British Columbia Books

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British Columbia Books

1thornton37814
Ago 18, 2009, 10:52am

This is a thread for listing and discussing books with a British Columbia setting.

2Nickelini
Ago 18, 2009, 10:07pm

I've read lots of books set in BC. Here are some of them:

The Olden Days Locket by Penny Chamberlain and Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson are two really great children's books set in Victoria.

Missing Sarah, Maggie de Vries (about the author's sister, who ended up living in the Downtown East Side and eventually becoming a victim of mass murderer Robert Picton).

The Sad Truth about Happiness, Anne Giardini

Eleanor Rigby, Douglas Coupland

The Jade Peony, Wayson Choy

Bachelor Brother's Bed & Breakfast, Bill Richardson

A Recipes for Bees, Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Alice, I Think, Susan Juby

Stanley Park, Timothy L. Taylor

3thornton37814
Ago 18, 2009, 10:14pm

I have Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast among my unread books so it might be worth pulling that one out for this challenge!

4Nickelini
Ago 18, 2009, 10:19pm

Oh, it's a fun book! I recommend it.

5starfishian
Editado: Ago 18, 2009, 10:47pm

Bachelor Brothers are great - and more than one book in the series, too.

Here are BC books in my library that aren't already in this post:

Fiction:
Vancouver, David Cruise
The Cure for Death by Lightning, Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Kids:
The Toothpaste Genie, Frances Duncan
Kap-Sung Ferris, Frances Duncan

Non-Fiction:
Voyages of Hope, Peter Johnson

6clamato
Ago 19, 2009, 5:12pm

I am going to start from 01-01-09 and my first book posted here is Eleanor Rigby and now onto the next province!

7VivienneR
Ago 31, 2009, 1:28pm

It seemed a good time to join this group as I am currently reading Seaweed On Ice by Stanley Evans, a mystery set in the familiar streets of Victoria, British Columbia. It seems that a lot of my Canadian reading has a BC connection so I'm looking forward to discovering new (to me) authors on our cross-Canada journey.

8clamato
Sep 21, 2009, 7:56pm

Now reading Turtle Valley for my next group discussion. Started off slow but has really picked up and is very good.

9Bcteagirl
Abr 19, 2010, 4:20pm

Picked up a copy of The Greenies second hand today. Based on this review it seems to be set in Vancouver:
http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol11/no16/thegreenies.html

Jewish children and adolescents orphaned by the war are adopted into families in Canada.

10Nickelini
Mayo 4, 2010, 12:31pm

Just finished Life After God, by Douglas Coupland. It is set in various locations around BC (Prince George, Kamloops, Duncan), but mostly in the Lower Mainland.

11savannahsmiles
Jul 12, 2010, 10:38pm

When i was younger i read this book about two kids who took their mentally handicapped young cousin to their family's cabin on on of the island's off Vancouver island to hide him because his mother wanted to put him into a home. I can't for the life of me remember the title or the author of this book and i was wondering if anyone can help me out?

12starfishian
Jul 14, 2010, 10:37am

>11 savannahsmiles: Doesn't ring any bells for me, but you could try this group:
http://www.librarything.com/groups/namethatbook

13Bcteagirl
Jul 14, 2010, 12:22pm

Starting to read The 100 mile diet which is sent in British Columbia.

14Bcteagirl
Editado: Jul 26, 2010, 1:02am

Has anybody read any of Gwendolyn Southin's books such as Death in a Family Way, Death on a Short Leash, or 5455527::In the Shadow of Death? It looks as though they are set in Vancouver.

15Yells
Jul 27, 2010, 8:02pm

I just started Madame Zee by Luke and it's quite good so far. Part of it takes place in Saskatchewan but it looks like most is set in BC. Although fiction, it's based on the true story of Madame Zee, wife of a famous cult leader in BC. I have no idea who she is (so either she wasn't THAT famous or I don't get out much) but I hope to be an expert when finished and I will post a review.

16fmgee
Jul 28, 2010, 9:24pm

Other good books set in BC are Three against the wilderness and The Forest Lover both of which were great. The Forest Lover is fiction based on Emily Carr's life and one book I recommend to visitors until my mother in law took my copy and gave it away! The Man Game is also set in BC but I cannot recommend it.

17fmgee
Jul 29, 2010, 11:04am

I just remembered The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant which I found to be a great read about forestry in BC and a very interesting person.

18Bcteagirl
Jul 29, 2010, 1:06pm

That book is on my every-growing TBR pile, so I am glad to hear that you liked it :)

19Nickelini
Jul 29, 2010, 1:09pm

I keep looking for a copy of the Golden Spruce on sale tables, but no luck so far. I might just have to pay full price for it.

20Bcteagirl
Oct 14, 2010, 10:33pm

Great Canadian books on Bravo is discussing The Golden Spruce right now!

