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Biographies

Biographies afford us the opportunity to learn of someone's life. Rich or poor, famous, infamous or not so famous, biographies offer the reader a connected, non-fiction narrative about a person.

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Gretzky, Wayne, 1961- author.
A long-awaited memoir listed by the Globe & Mail as one of "the most anticipated (Canadian) books of (the second half of) 2016", the Great One relives his life from his childhood in Brantford to his record breaking years with the Edmonton Oilers, to his move to Los Angeles and beyond.
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Jennings, Jazz.
Named by Time magazine as one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens" of the year, Jazz Jennings shares her story of how she was born a boy but as soon as she could speak let it be known that she was indeed a girl inside. She transitioned to life as a girl at the age of 5, with the support of her parents and was interviewed by Barbara Walters a year later. Now the star of her own reality show I am Jazz, she recounts her experiences in this memoir.
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Toorpakai, Maria, 1990- author.
Maria Toorpakai was born in Pakistan's northwest tribal region, where most women are forced to wear burqas and are forbidden from playing sports. She cut off her hair and wore boy's clothes and learned to love playing squash. Finding a coach as liberal as her father, she was the first woman to play the game openly in shorts and a t-shirt, and soon rose to become the top player in Pakistan. Persecution from the Taliban followed. Now safe in Toronto, this powerful memoir is a must read.
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Goldbloom, David S, author.
David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden are psychiatrists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. In How Can I Help, they chronicle a typical week in their lives as they treat patients, talk to family members and train staff. Their goal is to demystify the profession and reduce fear the public has by describing where they work, the kinds of patients they treat, how they handle treatments and what resources they use to do so. Learn about their challenges and rewards and their thoughts on the future of psychiatry and mental health.
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Burnett, Carol, author.
Emmy award winning comedian Carol Burnett tells the story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for eleven seasons during the golden age of television variety shows.
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Thomas, William J., 1946- author.
Zippy Chippy was born in 1991, claiming ancestors as famous as Northern Dancer, Man O' War, and Bold Ruler. Although expectations were high, he rebelled at racing life and was even beaten by a baseball player in a 40-yard dash. His thoroughbred retirement farm website says "His losing streak made him famous; so famous that he had a following: people who would go to all his races, some hoping for the streak to end, and others just looking to see how long he would go on losing." Although he lost 100 races in all he managed to win over the affection of many.
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Sakamoto, Pamela Rotner, 1962- author.
Midnight in Broad Daylight chronicles the lives of a Japanese-American family on the brink of World War II. When the father dies in 1933 in Seattle, the Fukuhara family returns to their mother's hometown of Hiroshima. Unable to assimilate to Japan, Harry and Mary return to America while Frank and Pierce remain in Japan with their mother.  After Pearl Harbour, Harry and Mary are rounded up and sent to an internment camp, while their brothers are conscripted into the Japanese Imperial Army. After the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Harry returns to search for his family.
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Gray, Charlotte, 1948- author.
From Georges-Étienne Cartier to Tommy Douglas, Elijah Harper and Emily Carr, Gray shows how the ideas and actions of these individuals have forged social changes and those changes have in turn shaped the country. Engaging and edifying biographies of eight people which is at the same time an insightful history of Canada.
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Bartleman, James, 1939- author.
James Bartleman was Ontario's first indigenous Lieutenant Governor who was inspired to dream dreams as a child after learning to read. While in this post he mobilized public support for books and education for Native children and has collected over one million books for Native school libraries.
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Grescoe, Taras.
After a disastrous affair, New Yorker journalist Emily Hahn arrives in opulent Shanghai during the Great Depression, a city divided up by foreign countries. She checks into Sir Victor Sassoon's Cathay Hotel and is drawn into the social circle of people like Ernest Hemmingway, Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard. When she meets Zau Sinmay, a Chinese poet, she discovers the real Shanghai through his eyes and writes about it for Americans. Shanghai Grand chronicles Hahn's life in China through a dangerous and fascinating time.
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Robison, John Elder, author.
Following his earlier memoir about growing up with Asperger's Syndrome, author John Elder Robison heard about TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), an experimental brain therapy that offered to help his autism and improve his emotional intelligence. He volunteered to become a guinea pig to brain researchers at Harvard and chronicles how he learned to distinguish subtle human communication, to empathize with his wife's depression and respond emotionally to music. He describes how he felt he had previously experienced life in black and white and since the treatment has been living it in colour for the first time.
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Robertson, Robbie, author.
Born to a Mohawk mother and a Jewish father, Robertson was first exposed to music at Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, where he spent summers with his mother's family. He recounts his early years with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, to the formation of the Band and the most famous farewell tour as depicted in the movie the Last Waltz. Five years in the writing this memoir is listed by the Globe & Mail as one of "the most anticipated (Canadian) books of (the second half of) 2016.
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Dallaire, Roméo.
Shake Hands with the Devil author Romeo Dallaire recounts how he was given a medical discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2000 due to his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after witnessing the genocide in Rwanda. In this memoir he shares his experiences with PTSD in the years since his dismissal. Listed by the Globe & Mail as one of "the most anticipated (Canadian) books of (the second half of) 2016.