Some Member Book Selections

Cover Image of Case Histories : A Novel by Kate Atkinson published by Back Bay Books
Cover Image of The Codex by Douglas Preston published by Forge Books
Cover Image of Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories by Alice Munro published by Knopf
Cover Image of The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle published by Penguin USA (Paper)
Cover Image of 419: A Novel by Will Ferguson published by Viking Canada
Cover Image of Amsterdam by Ian McEwan published by Anchor Books
Cover Image of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman published by Spiegel & Grau
Cover Image of Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem published by Vintage Books
Cover Image of Reader's Digest Select Editions (Letter From Home, P.S. I Love You, The Promise of a Lie, The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-time, Vol 4 2004) by Cecelia Ahern, Howard Roughan, Mark Haddon Carolyn Hart, Laura E. Kelly published by Reader's Digest Association
Cover Image of Skim by Mariko Tamaki published by Groundwood
Cover Image of Miss Lonelyhearts & the Day of the Locust by Nathanael West published by W.W. Norton & Company
Cover Image of The Amber Room: A Novel by Steve Berry published by Ballantine Books
Cover Image of The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi published by Anchor
Cover Image of A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition by Norman Maclean published by University Of Chicago Press

LATEST Feature Articles

Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East 

by  - Monday, February 23, 2015

Last week I was fortunate to have an expert speaker address our standing-room-only audience on the topic of ISIS: Leadership in the Middle East. Weeks following the shocking Hebdo killings in Paris at the hands of radical islamists, our guests were united in the quest to come to terms with the brutality behind the movement that has emerged since the Arab Spring and the protracted civil war in Syria with Western contingents and Middle East countries confusing and shifting alliances. How does the world stop this radicalization, what are the forces behind it, is there hope for a solution?

Graham Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. He followed that career by serving as a senior political scientist at RAND - the California think tank for another decade, and he stands currently as adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University. Having lived in the Middle East (and other related world posts) for two decades his fluency in Arabic, Russian, Turkish and Chinese have together afforded Graham deep insight into...  ...More >>

LATEST Author Interviews

Q Hosts John Vaillant On His Breakout Novel 

by  - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As a reviewer I am fortunate to have copies of new books delivered by publishers pre-pub or soon after release date. As a friend of John Vaillant's with whom we have had the pleasure of hosting at literary events on three previous occasions, I was buoyed to receive John's break-out novel,The Jaguar's Children (Knopf, Canada Random House), and see it reading so well. John's two previous award-winning nonfiction books: The Tiger and The Golden Spruce have placed him in the Canadian literary canon, as a welcome American emigrant. I suspect it is unbridled talent combined with his life experience, living as a US-Canadian dual citizen that informs his keen writerly sensibility to communicate this powerful story of cross-border drama. Click this link to view. CBC's Q interview with JV and guest host Damian Abraham. Video and summary of previous JV-WR collaborations follow below. We are hosting John again this May. Stay tuned!!  ...More >>

Feature Articles >>

Best Books Lists of 2014 

by

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflecting on the past year's published books, here is what some of the top review sites have to say. I have marked with an * those that appear on multiple lists.

The New York Times Best 10 of 2014:

  • All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doer
  • Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  • *Euforia, by Lily King
  • Family Life, by Akhil Sharma
  • Redeployent, by Phil Klay
  • Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast
  • *On Immunity: An Inoculation, by Eula Biss
  • Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, by Hermione Lee
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • *Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, by Lawrence Wright
  • The Guardian's Reader List of Top 10 for 2014

    Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2014

    Publisher's Weekly Best Books of 2014: Here you can read the full review and then purchase the book.

    ....More >>

     

     

    Book Reviews >>

    The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight 

    by

    Sunday, January 18, 2015

    I hold in my hand a copy of The Antigone Poems (Altaire Publication 2014, poetry/art). As a book maker I value production quality. The choice of paper, ink, binding, type, layout, images; all of these decisions go into making both pulp editions or a trade art piece. The former is fast disappearing into digital fodder. But people with a regard for artifact have produced the latter with Antigone Poems.

    Antigone has a rich brown, generously-thick card stock cover with a French fold that is printed with a creamy silhouetted charcoal drawing by Terrance Tasker (1947-1992). A line from the poetry inside seems to describe the haunting image of the woman depicted at right: "No words, Only the gaping silent scream." The poetry is an homage to the Sophocles tragedy written before 441 BCE wherein the debate over ethical principles governing civil and family law by rule of God or man is argued. But an interesting part of the story behind the making of this slender volume lends additional perspective.

    Surprisingly, the source material—verse and drawings, were created in the 1970s while poet, Marie Slaight and artist, Terrance Tasker lived together in Montreal and Toronto. Reading Antigone, I begin to ponder their relationship. (The book is dedicated to TT.) Through this work I imagine them in their youth with a roiling ferver for life--artistic passion mixed with lust, obsession, anger, fear, questions—the stuff of life. Their hormonally gorged vessels pulsing with energy that fuels their respective ouevres.