21vancouverdeb
Oct 14, 2010, 11:55pm

I've read quite a few books set in BC . If you'd like a good mystery Still Missing by Chevy Stevens was a great read! It takes place on Vancouver Island and was written by a woman who lives on Vancouver Island.

A few other choices - Jade Peony by Wayson Choy was a great read about the Chinese settling into Vancouver, as was All That Matters by the same author.

The Promise of Rain by Donna Milner was a very enjoyable read. It takes place partly in Vancouver and partly in Hong Kong during the second world war. I really enjoyed it.

22VivienneR
Oct 15, 2010, 1:38am

Thanks for the tips. Still Missing sounds great. As soon as I've dealt will all my ARCs this will be top of the tbr heap.

23VivienneR
Oct 29, 2010, 2:43am

This was a re-read for me. I was given a copy of The Dunsmuir Saga by Terry Reksten which I used to own but has gone missing at some point. It's the story of Dunsmuir the coal baron who built Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. Reksten did an excellent job of all the histories she wrote. Well-researched and very interesting. Rattenbury was fascinating - the biography of British Columbia's memorable architect with a true murder thrown in.

24arrwa
Ene 6, 2011, 5:44pm

@ Nickelini - you can get The Golden Spruce fairly cheaply on Abe Books if you haven't gotten it already.

25fmgee
Ene 18, 2011, 6:03pm

White Slaves of the Nootka is an interesting historical book set on Vancouver Island in 1803-05. I found the old style a little heavy going but enjoyed the perspective of life back then.

26Bcteagirl
Ene 19, 2011, 1:09am

25: I had heard of that book, but hadn't talked to anybody who had read it. Would you say it was worth working through the old style of writing?

27fmgee
Ene 20, 2011, 5:19pm

26: Clocking in at only 126 pages with pictures it is not hard to get through. If it were a long book I might say give it a miss but I really think that parts of it are quite amazing and other parts are very very slow and overly descriptive. I wish we could get a little more emotion in the writing. This guy really experienced something and parts of it must have been shocking and parts of it must have really made him feel alive. So I would not go out of my way to buy an expensive copy but if you can pick it up somewhere I would slot it in to your TBR.

28Bcteagirl
Ene 21, 2011, 4:47pm

Thank you! I will see if my library has a copy :)

29Bcteagirl
Feb 19, 2011, 4:51pm

William Deverell apparently writes a set of mysteries set in BC (Some on the island). Snow Job seems to have been shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock medal for humour in 2010.

30vancouverdeb
Editado: Mar 24, 2011, 6:11pm

After River by Donna Milner is another book set in BC, written by a BC author. And what a beautiful read it is.

31Nickelini
Abr 1, 2011, 2:50pm

I just finished Zero Gravity, by Sharon English, which is a collection of short stories set in and around Vancouver. This book was nominated for the 2007 Giller prize. English is from Ontario, and the stories don't sound as if they were written by a native Vancouverite. Still, the city plays a character in almost all of the stories, so if you're looking for a strong sense of place, I guess you could find it here. From her writing and tone, I suspect that English has read a lot of Alice Munro, so if you like that sort of thing you might want to check this out.

32peterdarbyshire
Abr 1, 2011, 4:38pm

Annabel Lyon's collection of novellas, The Best Thing for You is quite beautiful. One's about a troubled and troubling relationship in Kitsilano, another is a historical murder tale that involves a young woman and her lover. But the stories are almost secondary, as Lyon's real strength in her writing. She adopts a different voice to suit each novella, and she nails each perfectly.

33peterdarbyshire
Abr 1, 2011, 4:42pm

If you have a taste for adventure, try George Bowering's Caprice. It's older and pretty zany, but fun. Here's the description from his agent's website:

This is far from your average Western – the hombres have ethnic identities, the Indians debate metaphysical questions and the would-be avenger is the six-foot, red-headed French-Canadian Caprice, who writes poetry, carries a European bullwhip and has a schoolteacher boyfriend who plays baseball.

34vancouverdeb
Abr 2, 2011, 8:23pm

I'm just reading a book of short stories that takes place on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Wonderful so far! The title is not working with the touchstones yet - but it is called " The Beggar's Garden" and it's by Michael Christie. I purchased my copy at Chapters, and I noticed my local library has it too - so it's out there!

35Bcteagirl
Abr 8, 2011, 1:01am

Thanks for all the suggestions, this is great! :)

36vancouverdeb
Oct 2, 2011, 8:30am

New book to add to the list Tell it To The Trees by Anita Rau Badami. She's a Canadian author and this is the second of her books that I have read. I'm halfway through and totally riveted to the story! It takes place in Merritsville British Columbia - a northern town which does not exist -but good enough!

