Some Member Book Selections

Cover Image of A Pair Like No Otha' : A Novel by Hunter Hayes published by Avon Trade
Cover Image of All the Names by Jose Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa published by Harvest Books
Cover Image of Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson published by Putnam Adult
Cover Image of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens published by Twelve
Cover Image of The Invention of Wings: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd published by Viking Adult
Cover Image of Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood published by House of Anansi Press
Cover Image of The Motorcycle Diaries : A Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara, Cintio Vitier, Aleida Guevara published by Ocean Press
Cover Image of The Reading Group : A Novel (P.S.) by Elizabeth Noble published by Harper Paperbacks
Cover Image of Rockbound by Frank Parker Day published by University of Toronto Press
Cover Image of The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood published by New Directions Publishing
Cover Image of The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight published by Altaire Productions & Publications
Cover Image of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate_Discoveries from A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben published by Greystone Books/David Suzuki Institute
Cover Image of The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer published by Warner Books
Cover Image of Why Read the Classics? by ITALO CALVINO published by Vintage

LATEST Feature Articles

Alchemist Author Says Giving Away His Books Increases Sales 

by  - Tuesday, November 27, 2018

This article was first published in 2009. Our reason for re-publishing it is at the very bottom. That plus the ability to see spelling mistakes and grammar that needed corrections! So thanks.
Brazilian author, Paul Coelho of The Alchemist gave a keynote address at the Digital Life Design 08 conference in Munich, Germany (watch the video). Why would a Portuguese author with an entry in the Guinness World Record Book as the most successful living author in book sales worldwide (150M copies sold in 150 countries) be a guest at a digital conference? Because he has embraced the digital era like no other writer. Coelho spoke about his experiences using peer to peer file sharing and social networking, and he gave the three conclusions he has come to as a consequence of this activity. The first was the surprising realization that by giving away his books for free via digital downloads on the internet, his printed book sales have increased remarkably.* This has led him to challenge his publisher's protectionism and claim that current copyright laws are outdated. I will get to the history of copyright laws later. For now, check out Pirate Coelho. The second of his observations is how rapidly world languages are evolving with the common use of internet slang, SMS and so forth to communicate. People use "u" for "you", and "4" for "for" in French, German, Spanish—in all languages, not just English, and Coelho predicts that in 20 years our languages will be very different as a consequence. The third experience is an enriched connectedness to his readers around the world through the internet. This point he finds the most rewarding aspect of all. Coelho is a man who has embraced new technology and recognizes its power to connect people the world over. He has been named "the Googliest author"—a reference to Google's ongoing attempts to digitize the world libraries, which has posed a perceived threat to publishers and adherents to copyright laws. Listen to his story of a party invitation...  ...More >>

LATEST Author Interviews

That Aussie Who Is Making Waves 

by  - Sunday, April 08, 2018

As April is poetry month, and also the month of my birth which happens to mark a doozy this year, I've always tried to incorporate a new poet into my world by learning by heart one of their pieces of work; if not the whole poem, at least a favourite stanza.

So much has been in the news of writer, poet and outback reclusive genius, Gerald Murnane these days. Once again, he is listed as a possible favourite for the Nobel Prize for literature. He is the antipodean author of 8 books (three of which were--no kidding--written on an ironing board), including his classic, The Plains (1982), and essays, and poetry. I learned a whack about him from the excellent feature article in this month's New York Times by Mark Binelli. You might also enjoy Blaire Mahoney's feature.

Thirsty for more? Check out the excerpt of his work provided by his publisher Farer Straus and Giroux an imprint of MacMillan. It's , (lots of great photos too), which you can reference hereafter  ...More >>

Feature Articles >>

Vancouver's Capture [Photography]Festival Turns Five 

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Thursday, April 19, 2018


Kim Spencer-Nairn is interviewed here by CBS journalist Gloria Macarenko about her idea to found CAPTURE a photography festival in Vancouver now in its fifth year. The idea in 2013 was to highlight, not just our uber stars, the likes of Jeff Wall, Ian Wallas, Vikkie Alexander and Stan Douglas, but emerging artists and the medium as contemporary art.

Emerging artists are featured alongside established ones at Capture via a combination of curated, juried and open installations. Close to 100 locations are participating in and around the metro area and along Canada Way, the Arbutus Greenway corridor via Jimmy Pattison billboards and metro sign installations. Congratulations Kim!

Photography Books You Need


Jeff Wall: Complete Edition
Fred Herzog: Modern Color
Stan Douglas: Abbott and Cordova ....More >>

 

 

Publisher News >>

Now Hear This: Print is Not Dead-Long Live Print 

by

Friday, January 27, 2017

I am a subscriber to The Columbia Journalism Review whose features capture the latest thinking on all things pertaining to the medium and the profession. Like you I am a reader of books, and a subscriber to newspapers. Like you, I've been saving the planet by ticking the "electronic version only" to my subscriptions to save the world from destroying oxygen breathing trees and burning carbon fossils on delivery of my subscription.

