The woodsmen & the economist

Widely regarded SFU economist Richard (Dick) Lipsey recalls his work as a surveyor’s assistant and axeman on the west coast of Vancouver Island in the summer of 1947. REVIEW

Who’s Who

Austin Andrews

A is for Andrews
Vancouver-based Austin Andrews’ images from six continents have appeared in TIME, Foreign Policy, Maclean’s and the online edition of National Geographic. As a film director and editor, his films have screened at Sundance, Tribeca, and Hot Docs festival. Writer Simon Cockerell has made almost two hundred trips to the absurdly named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for his Beijing-based company, Koryo Tours, to promote interaction between North Koreans and the rest of the world.  Together they’ve produced an unusually engaging coffee table book, Red Star Utopia: Inside North Korea (Durvile / UTP $49.95) that reveals the bleak and repressive society, admired by Donald Trump, that is home to 25 million freedom-starved and frequently starving North Koreans. Due in October.  9781988824239.

B is for Babcock
Having lived in New Zealand for 28 years, Leanne Babcock sold up everything and moved back to her homeland Canada where she embarked on a road trip across North America, re-acquainting herself with this continent. In 2017, she published her first book, Open Me – the true story of a magical journey from fear to freedom (Five Feather Publishing $25).  It concerns having the courage to take risks and follow your heart and your spirit’s longing. Since 1993, Leanne Babcock has been running her own coaching and training business by leading courses, retreats and one-on-one coaching programmes that “shake up the roots of your soul opening your mind, your spirit and your heart.” She has trained in transactional analysis, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, neuro science, intuitive studies and shamanism.  978-0-473-39067-9

Anne Coleman

C is for Coleman
Anne Coleman’s I’ll Tell You a Secret: A Memory of Seven Summers (M&S 2004) reveals her intimate relationship with Hugh MacLennan, almost thirty years her senior, during the 1950s, mostly during summers in the picturesque resort village of North Hatley, Quebec. Coleman has now published a follow-up memoir called Inland Navigation by the Stars (BPS Books $25.95) that covers eight decades. It is again set in North Hatley, Quebec (and involves the young lives of various Canadian writers, for example Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood, as well as of Anne herself), and then also in Toronto, Montreal, and finally, British Columbia. She describes it as “a searching exploration of how memory works and how we create narratives to make sense of them as, towards the end of life.” Coleman sifts for truth out of the various ’selves’ she has been: student, teacher, wife (twice), mother, feminist, writer. 978-1-77236-045-5

Anne-Marie Drosso

D is for Drosso
Born in Cairo, Egypt, Anne-Marie Drosso came to Vancouver in her early twenties to study, eventually earning an Economics PhD and later, a law degree. Drosso returned to Egypt in 1999 and began writing fiction. Her latest book, Hookah Nights: Tales from Cairo (Darf $12.95), is a collection of 14 short stories set in modern Egypt that, according to the book’s publicity, “draws us into the lives of men and women, Egyptians and foreigners, as they are caught up in key moments of Egypt’s tumultuous past and present.” From the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s, to Anwar Sadat’s time in the 1970s, and the period following the most recent Egyptian revolution in 2011, Drosso’s characters shed light on what it means to live in present-day Egypt. Drosso lives in Vancouver. 978-1850-7731-4-6

Jackie Kai Ellis

E is for Ellis
Last year Heather Ross, who runs a décor boutique on Fir Street in Vancouver, published The Natural Eclectic: a Design Aesthetic Inspired by Nature. Now, her next-door-neighbour entrepreneur, Jackie Kai Ellis, owner of Beaucoup Bakery, has published The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris (Random House $24.95). In the style of Eat, Pray, Love, Ellis’s memoir details how her life spiralled when she suffered with crippling depression. Despite having a handsome husband, a successful career and a beautiful home, she left it all behind to travel to France, Italy and the Congo Republic. After attending pastry school in Paris and eating perfect apricots in the Tuscan hills of Italy, she returned to start her own critically acclaimed bakery, Beaucoup. Her marriage didn’t survive her evolution.  9780147530394

Her Excellency presents the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) to Merna Margaret Forster.