37vancouverdeb
Editado: Oct 2, 2011, 8:34am

And one more book that I read just lately , reviewed and loved - Touch by Alexi Zentner. Fabulous book and on the Giller list . It takes place in a non - existent small northern town in BC, Sawgamet. Sawgamet is town that was originally created by the gold rush,but is now a logging town.

38mkboylan
Oct 9, 2011, 1:50pm

Hi Group - Not a member but am thinking about reading more books set in Canada. I am a U.S. citizen, live in California, just happen to love Canada. I've been in most of the provinces. My knowledge of world history is just a big whole in my head - not something that has interested me very much in the past. Now that I'm retired I have much more time for pleasure reading and just finished Sointula: Island Utopia by Paula Wild, a partial history of Malcolm Island off the coast of B.C. and enjoyed it very much. Wild's focus is on the utopian community started by a group of people originally from Finland. Anyone have any other suggestions for my reading about Malcolm Island or Vancouver Island or that area? I will be perusing this thread of course, just wanted to mention this book. Thanks.

39Nickelini
Oct 9, 2011, 2:30pm

Sointula is a fascinating place and story--most people don't know about it, even here in BC.

I don't know any books about it, but I do know Island books. Are you looking for fiction or non-fiction?

40mkboylan
Oct 9, 2011, 4:38pm

39 non-fiction that reads like fiction! ;)

41Yells
Editado: Feb 12, 2012, 9:08pm

Requiem by Itani is a beautiful novel. Bin is a Japanese Canadian who grew up during the war and was moved to an internment camp in BC. It's now 50 years later and he still hasn't come to terms with his life and all the things that happened to him while growing up so he decides to make a pilgrimage from Ontario to BC to try to make peace. As he drives, he reflects on his past so most of the novel is set during war time. Itani is fastly becoming one of my favourite authors.

42Nickelini
Feb 12, 2012, 4:23pm

I recently enjoyed Hey Nostradamus!. I don't think anyone writes Vancouver better than Douglas Coupland.

43Bcteagirl
Feb 12, 2012, 4:26pm

Itani sounds like a good read, thank you for the recommendation!

44Yells
Feb 12, 2012, 9:09pm

43 - she is great! I really, really loved Remembering the Bones as well. Oddly enough, I really didn't like her short stories all that much.

45mathgirl40
Abr 27, 2012, 8:54pm

I just finished Shelter by Frances Greenslade and The Calling (the second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy which started with The Gathering) by Kelley Armstrong.

Coincidentally, both books are about teenage girls trying to survive in the BC wilderness, but otherwise, they are quite different! One is coping with the abandonment of her mother; the other has paranormal powers and is running away from Bad Guys.

46Nickelini
Ago 25, 2012, 12:59pm

I just read an excellent book about life on the BC/Washington border: Border Songs, by Jim Lynch. Here are some of my comments .....

Brandon Vanderkool grew up on a dairy farm that skirts the Canadian border. All his life, he has regarded the people across the road--in another country--as his neighbours. Socially awkward, due in part to being 6'8" and extremely dyslexic, Brandon excels at art, is an avid birdwatcher, and notices things that other people don't. Somehow he has fallen into a job as a border patrol agent, and surprises everyone by excelling at this too. With seemingly little effort, Brandon becomes a star employee by sweeping up human traffickers, possible terrorists, and a lot of drug smugglers.

Brandon is an endearing quirky character in a novel full of quirky endearing characters. There is his kind dad Norm, who is struggling to keep the family farm from collapsing; his wise mom who is showing signs of early-onset Alzheimers; his boyhood crush, Madeline, over on Zero Avenue, and her grumpy retired professor father, who likes to stand on his deck smoking pot and taunting his US neighbours. These are some of the characters that are seeing their lives change in a post-911 world where the US government jumps at every shadow that darkens the border.

This book is interesting, funny, smart--the whole package. Lynch obviously did his research well in exploring the subculture of life on the border. This is an area that I know fairly well (my dad's family dairy farm--which, like many of the dairy farms in the book, is now a raspberry farm--sits atop the Canadian side of the border), and the author gets the little details right. That always scores extra points from me. He also does an admirable job of weaving in facts and philosophy surrounding the multi-billion dollar marijuana industry (his journalism background shows here).

47VivienneR
Ago 25, 2012, 8:19pm

Love the sound of this book, I'll keep an eye out for it. Your review is excellent, thanks.

48Yervant
Ago 31, 2012, 10:08am

I've enjoyed:

Vancouver by David Cruise (A novel that spans several thousand years from the first inhabitation of B.C. through the 20th century.)

Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor

The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee

as well as the two books by Wayson Choy previously mentioned.

