LATEST Feature Articles
by Thursday, June 19, 2014-
There are some mighty interesting books on the Royal Society's longlist for Best Science book of 2014. Nonfiction readers with a bent for science topics will want to nab a few titles for summer reading pleasure and for great conversation over drinks on the patio with friends and colleagues. My top 3 choices out of the dozen books selected by the panel (from the 160 titles submitted this year) are as follows:
- Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson (Princeton University Press, 2013); Available as audio download / e-reader / hardcover.
Publisher's synopsis Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the 20th century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America's first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius.. In this groundbreaking book, W. Bernard Carlson demystifies the legendary inventor, placing him ...More >>
LATEST Author Interviews
by Wednesday, June 18, 2014-
This wonderful video arrived in my latest edition of Electric Literature. A creative project by Ilana Simons. Simons studies authors with with a holistic lens. Every aspect is included: their hobbies, life milestones, influences and works. Additionally, I have a soft spot for creative animation in storytelling. She is the author of A Life of One’s Own: A Guide to Better Living through the Work and Wisdom of Virginia Woolf (Penguin, 2007). She also curates Tin House Reels, a review of short animated films accompanied by the Vimeo clip, as well as reviews of books and poetry with lots fresh names. ...More >>
Feature Articles >>
Sunday, June 08, 2014
Each summer I retreat from the city to our farm property where there are various projects on the go. A rather large farmhouse garden is always a source of much joy and physical effort: tilling the spring soil; testing for pH, nitrogen and phosphorus; adding amendments like alfalfa mulch and compost, spraying the fruit trees with lime sulphur oil, building the seed rows and laying out the drip hose and sprinkler irrigation.
I bring our laying hens along and collect the boarding rooster from a friend who owns a nursery in a part of the city where zoning laws allows his early morning revelry. This year I took a two-day intensive course on beekeeping and purchased then assembled two hive kits that we populated with starter nukes. Nukes are boxes containing four hive frames, a mated queen bee, some workers, drones and laid comb with brood.
We also embarked on a hops adventure in tangent with the thriving craft beer industry here in BC. I ordered several hundred hop rhizomes and potted them into 2- litre nursery pots in prelude to establishing a hops yard inside our hay field. Hops grow to over 20 feet and the structure to support them is quite an undertaking.
That said, it is very gratifying to come inside after a day of outdoor physical labour and take a hot bath, change into some loose summer clothes and enjoy a tasty beverage in the twilight of the day. I keep a journal with observations like when the swallows arrive, what we're planting and how it is thriving or suffering, the weather patterns, when the birds fledge and the date the elk pass through on their fall migration.
Of course reading is a favourite pastime ....More >>
Book Reviews >>
Monday, November 18, 2013
Fans of Donna Tartt have been waiting for her new novel since they closed the pages of her last one. She's kept us waiting almost a decade. The Goldfinch (published by Little and Brown, 2013) does not disappoint, all 766 pages of it in the hard cover version that depending on the font size you select on your e-reader can grow to as many as 1200 pages! As the title suggests the central figure in the story is a bird. Well actually, a painting of a bird (which also happens to exist in RL - real life) and comes with its own intriguing back story.
Painted by the Dutch master Carel Fabritius, it is one of only a few works left in the world, his others having been lost in a tragic explosion of the gunpowder factory situated next door to the painter's studio and home that also took his life. Fabritus is supposed to have been the forerunner of Rembrandt who helped his protoge acquire his masterful technique. The painting is introduced to the precocious 13-year-old New Yorker, Theo Decker by his mother on a visit to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art on the fateful day of a terrorist act. A bomb goes off in the gift shop of the museum and Theo, who has separated from his mother, survives. Just prior to the blast Theo has become entranced with both the painting and an enigmatic girl accompanied by an elderly man. In the chaos and confusion of the blast, Theo connects with the dying man who passes him his signet ring for safe keeping - a talus that will connect Theo to the next important person coming into his life. As Theo stumbles his way out of the gallery in darkness, in chaos, choking through the dust in search of his mother and escape, he clutches the very painting off the wall that he's been admiring and instinctively saves, the priceless Goldfinch.
The rest of the book takes the reader through Theo's life after the blast, as he ....More >>
Publisher News >>
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 >>
Sunday, June 01, 2014
We at Whistler Reads love technology and innovation. Since so many of the group spend different parts of the summer away with several of us packing up entirely… the best method I can think of for "getting together" is through Google Hangout. (I've detailed instructions on Google Hangout at the bottom - click full article to view them.)
