Humour & comedy

Everyday as endearing

Post-Modern Mini-Comics by Colin Upton Wolfville, NS: Conundrum Press, 2023 $10  /  9781772620849 Reviewed by Jeffrey Stychin * Who is Colin Upton? An outcast, a punk, a nomad, a pioneer, a realist, a savant, a regular human faced with the problems of everyday life filled with nuances and trivialities? The choice is up to you,…
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Story collection features whimsy and wit

Ten Stories that Worried My Mother by Winona Kent New Westminster: Blue Devil Books, 2023 $14.99 / 9781777329495 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Best known as a writer of cozy mystery novels, New Westminster’s Winona Kent has organized this eclectic collection of mostly previously published works (dating from the early 1980s to the 2020s)  chronologically….
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1961 Illustrating logging camp life

The Rangitangs: Life on the Edge – A Humorous Look at Coastal Loggers Float-camp Life from the 1920s to 1950s by Mike Whalen Self-published by Mike Whalen, 2023 $40.00 (soft cover)  /  978173885723 Reviewed by Matthew Downey * Inspired by the cartoon collection from which it draws its name, The Rangitangs: Life on the Edge is…
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1980s East Van nostalgia

East Side Story: Growing Up at the PNE by Nick Marino Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $21.95 / 9781551529332 (paperback) Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * When I moved to Vancouver in August 1985, Nick Marino, aged 17, was working his last summer at the PNE. To me the PNE (the Pacific National Exhibition) was some distant…
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1935 United through art

Bloom Where You Are Planted: 50 Conversations with Inspiring British Columbians by Beka Shane Denter Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2022 $39.95  /  9781772034295 Reviewed by Valerie Green * This book by Beka Shane Denter is an inspirational collection of interviews in the form of Q&As with photographs, of a group of fifty (forty-nine women and…
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1909 Regimented and tedious in Montreal

Bookworm By Robin Yeatman Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2023 $23.99 / 9780063273009 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * It’s hard to understand why Victoria, the bookworm in Robin Yeatman’s debut novel, marries Eric. She doesn’t seem to have known him well before joining her life to his and is utterly miserable with him. Victoria spends most of…
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1906 The undoing of Lenny Ovitz 

The Get: A Crime Novel By Dietrich Kalteis Toronto, ON: ECW Press, 2023 $26.95 / 9781770416840 Reviewed by Bill Paul * It’s 1965 and two street-wise Jewish hoods in Toronto, Lenny Ovitz and Gabe Zoller, hope to make bundles of money investing in a run-down tenement block near St. James Town. They’ve caught “wind that…
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1863 Quick plot, too many twists

Scandal at the Savoy: A Priscilla Tempest Mystery (Book 2) by Ron Base & Prudence Emery Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 2023 $19.95 / 1771623452 Reviewed by Amy Whitmore * “Our Savoy… is populated by made-up characters who exist only in the world that we shaped for them. The royal, rich and famous who…
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1862 ‘Part of the spectacle’

Naked Defiance: A Comedy of Menace by Patrik Sampler Vancouver, BC: New Star Books, 2023 $19.00 / 9781554202003 Reviewed by Steven Brown * A Comedy of Menace is the subtitle of this fine novel. Although it can be looked at as menacing comedy, there’s a lot else going on. Naked Defiance is also an arcane…
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1813 Welcome Trevor and Brett

Welcome Trevor and Brett by Richard Mackie * On behalf of the Board of the Ormsby Literary Society and our Advisory Board I’d like to welcome Trevor Marc Hughes and Brett Josef Grubisic as interim editors of The British Columbia Review for the year May 1, 2023 to May 1, 2024. The position was made possible…
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1773 ChatGPT and me

ChatGPT and me by Larry Hannant * The media today is agog with artificial intelligence and its boundless possibilities to expand mere mortals’ striving towards perfection, or to relegate them to the scrap heap. The intensity quickened on March 14, with the release by OpenAI of version 4 of ChatGPT. In a thoughtful Globe and…
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1770 Dissecting the everyday

Silent but Deadly: The Underlying Cultural Patterns of Everyday Behaviour by Kirsten Bell London, UK: Caw Press, 2022 £11.99 (U.K.) / 9781399936323 Reviewed by Tom Koppel Trigger Warning: Skip this review if you are truly offended by offensive language * Kirsten Bell (not to be confused with actress Kristen Bell) got her anthropology training in…
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1757 Announcing interview series

Announcing the BC Review interview series by Richard Mackie * In November 2022, at the most recent board meeting of the Ormsby Literary Society, the chair, Byron Sheardown, suggested that we open a YouTube channel and start an interview series. Board member Trevor Marc Hughes jumped at the suggestion. “I’ve got filmmaking experience,” he said,…
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