49rreppy
Ene 23, 2013, 5:55pm

Este mensaje ha sido reportado por varios usuarios por lo que no se muestra públicamente. (mostrar)
Here is a book that combines the hot topic of hydraulic "fracking" with a British Columbia setting. In this novel, BC is the site of a confrontation between the Big Energy cartels making their first fracking incursion onto the Pacific continental shelf, and those who would protect the land and stop them.
A well-funded, clandestine environmental protection organization which includes a dot.com billionaire, a Kwakiutl Indian medicine man, an acoustical oceanographer, an ex-Navy SEAL, and more, concoct a plan to not only stop the prototype marine fracking facility, but also discredit any future efforts to drill along the coast of B.C.
Along the way our intrepid eco-warriors have to deal with Killer Whales gone mad, a dead prostitute, a female bodyguard trained by the Mossad, and man-made earthquakes!
It makes for a fast read, and is available here: www.Amazon.com/dp/B00ATVXXOU. A free sample is posted at the site.

50MsMixte
Editado: Ene 24, 2013, 2:07pm

The Incredible Gang Ranch by Dale Alsager. The same story, from a different viewpoint, Gang Ranch; the real story by Judy Alsager. Also, The Mighty Gang Ranch, by Chris King. There's also a whole batch of books written by Richmond P. Hobson, Jr. , such as The Rancher Takes a Wife.

Also, Peace River Chronicles, edited by Gordon E. Bowes.

51Nickelini
Jun 18, 2013, 7:19pm

Sointula, Bill Gaston, 2004


Cover comments: I like it. When I saw it at the bookstore, it jumped out at me, partly because I was familiar with the village of Sointula, and I thought "cool, someone wrote a book about Sointula!" and then I looked at the art and thought "interesting, and not what I'd put on the cover of a book about Sointula, so what is this all about anyway?"

.
Map showing the location of Sointula.

Comments: The real Sointula is a failed Utopian community off the coast of northern Vancouver Island. It was founded in the early 20th century by a group of Finnish settlers, and its name means “harmony.” The Sointula of the novel, Sointula, I suppose, has more of a symbolic meaning that anything else. In some ways, it is about a search for harmony, or inner peace. Or maybe not. Either way, not much of the book is actually set there, and it certainly isn’t a piece of historical fiction retelling the village’s story.

Instead it is the story of Tom Poole, a 26 year old with a dodgy past,who lives on a beach near Sointula working as a whale researcher. He may or may not be a sociopath, autistic, or a drug dealer. And it’s the story of Evelyn, his mother, who abandons her comfortable life in Ontario to be at the deathbed of Tom’s father, Claude. Her story begins 460 km south, at the other end of Vancouver Island, where she suddenly decides to drop her depression medication, live like a homeless person, and steal a kayak. And finally, it’s the story of British-American ex-high school biology teacher Peter, who wants to travel the Island and write a book about the experience (despite his frequent gall bladder attacks). He soon meets up with Evelyn and they decide to kayak to Sointula to find Tom, a journey for which they are in no way prepared.

What I didn’t like: None of the characters are particularly likeable, although they are sympathetic. Just when I was warming to one of them, they’d do something dumb, or selfish, or morally questionable. They were all a bit too quick to act like hobos. I found the frequent discussion of their dirty, smelly, starving bodies a bit tiresome---after all, like George Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London, they could make it all go away in a phone call. I often felt trapped in the kayak , tent, or isolated beach right along with them, but then I think this feeling of being trapped is one of the author’s points. However, at times I found it made me feel a bit too claustrophobic.

What I liked: A lot. The writing is excellent and the book is well structured. The characters and situations were different, and right to the end there was nothing predictable or too coincidental. I appreciate that there is a map, even though I know the Island quite well and would have had a good idea where they were without it, I found myself flipping to it frequently. Gaston is one of those writers who weaves in bits of history, biology, and geography, and I love to learn while I read. But my favourite thing about the book is the author’s excellent sense of place—I personally love Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and I can tell he does too.

Why I Read This Now: I’ve been eager to read it, and my mini-break on Vancouver Island this past weekend was the perfect excuse to start it. Even though I wasn’t at the exact locations he described, there was a lot that similar, which is always an enriching experience for me. For example, while I was at the beach looking at clams and oysters with my family, I could pull out some smarty-pants sounding facts that I had just read that morning.

Recommended for: Readers who like unusual literary fiction, anyone who is interested in Vancouver Island or the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Not recommended for people who are uncomfortable when reading about bodily functions.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

52Nickelini
Editado: Jun 18, 2013, 7:28pm

Here are some other BC books I've read that I forgot to post here:

Eating Dirt, Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe, by Charlotte Gill. The author won a very lucrative prize for this non-fiction book, and it's well-deserved., Great writing and very interesting.

The Book of Small, Emily Carr. How fair is that? Renowned painter AND talented writer? Although all educated Canadians are familiar with Carr's art, many don't know she was also a writer. This slim volume is memoirs and stories from her childhood. Fabulous sketches of pre-Empress Hotel Victoria.