But more and more I've become nostalgic for the rituals of home delivery of print copies of these items where I can make--an occasion--of sitting back in a comfortable chair with the newspaper and enjoy the page layouts, the smell of the ink and paper, the fact that advertisements are not popping up in my face (on my electronic screen), and tracking which articles I click, and feeding me information in silos of like-topics such that I am no longer served a diversity of features in the way that a well managed print publication provides.

The breakdown between the fourth estate and its public is fewer print subscribers which means fewer advertisers which mean fewer quality staff which means poorer quality journalism and consequentially publications going into the red and off the map.

In the publishing industry people have been predicting the return of book, and why not? Just yesterday I wanted to "lend" my copy of a book to a friend and I couldn't--it's on my iPad in digital format. And this is but one of the joys of physical book ownership that has been lost. Think of the state of your physical library, as in, those colourful and dusty shelves with copies of books you've had since the Gutenberg Press.

All the books on my shelves are from what seems like "another era" because I have added few new titles that reflect any update in my reading habits reflecting new topics of interest. But my kindle shelves show neat little rows of book "covers" backlit in colourful pixels illuminating on my screen and floating in the cloud. No help to anyone in my household or on my trusted lending list. (the ones who return books)

So here now is a more erudite rant on the subject from Michael Rosenwald of The CJR. ....More >>

 

Whistler Reads >>

Dr James Maskalyk: Life On The Ground Floor 

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Please join Whistler Reads in welcoming Canadian humanitarian, physican and two-book author, Dr. James Maskalyk from Toronto who is here to speak about his latest book, Life on the Ground Floor: Letters From The Edge of Emergency Medicine on October 19th from 6:30-8:30 pm at the beautiful Audain Art Museum. Eventbrite Tickets

Dr. Maskalyk (that's pronounced Mah-ska-lick) divides his time between Saint Michael's Hospital in Toronto where he works as an emerg doc and award-winning teacher in the emergency and trauma unit, contrasted with a life abroad working for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in places like the Sudan, Kenya, and Myanmar.

His first book Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-torn Village was a gripping account of conditions told from his sensitive and humane perspective. This was where one is not only dealing with the life and death situations of your patients but where ones' own safety is at stake. Described as "piercingly authentic" is was a best-seller.

In Life On The Ground Floor Maskalyk delves further, providing "deeply personal insights into modern-day medical practice with all of its paradoxes, ambiguities, and uncertainties."

Your host will be Whistler Reads program administrator, Leanne Hutchins, who herself has had incredible experiences in Africa working with the Red Cross. This will prove to be a compelling and thought-provoking evening as we compare what it means to provide health care in such contrasting circumstances and still maintain one's clarity and compassion. ....More >>

 

 

WGBH Boston >>

Ken Burns & Lynn Novik Talk Vietnam 

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In anticipation of this epic 10-year exploration of the Vietnam War by award-winning documentary producers Ken Burns and Lynn Novik, this interview reveals their motivation, methods, and dedication to encapsulating this divisive and painful period of history, which some say, America has never fully recovered from. PBS and the sponsoring foundations and charitable entities are to be congratulated for their support of this project. It will undoubtedly impact those who participated in the era and those who come after, as we try to understand the nature of war and the dark side propelling us toward it that exists within our very selves.

Here is a short list of some of the source material, fictional and nonfiction books by authors on both sides, as mentioned by the team:

Wine & Book Club >>

Wine & Book Group Pick for Jan-Feb 2016 

by

Friday, January 01, 2016

It's winter - let's revel in that. Who better to read this January and February than Sheila Watts-Cloutier, the Inuit writer whose book The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet is a manifesto on climate change and its effect on the indigenous peoples of Canada's north. Cloutier is a compelling speaker. I've listened to her in the media and on several radio programs. This book will change the way you view the plight of peoples of the North. Sheila is a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the non-governmental body representing the interests of Inuit people living in four Arctic nations. This led to her becoming a powerful advocate for Inuit rights at United Nations climate-change negotiations that garnered her nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

But the details of her upbringing and the stark contrast between the experience of living at home in the North compared with living at a lower latitude with a non-indigenous family during her formative years, highlights the importance of cultural identity and traditions.

As Naomi Klein writes in the Mar 13th issue of The Globe and Mail:

As the title of the book suggests, a major theme of The Right to Be Cold is how climate change poses an existential threat to cultures that are embedded in ice and snow. If the ice disappears, or if it behaves radically differently, then cultural knowledge that has been passed on from one generation to the next loses its meaning. Young people are deprived of the lived experience on the ice that they need to become knowledge carriers, while the animals around which so many cultural practices revolve disappear. As Watt-Cloutier has been arguing for well over a decade now, that means that the failure of the world to act to reduce its emissions to prevent that outcome constitutes a grave human-rights violation.

