Essays in non-fiction

1617 Love in vile places

Love in Vile Places: Military Hospitals as the Site of Care and Nurture by Jo-Anne Fiske * For Remembrance Day 2022 we present a memoir by Jo-Anne Fiske of Fraser Lake, in BC’s north-central interior, of her father Humphrey William Fiske (1886-1959). At the time of his enlistment in Kelowna in 1916, the Norfolk-born Fiske…
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1612 Bigger than adolescence

When We Are Broken: The Lake Elegy by Luanne Armstrong New Denver: Maa Press, 2020 $30.00 / 9780987838414 Reviewed by Diana Hayes * Luanne Armstrong, a prolific writer who has published twenty-five books of fiction, memoir, and poetry, has crafted a soulful and meditative narrative in her book, When We Are Broken – The Lake…
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1594 The celebrated camera obscura

Art, Research, Play: The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project by Donald Lawrence, Josephine Mills, and Emily Dundas Oke (editors), foreword by W.F. (Will) Garrett-Petts Lethbridge: University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2021 $39.95 / 9781927770115 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve  * “This is a book that arrests attention but won’t stand still.” Thanks to W.F. Garrett-Petts for this assertion…
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1593 Practice makes pretext

Subject to Change: Writings and Interviews by Liz Magor, with an introduction by Phillip Monk Montreal: Concordia University Press, 2022 $59.95 / 9781988111339 Reviewed by Michael Turner * As a writer of art criticism I have come to appreciate the writings of visual artists. Not just those who use text in their work, but who…
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1533 On the edge of memoir

Blue Portugal and Other Essays by Theresa Kishkan Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2022 $24.99 / 9781772125993 Reviewed by Michael Hayward * For forty-some-odd years, Theresa Kishkan and her husband, poet John Pass, have been living in a home that they built themselves early in their marriage, on a piece of land half-way up BC’s…
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1519 Reading the Covid landscape

Words from the Dead: Relevant Readings in the Covid Age by Sean Arthur (Art) Joyce Victoria: Ekstasis Editions, 2022 $25.95 / 9781771714587 Reviewed by Christopher A. Shaw * Capturing the “Landscape of the Imagination” in the Age of Covid No matter where one stands on the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines, and who’s responsible, the events of…
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User experience & Sophocles

User experience & Sophocles by Thomas Girard * i. Ideas trapped within us We have ideas within us. They swim through our minds and sometimes move faster than we know what to do with them. A young guy approached me after the event last night and asked me what to do, with all of these…
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1425 Greta, Cassandra, Athena

ESSAY: Greta, Cassandra, Athena: Visions of Justice by Jennifer Moss * Davos, Switzerland. January 25th, 2019: A small, serious, 16-year-old girl in bright purple pants perches on the edge of her chair at the widely televised World Economic Forum. She shuffles her papers for a moment, looks briefly at the camera, and begins with the…
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1422 Essays and bootless poetry

Artful Flight by Susan Glickman Erin, Ontario: Porcupine’s Quill, 2022 $24.95 / 9780889848795 Reviewed by Gary Geddes * I’ve been poring over Susan Glickman’s Artful Flight, a series of essays and reviews, with delight and a certain sadness, delight at her intelligence and close attention to the craft and contributions of a wide range of…
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1415 Boot camp or religious retreat?

Resonance: Essays on the Craft and Life of Writing by Andrew Chesham and Laura Farina (editors) Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2022 $22.00 /  9781772141849 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * I love reading the interviews with writers in the Paris Review, the ones where the writers let you into their workshop and talk about the surprises that…
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1409 Fifty years of Daniel Wood

Tales of B.C.: 50 Years of Wacky, Wild, & Thought-provoking Adventures by Daniel Wood Vancouver: OP Media Group, 2021 $24.95 / 9781777876401 Reviewed by Bill Engleson * I was delighted when Richard Mackie offered me the opportunity to write a review of the late Daniel Wood’s last book, an anthology of essays that captures several…
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1344 Rambles in North Delta

North Delta History and Heritage: including Annieville, Upper and Lower Sunbury, Annacis Island, Part of East Delta, and Burns Bog by John Macdonald (editor) Delta: Delta Heritage Society, 2020 (4th printing, 2021) $20.00  /  9781777161705 Reviewed by Ken Favrholdt * North Delta History and Heritage is a great example of what a group of historically-minded volunteers…
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Mourning rites in Ancient China

ESSAY: Mourning and Burial Rites in Ancient China: A Grief Process by Dorothy Dittrich * Death is part of life, as are the feelings of grief, sorrow and anxiety that follow the loss of a loved one. While coming to terms with death and coping with loss may be part of living, the feelings that…
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1311 The land of reading and writing

emerge 21: The Writer’s Studio Anthology by Emma Cleary, Raoul Fernandes, Dayna Mahannah, Christina Myers, and KT Wagner (editors), with a foreword by Renée Sarojini Saklikar Burnaby: Simon Fraser University, 2021 [price unknown]  / 9781772870831 Reviewed by Michael Turner * For travellers who find reading and writing an essential service, I’m sure there is at…
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1298 A tribute to Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese Selected: What Comes from Spirit by Richard Wagamese, with an introduction by Drew Hayden Taylor Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2021 $24.95 / 9781771622752 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * When he died at 61, Richard Wagamese still had a lot to say, though he had already said so much. The Ojibwe author was…
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1237 Tragic legacies of colonialism

ESSAY: Tragic Legacies: The Residential School System in Canada (1876-1998) by Lily Chow * Editor’s note: Today, September 30, 2021, is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. “The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities,” states a Government of Canada website. “Public commemoration of…
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1183 Why I love Lucy Maud

ESSAY: Why I love Lucy Maud by Carol Volkart * When I first met Lucy Maud Montgomery in her journals a few months ago, she was a sparkling flirt of 14 tumbling off sleds in winter snowbanks, losing her hat and laughing, laughing, laughing. When I said goodbye to her recently, she was an anguished…
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1177 Paint those final portraits

obittersweet: Life Lessons from Obituaries by Tamara Macpherson Vukusic Oakville, ON: Mosaic Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9781771615280 Reviewed by Carol Matthews * As a long-time reader of obituaries, I was delighted to receive a copy of Tamara Macpherson Vukusic’s collection of essays which is aptly titled obittersweet. Describing her Sunday morning ritual “with coffee in…
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1143 Essays personal and impersonal

Big Reader; Essays by Susan Olding Calgary: Freehand Books, 2021 $22.95 / 9781988298818 Reviewed by Heather Graham * “When things go right, I read; when things go wrong, I read more.” Thus wrote Sara Nelson in So Many Books, So Little Time, published in 2004. Nelson’s witty observation about her own reading habits may not…
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