    Had he lived, Terrance would have ....More >>

     

     

    Publisher News >>

    Harbour Publishing Partners with D&M 

    by

    Saturday, March 01, 2014

    Harbour Publishing announces its collaboration with Canada's respected industry giant Douglas & McIntyre. "Douglas & McIntyre, the original imprint of British Columbia’s long-time flagship book publisher, will live to see another day thanks to a new alliance with Harbour Publishing, another long-established British Columbian publisher. Harbour owners Howard and Mary White reached an agreement to purchase assets associated with the famous imprint from its former owner, D&M Publishers Inc. D&M Publishers Inc. published under two imprints, Douglas & McIntyre and Greystone Books. During reorganization the imprints have been separated and sold as individual entities. The Douglas & McIntyre imprint dates back to 1971 when the original publishing company was co-founded by Jim Douglas and Scott McIntyre. The Douglas & McIntyre list is made up of some 500 titles including the Giller-Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skribsrud; the Canadian NonFiction Prizewinner Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese and works by such eminent Canadian authors as Emily Carr, Bill Reid, Wayson Choy, Doris Shadbolt, Wade Davis, Bill Richardson, Douglas Coupland, Will Ferguson and others. The Whites plan to operate Douglas & McIntyre as a separate company with its own editorial direction, maintaining the press’s focus on First Nations, art, fiction and books directed at the national and international market. All Douglas & McIntyre titles will continue to be distributed by Harper Collins in Canada with no interruption of service. ....More >>

     

    Whistler Reads >>

    Whistler Reads Tackles Financial Literacy with Chantel Chapman 

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    Sunday, February 01, 2015

    Whistler Reads next event is Saturday, March 28th. The topic of the evening is Financial Literacy. "FL" was deemed a Canada-wide priority by former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who initiated a task force to determine a Canada-wide action plan that said, “Every Canadian faces financial decisions each day, some are small, others are critical. For most Canadians, making the right decisions, or putting them off entirely, can have a major impact on our financial well-being, and even our health and happiness." Whistler's unique demographic is motivated to take action to make the right financial decisions and to this end we have invited local entrepreneur and educator, Chantel Chapman. Chantel obtain her mortgage broker license from the Sauder School of Business and pursued a career while teaching financial literacy to students and at-risk youth through the Junior Achievement program. She discovered that her 30-something friends wanted the knowledge base too, and so she created "Hollar for your Dollar" an online tutorial for entrepreneurs seeking to launch themselves into the business world and take their concept to reality. Chantel aims "to take the boring but crucial lessons you probably tuned out in school and deliver them in a way that's both memorable and relatable (not to mention fun!)." She creates digestible yet educational content variously geared towards teens, young adults, and daring new entrepreneurs. Check out her promotional trailer here. (or view below)

    Having reviewed the course material we can vouch for its sophistication and relevance—and entertaining flair that includes interviews with some of Vancouver's top CEO's. Whistler Reads is partnering with other Whistler entities to provide specific tutorial sessions for key demographic audiences. Chantel's talk is a primer on the subject and attendees will be provided discounts to her course and talks provided at separate sessions in Whistler. ....More >>

     

     

    WGBH Boston >>

    PBS Masterpiece: 2014 Filmfestival 

    by

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    The PBS Online Film Festival gets underway June 16th to July 31st. Participate by heading to the iTunes App Store to download their App Once you've viewed a film, you can vote on your favourite on the PBS website. Viewers in Canada are blocked from online viewing - which is such a disappointment. Why can't PBS do something about this? People are not just moving away from cable network subscriptions - they are RACING to online streaming sites like Netflix. Time for a re-think PBS!

    Check out all our Masterpiece posts here, including our interview with creator Julian Fellowes and Masterpiece Diva Producer, Rebecca Eaton. Then join the BookBuffet Masterpiece Group for latest books associated with Masterpiece episodes and series. ....More >>

     

     

    Wine & Book Club >>

    Wine and Book Club: Sept - Oct 

    by

    Monday, September 01, 2014

    Ken Follet's new novel, the third volume in his Century trilogy is titled, Edge of Eternity, which is a bit of a cheesy sounding title but with his reputation and success as a writer and screenwriter, who are we to complain?

    Though I have only read this last book in the series, it is a compelling stand-alone volume that does not require, but perhaps inspire, you to read the first two books in the series. Here is how KF's website describes the trilogy:

    Throughout the "Century" trilogy, Ken has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now in Edge of Eternity they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all, the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Presidential impeachment, revolution – and rock and roll.

    Growing up in the atomic era I can say that ETERNITY brought back vivid memories of my childhood and the fear we all lived under - which is something I have tried to explain to my children. The "duck and cover" bomb drills in school, the television interruptions posting the Indian head test pattern with a loud alarm tone and the announcer's words, "This is a test." etc. Every city and town block had a siren alarm box attached to the telephone poll. Living in the era of nuclear fear kept you awake at night, even as a child you had a pit of anxiety in your stomach and a sense of impending doom. The Kubric film "http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057012/">Dr. Strangelove was an apt cautionary parody of geo-politics of the day. Now I can point my children who are each in varying degrees students of history, to this book as it captures the era pungently.

