Best of 2015: DeWitt weaves a brilliant futuristic tale

1. Under Major Domino Minor by Patrick DeWitt House of Anansi, 339 pages, $32.

Love and loss battle for control in this brilliant new book from the author of The Sisters Brothers. Lucien Minor leaves his family home behind to take a position in the Castle Von Aux but finds a cloud of despair hangs over his new residence.

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A chance meeting in the village brings Klara into his life and while love grows there is danger and ruin on the horizon. DeWitt weaves a fantastic tale but stays true to a moral compass that swings as wildly as his characters activities but always finds its centre.

Funny, wise, subversive and utterly original, this is another incredible work by this talented author.

2. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed, Knopf Canada, 140 pages, $22.

Author, columnist, speaker, teller of truths, Cheryl Strayed compiles a selection of her quotes and tosses them straight into your face. These are not general platitudes but instead are ideas to challenge you, demands for commitment, words to lead you into action.

Strayed will shake you from any complacency as she pokes and prods you into examining your life and the principles that guide you. "You don't have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you're holding."

3. Rethink by Amanda Talbot, Chronicle Books, 311 pages, $40.49.

The world is changing and Amanda Talbot wants to offer insights into ways that we can all re-examine our own part of it. Rethink is not a bible for living; it is a guidebook to looking at how people around the globe are changing their priorities about how we live in our personal spaces.

From the opening pages through every section she questions current practices and looks to the future with innovative approaches to all aspects of our homes, how we connect, how we use technology and much more.

4. Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall, Alfred Knopf Publisher, 337 pages, $32. McDougall examines the tools of the hero, natural movement, extraordinary endurance and efficient nutrition, and how groups throughout history and in modern times have applied their principals to make seemingly impossible tasks achievable. He looks at the special characteristics that sets those brave enough to try apart from those who won't. At the heart of the book he tells of a group of resistance fighters on Crete during Second World War and their daring capture of a German general. As he shifts from the past to the present, McDougall explores the nature of heroism and the various methods that people have used to push themselves beyond normal limits in order to do exceptional feats.

5. Wanderlust by Jeff Krasno, Rodale, 290 pages, $28.99.

From the couple that created the Wanderlust festivals comes this guidebook for your personal journey. The dictionary defines wanderlust as the innate desire to travel but in this case travel is presented both physically and spiritually.

Through the various chapters and ideas presented within the book Jeff Krasno has sought to bring the practice and lifestyle of yoga together.

6. Unfaithful Music Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello, Blue Rider Press, 674 pages, $36.

From Liverpool pubs to the Royal Albert Hall Elvis Costello has played countless venues over his four decade long musical career. Hit songs have come from all aspects of his broad range of styles, from angry young man, crooner, classical arranger and pretty much every type of music in between.

This book offers a chance to understand the man behind the music and what went in to the creation of his extensive songbook.

7. All True Not A Lie In It by Alix Hawley, Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, 371 pages, $29.95.

Throughout history certain characters have taken on heroic qualities that may well be based on embellished stories. A famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone left little personal information and much known about him is drawn from the writings of others. With spare language Alix Hawley presents Boone's view of the world as he negotiates, war, poverty, parenthood, and captivity with the Shawnee Indians. Through his eyes we see a country for the first time, the vastness and grandeur and the dangers.

8. Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics and Graphic Novels by Tom Devlin, Drawn Quarterly, 776 pages, $59.95. From the leading publisher of Graphic Novels comes a collection to celebrate its 25-year history that is worthy of its outstanding reputation.

This massive book touches on every aspect of the publisher's works and includes an incredible gathering of talent. Spread throughout the pages is works by Seth, Chester Brown, Art Spiegelman, Julie Doucet and many more.

9. Lonely Planet's Wild World, Lonely Planet, 254 pages, $53.99.

Lonely Planet has gathered an awe-inspiring collection of photographs that let us share in the majesty of these rugged corners of the world. They are presented in a large coffee table volume that gives a full page to every image.

With minimal descriptions we are undistracted in our study of these photos. The information is expanded in the index at the end of the book.

10. Wildlife Photographer of the Year 50 YEARS, Firefly Books, 252 pages, $49.95. A competition that began in 1965 continues to draw the very best photographs from around the world.

Fifty years worth of photos to select from has resulted a spectacular collection that has been presented in this stunning book. Instead of a straight chronological presentation the editor has selected themes to link the images, such as aerial viewpoints or underwater images.

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