Bookville – Art, Culture & Opinions

Browse gorgeous art books, dive deep into cultural criticism, or agree – or disagree – with Canada’s top thinkers.

All Books in this Collection

Showing all 12 results

  • 101 Fascinating Canadian Music Facts

    101 Fascinating Canadian Music Facts


    101 true stories to surprise and delight Canadian music fans.

    Did you know that Serena Ryder played the quietest concert ever from the ocean floor during low tide at Fundy National Park? Or that ?I?ll Never Smile Again,? the hit that launched Frank Sinatra?s career, was written by Toronto pianist Ruth Lowe? What about 12-year-old Liberty Silver singing in a reggae band that opened for Bob Marley at Madison Square Garden? Did you know that the title of the Tragically Hip?s 1991 album, Road Apples, is not talking about apples?

    In 101 Fascinating Canadian Music Facts, author and historian David McPherson shares these and 97 other tales gathered from his more than 25 years working in the music industry. Music lovers and trivia buffs alike will enjoy perusing this collection of stories ? collected from coast to coast ? to discover surprising facts and hilarious tales from Canada?s music industry.

  • Driving in Palestine التحرّك في فلسطين

    Driving in Palestine التحرّك في فلسطين


    During the past seven decades, Palestine has been sealed from the Arab world and shattered into fragmented and coded areas: 1948 area, 1967 area, Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and A, B and C areas within the West Bank. Each area is ruled by different laws, including different roads and permits that control the mobility of Palestinians and privilege Jewish settlers.

    Driving in Palestine is a research-creation project by acclaimed artist Rehab Nazzal, who explores the visible indices of the politics of mobility that she encountered firsthand while traversing the occupied West Bank between 2010 and 2020. This photography book consists of 160 black and white photographs, hand-drawn maps and critical essays in Arabic and English by Palestinian and Canadian scholars and artists.

    The photographs were all captured from moving vehicles on the roads of the West Bank. They focus on Israel’s architecture of movement restrictions and surveillance structures that proliferate in the West Bank, including the Apartheid Wall, segregation walls surrounding illegal colonies, gates, fences, watchtowers, roadblocks and military checkpoints among other obstacles to freedom of movement.

  • Garden Inventories

    Garden Inventories


    After a lifetime of traversing continents and cities, Mariam Pirbhai found herself in Waterloo, Ontario, and there she began to garden. As she looks to local nurseries, neighbourhood gardens and nature trails for inspiration, she discovers that plants are not so very different from people. They, too, can be uprooted, transplanted – even naturalized. They, too, can behave as a colonizing or invasive species. And they, too, must learn to adapt to a new land before calling it home. In Garden Inventories, Pirbhai brings her scholar’s eye, her love of story and an irrepressible sense of humour to bear on the questions of how we interact with the land around us, from what it means to create a garden through the haze of nostalgia, to the way tradition and nature are bound up in cultural ideals such as “cottage country,” or even the great Canadian wilderness. Roses, mulberries, tamarinds and Jack pines wend their way through these essays as Pirbhai pays close attention to the stories of the plants, as well as the people, that have accompanied her journey to find home. Throughout, she shows us the layers of history and culture that infuse our understandings of land, place and belonging, revealing how a garden carries within it the story of a life ­­– of family, home, culture and heritage – if not also the history of a world.

  • Imagining Imagining

    Imagining Imagining


    Award-winning author Gary Barwin has written poems, novels and books for children. He’s composed music, created multimedia art and performed around the world. Now he has turned his talented pen to essays. In Imagining Imagining: Essays on Language, Identity and Infinity Barwin thinks deeply about big ideas: story and identity; art and death; how we communicate and why we dream. From his childhood home in Ireland to his long-time home in Hamilton, Barwin shares the thoughts that keep him up at night (literally) and the ideas that keep him creating. Filled with witty asides, wise stories and a generosity of spirit that is unmistakable, these are essays that readers will turn to again and again.

  • Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision

    Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision


    Mary Pratt’s art has captivated millions of Canadians. Her luminescent paintings capture reality in a way that few artists have been able to achieve — the chip in a glass bowl, the play of light across a dish-strewn supper table, the vulnerability of a naked woman. Replete with symbolism, Pratt’s work elevates the traditional still life by transforming the everyday into the iconic.

    Art historian Anne Koval wrote Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision in close consultation with Pratt. The book is informed by extensive interviews with the artist, and her family, friends, and colleagues and by unprecedented access to Pratt’s archival holdings at Mount Allison University. This in-depth study of Pratt’s life and work explores the complex issues of gender, feminism, and realism in Canadian art, resulting in a richly layered biography of an artist who redefined the visual culture of her period and whose art and life intersect in varied and surprising ways.

  • Micrographia



    As Jennifer Bowering Delisle was on her path through infertility towards motherhood, she was simultaneously losing her own mother to a rare degenerative neurological disease and an approaching medically-assisted death. The lyric essays in Micrographia explore how losses can collide and reverberate both within our own lives and in our relationships with the rest of the world. How much do we share of our stories, and how much do we understand of what others are experiencing? Ultimately, this is a book about connection; “micrographia” is both the term for the diminished handwriting caused by neurological disease, and the narrative fragments offered here.

