#878 The return of Hammerhead Jed

Rolling Thunder by A.J. Devlin Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2020 $18.95 / 9781988732862 Reviewed by Caileigh Broatch * In 2018 A.J. Devlin’s first novel, Cobra Clutch, won the Best First Canadian Crime Novel at the 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards in Toronto. The mystery novel was jam-packed with pro wrestlers and scuzzy bikers. “Hammerhead” Jed Ounstead, night…
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#877 A primer for modern teachers

You Suck, Sir: Chronicles of a High School English Teacher and the Students who Schooled Him by Paul Bae Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press (Robin’s Egg Books), 2020 $19.95 / 9781551528076 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn * A comedian, podcaster, writer, and actor, Paul Bae also taught English at Vancouver’s largest public school. He co-created and co-wrote…
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#876 Stainsby’s carbons and files

MEMOIR: Writing My Father by Meg Stainsby * After twenty years of carting it around unopened, I unpacked a stale cardboard box stuffed with crackly, yellowed sheets of typescript — some still clinging to their carbons, all faint and fusty — and began a solitary trek across a forty-year expanse of written terrain that my…
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#875 Chinese but not Chinese

Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood: A Memoir of a Past Lost and Found by Wayson Choy Toronto: Penguin Random House, 2018; first published by Viking Penguin, 1999 $21.00 / 9780735234666 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * When I was six years old, ostensibly as a non sequitur, I announced, “I’m English!” to every family member circling…
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#874 Keeping company at Fort Hope

Potlatch Blanket for a China Man by Mei-Li Lee Victoria: Printorium Bookworks, 2019 $19.95  /  9780991808410 Reviewed by May Q. Wong For a complete list of BC booksellers that stock this book see here. It is also available from Amazon. * Mei-Li Lee draws the reader into her novel through a potlatch ceremony, where a…
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#873 A castle for all Victorians

Craigdarroch: The Story of Dunsmuir Castle by Terry Reksten Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 (first published by Orca Books, 1987; reprinted 1994, 1997, and 2000) $16.95 / 9781459823846 Reviewed by Matthew Downey * This new printing of the late Terry Reksten’s Craigdarroch: The Story of Dunsmuir Castle provides to a new generation of readers a short…
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#872 Making some good trouble

Disabled Voices Anthology by sb. smith (editor), with a foreword by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha Nanoose Bay: Rebel Mountain Press, 2020 $18.95   /   9781775301950 Reviewed by Margot Fedoruk * I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way…
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#871 Memory’s lasting irritants

Lost Boys by Darci Bysouth Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781771871754 Reviewed by William New * The most striking of the eighteen stories collected in Darci Bysouth’s first book read like those moments in our lives that we may want to forget about but never can. They keep coming back to irritate us —…
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#870 A clear-eyed analysis of fear

Nerve: A Personal Journey Through the Science of Fear by Eva Holland Toronto: Penguin Random House (Allen Lane), 2020 $32.95 / 9780735237339 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Who doesn’t enjoy reading about extraordinary people or extraordinary events? The appeal of reading about the famous or infamous, about divas or dictators is obvious. Equally obvious is…
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#869 Canadian short stories 2019

Best Canadian Stories 2019 by Caroline Adderson (editor) Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis, 2019 $22.95 /  9781771963275 Reviewed by Marion Quednau * Reading the stories in this anthology reminded me of something the late American writer, Jim Harrison, once said: “But a man can stop his car, get out: he can dive in a lake and swim…
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#868 Hazelton mission and medic

Service on the Skeena: Horace Wrinch, Frontier Physician by Geoff Mynett Vancouver: Ronsdale Books, 2020 $21.95 / 9781553805755 Reviewed by Tyler McCreary * Service on the Skeena, Geoff Mynett’s first book, presents the story of the northern medical missionary, public healthcare advocate, and later provincial politician, Horace Wrinch. The first doctor to serve Gitxsan and…
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#867 Between the empty and the all

Between the Empty and the All by Rod Deakin-Drown New Westminster: Silver Bow Publishing, 2019 $20.00  /  9781774030547 Reviewed by Marie Bibas * The quote with which Rod Deakin-Drown starts us off on a delightful journey shocked me at first — until I rambled on reading to discover a poet seduced by a literary spleen…
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#866 Beware rainbow-filled Oreos

Rebent Sinner by Ivan Coyote Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019 $19.75 / 9781551527734 Reviewed by Anna Spencer with Heather Simeney MacLeod * On March 12, 2020, Ivan Coyote’s Rebent Sinner was shortlisted for the 2020 Jim Deva Prize (for “writing that provokes”) and was also shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-fiction Prize, both of the BC…
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#865 Channelling Oscar Wilde

Beautiful Untrue Things: Forging Oscar Wilde’s Extraordinary Afterlife by Gregory Mackie Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019 $60.00 / 9781487502904 Reviewed by Brittany Reid * There has long been a fascination with the unusual lives of authors, leading to the proliferation of a popular and academic genre known as literary biography. Literary biographies are intended…
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#864 Crossing Lake Tanganyika

Maison Rouge: Memories of a Childhood in War by Liliane Leila Juma Vancouver: Tradewind Books, 2020 $12.95 / 9781926890302 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Like many of us, I often find myself reading a couple of books at the same time. So, when I picked up Leila Juma’s thin tome I was also reading another…
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