The Devil You Know and Sugar Bush and other stories, by Jenn Farrell. Not all the stores are set in BC, but the ones that are have a strong sense of place. Farrell is a master at capturing place and character. Her stories all center on young women who tend to make some bad choices. Rather edgy stuff, but really wonderful.

Hey! Nostradamus and Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland novels, and City of Glass, same author, non-fiction. Clever, insightful, humorous, sad. No one captures Vancouver like Coupland. Must a must read author for anyone who loves the city.

53mkboylan
Jun 23, 2013, 10:27am

Thanks for that list. I will definitely be checking those out!

54fmgee
Nov 24, 2013, 3:16pm

I would recommend the children's book The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson. It is set on a fictional island between Vancouver and Victoria in the 1930's.

55Nickelini
Nov 24, 2013, 10:39pm

#54 - Oh, my daughter has that on her TBR shelf. I've read the same author's Awake and Dreaming which has a pivotal scene set on the ferry that goes between Vancouver and Victoria. It's an excellent read too.

56fmgee
Abr 6, 2014, 7:40pm

I can add When is a Man by Aaron Shepard which has just been released. A good read.

57fmgee
Jun 11, 2014, 4:19pm

I just finished Adventures in Solitude set in Desolation Sound, BC.

58Nickelini
Jun 25, 2014, 1:14am

This book has a very strong Victoria setting:

Before I Wake, Robert J Wiersema, 2006


Cover comments: It's okay, I guess but doesn't tell you what the book is about. I think it's misleading, actually.

Comments: Simon and Karen's three year old daughter is struck by a hit and run driver and is deemed brain dead. But when they take her off life support, she starts breathing on her own. They take her home, where it is slowly discovered that the little girl appears to have powers to miraculously heal others, including people with terminal illness. A shadowy character, Father Peter, appears to threaten their lives. There is a strong supernatural element to the novel. The story is told in short first-person narratives by a wide number of characters. This technique keeps the story moving, but I'm not 100% sold on this approach.

The blurb on the back cover, and the first quarter of the story, make Before I Wake seem like the story of a tragic life event. But then the book takes an unexpected turn. And another. And another. It definitely kept me guessing--and most of my guesses turned out to be wrong.

Why I Read This Now: it's been in my TBR for a while, and I recently read Before I Go to Sleep. As I always confused these two books, I thought I'd read them both so I could get them straight. Both titles make perfect sense in the context of their stories.

Rating: This was a good read. 4 stars.

Recommended for: As with Before I Go to Sleep, the reader must be willing to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy this book. If you can do that, then I recommend it. The book is set in Victoria, BC, and has a strong sense of place, so read Before I Wake if you're a fan of that city.

59VivienneR
Jun 25, 2014, 1:52am

>58 Nickelini: Sounds like it would be fun to read this one, although I'm not a big fan of supernatural elements, the familiar setting would make up for it.

60Nickelini
Oct 12, 2015, 5:52pm

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki, 2013


Cover comments: At a glance, I find this arrangement pleasing in both its balance and its colours. On closer inspection, I find I'm actually delighted by it--starting at the top with the pop culture Japanese girl, down to the clear blue sky with the kamikaze pilot, then the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, the diary, and finally the island across the sea in Canada. Well done book designer Jim Tierney.

Comments: A Tale for the Time Being is told in two intercepting stories--the diary of a suicidal teenage girl, Nao, in early 2000s Tokyo, and Ruth, a Japanese-Canadian writer who lives in a desolate island community and finds the diary washed up on the beach in a Hello Kitty lunch box sometime after the 2011 tsunami. Did it float across the Pacific? Or is it more likely that someone dropped it off a passing cruise ship, as others suggest.

This is a complex novel, full of ideas and symbolism. When I first heard about it, I was intrigued. However, many of my LT friends gave it less than glowing reviews, so I forgot about it. But now my book club read it, and I'm glad we did. There is so much going on her that is interesting. Sure, some parts dragged, and some of the philosophy was over the top, but I just sped through those sections. I'd say I really liked 3/4 of this book and the remaining quarter, not so much.

A Tale for the Time Being was nominated for a slew of awards, including the Man Booker Prize.

Rating: 4 stars

Recommended for: people who like books with lots going on.


Cortes Island, where both the character Ruth and the author Ruth Ozeki live.

61LibraryCin
Feb 1, 2016, 8:40pm

The Silk Train Murder / Sharon Rowse
3.5 stars

It's 1899 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. John Granville has recently arrived from the Klondike and when he meets up with his old buddy, Sam, Sam gets Granville a job guarding a train. A couple of nights later, they find someone murdered and Sam is arrested and held for the murder. Granville is certain Sam didn't do it, but the police think otherwise and aren't looking into alternatives, so Granville does some sleuthing of his own.

