LATEST Feature Articles
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
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 >>
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.
Publisher's Weekly Best Books of 2014: Here you can read the full review and then purchase the book.
Book Reviews >>
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 >>
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, 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 are motivated to take action to make the right financial decisions and to this end we have invited local entrepreneur and educator, Chantel Chapman. Chantel is a Sauder Business School graduate with a career in finance who taught financial literacy to students and at-risk youth through the Junior Achievement program. She discovered her 30-something friends wanted the knowledge base and so she created "Hollar for your Dollar" an online tutorial for young entrepreneurs and people seeking to launch themselves into the business world to make their concept a success. 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 top Vancouver CEO's from Lulu Lemon and Hootsuite to Frank Giustra and others. 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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.
DO have natural sunlight (as from a window) or other flattering light source in front of you bathing your face.
Keep in mind what is in the background - is it working FOR you or AGAINST the vibe?
- Use ethernet cable, not WiFi - if connection fails, you've just lost your audience and possibly future opportunities Pick a quiet/comfortable place to record so your mind is not distracted
- Re-start your computer (even if it is a MAC) and close all extra windows & programs Take yourself off "network share" while recording, if you are using this (go to system preferences-network-share "off") 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 >>
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.