The Perfect Nonfiction Summer Book Club Picks

Summer Book Club Picks

The Perfect Nonfiction Summer Book Club Picks

Posted on August 13 by Dundurn Guest in Non-fiction, Recent Releases
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Alone A Love Story by Michelle Parise

Alone: A Love Story is an emotional memoir of a life exploded — the end of a marriage, referred to as The Bomb — and the chaos that follows. But it's also about what blooms in the wreckage. Beautifully written, intimate, alive and accessible, the story flows like a conversation with your most interesting, wise and exciting friend.” — Emily Urquhart, author of Beyond the Pale

A poetic and breathtaking memoir of falling in love, the fallout of infidelity, and everything messy in between from the creator of the CBC hit podcast Alone: A Love Story with over nine million downloads worldwide. Michelle is an award-winning journalist, writer, performer; she’s also a soccer player, parent, and the daughter of Italian immigrants who taught her everything she knows about l'amore!

“I also, with every part of me, love love. I mean, I love it! Being in love and falling in love and writing about love and singing about it and living it.” — Michelle Parise | Twitter @AloneAlovestory | IG @alonealovestory

CBC The Next Chapter featuring Michelle Parise


Borderline Shine: A Memoir by Connie Greshner

Borderline Shine is an inspirational roller coaster ride detailing a bright and resourceful woman’s path to recovery and liberation. Greshner writes in succinct, clear prose, describing a childhood marked by trauma, upheaval and years of struggling with impulsivity and emotional storms that people suffering from borderline personality disorder will surely relate to. Like many people with these challenges, Greshner’s incredible strengths kept trying to shine through, only to be obscured time and again. Her tenacity, compassion, and drive to help others gradually won out, and she was able to devote her career to helping others with mental health problems and establish a life worth living. I highly recommend Borderline Shine as an inspirational, honest, and intimate story of resilience and recovery.” — Alexander L. Chapman, Professor of Psychology, Simon Fraser University

When Connie was eight years old, her father shot her mother. So began a young life defined by trauma. From boarding school, to living on the streets, Connie travelled in pursuit of acceptance and belonging. In Borderline Shine, Connie breaks the silence and shame of intergenerational violence. With unflinching honesty she chronicles her journey through the darkness of suffering to the light of compassion, becoming a mental heath therapist and being able to help others who have experienced complex trauma.


Loving Large: A Mother's Rare Disease Memoir by Patti M. Hall

Loving Large takes the reader on an absorbing journey to a place that every parent fears, yet none truly believe they will ever have to go. Patti inhabits the many roles her son’s health crisis demands of her in this intimate look at life with rare disease. The relationship between mother and son is equal parts engaging and hilarious, we are in the examining rooms with them, and holding our breath while they wait for good news. I felt myself relating to her both as a mother and as a writer in this beautifully written memoir that shows the limitless pull of the love we have for our children.” — Cea Sunrise Pearson, author of Nearly Normal

In Loving Large, Patti confronts gigantism, an ultra-rare, infamous, and stigmatizing disease that threatens her young son’s life and future. With wit, candour, and hilarity, she endures the harrowing medical odyssey with her two sons, learning to thrive in the aftermath. | @patti_m_hall

Patti is also a co-host of the podcast Reframe Your Life with Sandy Reynolds


People You Follow: A Memoir by Hayley Gene Penner

People You Follow is a fucked-up Alice in Wonderland journey down the rabbit hole of LA's most subtly toxic industry, and it's also funny, brilliant, coy, playful, and wise. I feel so lucky that Hayley is here to express how hard dating in Hollywood is for the bunch of us, and I'm also glad that young women can read about her emotional pratfalls and save themselves the same pain as they work to become artists as skilled as she is.” — Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl

Musician and songwriter Hayley Gene Penner’s memoir takes a brutally honest, yet at times humorous, look at the dark, intimate truths we spend our lives running from. Like a map of beautiful mistakes, Hayley’s stories of questionable sexual encounters, artistic aspirations, and emotional abuse trace her coming of age in the music industry.

Listen to her music at | @hayleygenepenner


The Age of Fentanyl: Ending the Opiod Epidemic by Brodie Ramin, M.D.

“A fascinating, wise, and humane analysis of one of the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century.” — Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now

“A first-hand clinician’s account of one of today’s greatest social crises…. There are lessons here for everyone.” — Jeff Turnbull, Medical Director of Ottawa Inner City Health

In The Age of Fentanyl, Brodie tells the story of the opioid crisis, showing us the disease and cure from his perspective as an addiction doctor working with patients. He shows us how addiction can be prevented, how knowledge can reduce stigma, and how epidemics can be beaten.

Toronto Star: Lessons from the coronavirus for how we treat the opioid crisis | @BrodieRamin


Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool by Shantelle Bisson

“If you have kids or are planning on it, get this. Now.” — Rick Springfield, musician and actor

“It’s hard to write a book that matters, and even harder to bare your soul in it, but Shantelle has done just that — she holds nothing back and is honest, engaging, funny, and insightful.” — Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications

Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool is a handy, fun, lighthearted take on raising functioning adults from writer, producer, and actress Shantelle Bisson. Shantelle has appeared on numerous National and local news shows as a parenting expert, and is the mother to three beautiful daughters with her husband Yannick Bisson, star of CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries.

Read more of Shantelle's writing at | @shantellebisson


Locked In Locked Out: Surviving a Brainstem Stroke by Shawn Jennings, M.D.

“If a person’s brainstem, which is the transit area between the brain and the spinal cord, is damaged, the results can be quite devastating. Both sides of the body can be paralyzed, and speech, swallowing, and involuntary functions such as breathing can be affected. … A brainstem stroke does not damage the brain, but leaves a cognitively normal person imprisoned inside a body with no movement. I found myself in this condition — aptly called ‘locked-in syndrome’ — in May of 1999, at the age of forty-five.” — Dr. Shawn Jennings

Read the incredible and moving story of Shawn Jennings,  MD in Locked In Locked Out. With unexpected humour and tender honesty, Shawn shares his experiences in the struggle for recovery and acceptance of his life after suffering a brainstem stroke.   


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