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John Huston with Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and daughter Anjelica Huston on the set of Prizzi’s Honor. Biographer Jeffrey Meyers portrays him as great filmmaker. (Handout)

John Huston with Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and daughter Anjelica Huston on the set of Prizzi’s Honor. Biographer Jeffrey Meyers portrays him as great filmmaker.



43 non-fiction books from this year that are worth a read (or two) Add to ...

The Globe’s Books team is sent thousands of books every year: novels and poetry, mysteries and histories, memoirs and coffee-table books, erotica, exotica, graphic novels, self-published books, books sophisticated and crude, even textbooks. From this rich array we select only the most promising for reviews - and then only those that wowed our professional readers for our annual 100 list. Herewith, the non-fiction titles reviewers couldn’t put down, couldn’t stop talking about, and insist you stock up on, too.

Joseph Anton

By Salman Rushdie,

Knopf Canada

Joseph Anton provides a brilliant account of the dislocation of Rushdie’s years in hiding following Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against him for writing The Satanic Verses. Rushdie writes eloquently of the emotional turmoil wrought by continually moving from house to house, by the need to schedule, and receive permission for, as simple an act as going for a walk. Day after day, year after year. -- Kenan Malik


By Christopher Hitchens,


Hitchens’s wit and acuity never deserted him, nor did sentimentality or remorse visit, during what was invariably described as his “battle” with cancer. This short book, drawn from his Vanity Fair columns of the period before his death in December, 2011, offers a wry running meditation on the existential fact of being, not merely having, a body. -- Mark Kingwell


A Memoir.

By George Bowering,


At 15, George Bowering is hot and bothered, largely by his developing sexuality but also by a hot summer picking fruit and setting bowling pins in B.C.’s interior. His often R-rated adventures and misadventures among a variety of girls and women make for a novelistic memoir that is funny, raunchy and, finally, moving. -- T.F. Rigelhof

Iron Curtain

The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956,

by Anne Applebaum,


In this beautifully written book about the failed efforts to create a new “Soviet man,” Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Applebaum populates the Stalinist-ruled world of Eastern Europe following the Second World War with a cast of characters who are neither caricatured heroes nor villains, but real people making daily compromises with a fickle and dangerous state. -- Jeffrey Kopstein

The Obamas

By Jodi Kantor,

Little, Brown

The Obamas are an object of fascination, and Jodi Kantor has produced a portrait of a marriage unlike any other. Her insights into the Obamas’ world – the senseless palace intrigues, the usual debates about whether to spend money redecorating while millions are out of work, the realization that the bricks of the White House were fired by slaves – ring true. -- David M. Shribman

The Complete Journals of L. M. Montgomery

The PEI Years, 1889-1900,

edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston,


This welcome addition to our knowledge of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life and legacy captures the thoughts and observations of a highly articulate woman, one whose bestselling Anne of Green Gables was several years away, but who would eventually become one of Canada’s most enduring authors. -- Benjamin Lefebvre

John Huston

Courage and Art,

by Jeffrey Meyers,

Crown Archetype

In this capacious chronicle, which could have been subtitled Courage, Art and Many, Many Women, Jeffrey Meyers celebrates John Huston as one of the great filmmakers. Among the work he labels masterpieces are The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (which allowed him to reciprocate support from his actor-father Walter) and The African Queen. -- Gale Zoë Garnett

The Pursuit of Perfection

A Life of Celia Franca,

by Carol Bishop-Gwyn,


The founder of the National Ballet of Canada had a phobia about people knowing too much about her, creating a flamboyant persona to hide her origins as the daughter of poor working-class Jews in London. So many ballet biographies veer in the direction of sycophancy, but this wonderfully candid life is both superbly insightful and judiciously written. -- Deirdre Kelly

The Tower of Babble

Sins, Secrets and Successes Inside the CBC,

by Richard Stursberg,


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