While some may snicker and say more NK hyperbole, we all know that the arctic at both poles are the puffin/penguin in the tunnel, and haunting images of polar bears clinging to a slab of ice condemn us all. Awareness is the forerunner to action, and the time for rhetoric has passed. We each need to become part of the solution to solving our planet's climate change issues. ....More >>

 

 

Author Interviews >>

Ian McEwan on Writing Love 

by

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

McEwen waited 20 years to write his first sex scene (the library scene in Atonement). Here he discusses the challenges of writing about relationships in novels and particularly the variations found throughout. Enjoy his fluency and insights with references to a variety of his own novels and also people like Tolstoy. The point that the form of the novel has evolved, is a good one. The novel (and poetry) remain resilient because "we have not yet invented an art form that allows us such access to the minds of others." ....More >>

 

 

Technology Corner >>

They've Come for our Voices: Lyrebird-Voice Synthesis Software 

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Canadian company by the name of Lyrebird https://lyrebird.ai is on the forefront of voice synthesis technology. It can mimic our voices with just a 1-minute sample, and given a longer one, say 5 minutes, they claim that it's difficult to differentiate between the native and robotic speaker. They also say they can control the emotional flavour of speech to evoke things such as anger, stress, distress. Sound worrying?

The work came out of University de Montréal in Quebec where three founders are currently PhD students: Alexandre de Brébisson, Jose Sotelo and Kundan Kumar. Their startup is advised by three of the most prolific professors in the field: Pascal Vincent, Aaron Courville and Yoshua Bengio. The latter, director of the MILA and AI pioneer, wants to make Montréal a world-capital of artificial intelligence and this new startup is part of this vision.

It raises concerns about the forgery of voices just the way photographic manipulation by software like Photoshop has forever changed that artistic discipline into an unreliable form of documentation where authenticity is always under suspicion. Ditto for CGI and video content.

The name Lyrebird comes from an Australian bird that is able to mimic its call. Listen to the CBC's podcast on the topic. https://soundcloud.com/user-535691776/dialog "Where will this technology likely show-up?"

Lyrebird is making a bet on the future of voice-controlled computing. They imagine a world where more and more of our interactions with the digital world are done through voice. That means an increased focus on voice recognition and voice synthesis. Right now Lyrebird isn't a consumer-facing tech company. They want other businesses to take their technology and build on top of it. De Brébisson expects Lyrebird will be used to design better personal assistants — like the ones from Amazon, Google and Apple. He also sees applications for video game makers and in animation, movies and audiobooks. A studio could record an actor, build a voice model then artificially generate any dialogue they want." excerpted-here. ....More >>

 

 

Events >>

Capture Film Festival Vancouver Enters 5th Year 

by

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Vancouver had a history of producing world-renowned photographers like Jeff Wall. Yet there was nothing celebrating the local talent or encouraging new artists and educating the public. Enter Kim Kim Spencer-Nairn the founder and driving force of the festival. Kim is a dynamic woman with a background as a CPA who laughs when she says, "Yes, and I'm from Scottish heritage, so you know I'm going to find and keep every penny working for us." While traveling abroad she attended a photography festival in another city and determined to create something similar in her home town of Vancouver. At the time, the only other photography festival was in Toronto on the east coast.

Capture Photography Festival launched in April of 2013. The annual not-for-profit Festival "strives to nurture emerging talent, engage the community, and spark public dialogue about photography as an art form and a vessel for communication. Capture is devoted to exhibiting challenging and thought-provoking photography from local and international artists."

Each April, photography is presented at dozens of galleries and community spaces throughout Greater Vancouver as part of the Festival’s Selected and Open Exhibition Programs, alongside an extensive Public Art Program and an Events Program that spans tours, films, artist talks, and community events. This year's festival goes from April 3-30th. Check out all the offerings here -> <www.capturephotofest.com ....More >>

 

 
 
 
 

MASH UP >>

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Some Member Book Selections

Cover Image of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai, Ina Rilke published by Anchor Books
Cover Image of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan published by Harper
Cover Image of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury published by Eos
Cover Image of Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood published by House of Anansi Press
Cover Image of The Amber Room: A Novel by Steve Berry published by Ballantine Books
Cover Image of The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt published by Chatto & Windus
Cover Image of Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell published by Little, Brown
Cover Image of A Suitable Boy: A Novel by Vikram Seth published by Harper Perennial
Cover Image of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, Nathaniel Philbrick published by Penguin Books
Cover Image of 1984 by George Orwell, Erich Fromm published by Signet Classic
Cover Image of White Oleander (Oprah's Book Club) by Janet Fitch published by Back Bay Books
Cover Image of The Red and the Black by Burton Raffel, Diane Johnson, Stendhal published by Modern Library
Cover Image of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier published by Plume
Cover Image of The History of Love: A Novel by Nicole Krauss published by W. W. Norton
 

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