I enjoyed this. Historical mysteries are iffy for me, but this was good. It did take a few chapters for me to get “into” it, but it was interesting enough, even at the start, that I backed up to reread what I missed when my mind wandered at first. I enjoyed the mystery and I enjoyed the secondary characters, Trent and Emily, who were helping Granville out. I also enjoyed the setting. It was also a nice quick read. This is the first in a series, and I will pick up the next one, as well.

62gypsysmom
Feb 3, 2016, 7:58pm

Now and in the Hour of Our Death / Patrick Taylor

4 stars

Although this book is subtitled a novel of the Irish Troubles, a significant storyline takes place in BC. Patrick Taylor has lived in BC for many years although he was born in Northern Ireland. He obviously loves his adopted land and the details he works in are great.

63LibraryCin
Oct 25, 2017, 10:52pm

Victoria's Castles / Paul G. Chamberlain
3.5 stars

This is a short book describing the castles in Victoria, B.C. It describes the architecture, as well as the history of the castles and the people who lived there.

I bought this book as a souvenir the first time I visited Victoria and have finally gotten around to reading it. I saw two castles while I was there (Craigdarroch Castle and Hatley Castle) and apparently there is one more still standing. I enjoyed the book, particularly the histories of the people who lived in them - some politicians, some businessmen. The book was short, and of course, included photos of the castles.

64LibraryCin
Feb 28, 2018, 11:07pm

Those Girls / Chevy Stevens.
4.5 stars

Due to the abuse suffered at the hands of their father (their mother died a few years earlier), three sisters, Dani, Courtney, and Jess, run away, only to find themselves in a town where some initially seemingly nice guys help them out. But, this goes badly and they end up in another terrifyingly horrible situation! 18 years later, after having lived in Vancouver since then and having built a life for themselves, things take another turn and the past is back…

I was trying to describe that with no spoilers - at least nothing that was not mentioned on the back of the book (I may have mentioned less than what’s on the book blurb)! The first half of the book is told from Jess’ point of view; Jess is the youngest sister. Perspective switches for the second half. This was a book I just didn’t want to put down! I wanted to keep reading. There is a lot of violence, though, so be warned of that.

65LibraryCin
Mayo 12, 2018, 5:39pm

Never Let You Go / Chevy Stevens
4.5 stars

Lindsey’s ex-husband, Andrew, has been in jail for the past decade. He was abusive toward Lindsey, and she has since built a new life for her and her daughter, Sophie. Unfortunately when Andrew gets out of jail, he comes back to the town where Lindsey and Sophie live.

I have not yet been disappointed in a Chevy Stevens novel. I found this very fast-paced and suspenseful, and I wanted to keep reading. I listened to the audio, which was very well done; it was read by two different narrators, one for Lindsey and one for Sophie. The book does jump around in time (now and then) and perspective (Lindsey and Sophie). Very very good, in my opinion! There was what I thought of as a coincidence at the end, but without saying too much, it turned out to be planned, so not a coincidence, after all.

66gypsysmom
Mar 11, 2019, 5:29pm

Starlight by Richard Wagamese
4.5 stars

Beautiful writing although unfinished because Wagamese died while he was still working on it. Frank Starlight, who showed up in Medicine Walk by the same author, takes in a woman and her daughter running from an abusive relationship and uses the land to help them heal and learn to trust.

67LibraryCin
Ene 5, 2020, 2:07am

I could have counted this for Alberta or BC, but decided on BC because more of the trip is in BC than in Alberta.

The Forgotten Explorer / Charles Helm, Mike Murtha (editors)
3 stars

Samuel Fay was an American hunter who explored the Northern Rocky Mountains (North and West of Jasper, Alberta) over a few years, in 1912, 1913, 1914. His longest trip was 4ish months between the end of June and November, 1914, when he was hunting and collecting wildlife for the US “Biological Review”. The bulk of this book is Fay’s journals while on that trip, though the foreword is someone else’s summary/account of the trip, and there are appendices that include articles Fay wrote about his travels afterward.

I hadn’t realized before starting the book that Fay was a hunter and that was the purpose of his travel. I don’t like hunting. I did enjoy the descriptions, especially of the wildlife; I just kept hoping the next sentence after any wildlife was mentioned wouldn’t be along the lines of “so we shot one (or more)...”. I think I won the book at a conference, and it’s just been sitting here, waiting for me to read it for a while now. It’s not a long book (page-wise), but I was kept from reading it for a long time due to the tiny font in the book! It’s now done and I will donate the book. Overall, I rated it ok.