If you haven't done it before, it's easy to start. I've also posted a group notice on Meet Up to help spread the word about our online session. Just type "Whistler Reads" in the Meet Up search box and our event will appear. (Use Meet Up to find all sorts of interesting gatherings in the vicinity, by postal code, by radius or by topic of interest for locations worldwide, etc.)
Our discussion takes place on July 22nd from 7-8 pm. DO check in and post a message about what you are reading this summer. We'll tally the recommendations and send the list in our next newsletter.
With new Anti-SPAM legislation, we've all been bombarded with requests from existing subscription groups to remain opted-in. Ours is on its way. If you do not receive a request, we've likely got an outdated or incorrect email for you, in which case, take this time to re-connect. We only send out messages to announce the next book, the location and pertinent event details.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer reading adventure! Paula Shackleton ....More >>
WGBH Boston >>
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 >>
Friday, June 27, 2014
Summer is the time for light wines and heavy reads. It's when women put a chunk of ice and a sprig of mint in our tumblers of Pinot Gris, while men swirl great bowls of frosted Rose to go with their finely barbecued skirt steak. What books go best with these delights? While it's not a heavy read, it comes from a heavy-hitting writer. J.K. Rowling's new detective genre mystery, The Silkworm (A Cormoran Strike Novel) is getting rave reviews. It's under a pseudo name John Galbraith, and will satisfy your desire for a killer plot that's set in the publishing world involving a novelist Owen Quine, his wife Leonora Quine and an investigator named Strike who she hires to find said missing husband. Turns out of course he's been brutally murdered and everyone becomes a suspect: the editor, the agent, the publisher, jealous writer friends — you get the picture.
For the wines we suggest La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rosé 2011, Rhone Valley, France
Price: $14 | Score: 86/100
Wine writer Anthony Gismondi writes, "You will love the pale salmon, copper colour, and its bright floral, strawberry jam, licorice, spicy fruity aromas. The attack is food friendly, dry and fresh with a slightly austere palate. Flavours are a mix of strawberry, cherry jam, licorice and toasted floral flavours. Always a fresh bet for summer with plenty of citrusy fruit. Try it with veal kebabs."
For the Pinot Gris we suggest Okanagan Wine Fest winner Hester Creek Estate Winery's Pinot Blanc 2012.
Price: $16.95 | Score: 80-90's/100 for estate wines UPC: UPC: 626990050032;
The LCB lists this wine as, "Like icewine, this late harvest wine has a refreshing acidity that balances the tastes of peach, apple and honey with a hint of tangerine. It pairs well with any dessert featuring vanilla, cheese and a hint of sweetness." Perfect for summer sipping. ....More >>
Author Interviews >>
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The world is divided into those who are fans of Wes Anderson films and those who are not. (Royal Tanenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, The Life Aquatic, The Squid and the Whale) Fans looking for insight into the director/producer/Oscar-winning screenwriter's sources of inspiration and technique should check out this recent conversation between George Prochnik, author of The Impossible Exile and Wes that took place at the NY public library. The topic of discussion is European literary icon - Stephan Zweig's influence on Wes's film, The Grand Budapest Hotel based on two of his books: Beware of Pity and The Post-Office Girl.
The Budapest Hotel is a richly cast feature film with Tom Wilkenson, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law et al.
Stephan Zweig (1981-1942) was a Jewish-Austrian author, playwright, journalist, biographer and pacifist who wrote prolifically and passionately about people and history. He moved from Vienna to escape Nazi persecution and then ....More >>
Technology Corner >>
Friday, August 29, 2014
If you enjoy time lapse videography and wish there was an easy technology to convert your home videos, then check out HYPERLAPSE, the new app from Vimeo. Hyperlapse allows you to collapse your own videos using a video stabilization algorithm called Cinema, which is already used on videos posted to Instagram. The effect is mesmerizing. For the geeks wanting to know how it works, the technology is explained here. To summarize, the program changes the frames per second (up to 12x faster) and the aspect ratio to speed things up and to counteract any camera shake. Previously this sort of time-lapse technique took oodles of planning and engineering. Now you have just one button to press and you're video is good to show! Check out these examples and get busy making your own time-lapse videography today. View tutorial below. ....More >>
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.