    That is the benefit of historical fiction, and why KF made the ....More >>

     

     

    Author Interviews >>

    Author Podcast: Cheryl Strayed's - WILD 

    by

    Saturday, November 29, 2014


    When Cheryl Strayed's mother contracts what initially seems like a cold, her condition rapidly devolves into a diagnose of cancer. In a soul-wrenchingly short seven weeks, her 45-year-young life is taken leaving Cheryl and her two siblings behind. Compelled by profound loss, Cheryl, just 22, sets out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail - all 1100 miles - solo. She has never hiked. She has never backpacked. From her home in Portland, OR she catches a plane to Los Angeles, hitches a ride to the desert town of Mohave and sets off on a journey that will transform her life, compel her to write a bestselling book titled Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail., which Reese Witherspoon options before before the book can make it to print, and hires English novelist, essayist, lyricist and screenwriter Nick Hornby to adapt into a feature film that stars Reese Witherspoon and is now murmured for Oscar nominations. [That is one sentence for a purpose: take a breath, you are only just reading it. Cheryl had to live it.] Suddenly Cheryl's life is vertiginous with success and purpose. Her emotional journey is set to become the public touchstone for transformation over grief.

    But wait, there is more. ....More >>

     

     

    Technology Corner >>

    How NOT to Look Ugly on a Webcam Interview 

    by

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Coincidentally, I was just giving (4 of these) bits of advice to colleagues who I've asked to film a webcast for an event when this timely post came from web guru Guy Kawasaki. It's the most comprehensive, easty-to-follow guide as seen on his AllTop website. But I see the original infograph credit goes to Kate Rinsema of Mixology. In summary:

      Don't have any distracting light source behind you.
    1. DO have natural sunlight (as from a window) or other flattering light source in front of you bathing your face.
    2. Keep in mind what is in the background - is it working FOR you or AGAINST the vibe?
    3. Use ethernet cable, not WiFi - if connection fails, you've just lost your audience and possibly future opportunities
    4. Pick a quiet/comfortable place to record so your mind is not distracted
    5. Re-start your computer (even if it is a MAC) and close all extra windows & programs
    6. Take yourself off "network share" while recording, if you are using this (go to system preferences-network-share "off")
    7. Position yourself in the centre of the webcam screen. I always think you should also have laptop or camera at eye level or above shooting down instead of lower shooting unflatteringly UP.

    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR NEXT WEBCAM SESSION!! ....More >>

     

     

    Events >>

    Africa Writes 2014 

    by

    Monday, July 07, 2014

    Africa Writes 2014 is the the annual literature and book festival in association with The British Library now in its third year. It takes place Friday July 11th through Sunday July 13th at the British Library Conference Centre on 96 Euston Road, London. (Directions)

    Africa Writes brings together over 50 authors, poets, publishers, critics a selection of book launches, panel discussions, presentations and workshops with activities for adults as well as families with children. Most events are free, and a few are ticketed such as on Saturday 18:30-20:00 when Ama Ata Aidoo, Ghana’s leading author, poet, playwright, academic and former Minister of Education, will be joined for an in-depth conversation led by Wangui wa Goro, writer, critic and translator. I am also interested in seeing the The Caine Prize 2014 Conversation, also Saturday 15:00 – 17:00, FREE.

    Each year, the Caine Prize for African Writing maps new directions in contemporary African writing. Join the five authors short- listed for the 2014 Prize - Diane Awerbuck, Efemia Chela, Tendai Huchu, Billy Kahora and Okwiri Oduor - in conversation with Delia Jarrett-Macauley, award-winning writer and judge for the 2007 Caine Prize.

    Program Guide: click to down load.

    #MyAfricaWrites
    ....More >>

     

     
     
     
     

    MASH UP >>

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    Some Member Book Selections

    Cover Image of The Water Man's Daughter by Emma Ruby-Sachs published by Emblem Editions
    Cover Image of From Russia with Love, Dr No and Goldfinger  (Penguin Modern Classics): WITH Dr. No by Ian Fleming published by Penguin Classics
    Cover Image of The Groom to Have Been by Saher Alam published by Spiegel & Grau
    Cover Image of Endgame by Samuel Beckett published by Grove Press
    Cover Image of Three Junes by Julia Glass published by Anchor
    Cover Image of Post Captain (Aubrey Maturin Series) by Patrick O'Brian published by W. W. Norton & Company
    Cover Image of Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese published by Vintage Canada
    Cover Image of The Beauty of Humanity Movement: A Novel by Camilla Gibb published by Penguin Press HC, The
    Cover Image of The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers published by Farrar Straus & Giroux
    Cover Image of Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Cover Image of Cloudstreet : A Novel by Tim Winton published by Scribner
    Cover Image of With Malice Towards Some: Tales from a Life Dancing with Stars by Robert Sidney published by 1stBooks Library
    Cover Image of The New Financial Order : Risk in the 21st Century by Robert J. Shiller published by Princeton University Press
    Cover Image of The Life of Graham Greene, Volume 3: 1956-1991 by Norman Sherry published by Viking Books
     

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