  • The Calf with Two Heads

    The Calf with Two Heads


    These beautifully illustrated stories of natural history in nineteenth-century Canada are about the curious men and women who crossed the oceans from Europe to explore, map, draw, puzzle about, collect and exhibit nature in Canada. Informed by French, British and Indigenous naturalists, they tried to understand what they saw. What did it all mean about the origins of the world?

    Louisa Blair, an amateur naturalist in Quebec and a transatlantic species herself, tells tales on Darwin, Russell Wallace and James Cook, and lingers on the strange and colourful details of Canada’s stubborn resistance to evolutionism and its first natural history museums with their penchant for deformities.

    These stories feature Indigenous mapmakers, botanical artists, bug-bitten rock fanatics, arctic explorers, and a trio of Quebec women who managed to get plants named after themselves. In short, muddy boots, cold hands, a pocket full of fossils, a mind full of existential questions. To make her case, Louisa Blair has gathered a vast collection of vintage illustrations.

    Blair also salutes their successors, the citizen scientists who are now frantically mapping Canada’s biodiversity before it fades to bio-monotony. What does it all mean for the end of the world?

  • The Canadian Guide to Creative Writing and Publishing

    The Canadian Guide to Creative Writing and Publishing


    The essential guide for Canadian writers seeking to have their work published today.

    How do you get your writing published in Canada? What are the industry standards for publishable work and how do you reach them? This lively, practical guide shows you how to think more creatively, cultivate a strong writing voice, and make your sentences powerful. It explains the elements of style and offers writing prompts to help you apply what you learn. It gives strategies for finding critique partners and beta readers and for getting useful feedback before you send your drafts to agents or editors. The chapters are packed with up-to-date information about the publishing industry, including how to find an agent, how to submit manuscripts to literary journals, how to query independent presses, and how to apply for writing grants. The Canadian Guide to Creative Writing & Publishing confidently leads you through the process of polishing your writing and finding an audience for your work.

  • The Seven Nations of Canada 1660-1860

    The Seven Nations of Canada 1660-1860


    Wendake, Odanak, Wôlinak, Pointe-du-Lac, Kahnawake, Kanesatake, and Akwesasne are communities located all along the St. Lawrence River valley and its tributaries. They have been home to descendants of the Huron-Wendat, Algonquin, Nipissing, and Iroquois nations. The one point these First Nations have in common is that their ancestors were allies of the French and had converted to Christianity.

    Historians have generally ignored these nations that the French administrators described as “domiciled Indians” (“sauvages domiciliés”). Jean-Pierre Sawaya carefully studied how an alliance of such diverse “missions” was created, developed and conducted to become The Federation of Seven Fires or The Seven Nations of Canada.

    How did this confederation come about? Who took part and what were their roles? The answers are mined in the massive colonial archives. The Seven Nations of Canada is original research at its best, combining detailed analysis and systematic investigation, that has enabled the author to dispel the tenacious colonial myth about irrational, submissive, and fatalistic Indigenous peoples. Readers will discover forward-looking peoples motivated by a deep desire for independence and solidarity.

  • The Storm of Progress

    The Storm of Progress


    In a time of existential threats from climate change, computer-based superintelligences, AI-accelerated nuclear and biological warfare and more, we can no longer avoid some profound questions about what’s going on.

    Why is it that what we’ve been taught to celebrate as progress, as modern history’s greatest social and technical achievements, are now threatening our very existence?

    Author Wade Rowland writes that the worst of these global crises are the fruits of a basic error made by well-intentioned Enlightenment thinkers at the dawn of the scientific revolution: a misunderstanding of the essence of humanity. In assuming the worst about human nature and fashioning a civilization based on those false assumptions, some of early modern philosophy’s most revered thinkers set us on a dangerous path.

    Rowland argues that by better understanding human nature in the light of current scientific and philosophical knowledge, we can better—and we can do better.

    Because we have what it takes—because we are good.

  • Zaatari



    “The recipes in Zaatari are glorious. Passed down the generations from mother to daughter, cooking keeps the people of Zaatari camp connected to the towns and villages of the Syria they fled.” — Claudia Roden

    On the Jordanian-Syrian border lies Zaatari Camp, the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world. Opened in 2012 to provide new arrivals with emergency relief, the camp quickly became a locus of Syrian culture and tradition. In this thriving community of over 80,000 people, the residents of Zaatari combine ingenuity and imagination to ensure that the glorious culinary traditions at the heart of Syrian culture continue to be observed and celebrated.

    In this immersive culinary tour, Karen E. Fisher guides us through life at Zaatari, sharing its stories, its art, and its food. Authentically styled and stunningly photographed dishes accompany a vast array of recipes prepared by the camp’s residents for family dinners and community celebrations — and now for others to enjoy at home.

    Both an introduction to Zaatari Camp and a robust cookbook, Zaatari: Culinary Traditions of the World’s Largest Syrian Refugee Camp offers an intimate encounter with Syrian food practices and traditions as they have been handed down through generations.