Some Member Book Selections

Cover Image of Babyville : A Novel by JANE GREEN published by Broadway
Cover Image of For One More Day by Mitch Albom published by Hyperion
Cover Image of We Need to Talk About Kevin (Five Star Paperback) by Lionel Shriver published by Serpent's Tail
Cover Image of The Road Home: A Novel by Rose Tremain published by Back Bay Books
Cover Image of Mercy Among the Children: A Novel by David Adams Richards published by Washington Square Press
Cover Image of The Awakening by Kate Chopin published by Avon
Cover Image of A Cafe on the Nile by Bartle Bull published by Carroll & Graf Publishers
Cover Image of A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition by Norman Maclean published by University Of Chicago Press
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
Cover Image of Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff published by Little, Brown and Company
Cover Image of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, Helen R. Lane published by Picador
Cover Image of Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer published by Houghton Mifflin Co
Cover Image of Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt published by Touchstone Books
Cover Image of All is Quiet On the Orient Express by Magnus Mills published by Arcade Publishing

LATEST Feature Articles

Ken Burns & Lynn Novik Talk Vietnam 

by  - 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 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:

  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
  • Tim O'Brien's Memoir
  • Bao Neh, The Sorrows of War The first novel published in Vietnam to give voice to the Vietnam soldiers.
  • Viet Thyn Win, "= The Sympathizer

This documentary will undoubtedly change the way we look at rational for war in world conflict, and the nature of difficulty in policy-makers for "limited conflict" and the whole rationalization of for war as ambiguity.  ...More >>

LATEST 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 >>

Feature Articles >>

Musings On The Community Public Library 

by

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I just passed my third month as a new employee at a community library in rural BC. Here are 5 things that I've learned.

Book Reviews >>

Stephen King Has One of the Top Books On Writing: Read It 

by

Monday, September 11, 2017

Notes on “Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

There are plenty of books on writing, but few are any good. Stephen King may not write the genre of book you like to read, but his success at selling books and having several of those books adapted to feature films that have been box office success is a powerful reason to explore his book on the writing craft as worthy a peek.

Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (published by Random House) begins with a history of his childhood, his family background, his high school mishaps, his first jobs, his college experience, how he met his future wife, his first years of marriage and as a parent, his work as a teacher while writing fiction in his spare time, his first published work and his first big payment from his publisher. This is the memoir part of the book, and there are lots of insights embedded inside which will resonate with readers, particularly people who enjoy his books. This is what makes Stephen King tick. The second half is all about Stephen's rules of writing - the meat of it.

It slams you with a confession ....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 >>

Whistler Reads: Author and Cooking Demonstration, The Preservatory 

by

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hey all you avid foodies! Whistler Reads invites you to meet chef, farm owner, and cook book author, Lee Murphy who will be giving a cooking demonstration and discussing her new cookbook The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking with Artisanal Preserves (published by Random House CA $28.99 online here; $35 in stores;or the if you've gone electronic... Kindle version is $15.99.) The program takes place at the Weston Hotel in Whistler, BC on September 29th from 7pm-9pm. Tickets via our Eventbrite Channel.

Lee, a passionate and knowledgeable jam master and owner of Vista D'oro Farms & Winery in South Langley BC, will be discussing her book as she gives a live cooking demo focusing on the pleasure of creating and using beautiful, seasonal preserves. Her unique creations include:

  • Kumquat with Vanilla & Vodka preserve;
  • Olive with Orange and Lemon preserve;
  • as well as Beet with Oranges and Pink Peppercorn preserve!
She also masterfully turns these preserves into mouth-watering dishes such as: Jamargeritas; Brie & Preserve-Stuffed French Toast, Coconut Curry Braised Chicken; and Olive & Caramelized Onion Tart. Yes, I said JAMargeritas – her book includes cocktails! Also, incredibly useful for cheese lovers like myself, is a table of all 55 preserves from the book, cross referenced to the cheese with which they would pair best! This fun event is a must for all food lovers in the Sea to Sky corridor! There's more... ....More >>

 

 

WGBH Boston >>

Ken Burns & Lynn Novik Talk Vietnam 

by

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 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:

