Saturday Spotlight: Must-have Non-fiction

Our final Book Lovers’ Holiday Gift Guide Saturday Spotlight of the year features must-have non-fiction books

If you’re doing some last minute holiday shopping, we have one more Book Lovers’ Holiday Gift Guide Saturday Spotlight for you. This weekend, our spotlight is on must-have non-fiction! These books and more can be found in our Book Lovers’ Holiday Gift Guide. A list of participating retailers can be found here.

Biography and Memoir

Fishing the High Country: A Memoir of the River
Wayne Curtis
Goose Lane Editions

Drawing on his experience of life along the river — as a boy, as a young man, and as a river guide among guides — Wayne Curtis has created what can only be described as a river masterpiece.

Louisburg or Bust: A Surfer’s Wild Ride Down Nova Scotia’s Drowned Coast
RC Shaw
Pottersfield Press

“This crazy beautiful quest narrative puts Don Quixote on a bicycle and sends him out to face history with a surfboard. Half hilarious dream-adventure, half marathon nightmare, the end result is all madcap love letter to Nova Scotia.”
—Ken McGoogan

Sailing in Circles, Goin’ Somewhere
Finley Martin
Nimbus Publishing

The funny, bittersweet memoir of a Prince Edward Island man who, over seven years, builds a classic 1930s wooden sailboat and, in 2004, attempts to circumnavigate eastern North America.

Somewhere North of Where I Was
Nicole Spence
Acorn Press

A powerful memoir of growing up in foster care. With brazen honesty and a driving spirit of hope, perseverance and sometimes sheer will, Spence brings the reader into her world as she lived it, moving us along, pulling us apart, compelling us to continue reading.

The Blind Mechanic
Marilyn Davidson Elliot
Nimbus Publishing

Eric Davidson lost both eyes in the Halifax Explosion when he was two years old. Against all odds, he taught himself to become an auto mechanic. A remarkable true story.

Unchained Man: The Arctic life and times of Captain Robert Abram Bartlett
Maura Hanrahan
Boulder Publications

This biography of a legendary hero reveals his drive for success and the inner conflicts of a man who found peace in the Arctic.

From a Global Perspective

Getting to Zero: Canada Confronts Global Warming
Tony Clarke
James Lorimer & Company, Ltd. Publishers

For the environmentalist on your list. Highly recommended by David Suzuki.

Oil and World Politics
John Foster

James Lorimer & Company, Ltd. Publishers

For anyone looking for the insider’s story of the role oil plays in conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and beyond.

Home and Garden

An East Coast Wedding Planner
Founders of Elegant Productions and Elegant Paper Co.
Nimbus Publishing

Whether newly engaged and local or planning a destination wedding on
the east coast, An East Coast Wedding Planner is there for readers every step of the way, from month-by-month wedding checklists to curated questions to ask all vendors, to how to prioritize and budget for your perfect day.

Escape to Reality
Mark Cullen with Ben Cullen
Nimbus Publishing

An informed and personal reflection on gardening in Canada from the country’s preeminent horticultural expert, Escape to Reality goes beyond the hows that are the focus of most gardening books and explores the whys.

If I Had an Old House on the East Coast
Wanda Baxter and Kat Frick Miller
Nimbus Publishing

Featuring illustrations from artist Kat Frick Miller, this book includes practical tips for the old-home owner, from how to clear your home of ghosts to how to make rosehip jelly and maple syrup.


Betrayal of Trust: Commander Wyatt and the Halifax Explosion
Joel Zemel

New World Publishing

Commander Wyatt was the only person criminally indicted in connection with the Explosion tragedy. This is his personal life story by the award-winning author of Scapegoat.

Bounty: The Greatest Sea Story of Them All
Geoff d’Eon
Formac Publishing

For anyone who loves adventure and seafaring tales, starring the Lunenburg’s tall ship Bounty.

From 14th Colony to Confederation
A. D. Boutilier
New World Publishing

A Canada 150 Book. Humorous, but critical social history: founding of Halifax; original NS territory becomes Maritimes (1785), responsible government, failed Maritime Union, then Confederation.

Local Interest

Eating Wild in Eastern Canada
Jamie Simpson
Nimbus Publishing

From fiddleheads to spruce tips, wild food can be fun — with the right guide. Award- winning author and conservationist Jamie Simpson shows readers what to look for in the wilds and how and when to collect it.