F is for Forster
When she was mainly known as an astronaut, Julie Payette wrote the foreword to Merna Forster’s second book, 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces. Forster later launched a campaign to include images of notable Canadian women on our banknotes with a petition and website where Canadians could suggest worthy candidates. That led to rights activist Viola Desmond being chosen to appear on the ten-dollar bill. This year, as Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette presented a Meritorious Service Medal (M.S.M) to Forster in Victoria. In 2016, Forster also received the 2016 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media, known as the Pierre Berton Award.

John Gilmore

G is for Gilmore
Thirteen years in the making and described as a hybrid novel , John Gilmore’s self-published The Broken Notebooks (Ellipse Editions $28.50) merges fact and fiction, prose and poetry, interviews and readings that include Robert Bringhurst’s derivations from the works of Haida storytellers.The protagonist searches for insights into the prehistoric marble carvings known as the Cycladic figurines–female figures with folded arms and blank faces that have inspired painters such as Picasso and Modigliani. During a research trip to Greece in 2005, GIlmore tramped around remote hillsides on the Cyclades looking for looted prehistoric cemeteries where figurines were buried with the dead. 9780986786624

H is for Hansen
Ann Hansen was arrested in 1983 with the four other members of the radical anarchist group known as the Squamish Five. The bonds and experiences Hansen shared with other imprisoned women during her many years of incarceration have prompted her to write a firsthand account of the brutal effects of imprisonment on women’s lives. The heartbreaking and engaging stories in Taking the Rap: Women Doing Time for Society’s Crimes (Between the Lines $29.95) make her case for prison abolition. 9781771133555

Meenal Shrivastava

I is for India
Amma’s Daughters (Athabasca University Press $29.95) by Meenal Shrivastava of Sidney is a creative non-fiction history of the female foot soldiers of Gandhi’s national movement. Using her grandmother’s 1962 autobiography as a foundation, Shrivastava gives voice and honour to the thousands of largely forgotten or unacknowledged women who, threatened with imprisonment, relentlessly and selflessly gave toward the revolution. Shrivastava recalls the courage of her grandmother, Shanti, at the age of twelve, as she joins the nationalist movement and is arrested for making seditious speeches. Despite serving many jail sentences, Shanti never wavers from her devotion to Gandhi’s teachings and her dream of equality for women who faced deeply patriarchal rules and attitudes. This book reclaims an important part of India’s history. Born in Jaipur, Shrivastava is an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. As a Professor and Coordinator of Political Economy and Global Studies at Athabasca University, she has published research on globalization that has led to more than thirty peer-reviewed publications; seventy conference papers, guest lectures, and opinion pieces; and a co-edited volume, Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada (AU Press, 2015). 9781771991957.

J is for Jones
Shilo Jones could very well become the best novelist ever born in Bella Coola. On the heels of Charles Demers’ comic crime novel about the effects of escalating real estate prices in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, Property Values (Arsenal 2018) comes newcomer Shilo Jones’ equally dark critique, On the Up (M&S 2018 $24.95), a tense tale of three disparate characters who are involved in a shady condo property deal in North Vancouver: Coping with PTSD, Mark is an Afghanistan war veteran who has left his wife and child in Thailand in order to repay a debt to his nefarious brother. Although he’s co-founded an environmental investment company, Carl “Blitzo” Reed is a drug addict who, like a huge percentage of Vancouverites, is caught up in the ecology of greed. Jasminder is an aspiring investigative journalist who tries to stay high-minded within realty-mad maze of Vancouver’s otherwise micro-managed streets, while sharing a one-bedroom apartment with her mom. After a rural upbringing, Shilo Jones attended high school in the Lower Mainland and tried UVic’s creative writing program before he realized it would be a better idea to first grow up and have something worthwhile to say. Instead he used his hands to work as a tree planter and stonemason. After getting an BFA in in Visual Art and Cultural Theory from SFU, during which time he contributed some essays to some local gallery catalogues, he travelled extensively with his wife in Asia and Africa, enrolled in UBC’s MFA program and then got picked up by the Dean Cooke Agency in Toronto. As a stay-at-home father in Kelowna, he has expressed an increasingly common love/hate relationship with Vancouver within a novel that is pitched as a blend of Quentin Tarantino and Elmore Leonard. If you can’t play in the high stakes poker game, disparaging it comes naturally. But he says he misses living in Vancouver. 978-0771049101

