LATEST Feature Articles
by Tuesday, May 12, 2015-
Each spring my husband and I relocate to our farm in the Interior of BC. While we've owned the property for two decades, we've not had the luxury of time to be there until the last few years. Previously we had a number of scenarios: renting to farm family, sharecropping with a neighbour farmer, and finally part-time sojourns to begin to take control and go through a learning and acquisition process. The best teacher of course is experience, and that means you learn by mistakes. I don't feel we began to really take things seriously until we acquired chickens. A garden can be tilled, seeded and left for a few days or even a week with a timed water system. Ditto for a ploughed field. But animals require you be there. And being there you learn their rhythms, their needs, their idiosyncracies and personalities.
Chickens were the catalyst to our sense of understanding and responsibility at our farm. My book shelves are lined with titles like The Organic Grain Grower, Bee Keeping & Honey, The Oxford Companion To Beer. But what is the point of it all? There is a series on Netflix right now that connects the dots from farmer and field to consumers and their tables. It is called Chef's Table. This is where you become inspired by cooking movements around the world started by chefs who embody a philosophy of eating that is most often traced back to their roots. If you watch this series I challenge you NOT to think about food and its connection to the health of the landscape it derived, combined with skill, technique, improvisation, history and cultural identity. My two favourites are the first and second chef stories. The first is a chef in Modina, Italy with three Michelin stars who took traditional Italian dishes and ingredients and invented a playful post modern presentation that is both inspired by his love for his wife and family as it is by his desire to surprise and delight his guests. The second is a chef in New York who took the name of his grandmother's farm in the Hudson River Valley and connected his cuisine to sustainable food movement. He inspires farmers and seed breeders and his culinary brigade to the pinnacle of freshness and taste, educating diners and other cooks to accept nothing less than food grown with care. ...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 >>
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Saturday, March 28th Whistler Reads "Community Series" begins with the hot button topic Financial Literacy. Come learn lessons from the trenches of three dynamic business women at this afternoon clinic taking place in the Whistler Public Library 12-2pm $25 pp (community room) includes take-aways.Tickets Here There is a wine reception you'll be welcome to join at the Nita Lake Lodge 5-7pm as well.
Dragon Den winner Natasha Strim who along with her husband Norm founded Nonna Pia's Balsamic Reductions. The accolades just keep coming, named BC Business of the Year, and Product of the Year by the Canadian Consumer Industry, Natasha will describe how they've built the company and her experiences taking a brand from local to North America wide. (see Dragon's Den video below)
Ashleigh McIvor-Demerit is Whistler's GOLD MEDAL Olympian in Ski Cross and she's transitioned her elite athlete status into a successful career in broadcasting, media and modelling! Not all athletes make that switch successfully. Find out what it takes to channel that athletic drive and commitment into the next stage of life. (see clips of Asheigh's commercial below) ....More >>
Book Reviews >>
Sunday, April 05, 2015
Anyone who has read John Vaillant's books knows that he is a champion for causes. Be it a rare golden spruce on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in BC or an endangered Amur tiger in the Primorye region on Russia’s far eastern border.
He is also a consummate storyteller who takes facts from his exhaustive research to construct plots with convincing detail and thriller-like tension. Was the missing Grant Hadwin an eco-terrorist who cut down the 500 year-old iconic tree? Was he murdered, drowned or hiding? Was the Amur tiger a man-killer, stalking for revenge? Would the search team tracking the wounded animal's blood in the snow reach the animal before it would have a chance to kill again? Gripping stuff—and this is nonfiction we're talking about!
So when John announced he was working on his first novel, we all waited with baited breath. What will it be about? Where will it be set? Would he succeed in contriving characters and conflict evoked from his imagination as well as those in real life? Of course good story telling is based on something equally as powerful as facts. To make great fiction you must construct truth. For in fiction the reader is looking as hard for mistakes in the logic of your writing as the footnoted sources of your nonfiction. Throw on too much sentimentalism, too much bravado and like a failing movie your audience will not feel safe to suspend the disbelief that carries them to the fateful end.
