#819 Pandemics past and present

Epidemics and the Modern World by Mitchell L. Hammond Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020 $54.95 / 9781487593735 Reviewed by Jody Decker * This textbook by a history professor at the University of Victoria, Mitchell Hammond, focuses on epidemics of infectious diseases which, he argues, have left the greatest impact on the modern world, even…
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#818 Shoulder pads and red lipstick

The War Widow by Tara Moss Toronto: HarperCollins, 2020 $34.00 / 9781443461207 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Tara Moss has created another excellent piece of crime fiction with The War Widow. The style of this book, although perhaps a little far-fetched in places, is reminiscent of old movies set in the 1940s like Casablanca, starring…
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#817 Bad corsets and the wrong shoes

Actress by Anne Enright Toronto: Penguin Random House, 2020 $29.95 / 9780771005916 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * There are not many more “Irish” novelists than Booker Prize winning novelist Anne Enright. Still, her connections to British Columbia, and Vancouver Island in particular, though slender, are strong. In a recent talk at an event in Dublin,…
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#816 Walking through the pandemic

Treed: Walking in Canada’s Urban Forests by Ariel Gordon Hamilton, ON: Wolsak & Wynn, 2019 $20.00 / 9781928088752 Reviewed by Jaime Yard * It took me an inordinately long time to read Ariel Gordon’s Treed. This does not mean that it isn’t a good book. In truth, I think the pace may have been set…
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#815 A confluence of passages

The Weight of the Heart by Theresa Kishkan Windsor, ON: Palimpsest Press, 2020 $15.95 / 9781989287477 Reviewed by David Stouck * This newly published novella by one of BC’s most prolific and accomplished authors eludes easy categorization because it is part travel writing, part family tragedy, part literary history and part cartography. The young narrator,…
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#814 Anxiety and clunky plastics

INTERVIEW: Curtis LeBlanc with Nathaniel G. Moore  * Curtis LeBlanc’s second poetry book is fresh off the printing press and on bookshelves across the country, in the middle of a global pandemic. Birding In The Glass Age of Isolation (Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, April 2020) confronts mental illness, masculinity, and humanity’s relationship with the nature world….
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#813 Mordant men of Nova Scotia

The Home Stretch: A Father, A Son, and All the Things They Never Talk About by George K. Ilsley Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020 $19.95 /  9781551527956 Reviewed by Brett Josef Grubisic * Considered by title alone, The Home Stretch might encourage a vision — a celebratory one — of completion: finishing a taxing race…
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#812 Vancouver junkie hunter, 1983

Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip by Norm Boucher Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2020 $21.95 / 9781988732985 Note: this book will not be available until November 15, 2020. Order it in advance at your local bookstore. Reviewed by Ron Verzuh  * We’re on the toughest section of Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. The hookers…
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#811 Care, craft … couplets!

Bounce House by Jennica Harper Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781772141405 Reviewed by John Pass * There’s a lot to like in Jennica Harper’s new book of poems. I was struck first with how seamlessly she stitches straightforward colloquial language into fairly rigorous, but pleasingly transparent, form. My wife suggests the book-length sequence of…
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#810 Pawns in the Hitler Youth

Secrets in the Shadows by Heige S. Boehm Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2019 $14.95 / 9781553805724 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Secrets in The Shadows is the story of two boyhood friends, Michael and Wolfgang (Wolfie), growing up in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But it is also so much more. Author Heige S. Boehm has…
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#809 From Nanaimo to the Royal Ascot

Nanaimo Girl: A Memoir by Prudence Emery Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2020 $24.95 / 9781770865273 Reviewed by Randolph Eustace-Walden Unless noted otherwise, all images reproduced here are from Nanaimo Girl: A Memoir, by Prudence Emery * Prudence Emery is the eponymous “Nanaimo Girl.” Now in her early 80s and living on her native Vancouver Island just…
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#808 Refugee in the Slocan Valley

The Foundations of Kindness by Richard Vission Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771834735 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * When I finished Richard Vission’s new book, The Foundations of Kindness, I went for a long walk, letting the book and stories and the history of what he has depicted wash through me. (The title comes…
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#807 North Pacific Imperial Gothic

The Birdcages: British Columbia’s First Legislative Buildings, 1859-1957 by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor Victoria: FriesenPress Publishing, 2020 $16.99 / 9781525547041 Reviewed by Martin Segger * This handsome, generously illustrated volume is essentially the biography of a building. Building biographies, multi-disciplinary by nature and ranging across the architectural, social , and cultural historical genres, are all too…
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#806 The Empire strikes back

Perseverance: The Life of William Fernie, the Man Who Caught Billy Miner by Ron Hatch Kamloops: Thompson Rivers History and Historical Society, 2019 $24.95 / 9780991689910 Available by email from, from Kamloops Chapters, and from Reviewed by Wayne Norton * Bill Miner attracts a remarkable amount of interest from students of Kamloops history….
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#805 Hiking the Okanagan Valley

Popular Day Hikes: Northern Okanagan, Vernon Shuswap Lumby by Gerry Shea Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2019 (revised and updated; first published 2013) $20.00 / 9781771602457 * Popular Day Hikes: South-Central Okanagan, Kelowna Penticton Oliver by Gerry Shea Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2019 (revised and updated; first published 2015) $20.00 / 9781771602778 Both books reviewed by…
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