadian family vacationing on the island, she knows it's her chance. They ask her to come to Canada to be their nanny--and she accepts.
 
This was the beginning of Catherine's new life: a life of opportunity, but also suffering. Within a few years, she would find herself pregnant a third time--this time in her new country with no family to support her, and this time, with Perdita. Together, in the years to come, mother and daughter would experience racism, domestic abuse, and even homelessness, but Catherine's will would always pull them through.
 
As Perdita grew and began to discover her preternatural athletic gifts, she was edged onward by her mother's love, grit, and faith. Facing literal and figurative hurdles, she learned to leap and pick herself back up when she stumbled. This book is a daughter's memoir--a book about the power of a parent's love to transform their child's life.

The Beauty of Living Twice

- by Sharon Stone

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Not your typical Hollywood autobiography. Brutally honest, restless and questing." 
--O, The Oprah Magazine

 
Sharon Stone tells her own story: a journey of healing, love, and purpose.

Sharon Stone, one of the most renowned actresses in the world, suffered a massive stroke that cost her not only her health, but her career, family, fortune, and global fame. In The Beauty of Living Twice, Stone chronicles her efforts to rebuild her life and writes about her slow road back to wholeness and health. In a business that doesn't accept failure, in a world where too many voices are silenced, Stone found the power to return, the courage to speak up, and the will to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children around the globe.

Over the course of these intimate pages, as candid as a personal conversation, Stone talks about her pivotal roles, her life-changing friendships, her worst disappointments, and her greatest accomplishments. She reveals how she went from a childhood of trauma and violence to a career in an industry that in many ways echoed those same assaults, under cover of money and glamour. She describes the strength and meaning she found in her children, and in her humanitarian efforts. And ultimately, she shares how she fought her way back to find not only her truth, but her family's reconciliation and love.

Stone made headlines not just for her beauty and her talent, but for her candor and her refusal to "play nice," and it's those same qualities that make this memoir so powerful. The Beauty of Living Twice is a book for the wounded and a book for the survivors; it's a celebration of women's strength and resilience, a reckoning, and a call to activism. It is proof that it's never too late to raise your voice and speak out.

A Little Devil in America

- by Hanif Abdurraqib

Hardcover $36.00 - Add to Cart
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A stirring meditation on Black performance in America from the New York Times bestselling author of Go Ahead in the Rain

"Whether heralding unsung entertainers or reexamining legends, Hanif Abdurraqib weaves together gorgeous essays that reveal the resilience, heartbreak, and joy within Black performance. I read this book breathlessly."--Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker was fifty-seven years old, well beyond her most prolific days. But in her speech she was in a mood to consider her life, her legacy, her departure from the country she was now triumphantly returning to. "I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too," she told the crowd. Inspired by these few words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines--whether it's the twenty-seven seconds in "Gimme Shelter" in which Merry Clayton wails the words "rape, murder," a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt--has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib's own personal history of love, grief, and performance.

Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain, infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians he loves. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space--from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.

Elizabeth & Margaret

- by Andrew Morton

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Perfect for fans of The Crown, this captivating biography from a New York Times bestselling author follows Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret as they navigate life in the royal spotlight.

They were the closest of sisters and the best of friends. But when, in a quixotic twist of fate, their uncle Edward Vlll decided to abdicate the throne, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more Margaret would have to curtsey to the sister she called 'Lillibet.' And bow to her wishes.

Elizabeth would always look upon her younger sister's antics with a kind of stoical amusement, but Margaret's struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system--and her fraught relationship with its expectations--was often a source of tension. Famously, the Queen had to inform Margaret that the Church and government would not countenance her marrying a divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, forcing Margaret to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her divorcee lover.

From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden war-time lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father's death and Elizabeth's ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton's latest biography offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters--one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it--and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family, and the ways it adapted to the changing mores of the 20th century.

The Light of Days

- by Judy Batalion

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One of the most important stories of World War II, already optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture: a spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters--a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled in full, until now.

Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland--some still in their teens--helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these "ghetto girls" paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town's water supply. They also nursed the sick and taught children.

Yet the exploits of these courageous resistance fighters have remained virtually unknown.

As propulsive and thrilling as Hidden Figures, In the Garden of Beasts, Band of Brothers, and A Train in Winter, The Light of Days at last tells the true story of these incredible women whose courageous yet little-known feats have been eclipsed by time. Judy Batalion--the granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors--takes us back to 1939 and introduces us to Renia Kukielka, a weapons smuggler and messenger who risked death traveling across occupied Poland on foot and by train. Joining Renia are other women who served as couriers, armed fighters, intelligence agents, and saboteurs, all who put their lives in mortal danger to carry out their missions. Batalion follows these women through the savage destruction of the ghettos, arrest and internment in Gestapo prisons and concentration camps, and for a lucky few--like Renia, who orchestrated her own audacious escape from a brutal Nazi jail--into the late 20th century and beyond.

Powerful and inspiring, featuring twenty black-and-white photographs, The Light of Days is an unforgettable true tale of war, the fight for freedom, exceptional bravery, female friendship, and survival in the face of staggering odds.  

Not on My Watch

- by Alexandra Morton

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Alexandra Morton has been called "the Jane Goodall of Canada" because of her passionate thirty-year fight to save British Columbia's wild salmon. Her account of that fight is both inspiring in its own right and a roadmap of resistance.

