Book Reviews

Emerging from vulnerability

“The book forms both a personal case study in the psychology of how vulnerable individuals are susceptible to cults, and how destructive to one’s worldview it can be trying to leave one.” Ryan Mitchell reviews Misguided: My Jesus Freak Life in a Doomsday Cult by Perry Bulwer (Vancouver: New Star Books, 2023) $26 / 9781554202058

Serious entertainment

Debut eco-thriller is “controlled, crafted, deliberate—and, to boot, utterly purposeful.” —Theo Dombrowski reviews Adrift, by Lisa Brideau (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2023) $25.99 / 9781728265681

‘Significant memento’ & ‘evocative artifact’

“What you are holding is clearly much more than a conventional report of a ‘project.'” Theo Dombrowski reviews Wetland Project: Explorations in Sound, Ecology and Post-Geographical Art by Brady Marks and Mark Timmings (Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2022) $45.00 ISBN 9781773271996

Rot beneath the gloss

Sophomore story collection has “a finger firmly on the pulse of contemporary life and delivers trenchant criticisms of human foibles.”
—Candace Fertile reviews Last Woman, by Carleigh Baker (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2024) $24.95  / 9780771004148

A clever Canuck?

“So, why doesn’t Canada have an official bird yet?” Trevor Marc Hughes reviews The Canada Jay: The National Bird of Canada? by David Bird (ed.) with foreword by Robert Bateman (Surrey: Hancock House, 2022) $9.95 ISBN 9780888397171

Love letters to locally sourced

“Those of us lucky enough to live on the west coast have access to ingredients, both wild and prepared, that are expressions of weather, geography, ancient and modern farming techniques, and something else: genius loci, or spirit of place.” Theresa Kishkan reviews The Coastal Forager’s Cookbook (Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2023) $40 ISBN 9781771514088 & The Coastal Forager’s Pocket Guide by Chef Robin Kort (Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2023) $10 ISBN 9781771514170

Odes to the ordinary

Poems with cool-eyed but compassionate observations convey personal transformations and memorable cityscapes. —Adrienne Fitzpatrick reviews Nevertheless: Walking Poems, by Gillian Jerome (Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022) $19.95 / 9780889714120

Fish, flesh, or good red herring?

“…there’s a spirited new voice at play here, with writing that flips from lyrical portraits of place to colloquial phrasing and pet names for everything from his kayak to his food.” Jeanette Taylor reviews A Complex Coast: A Kayak Journey from Vancouver Island to Alaska by David Norwell (Victoria: Heritage House, 2023) $29.95 ISBN 9781772034493

Hangovers and inertia in Hong Kong

Compared to ickily comical masturbation scenes, “the sexiest parts of the book are the casually strewn about descriptions of delicious food.” —Jessica Poon reviews Batshit Seven, by Sheung-King (Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2024) $24.95 / 9780735245303

Time paradox terrain

Cerebral and captivating literary debut is speculative fiction with a capital S. —Zoe McKenna reviews The Other Valley, by Scott Alexander Howard (Toronto: Scribner Canada, 2024) $24.99 / 9781668023563

A Chinese age of steam

“Bob’s perseverance and skill are reflected in dramatic scenes of hard-working locomotives trailing plumes of steam as they charged across stark landscapes.” Bob Whetham reviews The Last Steam Railways
Volume 1: The People’s Republic of China by Robert D. Turner (Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022) $79.95 ISBN 9781550179910

AI and corporate intrigue

Although addictive and inventive, a debut novel’s storyline could use a trim. —Valerie Green reviews The Wickedest of Things, by Russel Barrie (Kamloops: Russel Barrie Books, 2023) $24.00 / 9781738060701

Chocolate, sweetheart?

“One thing I really like about this cookbook is that most of the recipes are relatively simple and straightforward.” Rebecca Coleman reviews Chocolate All Day: From Simple to Decadent, 100+ Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Ingredient by Steven Hodge (Toronto: Appetite by Random House, 2023) $37.50 ISBN 9780525612025

‘A young woman from Burnaby’

“There is much to admire about Christine Sinclair. Not only is she the top international scorer of all time, but she is well-liked and respected around the world.” Valerie Green reviews Playing The Long Game: A Memoir by Christine Sinclair with Stephen Brunt (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2023) $23.00 / 9781039004627

A whimsical respite

A joyous “compendium of delightfully quirky short pieces.” —Heidi Greco reviews Jigsaw: A Puzzle in Ninety-Three Pieces, by M.A.C. Farrant (Vancouver: Talon Books, 2023) $19.95 / 9781772015430

Too good for the NHL

“From his first organized game at age twelve, joining players two years older and scoring all three of his team’s goals in a tie match, the gifted forward became unstoppable.” Daniel Gawthrop reviews The Longest Shot: How Larry Kwong Changed the Face of Hockey by Chad Soon and George Chiang, with illustrations by Amy Qi (Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 2024) $24.95 ISBN 9781459835030

Rage + sin = freedom

Exceptional essays “elicit gasps, induce chills.” —Brett Josef Grubisic reviews Dinner on Monster Island: Essays, by Tania De Rozario (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2024) $17.99 / 9780063299665

Responding to disaster, sexual identity

“Woven into this account is a backstory about the doctor’s evolving career as a brilliant pathologist, his not always successful private life, and his painfully slow coming out as a gay man.” Howard MacDonald Stewart reviews Fifteen Thousand Pieces – A Medical Examiner’s journey through disaster by Gina Leola Woolsey (Hamilton: Guernica Editions Inc., 2023) $25.00 ISBN 9781771838115

‘To the possibilities and pitfalls’

“…Randy Lee Cutler and Ingrid Koenig, two respected professors at Emily Carr University, received a major research grant to work with scientists at TRIUMF, Canada’s principal centre for particle physics research.” John O’Brian reviews Leaning Out of Windows: An Art and Physics Collaboration edited by Randy Lee Cutler and Ingrid Koenig (Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2023) $45 ISBN 9781773272177

Understanding one’s ‘own kind of tragedy’

A wild ride of a debut novel portrays an aggrieved widow and self-described “aimless fool.” —Tricia Bowering reviews Norma, by Sarah Mintz (Toronto: Invisible Publishing, 2024) $22.95 / 9781778430404

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