Refresh Your Shelf: New Non-Fiction

We put together a list of five non-fiction books to refresh your shelves with in 2024—from the existential threat of AI, to the soothing stitch of fibre arts, to inspiring personal stories, these books offer a variety of topics for all kinds of readerly tastes.


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Imagining Imagining by Gary Barwin (Wolsak and Wynn)

The personal essays by creative powerhouse Gary Barwin will be a compelling read for anyone who has thought deeply about life’s big questions, which is probably most of us. From his childhood home in Ireland to the vibrant streets of his long-time home in Hamilton, Ontario, Barwin opens up about art, identity, the ways we communicate, and why we dream. These stories promise to be insightful and entertaining—a collection that you’ll want to revisit over the years. 

Find Imagining Imagining here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Sharp Notions by Marita Dachsel, Nancy Lee (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Specifically crafted for the fibre artists, Sharp Notions is the wholesome read we need in 2024. The perfect way to quell anxiety and foster creativity, knitting, crocheting, and other types of fibre crafting have had a surge in popularity over the last few years. In this anthology, writers and artists peel back the layers of their relationship with their practice to explore the tapestry of connections between creative expression and identity, tech, trauma, disability, and more. Packed with full-colour photographs, Sharp Notions is a cozy antidote to doom-scrolling, and a fun read into the world of fibre arts.

Find Sharp Notions here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Secret Sex edited by Russell Smith (Dundurn Press)

For something racier, try this exciting new collection of twenty-four tantalizing tales about sex from some of Canada’s best, including Heather O’Neill, Lisa Moore, Michael Winter, Zoe Whittall, Jean-Marc Ah-Sen, among other greats. The only thing is you won’t know who wrote what. Uncensored and unpredictable the stories here swing from graphic to subtle to downright surreal—straight sex, gay sex, frustrated sex, and even steamy exchanges through text messages, these saucy stories are written in total freedom, secretly.

Find Secret Sex here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

The Storm of Progress by Wade Rowland (Linda Leith Publishing)

We’re living in a time of threatening climate change, computer intelligence, and AI-accelerated nuclear warfare– some days it’s like we’re in a sci-fi movie, except it’s very real. If the existential threat of AI is making you uneasy, it should be: we need to ask profound questions about what’s going on. In Rowland’s new book, The Storm of Progress, he takes a positive approach, arguing that by better understanding human nature in the light of current scientific and philosophical knowledge, we can be better—and we can do better.

Find The Storm of Progress here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Accidental Blooms by Keiko Honda (Caitlin Press)

Keiko Honda, a successful cancer epidemiologist at Columbia University in NYC, suddenly finds her fast-paced life hitting pause when she wakes up one day and can’t feel her legs. She phones a friend to care for her twenty-month-old daughter and rushes to the hospital where she learns she is permanently paralyzed from the chest down due to a rare autoimmune disease. In her new wheelchair-accessible home in Vancouver, Keiko raises her daughter and dedicates herself to community, friendship, and art. Accidental Blooms is a moving and inspirational memoir about loss and transformation, and seeing life in a profoundly new way. 

Find Accidental Blooms here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

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Stay tuned this week for more Refresh Your Shelf, including new fiction, poetry, and kids.