Essays in non-fiction

#727 Death by a thousand words

Against Death: 35 Essays on Living by Elee Kraljii Gardiner (editor) Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2019 $22.00 / 9781772141276 Reviewed by Sally Campbell * This book intrigued me with its title. What does it mean, “Against Death?” I am not against death, it’s the one event post-birth that all creatures share. Then I got the double…
Read more #727 Death by a thousand words

#713 Writing tips from Cowichan

10 Sure-fire Ways to NAIL Your First Draft by Carol Anne Shaw * After several years of reading, scribbling, blogging, Facebooking, and trying to look serious on LinkedIn, I’ve come to realize that this writing-a-novel thing is actually a no-brainer. Because there are only ten necessary rules for success. I’m not lying. (I’ll get to…
Read more #713 Writing tips from Cowichan

#676 A trip down memory lane

Memory by Philippe Tortell, Mark Turin, and Margot Young (editors) Vancouver: UBC Press (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies), 2018 $24.95 / 9781775276609 Reviewed by Forrest Pass * Historians think we know memory. “Social memory” — how communities, governments, and private interests understand and give the past meaning — is a well-established focus in my…
Read more #676 A trip down memory lane

#611 A baby boomer’s songbook

Song Book: 21 Songs From 10 Years (1964-74) by Fiona McQuarrie Walthamstow, UK: New Haven Publishing, 2018 $24.00  /  9781912587155 Reviewed by Randolph Eustace-Walden * It’s been said that if you remember the 1960s you weren’t there. Well, I do, and I was. And like many others of my generation, the music of that time…
Read more #611 A baby boomer’s songbook

#594 Talking feet & werewolf expertise

Collapsible by Tim Conley Vancouver: New Star Books 2019 $18.00 / 9781554201518 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn with Ginny Ratsoy * The author of several previous books of poetry, Tim Conley teaches twentieth-century literature at Brock University, specializing in modernists such as Joyce and Beckett, as well as “experimental novelists and avant-garde poets,” according to his…
Read more #594 Talking feet & werewolf expertise

#587 Islands and ingenuity

Complicated Simplicity: Island Life in the Pacific Northwest by Joy Davis Victoria: Heritage House, 2019 $22.95 / 9781772032703 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Joy Davis’s book, she writes, “…focuses on the perspectives and experiences of people who live on Pacific Northwest islands, particularly those not served by ferries…” Life on these islands, she tells us…
Read more #587 Islands and ingenuity

#560 Arbutus, sandstone, & Salish Sea

Love of the Salish Sea Islands: New Essays, Memoirs and Poems by 40 Island Writers by Mona Fertig (editor) and Gail Sjuberg (introduction) Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2019 $23.95 / 9781896949734 Reviewed by Theresa Kishkan * I first encountered the term “islomania” in Lawrence Durrell’s sublime Reflections on a Marine Venus, a memoir…
Read more #560 Arbutus, sandstone, & Salish Sea

#530 My private Italy

MEMOIR: My Private Italy by Grahame Ware * We are delighted to present “My Private Italy,” the second instalment of Grahame Ware’s social history memoir, a larger project with the working title In the Moonshadows of My iMac. The first instalment, “My Private Chinatown,” was published in the Ormsby Review #501 (March 08th, 2019). In “My Private…
Read more #530 My private Italy

#527 Canadian graffiti

Graffiti, Canadian Style by Ernest Hekkanen First published in The Ormsby Review, April 9, 2019 * It was twenty years ago, in 1999, that Ernest Hekkanen wrote this diatribe about why Vancouver public art is so godawful, why Canada’s granting agencies can be foolish or corrupt, and why he rejected a contract from a respected…
Read more #527 Canadian graffiti

#501 My Private Chinatown

MEMOIR: My Private Chinatown by Grahame Ware * The literature of remembrance turns the lost world of objects into emblems of a bygone culture. What is lost can be repossessed through memory and writing, for it is in the vagaries of consciousness in retracing lost dreams that possession can best be established. Writing about memories…
Read more #501 My Private Chinatown

#479 On the wings of forever

ESSAY: Universal Technologies and Traditional Innovations: A Comprehensive Perspective for Museums by Yosef Wosk An Ormsby Exclusive, in collaboration with the The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars First published Feb. 5, 2019 * We are pleased to present an essay by Yosef Wosk about nothing less than mankind’s accumulation and appreciation of shared knowledge and wisdom. This extraordinarily…
Read more #479 On the wings of forever

#459 Skylark: old friend in a new land

ESSAY: Old Friend in a New Land: English Songbirds in British Columbia by Richard Mackie * Because the road is rough and long Shall we despise the skylark’s song? — Charlotte Bronte[1] * Introduced from England in 1903 and 1913, Eurasian skylarks took hold in Vancouver Island’s older agricultural districts, to which they were well…
Read more #459 Skylark: old friend in a new land

Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars

The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars is an enthusiastic network of lifelong learners—avid readers and researchers, curious travellers and thoughtful practitioners—who are not affiliated with a university or college. CAIS members help each other overcome the barriers of isolation and lack of institutional support, to enable each other to make vital contributions to scholarship in…
Read more Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars

#368 “Walk like an Indian”

Kuei, My Friend: A Conversation on Race and Reconciliation by Deni Ellis Béchard and Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, translated by Deni Ellis Béchard and Howard Scott Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $19.95 / 9781772011951 Reviewed by Dylan Burrows First published September 07th, 2018 * Following the controversial death of 11-year old Ojibwe girl Makayla Sault from leukaemia in…
Read more #368 “Walk like an Indian”

#351 Essays from the north

First published Aug. 24, 2018. Where it Hurts: Essays by Sarah de Leeuw Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2017 $19.95 / 9781926455846 Reviewed by Heidi Greco * Heidi Greco reviews Sarah de Leeuw’s Where it Hurts: Essays, a collection that has been much-praised and shortlisted for national and regional non-fiction prizes. “These aren’t the essays your high…
Read more #351 Essays from the north