The Jaguar's Children: A novel is set deep in Mexico in Oaxaca and on the borderland between Mexico and California. Two boyhood friends, Hector and Ceasar have decided to flee their homeland; one for the promise of a better life, the other to bring promise back to the people left behind. They pay a coyote [slang for a person who smuggles Mexican nationals] to weld them inside the belly of an empty water truck along with a dozen other desperate illegal immigrants. The truck breaks an axle ....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 >>
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Our next Whistler Reads event is Thursday April 30th at the Nita Lake Lodge (Library) 7pm-9pm. (Tickets $15 Message Paula if you are a non-profit) Come meet Vancouver's new literary prodigy, fresh out of UBC's MFA program with her debut novel. Chelsea Rooney is the author of Pedal(published Caitlin Press)and named Book of the Year by the Canadian Publishing community. Now a finalist for the Amazon First Novel Award co-presented by Canada's premiere literary magazine, The Walrus!
Since its inception in 1974, The First Novel Award has launched the careers of some of Canada’s most beloved novelists, including: Michael Ondaatje, Joy Kogawa, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels and Joseph Boyden." That means Whistlerites will have the opportunity to preview this talent before the announcement on May 21st. Come judge for yourselves.
I met Chelsea at a book event in Vancouver and was immediately taken by her candour and poise. Of the three authors on offer that evening, she was the most compelling speaker. Her novel deals with a difficult subject matter; sexual attraction between adults and minors, but she manages to take out the demons offering her own first person experience, effectively transformed into fiction. Her book intelligently asks questions that challenge the status quo on victimization.
We are reaching out to a few local Whistler non profit organizations with an offer to obtain copies of the book for your staff and network, and a few spaces for interested persons. Message me on our LIKE.
WGBH Boston >>
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Mark your calendars! It's all things Wolf Hall (and Hilary Mantel) it seems, since the just-aired BBC series has received outstanding critical reviews saying "it's close to perfect television". That same series premieres in North America on PBS MASTERPIECE April 5th. For those of you lucky enough to be in New York, you can catch the Broadway play of "Wolf Hall", which launches a week later.
MASTERPIECE on PBS will air a six-hour miniseries adapted from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. MASTERPIECE brings both works to life in Wolf Hall, airing on Sundays, April 5 to May 10, 2015 at the special time of 10 pm ET on PBS.
Wolf Hall stars Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Tony Award-winner Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night) and shines a spotlight on Thomas Cromwell's involvement in King Henry VIII's marriage to and divorce from Anne Boleyn. See www.pbs.org/wolfhall Viewers in USA can watch streaming online. Viewers in Canada will have to catch the series on TV at the scheduled times in their zone.
Praise for Hilary Mantel's writing is not quiet or discreet. It shouts and drools.
Sir Peter Stothard, Chairman of the Man Booker Prize '"Bring Up the Bodies" is simply exceptional...I envy anyone who hasn't yet read it'
Philip Hensher, Independent on Sunday 'In another league. This ongoing story of Henry VIII's right-hand man is the finest piece of historical fiction I have ever read. A staggering achievement' Sarah Crompton, Sunday Telegraph
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 >>
Friday, May 01, 2015
This year the festival — conceived after Sept. 11, 2001, to celebrate international literature — will include a special focus on the contemporary literary culture of Africa and its diaspora. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian-born writer whose novel “Americanah” won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, is organizing the African program with the festival’s director, Laszlo Jakab Orsos. Ms. Adichie will also deliver the festival’s prestigious closing-night lecture, named for Arthur Miller.
Colm Toibin, who is serving as chairman of the festival for the first time this year — a position he took over from Salman Rushdie — said in an email interview that “there is a great deal happening culturally in Africa that we don’t know about. Africa is also a big place, and there are large differences between Kenya and Nigeria, Somalia and South Africa.”
This year's Festival includes writers, artists, academics, and activists from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya, Congo-Brazzaville, South Africa, Cameroon, and more. These writers' work offers an entry point to discuss timely subjects, such as gender issues in Africa, and the role of the African diaspora, as well as important cultural phenomena including the publishing landscape and variations in important literary genres in different countries.