Carol Kinnee

K is for Kinnee
Winter’s gloom spreads; spring fails to arrive. The people of the walled city of Vendonne grow hungry. Whispers of omens flourish. Anyone different stands out in Carol Kinnee’s second, indie fantasy novel, A Trail of Embers ($26.24) in a world of magic and dragons. The protagonist, Meara No Name, has no memory beyond the streets of the walled city. A stolen dragon’s egg and the tracker responsible for its theft will force her to take an epic journey that will fan the embers leading to her past. Will the ancient Prophecy of the Egg be fulfilled?  Carol Kinnee lives in Mission. 978-0-9958515-5-9

Fiona Tinwei Lam

L is for Lam
Fiona Tinwei Lam co-edited, with Jane Silcott, Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage (Caitlin $24.95), a collection of short stories and poems about the institution of marriage. It includes a story from Andreas Schroeder about him and life partner Sharon Brown, two people from the freewheeling 1960s who get married in 2007 after having lived together for more than 30 years and raising two children. He writes that while it is now fashionable to dump on the sixties, people forget how “anthropoidal” the fifties were. To make his point, he quotes “The Good Wife’s Guide,” published in Housekeeping Monthly in 1955, advising wives how to greet their husbands when they return from work: “Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Arrange his pillow, or offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. A good wife always knows her place.” After this quote, Schroeder pointedly comments, “I rest my case.”

Keith Maillard

M is for Maillard
Set in West Vancouver, Keith Maillard’s 14th novel Twin Studies (Freehand $24.95) follows a twin researcher at UBC named Dr. Erica Bauer who meets a set of pre-teen twins, raised by a single mom, who are evidently fraternal, but who urgently insist they are identical. It’s an examination of gender and identity, class and money, and the complicated bonds between twins and siblings, lovers and friends. Maillard was far ahead of his time when he published his first novel about gender fluidity, Two Strand River, which also explored the nuances and complications of non-conventional sexual identity. 978-1-988298-31-3

N is for Nilsen
For her debut collection of poems, Otolith (Goose Lane $19.95), Emily Nilsen of Nelson has been longlisted for both the League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther Memorial Awards. According to publicity materials, “Otolith — the ear stone — is a series of bones that govern our sense of gravity, balance, and direction to help us orient ourselves.” Her book examines the ache of nostalgia in the world’s passage of time with poems “full of life and decay; they carry the odours of salmon rivers and forests of fir; salal growing in the fog-bound mountain slopes.” Born and raised in Vancouver, Nilsen was a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015 for a chapbook entitled Place, No Manual, after having been longlisted for the prize on three separate occasions. Her work has also been longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. 978-0-864929-62-4

Amar Ochani

O is Ochani
Silence is the practice ground for finding inner peace. Honesty without courage is a lost virtue. Vipassana meditator Amar Ochani has learned from his renowned Vipassana teacher, the late S. N. Goenka, for his debut book,  Inner Explorations of a Seeker (Inspired Living $16.95) in which he advises, “The truth hurts, but only once; untruth keeps  hurting all the time.” Ochani’s short essays and thoughts are not written for readers of any particular faith, religion, denomination or creed. Born in Mumbai, formerly from London, U.K., Ochani is a political science graduate from Bombay University and a refugee from finance and international banking. Having led inspirational seminars for the Landmark Forum in India, he now lives in Coquitlam. He reminisces, “Like most people, I spent a substantial part of life with the feeling that something is missing. This feeling stayed with me until I realized that meditation and spirituality interested me more than money and recognition did. Money and fame still pull me, but their lure is far lesser now.” Amar Ochani will be signing his book at Chapters, Coquitlam on Saturday September 29, 3:30-5:30 pm.  97801-7750775-0-3

P is for People’s Co-op
People’s Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive in Vancouver has a new lease on life. Started in 1945, the bookstore has been located at 1391 Commercial Drive since 1983 and offers books on a myriad of subjects. At a special general meeting in January, co-op members approved a plan to develop a new foundation for the future. The stock of new, recently released titles has been expanded, while donations of used books will continue to be gratefully accepted and sold at the store. The ever-popular toonie shelves in front of the store continue to offer great deals to browsers. “As far as we know,” says Co-op board member Rolf Maurer, “the Co-op is the oldest bookstore in the country, not just Vancouver. We are unaware of any other store, apart from some university bookstores, that have continually stayed in business for this long.”

