Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Mark: Charles Taylor Prize Shortlist

The nominees for the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction were announced this past week. This prize is one of Canada's most prestigious with the winner awarded $25,000 on March 4.

I have not heard of any of these books, which is a bit unusual. Although I don't read a lot of non-fiction I still peruse the shelves in bookstores. Sandra Djwa's book sounds the most interesting as it apparently is about one of Canada's most loved writers. I say apparently because I have never heard of her and am, of course, wondering what have I been missing.

The Pursuit of Perfection: The Life of Celia Franca - Carol Bishop-Gwyn
Born into a working-class family in 1921, Celia Franca, though a capable dancer, was an unlikely candidate for ballet greatness. But Celia possessed a drive that was almost unrivalled, and went on to become one of the most important figures inCanadian ballet in the twentieth century. When a group from Toronto was hopeful of establishing a major ballet, they brought Celia across the Atlantic to be the founder. Celia went on to build the company, the National Ballet of Canada, into a major cultural force in Canada. Commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the National Ballet of Canada, The Pursuit of Perfection tells of the battles, the heartbreaks, the successes, and the accolades Celia and the Ballet shared.
Warlords: Borden, Mackenzie King, and Canada’s World Wars - Tim Cook

Warlords is a fast-paced narrative that humanizes the war effort through the eyes of the prime ministers. Set against how our senior politicians governed themselves and the nation during these difficult times, it offers an invaluable perspective of war and war leaders.


Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page - Sandra Djwa
Journey with No Maps is the first biography of P.K. Page, a brilliant twentieth-century poet and a fine artist. The product of over a decade's research and writing, the book follows Page as she becomes one of Canada's best-loved and most influential writers. "A borderline being," as she called herself, she recognized the new choices offered to women by modern life but followed only those related to her quest for self-discovery. Tracing Page's life through two wars, world travels, the rise of modernist and Canadian cultures, and later Sufi study, biographer Sandra Djwa details the people and events that inspired her work.

Leonardo and The Last Supper - Ross King

Leonardo da Vinci's transcendent painting The Last Supper defined the master artist. Until now, no one has told the full story behind its creation. Political events weighed on da Vinci and all of Italy during the time of the painting's conception and creation, as his patron, the Duke of Sforza, unleashed forces leading to a decades-long series of tragedies known as the Italian Wars. Sforza was overthrown by French forces in 1499, forcing da Vinci to flee Milan with the paint on The Last Supper barely dry. The Last Supper ensured Leonardo's universal renown as a visionary master of the arts.

Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy - Andrew Preston

Ever since John Winthrop argued that the Puritans’ new home would be “a city upon a hill,” Americans’ role in the world has been shaped by their belief that God has something special in mind for them. But this is a story that historians have mostly ignored. Now, in the first authoritative work on the subject, Andrew Preston explores the major strains of religious fervor—liberal and conservative, pacifist and militant, internationalist and isolationist—that framed American thinking on international issues.

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