(December 20, 2021) The Charity Report Top 10 books of 2021 is drawn up with consideration to a number of factors: the unique page views it receives, the amount of interest generated on social media, and our own judgement about how a particular book may offer a new point of view or broken new ground, ground that we believe is important for the charity sector to understand it is standing on. We congratulate the writers of these top 10 books, but also take our hat off to all the writers whose books we have featured in the past year. The books curated for the Literary Circle are all good books, important books that we’ve selected specifically for our audience. You!
Having a robust ‘book review’ offering like The Charity Report Literary Circle is an extraordinary amount of work, and dozens of people are involved. We want to send a big shout out to our singular Literary Circle Review Panel, one of the most unique, diverse and intellectually curious group of people we’ve ever seen assembled in the sector. We are also grateful to the publishers and publicists who bring important books to our attention and entertain many last minute requests for cover images and author photos. A heart felt thank you. We appreciate you so much and just don’t say it often enough.
Here are your Charity Report Top 10 books of 2021:
Christi Belcourt, Sherry Farrell Racette, Nadia Kurd & Dylan Miner, Goose Lane Editions with Carleton University Art Gallery, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, and MacKenzie Art Gallery, October 26, 2021, 136 pp., $45.00
Reviewed by Gail Picco December 16, 2021: “For people not familiar with Belcourt’s work, Christi Belcourt, the book, is a gift for yourself. For Belcourt fans, it’s a validation of an artist whose body of work is brilliant and whose best may well be yet to come. Yay Christi. Yay Belcourt. And yay to Goose Lane Editions and the people who contributed to this remarkable volume.”
Resilient: The Portraiture of Wayne Simpson, foreword by David Brosha, Rocky Mountain Books, 280 pp., $60.00
Reviewed by Gail Picco December 16, 2021: “Resilient is a shining example of the talent operating beneath the radar in this country. Every photograph on every page is a piece of the poetry of everyday life. I loved this book, Wayne Simpson for devoting his life to the chronicling of people who are worth our love and care, and for Rocky Mountain Books who continue to ferret out the best of our country and preserve it for all of us to see.“
This is my real name: A stripper’s Memoir, Cid Brunet, Arsenal Pulp Press, November 2, 2021, 320 pp., $22.95
Reviewed December, 2021: This is my real name is so much more than a sex-worker authored memoir, a growingly necessary genre that replaces males fetishization of sex work. But Brunet, using the backdrop of strip clubs to map out humanity, reveals the ways in which women use their femininity to survive in the world and the choices men make to how they will use their masculinity. Whether we work in a strip club, where sexual favour is openly being traded, or a corporation or a charity or live in a prison, a boarding school or army base, choices are always there to be made.
On Time and Water, Andri Snær Magnason, Biblioasis, March 30, 2021, 240 pp., $24.70
Reviewed by Kathleen Adamson July 20, 2021: “This blue jewel of a book shows the result of years of serious reflection. It is informative and well-fleshed out scientifically, but what makes it special is the emotional catharsis and clarity that Andri Snær Magnason brings to an incredibly difficult subject. He describes his grief when confronted with the reality of explaining sea turtle extinction during a presentation with his young daughter in the audience. He speaks with the Dalai Lama about what it means to hope under difficult circumstances and affirms the importance of witnessing these strange and dreadful days.”
How we give now: A philanthropic guide for the rest of us, Lucy Bernholz, The MIT Press, October 12, 2021, 240 pp., $31.99
Reviewed by Gail Picco October 12, 2021: “… Lucy Bernholz’s biggest contribution with this book is the demonstration of how much generosity is happening outside the transaction of writing a cheque to a charity, and how much oxygen is taken up in the charity sector by this narrow framework. The linear definition has a problematic history, she says, and reflects the commodification of giving that has been going on since “Carnegie and Rockefeller were sold on the concept by a lawyer.”
The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations, Robert Livingston, PenguinRandomHouse, February 2, 2021, 368 pp., $33.74
Reviewed by Wanda Deschamps August 13, 2021: In the wake of the most significant anti-racism protests since the 1960s arrives Dr. Robert W. Livingston’s The Conversation. Masterfully written and expertly researched, the book explores racism and bias from a “science-based approach” and provides a map for individuals and organizations to combat it through answering three questions: What is racism? Why should everyone be more concerned about it? What can we do to eradicate it?
The Greater Good: Social Entrepreneurship for Everyday People Who Want to Change the World, Madeleine Shaw, Wonderwell, October 15, 2021, $30.64
Reviewed by Ginelle Skerritt October 18, 2021: Whether you have considered social entrepreneurship, or you just want to gain an understanding of what a new economic model can look like, The Greater Good will take you there. It’s also a very good way to get clear on your personal vision and how to turn what seem like self- defeating emotions and fears into productive learning tools that can feed your success.
Jigging for Halibut with Tsinii, Sara Florence Davidson and Richard Davidson, Illustrated by Janine Gibbons, HighWater Press, September 27, 2021, 40 pp., $21.73
Reviewed by Kathleen Adamson September 24, 2021: “The book is a simple story of a young man who goes fishing with his grandfather in the morning and returns in the evening. But at every step of the way, their movements are intertwined with the natural world around them. Travelling with the tide, they fish for halibut, using methods that the boy’s grandfather has taught him. Returning with the catch, they prepare their two fish on the beach, to be cooked by naanii, the boy’s grandmother. The narrative has a calming quietness to it, one of the books great pleasures. But its relatively still waters run deep.”
Raise It! The Reluctant Fundraiser’s Guide to Raising Money without Selling your Soul, Cindy Wagman, YGTMedia Co. Publishing, October 19, 2021, 218 pp., $22.95
Reviewed by Yvonne Harding November 3, 2021: “Raise It! will allow you to shift the way you perceive your donors, enabling you to attract more donors than you can imagine. Whether you are a reluctant fundraiser or whether you want to reengage your inner spark and further hone your fundraising practices this book is for you. But, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do a little work along the way.”
The Rebel Christ, Michael Coren, Dundurn Press, October 19, 2021, 180 pp., $19.99
Reviewed by Kathleen Adamson November 24, 2021: “The Rebel Christ is a well written, well-argued summary of how far modern Christianity has departed from its original counterculture, anti-materialist intentions, which were in direct opposition to exclusionary practices. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” says Jesus in Mark 10:25 (KJV). And in Mark 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Christ makes no bones about which side of the fence He’s sitting on.”