Essays in non-fiction

#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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#238 Unforgettable Major Matthews

First published Jan. 23, 2018. A memoir of 1969 by John Pass * We are pleased to unveil a memoir by the award-winning poet John Pass (born 1947) from the summer of 1969 when he crossed paths with Vancouver’s first archivist, the one and only Major J.S. Matthews, an Imperial bulldog from the late Victorian…
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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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#189 Skimming is for milk, not reading

Garage Criticism: Cultural Missives in an Age of Distraction by Peter Babiak Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2016 $20.00 /  9781772140507 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published October 24, 2017 * Fortunate is the reviewer who, confronting the blank page after finishing reading, finds her most pressing concern is how to do such a fine book justice….
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#185 Diversity of immigrant women

First published October 21, 2017 REVIEW: Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women By Miriam Matejova (editor) Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2017. $24.95  /  978-1-987915-34-1 Reviewed by Gillian Der   * The third anthology in a series on Canadian women published by Caitlin Press, Wherever I Find Myself, edited by Miriam Matejova, is…
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#180 The first major B.C. internments

Essay: Refuge of a Scoundrel: Patriotism and William Bowser by Wayne Norton First published Oct. 13, 2017 * In this Ormsby Review exclusive, Wayne Norton reveals that in his brief term in office (1915-16), the Conservative Premier William Bowser fanned the flames of patriotism stoked by mounting Canadian war casualties and the German sinking of…
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#168 Feminist shareholders meet

First published Sept. 11, 2017 REVIEW: Making Room; Forty Years of Room Magazine Edited by the Meghan Bell and the Growing Room Collective Vancouver and Halfmoon Bay: West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Society and Caitlin Press, 2017. $24.95 9781987915402 Reviewed by Megan J. Davies *   Holding the 416-page heft of this volume gives me…
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#160 Keeping parliament current

First published August 28, 2017 REVIEW: Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy by Michael Chong, Scott Simms, and Kennedy Stewart (editors) Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. $22.95  / 978-1-77162-137-3 Reviewed by Hamish Telford * By comparison, the current political climate in the United States makes Canada look like Nirvana, but…
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#130 The making of Making Room

First published May 23, 2017 REVIEW: Making Room; Forty Years of Room Magazine Edited by the Meghan Bell and the Growing Room Collective Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2017, with the Growing Room Collective. $24.95  /  9781987915402 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve   * When I began to think about reviewing this book, a Canadian historian expressed…
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#127 Postcards from unknown soldier

Postcards from unknown soldier by Sandi Ratch First published May 2, 2017 * Faced with a handful of family postcards signed only by “Dick,” Sandi Ratch gave herself a detective quest: to identify the messenger who had gone to continental Europe to fight in World War I. In this Ormsby exclusive, Sandi Ratch relates the…
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