Essays in non-fiction

#989 Passionate about the past

Great Expectations: Reflections on Museums and Canada by Jack Lohman Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 2019 $14.95 / 9780772673039 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * “Isn’t it amazing that in 2019, Canadians are so passionate about the past?” In this era seen by some as haunted by a toxic past which must be erased as quickly…
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#987 Letters from the Pandemic: Welcome

Letters from the Pandemic by Sasha Colby * Editor’s note: we are pleased to introduce Letters from the Pandemic: A 30th Anniversary Commemorative Public Writing Project of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program of Simon Fraser University (SFU). Sasha Colby, Director of Graduate Liberal Studies, provides an introduction (below) to the Pandemic Letters project. The letters…
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#978 Crazy about lumber

Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman by Kate Braid Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2020 $22.95 / 9781773860336 Reviewed by Jennifer Chutter * Kate Braid’s new memoir, Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman, provides glimpses of her life as a carpenter, primarily in the Lower Mainland, during the 1970s and 1980s. Through a series…
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#977 Tips for the Anthropocene

A Book of Ecological Virtues: Living Well in the Anthropocene by Heesoon Bai, David Chang, and Charles Scott (editors) Regina: University of Regina Press, 2020 $39.95 / 9780889777569 Reviewed by Rose Morrison * Seldom has this reviewer encountered an essay collection that is so topical and as important as A Book of Ecological Virtues: Living…
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#973 Barman’s BC fundamentals

On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space, and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia by Jean Barman, edited by Margery Fee Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020 $34.95 / 9781550178968 Reviewed by Robert Hogg * Jean Barman believes that “The past cannot be undone, but it can be redressed.” This is the task she set…
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#964 Travelling the higher heights

A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya by Michael Schauch Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771604673 A review essay by Trevor Carolan * Adventure travel goes through phases. In the Sixties you went off to Formentera in the Balearics or Corfu to find yourself. India…
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#943 Investigating Sherlock Holmes

Sherlockian Musings: Thoughts on the Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sheldon Goldfarb London: MX Publishing, 2019 $16.95 / 9781787054813 Reviewed by Patrick McDonagh * Sheldon Goldfarb’s Sherlockian Musings live up to their title. They are very much musings, open-ended and accessible, and they are quite often amusing as well. The book’s structure is immediately accessible —…
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#930 The relevance of Ken Lum

Everything is Relevant: Writings on Art and Life, 1991-2018 by Ken Lum, with an introduction by Kitty Scott Montreal: Concordia University Press, 2020 $64.95 / 9781988111001 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Where on earth is he? The Vancouver Art Gallery is staging an interview with Vancouver-born art star Ken Lum. It’s May 2020, deep into…
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#911 A space for feminine voices

Radiant Voices: 21 Feminist Essays for Rising Up Inspired by EMMA Talks by carla bergman (compiler and editor) Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2019 $22.00 / 9781927366844 Reviewed by Natalie Lang * If you’ve ever taken the time to observe birds, you might notice them flying up into the sky and then swooping down in magnificent arcs….
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#890 Podiums, prototypes, and Plato

ESSAY: Unique ways of prototyping by Thomas Girard * Editor’s note: When asked to define “prototyping” as used in this essay, Thomas Girard replied: When I talk about “prototyping” here, I’m talking about it in part as I’ve learnt it in traditional design education, at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, years ago. In…
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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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#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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#848 The ballad of Ginger Goodwin

Ginger: The Life and Death of Albert Goodwin by Susan Mayse Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020; first published by Harbour, 1990 $28.95 / 9781550170184 Reviewed by Dan Hinman-Smith * We’re all working men here, And we drink Lucky Beer, Do we hold a grudge? You bet. — Gordon Carter, “The Day They Shot Ginger Down”…
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#847 Hedonism, pleasure, ethics

ESSAY: The Will to Pleasure: Hedonism, Ethics, and Aesthetics from the Ancient World to the Present Age by Eryn Holbrook * When Christianity and Marxism end their shared reign, we will need visions of new possibilities. There is always one fixed point: the body. Not a body of Platonic ideas, nor a body cut in…
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