Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Chilliwack Story

The Chilliwack Story. Ron Denman, Editor. Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society, 2007.

Very well organized, with a focus on archival photographs. Very interesting local history coffee table book, encompassing some of the First Nations reserves as well as the villages and communities which grew into a city surrounding them. 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ireland In Poetry

Ireland In Poetry: With Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, and Other Works of Art. Charles Sullivan, Editor. Abrams, 1990.

An incredibly beautiful collection. 



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Carrying the Shadow

June 10, 2017

Patrick Friesen. Carrying the Shadow. Porcepic, 1999.



Reading Carrying the Shadow is like walking through a graveyard with Patrick and eavesdropping on the conversations he has. It is wonderful. I like it almost more than You Don't Get to Be a Saint. And I think I have found in it a poem that gave me goosebumps when I heard Patrick read it at a Word on the Street, about a dead man with an open blue eye--"the man who licked stones." But it is these lines, from "poem for a father" which make me want to quote and re-read: 
    
     I've watched him [a boy] on the beach
     digging among the rocks
     stopping to stare across the water

     he doesn't know what he's looking for
     it'a a code in his bones
     that drives him toward memory (p. 64)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis

June 6, 2017
Lance Woolaver and Bob Brooks. The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis. Nimbus, AGNS, 1996?

Had to find out more about Maud Lewis after seeing Ethan Hawke's Maudie. This book answered most of my questions -- the usual hesitation about biopics -- with a respectful personal adulation, additional information about Everett, and great colour photos. I wish I had one of her happy cat pictures, or the team of oxen. 


The Knife Sharpener's Bell

June 4, 2017
Rhea Tregebov. The Knife Sharpener's Bell. Coteau, 2010.

An interesting coming-of-age tale of Annette, born in Winnipeg, who, with her idealistic parents, returns to the homeland, the new USSR, to Odessa, in the 1930s. Through the eyes of an outsider who knows only Canadian ways, we see details of growing up as a secular Jew in Odessa/Moscow/Russia through the Depression, World War II, and the remaining years of Stalin's rule. The language is beautifully poetic in a way which does not distract from the story. The challenges of human rights and prejudice/discrimination/racism are eerily too familiar these generations later. 


Thursday, June 1, 2017

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

May 31, 2017
Bill Bryson. A Short History of Private Life. Doubleday, 2010.

This is my third Bryson, 450 pages of information about the development of "private spaces" (would I think be more accurate). He starts and ends with the 1851 rectory he purchased in Norfolk to explore the design of private houses in England and America, and the technological changes which impacted upon the way people could and/or chose to live. Income. Infrastructure. Attitudes. Almost free associating, as he walks us through each room. Interesting.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Just Living

May 22, 2017

Meredith Egan. Just Living: A Novel. Amity, 2016.

Found this on the "local writers" shelf at The Bookman. I love CanLit and I love local, and this book kept me reading right to the end (450 pages). Becoming-priest Beth Hill has finished her coursework and requires only a practicum before being ordained. The opportunity to work in a halfway house north of Mission helps her decide what kind of future she wants.