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1080 Across the universe with Hubble

Not Yet Imagined: A Study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations by Christopher Gainor Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, NASA History Division, 2020 9781626830615 free eBook (PDF) available here Reviewed by John Hutchings * This is a scholarly but very readable tome that describes — in some 450 pages — the…
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1079 Motherhood and talking plants

The Beguiling by Zsuzsi Gartner Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Hamish Hamilton), 2020 $29.95 / 9780735239357 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * Motherhood is difficult and often unrewarding. Before I am besieged with outrage at how motherhood offers a profound experience unlike any other, please reread that sentence: I said often, not always. A statement need…
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1077 Life beneath the streets

The Rat People: A Journey through Beijing’s Forbidden Underground by Patrick Saint-Paul, translated by David Homel Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020 $19.95 / 9781551528038 Reviewed by May Q Wong * In The Rat People: A Journey through Beijing’s Forbidden Underground, veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Saint-Paul exposes how Beijing’s, and indeed China’s, explosive growth has been…
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1076 Reflections on an Arctic voyage

Watermelon Snow: Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear by Lynne Quarmby Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9780228003595 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Books about climate change are prolific—and for all the alarming reasons that most of us accept. Watermelon Snow, by Lynne Quarmby, is essentially a book about climate change,…
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1075 Canadian poems, carefully chosen

Best Canadian Poetry, 2019 by Rob Taylor (editor) Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2019 $22.95  /  9781771963305 Reviewed by P.W. Bridgman * The book under review being an anthology (and a “Best of…” one at that), kindly permit this reviewer a brief prolegomenon on the subject of assembling anthologies—an often-fraught enterprise. To the properly humble among us,…
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1074 Elizabeth May & Gwaii Haanas

Paradise Won: The Struggle to Create Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve by Elizabeth May Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 (second edition; first published by McClelland & Stewart, 1990) $25.00 / 9781771604581 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Anyone who has visited Haida Gwaii will instantly relate to Elizabeth May’s remembrance of one of the most significant…
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1073 Gossip, sagebrush, and injustice

Unravelling by Josephine Boxwell Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2020 $20.00 / 9781771835442 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * As Vivian, the elder of two protagonists in Unravelling, says, “Small towns shrink to the size of fishbowls when it comes to gossip” (p. 53). Perhaps the fishbowl metaphor partly explains why, although the past several decades have seen…
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1072 Healing through creativity

 A Whisper Across Time: My Family’s Story of the Holocaust told through Art & Poetry by Olga Campbell Vancouver: Jubaji Press, 2018, distributed by Red Toque Books. To purchase see here $31.95 / 9780981291123 Reviewed by Claire Sicherman * I first met visual artist and author Olga Campbell in 2019 at Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre,…
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1071 Remnants of Sumas Mountain

ESSAY: Remnants of Sumas Mountain by Natalie Lang For those who came before and those not yet arrived. * And forever before me gleams, The shining city of song, In the beautiful land of dreams. But when I would enter the gate Of that golden atmosphere, It is gone, and I wonder and wait For…
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1070 Standing up for Bennie

The Jigsaw Puzzle King Toronto: Dundurn, 2020 $12.95 / 9781459746060 by Gina McMurchy-Barber Reviewed by Valerie Green * The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber is a beautiful little book with a compelling message of hope for young adult readers. Eleven year-old Warren thinks he has two major problems in his life. The first is…
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1069 Island women in the spotlight

On Their Own Terms: True Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island by Haley Healey Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $9.95 / 9781772033250 Reviewed by Lynne Bowen * Vancouver Island attracts a certain type of person: a person who has chosen to live separate from convention, or from family, or from boredom, or from the past…
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1068 The hazards of home school

Deadman’s Castle by Iain Lawrence Toronto: Penguin Random House (Margaret Ferguson Books), 2021 $17.99 /  9780823446551 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * “My memories were like the tombstones in the cemetery, chipped and broken, so jumbled around that they didn’t make sense. Maybe I was trying to connect things that couldn’t be connected.” By the time…
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1067 The uncertainty of Anne Carson

ESSAY: Anne Carson: Ambiguity, Uncertainty, Ecstasy by Bob Foulkes * On an otherwise ordinary day in 1965, a precocious, eccentric fifteen year-old discovered a book in the sales bin of a Coles bookstore, a serious tome by Willis Barnstone on Sappho the famous ancient Greek poet. The book was bilingual — ancient Greek and English,…
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