Oak Island Unearthed!
John. O. O’Brien
New World Publishing

John O’Brien appeared on The Curse of Oak Island. Follow his evidence-based theory of this 1000-year-old mystery: the stone cross, water traps, hieroglyphs, plus newly discovered shafts off-island.

The Only Film in Town
Stuart Cresswell
Nimbus Publishing

Creswell explains how he made, against the odds, a gentle and humorous coming- of-age story for the big screen, creating art and opportunity in rural Nova Scotia; with behind- the-scenes photos and stills from the film.

White Point Then and Now
Rick Conrad
Nimbus Publishing

Photographer Len Wagg skillfully contrasts the thens and the nows of White Point Beach Resort and Lodge with over 60 charming photos, and Rick Conrad incorporates the memories of guests and staff.

Medical Matters

Conspiracy of Hope: The Truth About Breast Cancer Screening
Renée Pellerin
Goose Lane Editions

For decades, women have been told that mammograms save lives. Today the evidence is starkly clear: screening does more harm than good. This explosive book exposes the truth about breast cancer screening.

Sawbones: Hospitals, Institutions, Medicine and Nursing 1749–2018
Devonna Edwards

New World Publishing

269 years of the history and development of regional hospitals, medicine, nursing, cemeteries and disease – new, old and still an issue.


Brad Marchand
Philip Croucher
Nimbus Publishing

A bio of the NHL’s “Little Ball of Hate,” a former Halifax Moosehead and now a scoring sensation for the Boston Bruins.

The Top 15: Nova Scotia’s Greatest Athletes
Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame
Nimbus Publishing

A photo-rich keepsake book packed with names, images, and little-known facts, based on the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame’s popular Top 15 athletes of all time.


Exquisite Destinations: Adventures of a Maritimer in Lesser-Known Places
Peter McCreath

New World Publishing

“When we are young, we dream dreams, fantasize about things we want to do, places we want to go, what we wish to be.” Part memoir, part travelogue and adventure.

The Best of the Great Trail, Vol. 1 Newfoundland to Southern Ontario on the Trans Canada Trail
Michael Haynes
Goose Lane Editions

Beginning at Cape Spear and ending on the shores of Lake Huron, Michael Haynes offers a connoisseur’s sampling of the finest pathways of eastern Canada’s Trans Canada Trail.

True Crime

First Degree
Kayla Hounsell
Nimbus Publishing

Through interviews with friends and relatives, as well as transcripts, journalist Kayla Hounsell tells the full story of Will Sandeson’s trial for the murder of Taylor Samson. Includes previously unpublished photos and details.

The Murder of Minnie Callan
Tom Gruchy
Flanker Press

The dramatic memoir of retired RCMP Officer Thomas Gruchy and the story of a criminal investigation that changed the lives of many, including the author, forever.

War and Remembrance

A Family of Brothers: Soldiers of the 26th New Brunswick Battalion in the Great War
J. Brent Wilson
Goose Lane Editions

The powerful story of the “Fighting 26th,” the only infantry unit from New Brunswick to serve continuously on the Western Front from 1915 until the Armistice in 1918.

A Soldier’s Place: The War Stories of Will R. Bird
Edited by Thomas Hodd
Nimbus Publishing

A collection of short stories on the horrors and triumphs of war by the “Unofficial Bard of the Canadian Expeditionary Force”: Will R. Bird.

Called to Serve: Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine
Katherine Dewar
Island Studies Press

This long overdue biography of Georgina Pope (1862–1938) details her path to power, from her sheltered life on Victorian Prince Edward Island to her critical roles as a nursing leader in the Boer War and the First World War.

In Their Own Words
Edited by Ross Hebb
Nimbus Publishing

A collection of letters from three Maritimers who served overseas during the the First World War: a nurse, a front-line soldier, and a conscripted fisherman.

Remembrance Road
Justine MacDonald
SSP Publications

Nova Scotian photographer Justine MacDonald’s poignant impressions from her 2001 and 2017 tours of western European battlefields are indelible reminders of the horror and utter futility of war. One cannot read this book and not be profoundly moved.

See more gift ideas in our Book Lovers’ Holiday Gift Guide! View it online here or pick it up at your local bookstore or library.

Written By

Chantelle Rideout is the Manager of Programming and Member Services for the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association.

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