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The best non-fiction books of 2021

By Kobo • January 21, 2022Recommended Reading

Check out our picks for the best non-fiction eBooks and audiobooks of 2021.

Will by Will Smith

The man, the legend, the story of his life in his own words. Hear our thoughts on the Kobo in Conversation podcast here.

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Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

The bestselling researcher puts a name to 87(!) of the emotions that define the human experience to help readers better understand themselves.

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Talking to Canadians by Rick Mercer

The Canadian ranter speaks about his early years and how he came to be a national treasure.

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Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad

A young woman embarks on a journey into an adulthood deferred by a life-threatening illness, setting out to speak with people who have had their own experiences of confronting mortality. A road trip story that’s sweet and sad and unforgettable.

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“Indian” in the Cabinet by Jody Wilson-Raybould

Canada’s first Indigenous Attorney General tells the story of her upbringing and her side of what happened between her and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Hear our own staff’s review of this moving memoir from the indie rockstar behind Japanese Breakfast on the Kobo in Conversation podcast.

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The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell

This audiobook provided a fascinating glimpse into the decision-making that went into the devastating bombing campaigns that ultimately led to the end of WWII. And it showed us what the future of audiobooks might be. Hear more from Gladwell about it on the Kobo in Conversation podcast.

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Taste by Stanley Tucci

The utterly charming star of so many films—many of which like Julie & Julia feature food—as well as the 2-time cookbook author tells the story of his life through some of his favourite meals.

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Off the Record by Peter Mansbridge

The veteran newsman tells his own story of learning the ropes as a reporter in northern Manitoba and ascending to the highest ranks of the CBC’s on-air talent.

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The Plague Year by Lawrence Wright

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wasted no time assembling the fascinating threads of research behind COVID-19 vaccine development as well as the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

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Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

A beautiful memoir of a young woman learning about the crimes of her father and the painful decisions of family members who kept her in the dark for years.

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Yearbook by Seth Rogen & friends

If you want Seth Rogen to entertain you with his funniest stories with the help of his friends, then this audiobook was made for you.

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Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson

The celebrated essayist hits every emotion in this collection that skewers the wellness industry, performative allyship, white guilt and many other topics with a diamond-tipped wit.

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The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson

A book so funny and so moving it was worth reading and listening to: hear our thoughts on the Kobo in Conversation podcast.

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Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson

The iconic actor published this memoir just before her passing, and easily stands up as her last word on her remarkable life and career.

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The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

The Foo Fighters frontman and 90s alternative rock legend tells the story of how he came to rock the biggest stages around the world.

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Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend by Ben Philippe

A writer who grew up often being the only Black person around shares the story of his upbringing and offers humorous answers to the questions people might want to ask their new Black best friend.

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Rez Rules by Chief Clarence Louie

A nineteen-time elected chief from the Okanagan Valley lays out his vision for the future of First Nations and shares personal insights from his life.

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Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu

A beautiful memoir (and straight up incredible story) about assembling an identity out of a nomadic childhood and a secretive family.

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Carefree Black Girls by Zeba Blay

Through a series of essays, a film and culture critic celebrates Black women in popular culture and pulls apart stereotypes that obscure some great achievements.

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