  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
  • Tim O'Brien's Memoir
  • Bao Neh, The Sorrows of War The first novel published in Vietnam to give voice to the Vietnam soldiers.
  • Viet Thyn Win, "= The Sympathizer

This documentary will undoubtedly change the way we look at rational for war in world conflict, and the nature of difficulty in policy-makers for "limited conflict" and the whole rationalization of for war as ambiguity. ....More >>

 

 

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 >>

Daniel Levitin wins Best Business Book of 2017 

by

Monday, May 01, 2017

Neuroscientist, academic and popular author Daniel Levitin has just been awarded $30,000 and named the winner of the National Business Book for 2017 for his latest volume, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age (published by Allen Lane, Canada). The National Business Book Award is co-sponsored by Pricewaterhouse Corporation, Canada, and Bank of Montreal Financial Group. Now in its 32nd year, the prize is handed out annually to the most outstanding Canadian business-related, non-fiction book of the previous year. The author says the book was written in response to the lack of public skepticism to the erosion of trusted news sources and complacency with information being disseminated through questionable sources and modern derivative news sources like social media. The world seems to have lost its critical thinking skills and is accepting as fact things which are not; accepting as evidence things which are hearsay. Discriminating between real and unreliable sources, propaganda, false and fake news is a grave problem today. Click bait hounds you everywhere on the web. And Levitin objects to the term "fake news" as it indicates something false as being worthy of any attention--which it emphatically isn't.

LEVITIN: I object to the term because it is not simply another variety of news, like “breaking news” or “political news” or “celebrity news.” It isn’t news at all — it’s a lie. Thinking critically begins with not enabling the purveyors of distortions, lies, and made-up "facts."
....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 >>

FOLD - May 4-7th Brampton Ont 

by

Sunday, March 26, 2017

If the axiom of good writing is "Write what you know", then perhaps the axiom of a good reader should be "Read what you don't know." That's how I see FOLD, Canada's first literary festival celebrating literary diversity. It's founded by Jael Richardson and takes place in her hometown of Brampton, Ontario now in its second season, coming May 4-7 2017. "The Festival of Literary Diversity will celebrate stories that are underrepresented in Canadian literature — stories that reflect variations in geography, ethnicity, race, culture, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and religion, and stories that employ different methods of story-telling." Check out the 25 programs on offer over 3 days. The FOLD will utilize a “three-fold” approach in the programming: engaging readers, inspiring writers, and empowering educators. The main festival runs from Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 8, but the larger festival includes a workshop for educators and sessions dedicated towards high school students.

What I didn't know is that "Brampton is Canada’s second fastest growing city and the ninth largest city in the country. Located immediately north of Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Brampton residents represent more than 170 different cultures and speak more than 70 languages. People have literally come from around the world to live, work, play, read, and write in this City." Speaking as a Vancouverite - that's a wonderful distinction to celebrate! ....More >>

 

 
 
 
 

MASH UP >>

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Some Member Book Selections

Cover Image of Snobs by Julian Fellowes published by St. Martin's Press
Cover Image of Edith Wharton (Vintage) by Hermione Lee published by Vintage
Cover Image of The Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark published by Simon & Schuster
Cover Image of Strawberry Fields: A Novel by Marina Lewycka published by Penguin Press HC, The
Cover Image of I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron published by Knopf
Cover Image of Why I'm Still Married : Women Write Their Hearts Out on Love, Loss, Sex, and Who Does the Dishes by Karen  Propp, Jean  Trounstine published by Hudson Street Press
Cover Image of Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi published by Random House
Cover Image of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, N.C. Wyeth published by Atheneum
Cover Image of The Elephanta Suite: Three Novellas by Paul Theroux published by Houghton Mifflin
Cover Image of The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, Royall Tyler, Murasaki Shikibu published by Viking Press
Cover Image of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree: A Novel by Ann Weisgarber published by Viking Adult
Cover Image of Watt by Samuel Beckett published by Grove Press
Cover Image of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd published by Penguin USA (Paper)
Cover Image of The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald, Michael Hulse, W. G. Sebald published by New Directions Publishing Corporation
 

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