Book Reviews

1645 Ferlinghetti of the Shuswap

Facing the Sweating Horse by Calvin White Surrey: Now or Never Publishing, 2022 $19.95 / 9781989689424 Reviewed by Harold Rhenisch * Houses have views. They face them. Some face the street outside, or a garden, a fence, a city, a lake, a river or mountains. Some face fields and grasslands. Some face the sea. The…
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1644 A threat to humanity

The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change by Geoff Dembicki Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2022 $34.95 / 9781771648912 Reviewed by Mike Starr * As I was reading The Petroleum Papers, I was thinking of Uncle Steve. My Great Uncle, S.R. Stevens, was an executive with Imperial Oil from the 1940s to…
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1643 The politics of provincehood

British Columbia in the Balance, 1846-1871 by Jean Barman Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $36.95 / 9781550179880 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * A Governor, a Bishop and a Lady: BC History’s Exciting Cast of Characters Tell Us How It All Began I recently spend a chilly morning visiting the Parliament Buildings in Victoria in search…
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1642 Raeside outdoors

Wildlife For Idiots: And Other Animal Cartoons by Adrian Raeside Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $16.95 / 9781550179323 Reviewed by Sage Birchwater * So how do you review a book of cartoons by sardonic, irreverent, witty Adrian Raeside — standup comedian of the literary world. Born in New Zealand in 1957, Raeside came to Canada…
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1640 An Okanagan classic

The Okanagan Wine Tour Guide Updated & Expanded by John Schreiner and Luke Whittall Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2020 (6th edition) $25.00 / 9781771513241 Reviewed by Isabel Nanton * When we last visited Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars on a hot June day in 2021, the owners were protecting from Covid their 17 seasonal workers from…
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1639 A handful of seeds

Six books reviewed by Linda Rogers: Meet Your Family/ Gikenim Giniigi’igoog by David Bouchard (text) and Kristy Cameron (illustrations) Victoria: Medicine Wheel Education, 2021 $24.99 / 9781989122662 * The Corn Chief by Karen Whetung (text) and Lindsay Delaronde (illustrations) Victoria: Medicine Wheel Publishing, 2022 $16.99 / 9781989122907 * We All Play by Julie Flett Vancouver:…
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1638 Regulating opiates & opioids

Heroin: An Illustrated History by Susan Boyd Winnipeg and Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing, 2022 $34.00 / 9781773635163 Reviewed by Connor Robinson * Susan Boyd’s Heroin: An Illustrative History is a timely and illuminative record of how heroin, and opiates/opioids at large, moved from a drug with continued therapeutic relevance to a political tool for demonization…
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1637 Time regained

The Lost Century by Larissa Lai Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2022 $24.95 / 9781551528977 Reviewed by Hanako Masutani * “Don’t you read your history books!” Violet Mah, a retired medical doctor and part-time narrator of The Lost Century, berates her niece, a proxy for the reader. Larissa Lai’s latest novel opens in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant…
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1636 Siebert’s seven psychedelics

Psyched: Seven Cutting-Edge Psychedelics Changing the World by Amanda Siebert, with a foreword by Julie Holland Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2022 $21.95 / 9781771648790 Reviewed by Colin James Sanders * While the title of Amanda Siebert’s latest book may be overreaching in its claim that psychedelics are changing the world, psychedelic-assisted therapeutic practices are definitely experiencing…
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1635 Depending on memory

The Knot Wound Round Your Finger: An Anthology of Memory, History, & Inheritance by Devon Field (editor) Vancouver: Bell Press Books, 2021 $20.00 / 9780994812728 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * In a short story called “Lethe’s Share,” author Carsten Schmitt writes, “It’s our memories who make us who we are. “ Most of us would…
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1634 Shades of empire and activism

You Are Here: Selected Stories by Cynthia Flood, with an introduction by Rebecca Rosenblum Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2022 $26.95 / 9781771963411 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Emma Donoghue has observed, “The great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side.”…
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1633 Snapshots from the shadows

Dressed in Only a Cardigan, She Picks up Her Tracks in the Snow by Cornelia Hoogland London, ON: baseline press, 2021 $13.50  /  9781928066606 Reviewed by Daniela Elza * The very act of opening this carefully crafted artefact of a chapbook from baseline press is already an experience of immersion, a tease, a please, of…
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1632 Expecting full envelopes

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla by Barbara Nickel Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2021 $16.95 / 9781771872232 Reviewed by Alison Acheson * Barbara Nickel’s Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is a gift. While written for tweens to young teens, many adult readers would enjoy it too. The full cast of characters of all ages are well-developed for their roles,…
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1631 Small mammal wisdom

The Little Brudders of Miséricorde by David M. Wallace New Westminster: Tidewater Press, 2022 $21.95 / 9781990160080 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * In the final months of 2022, the initial COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 have transitioned from reality into memory. While that era of the pandemic fades away, what remains is the widespread experience of…
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1630 Riding a complex grief

The Tattoo Widow by Becky Parisotto Victoria: FriesenPress, 2021 $21.99 / 9781039112308 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn * The Tattoo Widow by Becky Parisotto captures the beautiful and enrapturing journey of Annalise as she grieves for the loss of her husband, a tattoo artist named Dylan. The nature of Annalise and Dylan’s relationship is shown before…
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1629 Return to Victory Gardens

Mobilize Food! Wartime Inspiration for Environmental Victory Today by Eleanor Boyle, with a foreword by Tim Lang Victoria: FriesenPress, 2022 $19.99  /  9781039123663 Reviewed by Mary Gale Smith * Almost daily, news headlines – heat waves, drought, hurricanes, land slides, floods, fires, and so on – remind us that climate change is real. The pandemic…
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1628 Temperature rising

A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate: Everyone’s Guide to the Science of Climate Change by Steven Earle Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2021 $19.99 / 9780865719590 Reviewed by Tom Koppel * “Our sun is anything but constant; it is slowly getting hotter,” writes Steven Earle in A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate. But that has…
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1627 Enterprise on Malcolm Island

We Work Together for the Benefit of All: The Story of Malcolm Island’s Socialist Collective, 1901-1905, A Translation of Matti Halminen’s Sointula by Matti Halminen, edited by Heather Graham and Merja Tammi Sointula: Sointula Museum and Historical Society, 2021 $35.00 /  9780994926913 Please note: this book can be obtained from Sointula Museum by visiting in…
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1626 The justice imagination

Heart Work by Susan McCaslin Victoria: Ekstasis Editions, 2021 $24.95 / 9781771714020 Reviewed by gillian harding-russell * In Heart Work, Susan McCaslin embraces a way of seeing that centres on the heart, both as an image and an idea, and as it shapes consciousness. Just as the cover artist, Betty Spackman, divides her art installation…
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1625 Fraser River waterways

The Call of the Red-Winged Blackbird: Essays on the Common and Extraordinary by Tim Bowling Hamilton, ON: Wolsak & Wynn, 2022 $22.00 / 9781989496428 Reviewed by Valerie Green * It is always a delightful surprise to discover a book you would not normally read, only to find it extremely enjoyable. Such was the case for…
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