Biography

#969 Piquing interest in Purdy

An Echo in the Mountains: Al Purdy after a Century by Nicholas Bradley (editor) Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020 $34.95 / 9780228003373 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * “Purdy,” I say. “Al Purdy. Have you heard of him?” “You mean like the chocolates?” She is probably joking. I am asking people I know outside…
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#966 A torrent of collective memory

The E.J. Hughes Book of Boats by Robert Amos Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2020 $22.00 / 9781771513364 Reviewed by Brian Harvey * For the British Columbia painter E.J. Hughes, who died in Duncan in 2007, the sea was never far away. Hughes wasn’t the only famous Canadian artist to include boats in his canvases — we’ll…
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#961 From Quilchena to Flanders

ESSAY: Remembering John Foster Paton Nash by Michael Sasges For Remembrance Day 2020, Michael Sasges presents the life of Nicola Valley rancher John Foster Paton Nash (1866-1916). John Nash’s name is on three Great War memorials.  The first is at his school in England, King William’s College on the Isle of Man; the second is…
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#960 West Kootenay baby boomer buba

Tuesdays with Jack: A Grandmother’s Love and a Little Boy’s Brilliance by Pauline Daniel Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2018 $18.95 / 9781926991825 Reviewed by Rose Morrison * Author Pauline Daniel, who likes to be known as the “how to follow your heart” coach, is the owner of Coaching Connections, a coaching service for women. She…
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#954 A counsellor’s perilous odyssey

Borderline Shine: A Memoir by Connie Greshner, with a foreword by Theresa Therriault Toronto: Dundurn, 2020 $19.99 / 9781459746121 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Connie Greshner calls her book a “memoir” but it doesn’t feel like a memoir. It feels like those painful slapstick comedies in which the protagonist suffers pratfall after pratfall, supposedly for…
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#950 L.A. Woman, Billy, and Jim

Love her Madly: Jim Morrison, Mary, and Me. A Memoir by Bill Cosgrave Dundurn Press, 2020 $18.99 / 9781459746602 Reviewed by Randolph Eustace-Walden * Christmas 1986. I’m spending the month in Thailand. The island of Phuket hasn’t been gentrified yet. The streets are still dirt, the food and accommodation choices are still varied and cheap,…
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#931 Carr, captivity, creativity

Woo, The Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr: A Biography by Grant Hayter-Menzies, with a foreword by Anita Kunz Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $9.99 / 9781771622141 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * What, ultimately, does a statue represent? A statue is allegory at its most literal. A statue can never be the very person it…
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#887 The legend of British Columbia

Cataline: Uncovering the Life of BC’s Legendary Packer by Susan Smith-Josephy and Irene Bjerky Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2020 $22.95 / 9781773860244 Reviewed by Harold Rhenisch * This is a book about the making of British Columbia by the simple hard work of carrying industrial material, strapped to the backs of horses and mules, across…
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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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#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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#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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#862 The remarkable Victoria Chung

A Woman in Between: Searching for Dr. Victoria Chung by John Price with Ningping Yu Vancouver: Canadian Chinese Historical Society of British Columbia and UBC Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies, 2019 $30.00  /  9780993659324 Reviewed by May Q. Wong * An immigrant girl, born in Victoria in 1897 and a…
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#859 Celebrating Indigenous jewellery

Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry: The Art, the Artists, the History by Alexander Dawkins, with a foreword by Corrine Hunt Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2019 $24.95 / 9781771642972 Reviewed by Victoria Wyatt * Northwest Coast Indigenous artists working in jewellery have long deserved more attention on these arts. Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry: The Art, the…
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