It’s not too early to start looking for good gift books for fall birthdays or Christmas.
Currently, there’s a local batch that’s just the ticket for timely diversions in our troubled times. What could be safer than a walk along one of our beaches, a spell in garden or forest, or even travelling further in a book that takes us on a world cruise, into Everest country, or even back in time, all without masks or quarantine?
Here are some to enjoy:
THE NEW BEACHCOMBER’S GUIDE TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST – Completely Revised and Expanded, by J. Duane Sept (Harbour Publishing): Never be stumped at the beach again if you have this book. You’ll be able to tell people what a White Spotted Sea Goddess or a Hooded Puncturella is. Clear, bright illustrations of each species, with descriptions of habitat and locations, plus ends of pages colour-coded for each type of species. An invaluable, beautiful handbook for the beachcomber.
SMALL SPACE GARDENING FOR CANADA, by Laura Peters (Lone Pine Publishing): The author says you don’t need a yard to garden - and then gives you any number of possibilities, including vertical, upside down, rooftops, railings, even guerilla gardening, to the more common containers and planters. Beautifully illustrated, with good advice and special tips for gardening at home or in community gardens as well.
A FIELD GUIDE TO INSECTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, by Dr. Robert Cannings (Harbour Publishing): Another in this handy, compact, leaflet-style series, covering everything from silverfish to butterflies, with every other local creepy-crawly in between. Bright, clear photos and easily read descriptions that will answer questions such as “What just bit me?” or “Who is eating my petunias?”
BLUE SKY KINGDOM - An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya, by Bruce Kirkby (Douglas &McIntyre): Kirkby, a highly successful writer and adventurer, finds himself uninspired in his career and with a challenge in his family life. His answer – slow down and live life on the other side of society and the world. Basic forms of travel, plus living in a society with different values and goals, revitalize him and his family. Here he and his family teach, and are taught. Professional photographs of the journey and the sojourn in a Tibetan monastery bring the story visually to life.
AROUND THE WORLD IN A DUGOUT CANOE – The Untold Story of Captain John Voss and the Tilikum, by John M. MacFarlane & Lynn J. Salmon (Harbour Publishing): This book fills in the even more fascinating (and more accurate) stories about a true adventure, John Voss’s obsession to circle the world in a primitive vessel. Sailing and adventure fans should enjoy.
ON THE CUSP OF CONTACT – Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia, essays by Jean Barman, edited by Margery Fee (Harbour Publishing): In this series of essays, Barman focuses on the situation and lives of Indigenous women thoughout European contact. Writing about the period she calls “the land grab we know as colonialism” and its immediate and continuing effect, she illustrates the history with many personal stories of individuals involved.
A PARAMEDIC’S TALES, by Graeme Taylor, (Harbour Publishing): Entertaining and enlightening. The author says “the best part of working in this profession is that it is one endless adventure,” and he takes us on it, not down-playing the tragedies, but showing us a cross-section of humanity at the same time with empathy.
THAT WASN’T THE PLAN, by Reg Sherren (Douglas & McIntyre): From growing up in a tiny town in Labrador, to interviewing and working with world leaders and travels to foreign countries, Sherren’s first-person stories and concern for humanity are as fascinating as when he first reported them in media from radio to TV.
CAPTURED BY FIRE – Surviving British Columbia’s New Wildfire Reality, by Chris Czajkowski & Fred Reid (Harbour Publishing): Very timely, in light of the recent B.C. and California fires, and also very real and frightening. This is an hour-by-hour, day-by-day account of two couples who ignored the evacuation order and then spent the summer of 2017 working to save their homes from the ever-threatening flames.
THE SWAN SUIT, by Katherine Fawcett, (Douglas &McIntyre): Enjoy fantasy with a comic flair in this collection of short stories in which the magical is confronted with the practical, devils are conned by humans instead of vice versa, and the fun goes on in 14 tales.
WATCHING A MAN BREAK A DOG’S BACK, by Tom Wayman (Harbour Publishing): Despite the off-putting title, Wayman’s poetry is always thought-provoking and often humourous.