Travel

1089 A lifetime of care and medicine

Improbable Journeys: From Crossing the Himalayas on Horseback to a Career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology by Dr. Bernard A.O. Binns and Ron Smith Oakville, ON: Rock’s Mills Press, 2020 $29.95 / 9781772441932 Reviewed by May Q. Wong * Dr. Bernard Binns’ memoir, co-written with Ron Smith, is partly a travelogue and mostly a commentary on…
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1087 The soul & graveyard of Colombia

Magdalena, River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia by Wade Davis Toronto: Penguin Random House (Knopf Canada), 2020 $24.95 / 9780735278943 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Another river. I was bowled over years ago by Wade Davis’s One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest (1997), a remarkable book about his youthful…
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1084 The education of a seafarer

No Ordinary Seaman: A Memoir by Gary H. Karlsen Victoria: First Choice Books, 2018 $22.95 / 9781775266907 Reviewed by Eric W. Sager * There are many paths into adulthood. One way is to leave home and go to sea. It is an old path, followed by many young men (and women too) through the ages,…
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1081 A pre-pandemic Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet Vancouver and Victoria (8th edition) by John Lee & Brendan Sainsbury London: Carlton, 2020 $21.99 (US) / 9781787013612 Reviewed by Lauren Harding * Every time I open the familiar blue cover of a Lonely Planet book, I feel a wave of warm nostalgia. I came of age at the time nearly twenty years…
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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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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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1033 On the road with Trevor Carolan

Road Trips: Journeys in the Unspoiled World by Trevor Carolan Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2020 $21.95 / 9781896949802 Reviewed by Brian Harvey * People writing about travel are like musicians playing a well-known piece. Both are interpreters, offering us their take on something that many have already seen or heard. Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata,…
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1027 Tribute to the Fraser River

The Fraser: River of Life and Legend by Carol Blacklaws and Rick Blacklaws White Rock: Image West Productions, 2020 $39.95 / 9780994817518 Reviewed by Peter Grant * Of those who raft (and swim) the Mighty Fraser In this album, appealingly balanced between text and pictures, Rick Blacklaws’ photos capture the Fraser River’s fabulous landscapes, especially…
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1021 Canadian science on Easter Island

Stanley’s Dream: The Medical Expedition to Easter Island by Jacalyn Duffin Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019 $39.95 / 9780773557109 Reviewed by Colin Levings * Stanley’s Dream, Jacalyn Duffin’s book on the 1964-65 Medical Expedition to Easter Island (METEI) is an intriguing detailed compendium, retrospective analysis, and overall fascinating story of one of Canada’s…
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1013 Coast to coast with the CPR

Railway Nation: Tales of Canadian Pacific, the World’s Greatest Travel System by David Laurence Jones Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $34.95 / 9781772033496 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Riding the Rails into Canada’s History: Illustrated anecdotes offer famous and lesser-known stories about the CPR. We can still hear the distant call of a diesel engine’s whistle…
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#991 Balkans, bicycles, baksheesh

Our Trip Around the World by Renate Belczyk Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $22.00 / 9781771603775 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Travel books have been with us for centuries. Homer’s saga of Odysseus’s ten years’ foray around the Aegean amongst monsters and temptresses set a high bar for adventure. It was in the age of…
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#982 Notable Viking networks

Gone Viking: A Travel Saga by Bill Arnott Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771604475 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Most of the stories in Bill Arnott’s Gone Viking describe travel around Britain and the North Atlantic world. A unifying theme is the imprint left on many of these places by those Scandinavian…
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