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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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1959 Hidden truth and diversion

Like Every Form of Love: A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime by Padma Viswanathan Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2023 $35  /  9781039006201 Reviewed by Valerie Green * This book is described as A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime. It is also two separate stories within a story while describing many different forms…
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1958 Shades and perplexities of blue

Sapphire and the Hollow Bone by Diana Hayes Victoria: Ekstasis Editions, 2023 $23.95 / 9781771715192 Reviewed by gillian harding-russell * Meditative and elegiac in its imagery and moods and finding resonances in mythology, Diana Hayes’ Sapphire and the Hollow Bone is imbued with the colour blue. Whether such details as the cherished gift of a “star…
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1957 Hardship and a sense of hope

Away From the Dead by David Bergen Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2023 $24.95 / 9781773103105 Reviewed by Trish Bowering *  “She asked him to read to her. And so he did. And every evening after that, he picked up his book and read… The story was both simple and difficult. She said that normally people…
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1956 The fire dragon

Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast by John Vaillant Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2023 $38.00  /  9780735273160 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * John Vaillant opens his book with a quote from the fire chief of Fort McMurray, Alberta: “No one’s ever seen anything like this…this is rewriting the book.” We are soon…
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1954 Survival of the fittest Scots

Unsettled: Lord Selkirk’s Scottish Colonists and the Battle for Canada’s West, 1813-1816 by Robert Lower Toronto: ECW Press, 2023 $29.95 /  9781770417182 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Many of us learned about Lord Selkirk’s Red River Settlement in high school or college, but we’ve never read it so up close and personal as Robert Lower…
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1953 ‘Observations and discoveries’

Four Seasons by the Salish Sea: Discovering the Natural Wonders of Coastal Living by Carolyn Redl, photography by Nancy Randall Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2023 $32.95   /  9781772034479 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Author Carolyn Redl has been fascinated with life along the Salish Sea ever since she moved to Vancouver Island from the prairies…
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1950 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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1947 Canadian mountain culture and mountaineering

ESSAY: Canadian Mountain Culture and Mountaineering by Ron Dart   * And sliding on the mountain snow, Dear Friend, we’ll let our worries go.                                                                                                            -Alexander Pushkin, “Winter Morning”   Great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street.                                                                                                            -William Blake, Gnomic Verses   The…
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1946 Choice, responsibility, consequence

Instead: Navigating the Adventures of a Childfree Life – A Memoir by Maria Coffey Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books, 2023 $28.00  /  9781771606400 Reviewed by Mary Ann Moore * Maria Coffey who is based in Victoria, British Columbia and Catalonia, Spain, started travelling when she was a teenager. Various circumstances including her keen sense of adventure,…
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1944 Determination and hope

The Morning Bell Brings the Broken Hearted by Jennifer Manuel Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2023 $24.95 / 9781771623193 Reviewed by Valerie Green * In The Morning Bell Brings the Broken Hearted, southern Vancouver Island author Jennifer Manuel has written an outstanding book full of compassion and hope. The former college, elementary, and high school…
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1943 ‘Don’t you dare forget me’

When My Ghost Sings: A Memoir of Stroke, Recovery & Transformation  by Tara Sidhoo Fraser Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $22.95  /  9781551529271 Reviewed by Betty Jane Hegerat * Tara Sidhoo Fraser’s When My Ghost Sings: A Memoir of Stroke, Recovery & Transformation pieces together the aftermath of a stroke and diagnosis of a rare…
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1942 Teenage girls, ‘unredacted’

How to Be Found by Emily Pohl-Weary Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $19.95 / 9781551529356 Reviewed by Rhea Tregebov * Emily Pohl-Weary’s YA novel, How to be Found, makes for propulsive, compelling reading. Sixteen-year-old best friends Michie and Trissa consider themselves sisters and offer each other both standard sisterly grief and fierce sisterly loyalty. Only-children…
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