2016 is shaping up to be a great year for all of us readers. Here are a few of the titles I’m looking forward to:
The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet, by Rod Nordland (January)
This is the true story of star-crossed Afghani lovers. Zakia and Ali were from different Muslim sects, but grew up on neighbouring farms. They fell in love and eloped, triggering Zakia’s large and vengeful family to vow to kill her in order to restore the family honour. This promises to be a powerful and moving story that puts a human face on the struggle for women’s rights in the Muslim world.
Cold Fire: Kennedy’s Northern Front, by John Boyko (February)
This narrative history of the Cuban Missile Crisis reveals, through meticulous research, how John F. Kennedy’s government subverted the Canadian democratic process to ensure his version of security prevailed – even as the navy of his Canadian allies protected the eastern coast of the USA. This book is being described as a startling revision of the romanticized, Camelot image of the Kennedy White House.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, by Joshua Hammer (April)
When Al Qaeda occupied Timbuktu in 2012, they imposed Sharia law – chopping off thieves’ hands, stoning unmarried couples – and they threatened to destroy the great collection of ancient manuscripts preserved there. This is the story of a mild-mannered archivist who heroically smuggled thousands of these documents to safety, and demonstrated that art and literature can triumph over extremism.
Jungle of Stone, by William Carlson (April)
In 1839, an American and a British explorer set out into the jungles of the Yucatan. There, they stumbled upon the amazing ruins of Mayan civilization, and evidence of astonishing and sophisticated art, writing, science and culture. This narrative tells the gripping story of these two great voyagers and the world they discovered.
Conversations on Dying, by Phil Dwyer (April)
When palliative care specialist, Dr. Larry Librach, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he opted to use his last experiences as a teaching opportunity, showing the way to die with dignity. Courage and humour punctuate the conversations between the doctor and author Phil Dwyer, illustrating that the idea of a “good death” is more than a myth.
Patient H.M., by Luke Dittrich (August)
In 1953, a young epileptic man named Henry Molaison, had brain surgery to control his debilitating seizures. Unfortunately the operation left him with a short-term memory of only 30 seconds – and his surgeon promptly turned this patient into a memory research subject. It’s a dark tale revealing the unethical roots of modern neuroscience, made more dramatic by the fact that the book’s author is the original surgeon’s grandson.
What books are you looking forward to?