Essays in non-fiction

#943 Investigating Sherlock Holmes

Sherlockian Musings: Thoughts on the Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sheldon Goldfarb London: MX Publishing, 2019 $16.95 / 9781787054813 Reviewed by Patrick McDonagh * Sheldon Goldfarb’s Sherlockian Musings live up to their title. They are very much musings, open-ended and accessible, and they are quite often amusing as well. The book’s structure is immediately accessible —…
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#930 The relevance of Ken Lum

Everything is Relevant: Writings on Art and Life, 1991-2018 by Ken Lum, with an introduction by Kitty Scott Montreal: Concordia University Press, 2020 $64.95 / 9781988111001 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Where on earth is he? The Vancouver Art Gallery is staging an interview with Vancouver-born art star Ken Lum. It’s May 2020, deep into…
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#911 A space for feminine voices

Radiant Voices: 21 Feminist Essays for Rising Up Inspired by EMMA Talks by carla bergman (compiler and editor) Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2019 $22.00 / 9781927366844 Reviewed by Natalie Lang * If you’ve ever taken the time to observe birds, you might notice them flying up into the sky and then swooping down in magnificent arcs….
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#890 Podiums, prototypes, and Plato

ESSAY: Unique ways of prototyping by Thomas Girard * Editor’s note: When asked to define “prototyping” as used in this essay, Thomas Girard replied: When I talk about “prototyping” here, I’m talking about it in part as I’ve learnt it in traditional design education, at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, years ago. In…
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#876 Stainsby’s carbons and files

MEMOIR: Writing My Father by Meg Stainsby * After twenty years of carting it around unopened, I unpacked a stale cardboard box stuffed with crackly, yellowed sheets of typescript — some still clinging to their carbons, all faint and fusty — and began a solitary trek across a forty-year expanse of written terrain that my…
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#872 Making some good trouble

Disabled Voices Anthology by sb. smith (editor), with a foreword by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha Nanoose Bay: Rebel Mountain Press, 2020 $18.95   /   9781775301950 Reviewed by Margot Fedoruk * I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way…
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#848 The ballad of Ginger Goodwin

Ginger: The Life and Death of Albert Goodwin by Susan Mayse Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020; first published by Harbour, 1990 $28.95 / 9781550170184 Reviewed by Dan Hinman-Smith * We’re all working men here, And we drink Lucky Beer, Do we hold a grudge? You bet. — Gordon Carter, “The Day They Shot Ginger Down”…
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#847 Hedonism, pleasure, ethics

ESSAY: The Will to Pleasure: Hedonism, Ethics, and Aesthetics from the Ancient World to the Present Age by Eryn Holbrook * When Christianity and Marxism end their shared reign, we will need visions of new possibilities. There is always one fixed point: the body. Not a body of Platonic ideas, nor a body cut in…
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#837 The global frame of Deni Béchard

My Favourite Crime: Essays and Journalism from Around the World by Deni Ellis Béchard Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $24.95 / 9781772012323 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Deni Béchard’s My Favourite Crime is a powerful collection of writing. The book’s cover blurb, not something I usually put much faith in, contains much truth: this really is an…
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#822 Home is where the memory is

ESSAY: There’s no place like home: our connection to meaningful places by Joanne Crozier * We are pleased to present an essay by Joanne Crozier, There’s no place like home, as part of an ongoing collaboration between The Ormsby Review and Graduate Liberal Studies at Simon Fraser University, an interdisciplinary program that leads to the…
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#821 The hidden pulse of Vancouver

Rain City: Vancouver Reflections by John Moore Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2020 $20.00 / 9781772141399 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * On the inside front pages of Rain City: Vancouver Reflections, John Moore brandishes a quote from Paul St. Pierre: “A journalist is a reporter who can’t hold a steady job.” The instability of journalism and feature…
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#793 Sons, fathers, and fatherhood

Forty Fathers: Men Talk About Parenting by Tessa Lloyd, with a foreword by Peter Mansbridge Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $34.95 /  9781771622431 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * From Peter Mansbridge’s foreword to Tessa Lloyd’s Forty Fathers: Men Talk About Parenting, it’s clear that this iconic CBC figure regretted not having spent more…
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#759 Rewilding the human mind

Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis by Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky Regina: University of Regina Press, 2018 $19.95 / 9780889775633 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * I am always a little leery about academics and philosophers writing about humans grappling with ideas about the non-human world. There’s always a distance there…
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#742 Beyond the Great Western Peninsula

ESSAY: Beyond the Great Western Peninsula by Richard Mackie * I received a doctorate in Canadian history at UBC in 1993 and taught as a sessional lecturer at three colleges or universities on Vancouver Island between 1994 and 2002.[1] To the uninitiated, Canadian history is divided in half, into “pre-Confederation” and “post-Confederation,” shortened to “pre-confed”…
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#736 Bowering’s ashes and sparks

Taking Measures: Selected Serial Poems by George Bowering, edited by Stephen Collis Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $49.95 (hardcover) / 9781772012378 (softcover $29.95 due Fall 2020) * Ten Women: Stories by George Bowering Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2015 $20.00 / 9781772140316 * Writing and Reading: Essays by George Bowering Vancouver: New Star Books, 2019 $18.00 / 9781554201549 Three…
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#727 Death by a thousand words

Against Death: 35 Essays on Living by Elee Kraljii Gardiner (editor) Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2019 $22.00 / 9781772141276 Reviewed by Sally Campbell * This book intrigued me with its title. What does it mean, “Against Death?” I am not against death, it’s the one event post-birth that all creatures share. Then I got the double…
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#713 Writing tips from Cowichan

10 Sure-fire Ways to NAIL Your First Draft by Carol Anne Shaw * After several years of reading, scribbling, blogging, Facebooking, and trying to look serious on LinkedIn, I’ve come to realize that this writing-a-novel thing is actually a no-brainer. Because there are only ten necessary rules for success. I’m not lying. (I’ll get to…
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#707 Food extinction alert

Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food by Lenore Newman Toronto: ECW Press, 2019 $32.95/ 9781770414358 Reviewed by Mary Leah de Zwart, Linda Peterat, and Gale Smith of the BC Food History Network * Lenore Newman is a culinary geographer, professor, and holder of a Canada Research Chair in Food Security and the…
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