From travel memoirs to graphic novels to wine guides, these local books made it to the top of our towering to-be-read pile in 2023.
Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest
Burned-out book editor Amanda Lewis vowed to visit the largest specimen of each species of tree in British Columbia, learning to navigate the wilderness across the province along the way. We published an excerpt from her debut book, Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest, which documents her quest and reflects on our connections to the natural world.
Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast
In our Summer 2023 cover story, we spoke to John Vaillant about his latest book, Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast, in which the award-winning Vancouver author argues that climate chaos is already upon us.
The Wild Horses of the Chilcotin: Their History and Future
In The Wild Horses of the Chilcotin: Their History and Future, wildlife biologist Wayne McCrory describes historical efforts to rid British Columbia’s Chilcotin region of these wild animals. We ran an excerpt.
Storylines: How Words Shape Our World
Edward Chamberlin has long been fascinated by how storytelling shapes our experiences. Based in Halfmoon Bay, B.C., Chamberlin is a professor, author, and Officer of the Order of Canada. We published an excerpt from his latest book, Storylines: How Words Shape Our World.
Rajesh Vora: Everyday Monuments—The Rooftop Sculptures of Punjab
In Rajesh Vora: Everyday Monuments—The Rooftop Sculptures of Punjab, curator Keith Wallace and artist Rajesh Vora reveal the meaning behind these startling structures. We ran an excerpt from the book in our Autumn 2023 issue.
Pictures on the Wall: Building a Canadian Art Collection
The expansive art collection of Michael Audain and his wife, Yoshiko (Yoshi) Karasawa, now fills the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Pictures on the Wall: Building a Canadian Art Collection, the latest book by the collector and real-estate developer, shares some of the stories behind his most memorable purchases. We ran an excerpt from the book that details how he acquired two specific paintings by Emily Carr.
Live at the Commodore: The Story of Vancouver’s Historic Commodore Ballroom
In our Autumn 2023 issue, we spoke to Aaron Chapman about the eclectic history of the Commodore Ballroom, what the future may hold for the beloved music venue, and the new information that he added to the updated edition of his bestselling book Live at the Commodore: The Story of Vancouver’s Historic Commodore Ballroom.
Fleece and Fibre: Textile Producers of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands
Fibre artist Francine McCabe is a member of the Vancouver Island Fibreshed network. What is a fibreshed? In her latest book, Fleece and Fibre: Textile Producers of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, McCabe writes about how some of British Columbia’s small-scale textile farms are networking to help process and share their products. We ran an excerpt.
Sharp Notions: Essays From the Stitching Life
Editors Marita Dachsel and Nancy Lee collected dozens of personal essays about the relationships that writers and artists have with knitting, crochet, embroidery, weaving, beading, sewing, quilting, and textiles. Sharp Notions: Essays From the Stitching Life is filled with colour photographs and moving essays such as “The Carole Quilt” by Eliane Leslau Silverman, which we reprinted.
E. J. Hughes: Life at the Lake
E. J. Hughes’ official biographer wrote a fourth volume about the prolific painter, examining daily life for Edward and his wife, Fern, during the years they spent living in a quiet spot on Vancouver Island’s Shawnigan Lake. Filled with sketches, notes, letters, newspaper clippings, and reproductions of paintings, E. J. Hughes: Life at the Lake by Robert Amos offers a fascinating glimpse into the everyday life of a beloved Canadian artist. We published an excerpt.
MEMOIR AND HISTORY
Galena Bay Odyssey: Reflections of a Hippie Homesteader
Ellen Schwartz grew up in an urban Jewish family in New York. In the 1970s, she and many other disenfranchised youth of America decided to go “back to the land.” When Schwartz, her future husband, Bill, and their friends started a communal homestead in the B.C. wilderness, overnight they had to become loggers, cabin-builders, gardeners, chicken farmers, apiarists, and woodstove cooks. In Galena Bay Odyssey: Reflections of a Hippie Homesteader, the Vancouverite recalls the decade she spent working the land in the Kootenays. We ran an excerpt.
East Side Story: Growing Up at the PNE
A Vancouver tradition since 1910, the Pacific National Exhibition is beloved by many for its amusement park rides, carnival games, farm animals, and miniature doughnuts. Comedian and elementary school teacher Nick Marino shares behind-the-scenes stories from his six summers spent working at the fair in the 1980s in his funny memoir, East Side Story: Growing Up at the PNE. We published an excerpt.