Q is for Quebec
It was Gordon Campbell’s regime that instructed ICBC to become more litigious when British Columbians try to get compensation as accident victims. Possibly it says something about his popularity, after a decade-long premiership that included the Winter Olympics, that the first critical book to examine his legacy isn’t B.C.-published. I have one director who has bailed, mostly cuz she lives out of town. But that is easily remedied when a first meeting is held. There is zero urgency at present. From the McGill-Queen’s imprint in Quebec, UNBC professors J.R. Lacharite and Tracy Summerville have gathered 368 pages of critical essays for The Campbell Revolution? Power, Politics and Policy in British Columbia (MQUP $31.46). 9780773551039

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

R is for Ramji
Former poetry and reviews editor for PRISM International, Irani-Indian poet Shazia Hafiz Ramji of Vancouver will launch her debut title, Port of Being (Invisible $16.95) with appearances at the Vancouver Writers Festival and the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. Its content examines migration, immigration, technology and B.C.’s urban housing crisis. Her first chapbook is Prosopopoeia (Anstruther Press, 2017). She has received the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was a finalist for the 2016 National Magazine Awards. Currently she’s an editor for CWILA [Canadian Women in the Literary Arts], a national literary organization.978-1-988784120

Robert Springborg

S is for Springborg
As one of the great empires of the ancient world, Egypt pulls at the imagination with its famous pyramids and pharaohs. Its contemporary state is not so glorious given the country’s recent socio-political troubles, especially after the violence of the “Arab Spring.” One of North America’s top scholars on Egypt and the Middle East, Dr. Robert Springborg argues in his latest book Egypt (Polity Press $22.95) that the country is in a downward spiral of poor governance. Now a Vancouver resident and SFU adjunct professor after stints as a visiting scholar at Harvard, visiting professor at King College in London and research fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs, Springborg writes that Egypt’s accumulated failures under military rule, particularly since the coup that brought General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi to power in 2013, have become so grave that the nation-state is at risk of collapsing. 978-15095204397

T is for Tater
In her first collection of poems, This Will Be Good (BookThug $18), Mallory Tater writes about her feminism and struggles with an eating disorder. She also critically observes the suburbs of the Lower Mainland and nearby American lands, from Delta to Point Roberts, painting disturbing images of modern suburban life. She describes the latter as “a bruised thumb of American soil” and people in the former, “where Baptist women get regular perms, where palm trees rest in traffic islands, and a Walmart will soon sprout from the earth.” It is not only her own bulimia she notices. At a house moving party she writes of: “each room peopled with vodka-drenched carpet, vodka-shaped us, frantic to touch each other, not knowing who else doesn’t know how much their stomachs can hold,” knowing that she, “puked my mother’s cooking before, homemade broth and barley.” Mallory’s poetry and short stories have been published in literary magazines across Canada including Room, CV2, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, The Maynard, The New Quarterly, Qwerty, Carousel, Prism International and Arc Magazine. She was shortlisted for Arc Magazine‘s 2015 Poem of The Year Contest, The Malahat Review‘s 2016 Far Horizon’s Contest and Room Magazine‘s 2016 Fiction and Poetry Prizes. She was the recipient of CV2’s 2016 Young Buck Poetry Prize. Tater is a writer from the traditional, unceded territories of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg Nation (Ottawa). She lives in Vancouver and is the publisher of Rahila’s Ghost Press, a poetry chapbook press. Tater also works as a sessional poetry instructor at The University of Victoria. 978-1-77166-394-6

U is for Uphill
Previously a mayor of Fernie, Thomas Uphill was B.C.’s longest serving MLA from 1920-1960. His political career began during British Columbia’s Prohibition. Uphill opposed Prohibition on the grounds it restricted the average worker’s right to enjoy a well-deserved beer at the end of his working day. Uphill famously stood up in the Legislature and brandished a bottle of beer, declaring, “Beer is as necessary to the worker as milk to the baby… Hands off the workers’ beer!” Wayne Norton, author of Fernie at War: 1914-1919 (Caitlin $24.95), has been campaigning to get a plaque for Uphill installed at the Legislature in Victoria. At Norton’s book launch, at Swan’s Brewpub in Victoria, patrons will be able to enjoy a new beer named Thomas Uphill Amber Ale. The event commences at 7 pm at 506 Pandora Street on Tursday, October 26. 978-1-987915-49-5

