Some Member Book Selections

Cover Image of Edith Wharton (Vintage) by Hermione Lee published by Vintage
Cover Image of The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald, Michael Hulse, W. G. Sebald published by New Directions Publishing Corporation
Cover Image of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles by Mike Davis published by Vintage Books
Cover Image of Deception Point by Dan Brown published by Pocket
Cover Image of My Heart Laid Bare by Joyce Carol Oates published by Plume Books
Cover Image of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson published by Simon & Schuster Canada
Cover Image of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Edith Grossman, Harold Bloom published by Ecco
Cover Image of Great English Novels/Pride and Prejudice/a Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man/Heart of Darkness/the Picture of Dorian Gray by Austen published by Dover Pubns
Cover Image of Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey published by Knopf
Cover Image of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism) by Gene H. Bell-Villada published by Oxford University Press
Cover Image of The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller published by Warner Books
Cover Image of The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us by Carolyn Abraham published by Random House Canada
Cover Image of Anil's Ghost (Vintage International) by Michael Ondaatje published by Vintage Books
Cover Image of BIG SHOW: The Greatest Pilot's Story of World War II (Cassell Military Paperbacks) by Pierre Clostermann published by Cassell

LATEST Feature Articles

Vancouver's Capture [Photography]Festival Turns Five 

by  - 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 >>

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 >>

How to Make a French Fold Book 

by

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The French Fold book is a publishing technique well suited to DIY projects such as poetry chapbooks or other topics like a collection of writing, photography or art. Perhaps your writing group wants to commemorate the anniversary of your group's formation with a selection of each of your favourite works? Or someone you know is celebrating a special birthday and you want to make a custom gift of shared memories? Or your children's art has been sitting in a folder in a filing cabinet and you'd like to organize it into a lasting volume easily accessed on the bookshelf? The term "French Fold" is in reference to the pages of the book being joined together on the outward facing fore-edges, instead of the interior edges/folds at the spine.

Allison Holt has a cute blog called The Professor & Maryanne At Home where she has detailed instructions and sketches that make this project easy to follow. Your choice of materials can be any quality. Half the fun is in the maker-process itself. If you choose acid-free paper and archival glues your book will be a lasting artifact and heirloom. ....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 

by

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 

by

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 Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! by Michael Moore published by Regan Books
Cover Image of The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner by Jill Conner Browne, Three Rivers Press published by Three Rivers Press
Cover Image of The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst published by Bloomsbury USA
Cover Image of A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair published by Knopf
Cover Image of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown published by Doubleday
Cover Image of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Cover Image of The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea published by Back Bay Books
Cover Image of Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay published by Ballantine Books (Trd)
Cover Image of A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas published by Harvest Books
Cover Image of The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle published by Penguin USA (Paper)
Cover Image of The Diviners (Phoenix Fiction Series) by Margaret Laurence published by University of Chicago Press
Cover Image of The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles published by Ecco
Cover Image of Company You Keep by Neil Gordon published by Penguin Paperbacks
Cover Image of Other Sorrows, Other Joys : The Marriage of Catherine Sophia Boucher and William Blake by Janet Warner published by St. Martin's Press
 

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