White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver
Author and artist Henry Tsang created the 360 Riot Walk interactive tour, which traces the route angry mobs took as they attacked Vancouver’s Chinese Canadian and Japanese Canadian communities in 1907. Tsang’s book White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver explores the causes—and continuing effects today—of this racist violence through photographs and essays, such as this piece by Angela May and Nicole Yakashiro that explains why we say Powell Street and not “Japantown.”
How to Clean a Fish: And Other Adventures in Portugal
After Esmeralda Cabral returned to her birth country of Portugal for eight months, with her Canadian-born family in tow, she chronicled what it’s like to be immersed in a culture both familiar and foreign. In this excerpt from her memoir, How to Clean a Fish: And Other Adventures in Portugal, the Vancouverite describes a visit to the local market with her son and daughter.
Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer
Rick Antonson thought he knew everything about train travel—until he embarked on a journey with his young grandson. The former vice-president of Rocky Mountaineer shares stories from that memorable trip, along with interesting tidbits from the company’s history, in Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer. We ran an excerpt.
To Track a Traitor
We interviewed Vancouverite Iona Whishaw about how she started writing her popular Lane Winslow series, set in the late 1940s and centred on a retired British spy who’s drawn into mysteries in a small B.C. town. When we spoke to Whishaw, the septuagenarian author was already hard at work writing the 11th book in the series while promoting the 10th, To Track a Traitor, and she revealed that her mother, along with her grandfather and his brothers, had all worked as spies.
In the Belly of the Sphinx
In the Belly of the Sphinx, a novel by Mayne Island author Grant Buday, follows smart and stubborn Peal Greyland-Smith as she grows up in Victoria’s James Bay neighbourhood in the late 1800s. This charming coming-of-age story brings to life the Victorian era on B.C.’s West Coast. We published an excerpt.
Visions of the Crow: Volume 1
Based in both B.C. and Alberta, Cree writer Wanda John-Kehewin drew on her lived experience to write Visions of the Crow: Volume 1. This graphic novel is the first in a series about Damon Quinn, a Cree-Métis teen coping with the stresses of high school along with disturbing visions and a mysterious crow that follows him everywhere. We ran an excerpt.
Leaning Out of Windows
In our Summer 2023 issue, we published an article about Leaning Out of Windows, which is the name of both a book by Randy Lee Cutler and Ingrid Koenig and a multi-year research project involving physicists from the TRIUMF particle accelerator at UBC and students and staff from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Their goal? Just the small matter of trying to understand the universe.
The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines: Volume 2
Luke Whittall avoids the stuffiness and pretension all too common in wine writing and instead approaches the topic with humour and joy. We ran three selections from the oenophile’s book, The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines: Volume 2, that are as entertaining as they are informative.
This Place Is Who We Are: Stories of Indigenous Leadership, Resilience, and Connection to Homelands
Katherine Palmer Gordon has a long history of working with Indigenous peoples in intergovernmental relations and writing about treaty negotiations, reconciliation, and leadership. Her latest book, This Place Is Who We Are: Stories of Indigenous Leadership, Resilience, and Connection to Homelands, tells 10 inspiring stories about how Indigenous communities in British Columbia are reconnecting to their lands and waters. We published an excerpt.
The Better Sex Through Mindfulness Workbook: A Guide to Cultivating Desire
In our Summer 2023 issue, we interviewed Dr. Lori Brotto. The renowned clinical psychologist works out of the University of British Columbia where she researches dysfunction in the sex lives of women. The Better Sex Through Mindfulness Workbook: A Guide to Cultivating Desire is a companion work to her trailblazing 2018 book Better Sex Through Mindfulness.
How Canada Works: The People Who Make Our Nation Thrive
From 911 operator to air traffic controller to high school principal, the jobs that form the backbone of our country share the spotlight in How Canada Works: The People Who Make Our Nation Thrive, a book of illuminating first-person stories collected by Peter Mansbridge and Mark Bulgutch. We ran an excerpt written by Craig Houghton about what it’s like to be a high school principal in small-town B.C.
Read more about local books.