V is for Valgardson
Having been made a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002, W.D. Valgardson received the Joan Inga Eyolfson Cadham Award in 2017 to recognize individuals who have been outstanding in the promotion of Icelandic culture and heritage by way of literature, arts, or media. William Dempsey Valgardson, a former UVic mentor of the late W.P. Kinsella, is now following his short story collection, What the Bear Said: Skald Tales from New Iceland (Turnstone 2011) with a gothic crime novel, In Valhalla’s Shadows (D&M 2018). It will be reviewed by Cherie Thiessen in the next issue of B.C. BookWorld in September. 978-1-77162-196-0

Lindsay Wong

W is for Wong
In her comedic memoir about the Asian immigrant experience in British Columbia, The Woo-Woo (Arsenal Pulp $19.95) 2018), due in October of 2018, Lindsay Wong describes her paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and her mother who fears Chinese ghosts, aka “woo-woo.” The subtitle is How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family. The word Hongcouver is happily used. On a camping trip, in an attempt to rid her daughter of demons, her mother tries to light her daughter’s foot on fire. “It’s in the DNA and cultural beliefs of almost every village Chinese family to think they are being haunted by ghosts, gwei, every so often, especially if a new baby is born exceptionally ugly…” Lindsay Wong holds a BFA in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia and a MFA in Literary Nonfiction from Columbia University in New York City. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in No Tokens, The Fiddlehead, Ricepaper Magazine, and Apogee Journal. The recipient of many awards and fellowships, she has been writer-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City. Currently, she is working on a memoir about her crazy Chinese family.

X is for Xwi7xwa
With more than 15,000 items, Xwi7xwa (pronounced whei-wha) is a UBC library that was started in the 1970s for exclusively indigenous materials as part of the Indian Education Resource Centre. The name is also the Squamish work for echo. The collection later came under the care of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP). A new head librarian will will be hired in February.

Kunio Yamagishi

Y is for Yamagishi
Kunio Yamagishi did not experience the Japanese-Canadian internment camp himself, and was born in Fukushima, Japan, and was educated in Tokyo. He then immigrated to Canada without knowing about the internment camps. He was devastated when he found out about it, and has suffered from ambivalence towards Canada since. Writing this novel was one of the ways he was able to reconcile that dilemma, together with the Canadian Government’s official apology. His novel, The Return of a Shadow (London, Austin Macauley, $21.95), is based on historical facts, but his protagonist, Eizo Osada, is fictitious. In 1930s, Eizo leaves his wife and three young sons, one of them only two years old, to come to Canada to earn money for the family back in Japan. Then Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and he is sent to an internment camp. Eizo returns to his family after 43 years in Canada, but will his family accept him?  9781786937155

Mark Zuehlke

Z is for Zuehlke
As the twelfth installment in Mark Zuehlke’s military history series, The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports (Douglas & McIntyre $37.95) describes First Canadian Army’s urgent and thankless mission of opening the Channel ports to Allied victory in World War II. They thought of themselves as the “Cinderella Army” and international correspondents agreed. This was because First Canadian Army had been relegated to the left flank of the Allied advance toward Germany from the Normany beaches and given the tough and thankless task of opening the Channel ports from Le Havre to Ostend in Belgium. Then suddenly in September 1944, securing these ports became an Allied priority that would allow Field Marshal Montgomery to drive to the Rhine with Operation Market Garden and win the war before Christmas. Over the month of September, the Canadians set about fighting for control of each port–a terrific undertaking fought against brutal German resistance–and scrambling for supplies while under constant military pressure to get those ports open now. For Canada this was the Cinderella Campaign, the battle for the Channel ports. For those who fought it, the sacrifice of comrades dead and wounded would never be forgotten. The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports ($37.95) is one of five shortlisted titles for the 2018 John W. Dafoe Book Prize, a $10,000 prize in memory of Canadian editor John Wesley Dafoe. 978-1-77162-089-5

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