2014 Staff Favourites – Nonfiction – Part 1

A big year for reading at Halifax Public Libraries. As we do every year at The Reader, we polled our staff all across our entire library system to see their favourite books of 2014.

What a response! Stay tuned over the next few days for lists of our picks from the best published in fiction, nonfiction and children’s and young adult books.  I know they’ve piqued my interest and have lengthened my “to read” list!

Re:union by Geordie Miller
“Re:union takes an epistolary approach, exploring the relationships between literature, consumerism, and the individual through prose. The poems of this collection explore place, love, family, and culture, coming out in clots that are personal and affecting. The works are direct, directed, speak to a reader’s many faces.” publisher

Hockey Card Stories: true tales from your favourite players by Ken Reid
“Hockey Card Stories reveals what was really going on in your favourite old hockey cards through the eyes of the players depicted on them. Some of the cards are definitely worth a few bucks, some a few cents — but every story told here is priceless.” publisher

Kids are Weird: and other observations from parenthood by Jeffrey Brown
“As he’s shown in his previous hugely popular books, Jeffrey Brown has a real gift for finding humor in quirky yet universal truths. Now the bestselling author of Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess brings his witty comic observations to terrestrial parenting in this perceptive book celebrating the more surreal moments of raising a child.” publisher

Up, Up and Away: the Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the crazy business of baseball, and the ill-fated by unforgettable Montreal Expos by Jonah Keri
“2014 is the 20th anniversary of the strike that killed baseball in Montreal, and the 10th anniversary of the team’s move to Washington, DC. But the memories aren’t dead–not by a long shot. The Expos pinwheel cap is still sported by Montrealers, former fans, and by many more in the US and Canada as a fashion item. Expos loyalists are still spotted at Blue Jays games and wherever the Washington Nationals play (often cheering against them). Every year there are rumours that Montreal–as North America’s largest market without a baseball team–could host Major League Baseball again.” publisher

Year of No Sugar: a memoir by Eve O. Schaub
“Eve and her family embark on the challenge to eat no added sugar for one year. Along the way, she shares facts, tips, and anecdotes that are funny, interesting, and easy to digest.” Christine

Our Mathematical Universe: my quest for the ultimate nature of reality by Max Tegmark
“The many-layered wave-functions of Tegmark’s theory of the universe, which incorporate all possible outcomes of every point of “choice” in the development of physical systems, are so astoundingly far-reaching that they end up resembling nothing so much as the library containing all possible books that was imagined by Jorge Luis Borges in ‘The Library of Babel’ (Ficciones, Knopf, 1993) as being so overwhelmingly distressing to its librarians.” Brian

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
“In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.” publisher

Photobooth: a biography by Meags Fitzgerald
“For almost a century chemical photobooths have occupied public spaces; giving people the opportunity to quickly take inexpensive, quality photos. In the last decade these machines have started to rapidly disappear, causing an eclectic group of individuals from around the world to come together and respond. Illustrator, writer and long-time photobooth lover, Meags Fitzgerald has chronicled this movement and the photobooth’s fortuitous history in a graphic novel.” publisher

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
“Seconds is a complex and novelistic stand-alone story about a young restaurant owner named Katie who, after being visited by a magical apparition, is given a second chance at love and to undo her wrongs. Fans new and old will love O’Malley’s bold and quirky style infused with his subtle, playful humour.” publisher

Halifax in Watercolour: the paintings of Alexander Cavalie Mercer, 1838-1842 by Glenn Devanney
“British Artillery officer Alexander Cavalié Mercer is most famous in history circles for his detailed account of his experiences leading up to and including the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Fewer know him as an amateur artist, but Mercer often composed what he called “souvenirs,” paintings and sketches of his postings in Europe and North America. While posted in Halifax, Mercer painted nearly 80 watercolours of the area between 1838 and 1842.” publisher

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