Alexandra Morton came north from California in the early 1980s, following her first love--the northern resident orca. In remote Echo Bay, in the Broughton Archipelago, she found the perfect place to settle into all she had ever dreamed of: a lifetime of observing and learning what these big-brained mammals are saying to each other. She was lucky enough to get there just in time to witness a place of true natural abundance, and learned how to thrive in the wilderness as a scientist and a single mother.      Then, in 1989, industrial aquaculture moved into the region, chasing the whales away. Her fisherman neighbours asked her if she would write letters on their behalf to government explaining the damage the farms were doing to the fisheries, and one thing led to another. Soon Alex had shifted her scientific focus to documenting the infectious diseases and parasites that pour from the ocean farm pens of Atlantic salmon into the migration routes of wild Pacific salmon, and then to proving their disastrous impact on wild salmon and the entire ecosystem of the coast.      Alex stood against the farms, first representing her community, then alone, and at last as part of an uprising that built around her as ancient Indigenous governance resisted a province and a country that wouldn't obey their own court rulings. She has used her science, many acts of protest and the legal system in her unrelenting efforts to save wild salmon and ultimately the whales--a story that reveals her own doggedness and bravery but also shines a bright light on the ways other humans doggedly resist the truth. Here, she brilliantly calls those humans to account for the sake of us all.

New Yorkers

- by Craig Taylor

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From the bestselling author of Londoners, an epic portrait of today's New York told through the boisterous voices and true stories of its people.

Ten years in the making, New Yorkers is a compulsively readable portrait of New York that is as lively and vibrant as the city itself. Acclaimed writer and editor Craig Taylor ventured into nearly every corner of the city, getting some of its best talkers--rich and poor, old and young, native and immigrant--to share indelible tales about New York in our time.

Here are a blind man on navigating the city by smell, a rapper on the sound of New York, a cop on the long aftermath of 9/11, and a boxer on first entering Madison Square Garden. Here are the voices of the people who make the city go: a subway conductor, a window-washer on Rockefeller Center, and an electrician who keeps the lights on at the top of the Empire State Building. And here are unforgettable glimpses of the city, including the Statue of Liberty as seen by one of its security guards, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from a balloon handler, the Marathon from a runner through all five boroughs, and Christmas in New York as seen by a Salvation Army bell-ringer on
42nd and Fifth.

New Yorkers is a symphony of the city that dares call itself the greatest in the world.

Northern Light

- by Kazim Ali

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"It begins to rain as we fly, falling in solid sheets, water from sky to earth -- a free system of exchange."

Kazim Ali's earliest memories are of Jenpeg, a temporary town in the forests of northern Manitoba where his immigrant father worked on the construction of a hydroelectric dam. As a child, Ali had no idea that the dam was located on the unceded lands of the Indigenous Pimicikamak, the "people of rivers and lakes."

Northern Light recounts Ali's memories of his childhood and his return to Pimicikamak as an adult. During his visit, he searches for the sites of his childhood memories and learns more about the realities of life in Pimicikamak: the environmental and social impact of the Jenpeg dam, the effects of colonialism and cultural erasure, and the community's initiatives to preserve and strengthen their identity. Deeply rooted in place, Northern Light is both a stunning exploration of home, belonging, and identity and an immersive account of contemporary life in one Indigenous community.

Crossroads

- by Kaleb Dahlgren

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An inspiring story of hope and resiliency  On April 6, 2018, sixteen people died and thirteen others were injured after a bus taking the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team to a playoff game collided with a transport truck in a rural intersection. The tragedy moved millions of people to leave hockey sticks by their front door to show sympathy and support for the Broncos. People from more than eighty countries pledged millions of dollars to families whose relatives had been directly involved in the accident. Crossroads is the story of Kaleb Dahlgren, a young man who survived the bus crash and faced life after the tragedy with resiliency and positivity. In this chronicle of his time with the Broncos and the loving community of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Dahlgren takes a hard look at his experience of unprecedented loss, but also revels in the overwhelming response and outpouring of love from across Canada and around the world. But this book also goes much deeper, revealing the adversity Dahlgren faced long before his time in Humboldt and his inspiring journey since the accident. 

From a childhood spent learning to live with type 1 diabetes to his remarkable recovery from severe brain trauma that astounded medical professionals, Dahlgren documents a life of perseverance, gratitude and hope in the wake of enormous obstacles and life-altering tragedy. 

The author will donate a portion of his proceeds from this book to STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service).

Glass Bricks

- by Louella Lester

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What does it mean to work for a living? Told in short prose, Glass Bricks tells the story of Lester's experience working both traditional and non-traditional jobs. Sometimes raw and often humourous, Lester shares stories about learning to work, working, and moving on. Glass Bricks explores the significance of our basic human right to work in an era where the struggle to find meaningful, full-time employment is all too real.

Lessons Learned on Bay Street

- by Donald K Johnson

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In this book, one of the most successful investment bankers on Bay Street shares the lessons he learned about business and life in a long and successful career as president of Burns Fry and then as vice-chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns.

This book tells the inside story of how author Donald K. Johnson led financing transactions involving hundreds of millions of dollars for Canadian and international corporations, deals that involved some of the biggest financial players in the world, such as Warren Buffet. Johnson shows how he applied that deal-making ability to raise millions for charities. And he illustrates his motto, "the sale begins when the customer says no," with a tale about how he convinced the government to remove the capital gains tax on donations of listed securities.

As a longtime practitioner of meditation, Johnson urges readers to choose a career they love, and keep mentally and physically fit on the way up. This book, from an 85-year-old financial wizard born in Lundar, Manitoba, offers sage advice and a big dose of inspiration to readers seeking success in finance, in other businesses, and in life.

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