68LibraryCin
Ene 26, 2020, 4:20pm

Michelle Remembers / Michelle Smith, Lawrence Pazder
3 stars

This was published in 1980. In 1977, Michelle Smith recounted repressed memories (from when she was 5 years old in 1954/1955) to her psychiatrist (co-author Lawrence Pazder). This book follows that therapy. When Michelle was only 5, her unstable mother gave her away to a cult of Satanists to be abused and used in various rituals.

So, I’ve owned this since I was in high school, but I don’t think I read it back then. The first half was more interesting than the second half, when Satan appeared. The second half got much more religious, and it was less interesting to me. Now, this has since been debunked, and I found that out in the middle of reading it, but I don’t think it affected my rating (though it appears that many rated it 1 star, simply because it’s not true); I actually didn’t want that knowledge to affect how I rated the book.

69Nickelini
Ene 26, 2020, 5:41pm

>68 LibraryCin:

I was ready to ask if you actually believed any of it, and then I read your comment this has since been debunked. Whew. Talk about all the 80s touch-points tho-- Satanists! Repressed memories! LOL.

70LibraryCin
Ene 26, 2020, 11:06pm

>69 Nickelini: In all honesty, it's not likely something I would have believed, anyway. Just read for entertainment value. :-)

71LibraryCin
Abr 17, 2020, 11:23pm

Everything I've read this year set in Canada, has been in BC!

Hands Like Clouds / Mark Zuehlke
3 stars

Elias is the coroner in the small town of Tofino, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. When a local environmentalist/activist (or “ecoterrorist”) is found hanging from a tree, the initial thought is suicide, but Elias quickly figures out that Ian was strangled before he was hung. The local RCMP, though, is busy preparing for a US Senator to tour the area, looking at the ancient rainforest (and the already clear-cut sections) that the logging companies want to continue to raze.

Especially with the environmental angle, I had hoped this would draw me in more. The mystery itself was interesting, but the characters weren’t as much so – at least to me – until at least the second half of the book. Zuehlke puts a lot of description in the book, which does paint a clear picture of Vancouver Island, but it’s a bit too much for me, overall. I did love the setting, though.

72Nickelini
Abr 18, 2020, 1:55pm

>71 LibraryCin:
Tofino has its own coroner? You'd think they'd just send one from Victoria or Nanaimo. LOL

73LibraryCin
Abr 18, 2020, 2:30pm

>72 Nickelini: Well, for purposes of this series, anyway! LOL! He is not a medically trained doctor, but he was someone willing to learn and do it.

74LibraryCin
Abr 19, 2020, 3:58pm

Another one set (partially) in BC:

The Brideship Wife / Leslie Howard
4 stars

It’s the mid-19th century, and Charlotte, at 21-years old, is desperate to find a husband. Well, she isn’t that excited about it, but her sister and brother-in-law, high society people, are insisting. The match they want her to make, however, is a jerk, to put it mildly. But, Charlotte doesn’t have a lot of options, until she finds out about a “brideship”. England is sending unmarried women to the colonies in the New World, specifically to Vancouver Island and British Columbia, in what would later become Canada, to provide the men there with potential wives. Although Charlotte is initially hesitant, she ends up on one of the ships...

I really liked this. I liked Charlotte – she is more independent than many women at the time, I think – certainly those of her social class. Although quick to read is nice, I did feel like the book could have gone into more detail/spent more time on many of the topics.

As I always hope for, the author did include a note at the end where she talks about where she learned of many of the issues she covered in the book, including treatment of women, social classes, smallpox in the Native population, the gold rush towns in BC, the culture in those towns, as well as the tendency toward fire in the buildings, and more. She also provided a master list (can’t think of what it’s called) of actual women who sailed on one of the brideships (she used many of the names). Many of the things that happened in the book were events happened to someone in real life.

75gypsysmom
Ago 5, 2020, 9:53am

The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King

This book is set in a community on the coast of British Columbia that suffered an environmental disaster that killed wildlife, marine life and people. Most of the people who died were indigenous from the local reservation and it has been completely closed down. Those indigenous who survived moved to other places; even many of the non-indigenous have moved away so the town is almost a ghost town. Two people move to the community though and this is their story mostly. It was excellent.

76LibraryCin
Sep 19, 2020, 4:59pm

The Secret Lives of Saints / Daphne Bramham
4 stars

“Saints” in the title refers to the religion, “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (LDS), or more specifically, fundamentalist LDS (FLDS) – that is, the polygamous branch of the LDS/Mormons. This book includes info from various, mostly former, FLDS – that is, it includes some memoir-type info with regard to some people (again, mostly those who have left), but the second part talks about the law, courts, trials, and even that some governments look the other way (British Columbia in Canada seems the worst for that).

