Essays in non-fiction

#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…
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#530 Grahame Ware’s 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…
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#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…
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#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…
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#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…
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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…
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#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…
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#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…
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#320 An East Vancouver childhood

Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir by Chelene Knight Toronto: Book*hug, 2018 $20.00  /  9781771663908 Reviewed by Jennifer Chutter First published June 13, 2018 * Amidst the swirl of media reports of rising housing prices, empty houses, and increased property taxes, Chelene Knight’s Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir offers a rare and nuanced view of what…
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#311 Going to the dogs

First published May 30, 2018. I fought the law, and the dog won The Dog Lover Unit: Lessons in Courage from the World’s K9 Cops By Rachel Rose New York: St. Martin’s Press (Macmillan Publishers), 2017. $28.99  /  9781250110749 Reviewed by Bonnie Reilly Schmidt * Rachel Rose’s The Dog Lover Unit: Lessons in Courage from…
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#256 Norman Bethune and women

First published Feb. 28, 2018. I’m not your man: Norman Bethune & women An essay by Larry Hannant * Doctor, medical innovator, propagandist, artist, political activist — Norman Bethune is nothing if not multitalented. The same complexity marks his character. The accounts of friends and acquaintances portray a man whose personality was multifaceted and contradictory,…
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#254 Theresa Kishkan’s orchard

Euclid’s Orchard and Other Essays by Theresa Kishkan Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2017. $22.95  / 9781896949635 Reviewed by Catriona Sandilands First published Feb. 27, 2018 * My kitchen, on this wet, early January afternoon, is saturated with the smell of apples slowly reducing to become apple butter. In the almost-forgotten autumn, my daughter…
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#251 The stupid man’s smart person?

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2018 $34.95  /  9780345816023 Reviewed by Ron Dart First published Feb. 23, 2018 * Controversial University of Toronto psychologist and cultural critic Jordan Peterson, condemned by Maclean’s as “the stupid man’s smart person,” has spoken to sold-out audiences…
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#235 Dancing on paper

First published Jan. 19, 2018. A Queer Love Story: The Letters of Jane Rule and Rick Bébout by Marilyn R. Schuster (editor) Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017. $39.95  / 9780774835459 Reviewed by Patricia Demers * Reading a collection of letters can be something of a guilty pleasure. Marilyn Schuster’s edition of the letters of Jane Rule…
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#196 Batten down the anthology

Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea by Michael L. Hadley and Anita Hadley (editors), with illustrations by Matthew Wolferstan Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017 $36.95  /  9781771621731 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski First published Nov. 6, 2017 * This is an anthology with something like a mission. In “Waypoints,” his foreword to this anthology, historian…
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