Biography

#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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#854 A real book about real music

Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music by Ian Hampton Erin, Ontario: Porcupine’s Quill, 2018 $24.95 / 9780889844131 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve All line drawings below by Ian Hampton * Cellist Ian Hampton is known in British Columbia and elsewhere as a distinguished musician and music educator, but his influence goes deeper and further…
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#851 Hockey fighting man

The Grim Reaper: The Life and Career of a Reluctant Warrior by Stu Grimson with Kevin Allen Toronto: Penguin Random House (Viking), 2019 $32.95 / 9780735237247 Reviewed by Timothy Lewis * Stu Grimson played 729 games in the National Hockey League, recording 17 goals and 22 assists. Those are not scoring statistics normally associated with…
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#841 Frank Barnard’s coach & mail

Stagecoach North: A History of Barnard’s Express by Ken Mather Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $22.95 / 9781772033090 Reviewed by Matthew Downey * Ken Mather’s chronicle of Barnard’s Express, the company that carried freight and passengers between coastal and interior British Columbia during the gold rush years of the mid to late 19th century, connects the…
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