This book does focus more on the Canadian FLDS (and leader/prophet Winston Blackmore) than any other I’ve read, so that was interesting to me. I’m in Calgary, Alberta, and though I knew about Bountiful, BC (actually called Lister, which I didn’t know), I did not know that there is a small population of FLDS in Alberta, as well, mostly in/around Cardston. The FLDS is so intertwined, though, that it started with a history, and there is also much about the communities in Utah and Arizona, and of course, about Warren Jeffs.

I have read quite a bit about the FLDS so many names are already familiar to me in that I’ve read some of those memoirs. I know that a few of the Canadian FLDS had a trial wrap up in BC last year, so I’m going to look that up to refresh my memory on what happened there. This book was published in 2008, so things have happened since then (like the trial in BC). I found the second part of the book – the legal stuff – much more interesting than I expected, and found myself even more interested than in the first half of the book; I guess much of that was exasperation and frustration at all the laws they are breaking... and in some cases, flaunting (in addition to polygamy, there is, of course, all kinds of abuse, plus bilking the government (i.e. taxpayers) out of as much money as possible – they need all that extra income to feed their 15+ wives and 70+ children (ok, that might just be Blackmore with that many, but you get the picture)).

77LibraryCin
Nov 30, 2020, 5:33pm

The Boat People / Sharon Bala
4 stars

In 2009 or 2010 a boat of refugees arrived in British Columbia. There were over 500 people aboard, coming from Sri Lanka. This really happened, and this book is a fictionalized version of this. The refugees were “detained” (basically, jailed) until they had their initial hearings (just as to whether or not they were allowed into Canada at all; later hearings determine whether or not they can stay.)

Mahindan is a mechanic and has arrived with a young son (5 or 6 years old); unfortunately, his son is not allowed to be detained with his father, so he is initially sent with some of the women detainees and their children, and later placed with a Canadian foster family. Priya is studying to become a lawyer; she wants to be a corporate lawyer, but is assigned to help as counsel for the refugees. Grace has been assigned as an adjudicator for the hearings; she has been informed by a government minister of (I think) public security to be wary and watch for the terrorists who are aboard, because he is certain some of them are.

The story is told from all three viewpoints. Priya has a Sri Lankan background, but does not speak the language. Grace’s background is Japanese and her family has been in Canada for a few generations now (her grandparents and parents were interred in the Japanese concentration camps during WWII. The two women learn more about their families’ backgrounds, as well.

This was really good. I was really frustrated with Grace for – what I felt was – relying too much on Fred’s (the minister’s) rhetoric. I guess I wanted to believe all of their stories. I wasn’t as interested in Mahindan’s background in Sri Lanka – well, some was interesting, but I did lose a bit of focus when talking about his courtship to his son’s mother. Without giving too much away, I really had no idea how it would end, and yet I was still surprised.

78gypsysmom
Dic 10, 2020, 4:17pm

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
4.5 stars

Although parts of this book take place outside of Canada, the eponymous hotel is in BC on a remote island off the northern tip of Vancouver Island. The hotel is central to the main plot lines as the two main characters, a brother and sister, both work at the hotel when the owner, an investment manager from New York City, comes to visit. What happens in one night changes the fate of both main characters. The brother concentrates on his musical compositions, which gives him some measure of fame. The sister marries the hotel owner and they are together for about 3 years when his investment scheme is shown to be a Ponzi scheme and he is sent to jail for the rest of his life. I liked the book very much and it made me think about all the victims of fraud who can never recoup their losses.

79LibraryCin
Abr 5, 2:04pm

The Devil's Making / Sean Haldane
3 stars

Chad Hobbes went to law school in England, but never wrote the bar exam. In 1868, he has come to British Columbia, a British colony, but not yet part of Canada (which was just recently formed in the east), but without having written the bar, he cannot practice as a lawyer, so he gets a job as a constable in Victoria. When an American “alienist” (psychiatrist - I had to look it up!) is found murdered in a very gruesome way, everyone assumes it’s the First Nations people who are closeby who killed him. One is arrested and it is assumed he will soon hang for it. Hobbes, though, doesn’t think he (nor any of the other natives) did it, and he sets out to find who really did it. In the meantime, Hobbes finds himself attracted to the sister of the man who was arrested.

Be warned: this was quite gruesome in the details. Also, there was a lot of investigation into sexual things. There is definite racism here, primarily against native people. Overall, I’m rating this ok. There were parts that just didn’t interest me, so I kind of tuned out, but other parts were fine and I followed without an issue. I’m thinking maybe the writing style? The odd thing is that I love historical fiction, I also like mysteries (though some types more than others), but oddly, more often than not, historical mysteries don’t interest me as much. I have no idea why.

I did like the Canadian background in this, though. I’ve been to Victoria a couple of times, so I could picture some of the places mentioned. There was an odd (I thought) twist and I felt like the end was a bit too much all tied up – except for one thing. That one thing wasn’t a happy one (and it was apparently a real event). The brief afterword also explained that many of the people were real people.