Religion & spirituality

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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1331 Reverend Wright & the wrongdoers

All Is Well by Katherine Walker Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2021 $24.95  /  9781771872157 Reviewed by Heather Graham * Christine Wright, the protagonist of Katherine Walker’s novel All Is Well, is a recently ordained priest in the Anglican Church of Canada with fifteen years of military service to her credit, some of it in Special Forces….
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1319 Heiltsuk ceremonial songs

To Impersonate the Supernatural: Music, Ceremony and Culture of the Bella Bella by Anton Frederik Kolstee Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2020 $24.95 / 9781926991146 Reviewed by Mark Turin * To Impersonate the Supernatural draws heavily from the author’s 1988 doctoral dissertation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ethnomusicologist, educator, and musician, Anton Frederik Kolstee…
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1317 Survival of the kindest

Happy is the New Healthy by Joan Neehall Toronto: Simon & Schuster Canada (Forefront Books), 2021 $36.00 / 9781948677707 Reviewed by Lee Reid * “Keep your heart open in hell,” is a piercing term from the 1980s that has stayed with me for the past forty years. Nowadays, hell seems poignantly applicable to the losses and…
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1284 A voice for the mute swan

Mute Swan: Poems for Maria Queen of the World by Lesley-Anne Evans Toronto: The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2021 $20.00 / 9781928095071 Reviewed by Cole Klassen * Mary and the swan: feminine symbols too often detached from reality 34 years ago, Lesley-Anne Evans was excommunicated from her fundamentalist evangelical church for being engaged to a…
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1255 Victoria’s religion of the heart

Queen Victoria: This Thorny Crown by Michael Ledger-Lomas Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. (Spiritual Lives Series). $40.00 (U.S.) / 9780198753551 Reviewed by Simon Devereaux * This compact, densely written volume fills a surprisingly large gap in the vast biographical literature on Queen Victoria. The Victorian age is well-known for its public religiosity. It was manifest…
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1161 If poetry could save the planet

Heart Work by Susan McCaslin Victoria: Ekstasis Editions, 2021 $24.95 / 9781771714020 Reviewed by Jessica Walters * While standing in an eco-forest located just outside of Fort Langley, I read one of McCaslin’s poems. Even on a hot day, the Blaauw Eco Forest was cool under a layered canopy of hemlock, western red cedars and…
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1135 An Islamic-Canadian journey

The Colour of God by Ayesha S. Chaudhry Toronto: Simon and Schuster Canada (Oneworld Publications), 2021 $30.00 / 9781786079251 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Sibghatullah, “the colour of God” in Qur’anic Arabic, is the name of the author’s little nephew, whose sudden death at the age of 4 provides a frame for Ayesha Chaudhry’s narrative….
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1125 Greek myths for the age of anime

Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook, From Aphrodite to Zeus, a Profile of Who’s Who in Greek Mythology by Liv Albert, illustrated by Sara Richard Toronto: Simon & Schuster (Adams Media), 2021 $22.99 / 9781507215494 Reviewed Linda Rogers * “He said, she said.” Oral storytelling is like court evidence without benefit of cell…
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1088 Music, extinction, and stardust

Stardust: memoir and essays by an astronomer who became a psychiatrist by Jaime Smith Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2021 $19.95 /  9781989467305 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * Editor’s note: Jaime Smith’s new book Stardust, reviewed here by Sheldon Goldfarb, contains Smith’s essays and his previously-published memoir Foxtrot: Notes from the Bear Cave, reviewed here by Peter Ward in…
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1060 Watercolours & wooden churches

Pioneer Churches of Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea: An Explorer’s Guide by Liz Bryan Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $24.95 / 9781772033052 * Here & Gone: Artwork of Vancouver & Beyond by Michael Kluckner Vancouver: Midtown Press, 2020 $19.95 / 9781988242385 Both books reviewed by Martin Segger *   Gazing out from our COVID-induced shut-ins…
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1036 Kootenay Doukhobor family saga

Our Backs Warmed By the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life by Vera Maloff Halfmoon Bay, Caitlin Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9781773860398 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Doukhobor Diaspora: A family oral history offers an antidote to past misunderstandings about the Russian sect When I was in my teens, a terrible explosion rocked my West…
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#964 Travelling the higher heights

A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya by Michael Schauch Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771604673 A review essay by Trevor Carolan * Adventure travel goes through phases. In the Sixties you went off to Formentera in the Balearics or Corfu to find yourself. India…
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#958 In with civility, out with vitriol

I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up by James Hoggan with Grania Litwin Gabriola: New Society Publishers, 2019 (second Edition, first published 2016) $19.00 / 9780865719149 Reviewed by Logan Macnair * That the public discourse surrounding certain social and political topics (particularly in online…
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#936 Crow mythology and archetype

Dead Crow & the Spirit Engine by Art (Sean Arthur) Joyce New Denver: Chameleonfire Editions, 2020 $20.00 / 9780995240148 Reviewed by Roger C. Lewis * This poem is a fascinating exercise in the bending, blending, and merging of genres while at the same time assaulting the empty pretensions of narcissistic nihilism in today’s grossly politicized…
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#906 East Kootenay to Himalaya

Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya by Bruce Kirkby Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2020 $34.95 / 9781771622691 Reviewed by Éric Spalding * In Blue Sky Kingdom, Bruce Kirkby goes to a Buddhist monastery high up in the Himalayas. Accompanying the author on the trip are his wife…
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