Bookville – Memoirs

Get the inside story with these memoirs and biographies.

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  • Capturing the Summit

    Capturing the Summit


    In this classic adventure story, the diaries of two men, a scientist and a mountaineer, reveal their distinct struggles in the unforgiving wilds of the northern landscape.

    Four months alone in the remote windswept wilderness, adventurer and ecologist Hamilton Mack Laing spends his days deeply immersed in observing the natural world of the Chitina River valley. He endures dust storms, befriends a family of ravens and fearlessly tracks elusive bears.

    At the same time, Fred Lambart documents the gruelling expedition to the summit of Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada. In their primitive wool gloves and canvas trousers, the mountaineers soldier on across the frozen landscape despite escalating tempers and rivalries.

    Written nearly 100 years ago, Laing and Lambart’s diaries give the reader a visceral, tactile and cinematic experience of the north in this remarkable tale highlighted with archival photos.

  • I Am Full

    I Am Full


    Dan Yashinsky’s son Jacob died tragically in a car accident at the age of 26. Dan, Jacob and Jacob’s best friend Effie were driving back to Toronto after a magical trip to Montreal when Dan fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. Dan and Effie survived, but Jacob did not. When the unimaginable happens–a parent is still somehow here but their child is gone–all that’s left are stories. In the process of grieving his son, Dan realized that he was now Jacob’s storykeeper, and I Am Full is Jacob’s story.

    Jacob’s death is the least interesting thing about him. How he lived, the kind of man he became, is what matters most. All his life, Jacob had struggled with Prader-Willi Syndrome, but rather than let it defeat him, he became an advocate for people suffering from PWS as well as people coping with various other disabilities. He was a jewelry-maker, a photographer, a songwriter, a TPS crossing guard, and an avid fisherman. Six months after Jacob’s death, Dan began to gather and create the texts that make up this chronicle, all the while guided by Jacob’s imagined voice. The events in I Am Full are drawn from many periods of Jacob’s life. Much of it–poems, sayings, speeches, letters, notes–are in Jacob’s own words and the rest is told in his imagined voice narrating things that Dan saw him do or hear him talk about. Jacob’s voice has been captured and carried in this unique book, which goes beyond the terrible grief of losing a child to preserving and sharing his story.

  • Naked in a Pyramid

    Naked in a Pyramid


    Having visited both Poles and circumnavigated the world, Yosef Wosk, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, has developed his own field of psychogeography. The title piece describes the time he almost died climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza at midnight. The next day he descended into an ancient cavern beneath the Great Pyramid where he took off all his clothes, alone, and meditated. Probably more people have walked on the moon than have done that. Here, then, is an unconventional book by an original thinker, a former rabbi who owns ancient Torah scrolls, Stars Wars memorabilia, Pee-wee Herman’s bike and a yellow star from the concentration camps. There is quite simply nobody like him. A scholar-turned-philanthropist-turned-art-collector-turned-writer/philosopher, Yosef Wosk is a reclusive Lone Ranger who frequently helps others but remains a stranger. Here, for the first time, he has gathered a medley of observations to reveal his private world.

    Subjects include Leonard Cohen, Marilyn Monroe, Jesus as a storyteller, knowing Elie Wiesel, visiting anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, technology (welcoming The Global Brain) and visits to both Poles (expunging Westerncentricity and Northerncentricity).

  • Take Your Baby And Run

    Take Your Baby And Run


    “Part memoir, part medical malfeasance whistle-blowing, and essential reading for medical reform activists, “Take Your Baby And Run” is especially and unreservedly recommended.” – Midwest Book Review
    Foreword by Lanette Siragusa, RN NM
    Take Your Baby and Run is Carol Youngson’s first-hand account of the shocking ineptitude and misogynistic behaviour that led to the death of twelve children, primarily infants, under the care of Dr. Jonah Odim at Winnipeg’s largest hospital in 1994. Youngson was the nurse in charge of the cardiac unit and in her book she details the dysfunctional hospital hierarchy that allowed this tragedy to unfold, leading to the longest running inquiry in Canadian history. Sadly, the themes of this book are just as relevant today during our current health crisis.

  • The Definition of Beautiful

    The Definition of Beautiful


    Shortlisted for the 2024 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

    A stunning memoir of coming of age and recovering from anorexia in the 2020s

    Charlotte Bellows wrote The Definition of Beautiful between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, in the wake of lockdown and in recovery from anorexia. In the tradition of Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar and Françoise Sagan in Bonjour Tristesse, Bellows writes with deceptively straightforward urgency, pushing through society’s constraints on the bodies and minds of girls and women to offer a story both achingly familiar and devastatingly new.

    In 2020, fourteen-year-old Charlotte’s lifelong drive to achieve ‘perfection’ distorts into an all-encompassing obsession. Living between the suffocating world of lockdown and an uncanny dreamscape inhabited by competing avatars, Charlotte faces a parade of masked faces in hospital rooms, the aftermath of first love, the erosion of lifelong friendship, and the agony of seeing her illness devastate her family as it threatens to destroy her; as the world reopens, she finds new connections and mentors, new joy, new ways of thinking, new ways to be.

    Charlotte Bellows offers a potent fusion of insight and innocence — a story for those who suffer or have suffered from eating disorders, but, more, a vital coming of age story of a young gay and artistic woman, tugged and throttled by a myriad of pressures, not least from the dark gravity that is the underside of her own creative drive.

  • The Mantle of Struggle

    The Mantle of Struggle


    Rosie Douglas, former prime minister of Dominica, had a life unlike any other modern politician. After leaving home to study agriculture in Canada, he became a member of the young Conservatives, under the Canadian prime minister’s guidance. However, after he moved to Montreal to study political science his politics started to shift. By the late sixties he was an active civil rights supporter and when Black students in Montreal began to protest racism in 1969, he helped lead the sit-in. He was identified as a protest ringleader after the peaceful protest turned into a police riot, and served 18 months in prison. 

    After his deportation from Canada in 1976, having been named a danger to national security, Douglas participated in political movements around the world building global solidarity. He became a leader of the Libyan-based revolutionary group World Mathaba and supported Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. Once back home in Dominica, he led the movement for Dominica’s full political independence from Great Britain, then served as a senator in the post-independence government, an MP, party leader, and finally prime minister. 

    Relying on family sources, interviews, newspaper articles, government documents, and Douglas’ own articles, letters, and speeches, Irving Andre has drawn a rich and riveting record of this important Black revolutionary.