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Showing posts from 2015

"My Salinger Year" by Joanna Rakoff

“‘Follow me,’ he said and I trailed him down the main hallway, past a row of dark offices. As on the day before I longed to linger over the books lining the walls. My eye caught some thrillingly familiar names, like Pearl Buck and Langston Hughes, and some intriguingly foreign ones, like Ngaio Marsh, and my stomach began to flutter in the way it had on childhood trips to our local library: so many books, each enticing in its own specific way, and all mine for the taking. ‘Wow,’ I said, almost involuntarily. James stopped and turned. “I know,” he said with a real smile. ‘I’ve been here six years and I still feel that way.’  —from My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
Everywhere else in the world, it is 1996. But in “The Agency”, a pseudonym for New York’s “oldest and most storied” literary agency, at least a couple of decades seem to have gone by unnoticed. Books line wood-panelled walls, reading lamps spotlight desktops (the flat, wooden kind upon which you put stuff other than computers…

"A Power Christmas Special" free for you on iBooks (and here in a PDF)

Merry Christmas everyone! My gift to you and your family is A Power Christmas Special (6-10 year-olds especially), illustrated by Marc Mongeau--where Mimi and her family find all the chaos the season has to offer. Broken gingerbread, the TV log fireplace, a Wise Man behind the wheel, elves with their own trading cards and a very hungry Santa Claus...

It's free to download from the iBooks store right here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-power-christmas-special/id940288695?mt=11
If you don't have an iPad, you can link to the PDF version from here. Go ahead, give it a try!
I hope you enjoy it. It was fun to write. I think I figured out about half the story standing in a two-hour line-up to get a balloon poodle made at a Santa's Breakfast two years ago. Anyway, you can let me know what you think anytime at victorianunuk "at" telus "dot" net or on twitter @victorianunuk

Merry Christmas, and remember, "It's not what Santa can do for you..."

"Peace Pipe Dreams: The Truth About Lies About Indians" by Darrell Dennis

If you've ever wondered why "Native people just can't get over it" or what the fuss is about faux headdresses at folk festivals, well, allow Darrell Dennis to explain. Dennis is an original--and not just in the First Nations sense of the word. An actor, comedian, playwright, screenwriter, radio host, and member of the Shushwap Nation in British Columbia, Dennis is also the author of Peace Pipe Dreams: The Truth About Lies About Indians (Douglas & McIntyre, 2014).

In busting through the myths and misconceptions surrounding First Nations people, Dennis leaves no stone unturned. Sports mascots, substance abuse statistics, the Christopher Columbus narrative, movies featuring the noble savage ("Always-Helps-The-White-Man"); movies featuring the nasty savage (think eat-your-heart-out Magua from "The Last of the Mohicans") are all ripe for a rethink. Then there's Canada as the ultimate "deadbeat dad" when it comes to honouring treaties…

"Andrea Martin's Lady Parts"

Friday, September 4, 2015

Stage and screen star, SCTV alumnus and Tony/Gemini/Emmy-winning actress, comedienne and now memoirist Andrea Martin has a few confessions to make. She hasn’t read The Goldfinch (she’s a little off books these days) she’d rather chat with telemarketers than write, and every two months she flies to Atlanta to get her hair done. She knits, likes using the F word, is pretty sure that she wasn’t a perfect mother, hates being called perky and nothing, but nothing, makes her laugh like a rumba-dancing dog in a pink tuxedo.

Oh, and one more thing. Brace yourself. She. Is. Not. Canadian.

She’s not Greek, either. And she’s not even a little bit Jewish (she’s just “good at it”). But take a few deep yoga breaths and let it go. Because it’s hard to be mad at “Canada’s favourite illegitimate child” for even a sentence or two of Andrea Martin’s Lady Parts. And why would you even want to be? After all, she’s been making us laugh for over 40 years. We practically owe her a …

Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media. by Aliza Licht

In the digital age, could success be just a tweet or two away? Probably not. Take it from Aliza Licht, senior vice president of global communications at Donna Karan International, a clear career path, perseverance, and passion matter as much as they ever did. It’s just that how to make (or break) a career online (“killing it” works both ways) is now an essential part of understanding the wired world of work.

Licht has plenty to draw upon in Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill it in Your Career. Rock Social Media. It took a detour out of med school and into fashion, first as a magazine intern and eventually up to the executive suite, for Licht to find her own brand within a brand and build a following more than half-a-million strong. The author and creator of DKNY PR GIRL® knows from experience that no matter how sharp and snappy your tweets, it’s sustaining a start-up spirit that counts more. Going above and beyond (think spending your unpaid weekends sorting shoe inventory or…

The Library Book: A History of Service to British Columbia by Dave Obee

“My elementary school was Lord Roberts in the west end of Vancouver.
Its library was the place where I felt most like me.” —from the Foreword by Sarah Ellis in  The Library Book: A History of Service to British Columbia
150 years of anything would probably make a good book—so long as the research and writing are up to snuff. In 2011, the British Columbia Library Association marked its centennial, fittingly, with a book dedicated to the development of libraries over the past one-and-a-half centuries. Journalist and author Dave Obee was awarded the task, and the result is a visually engaging history appealing to anyone with a love of libraries and history.

Explorers as far back as Simon Fraser brought books with them on their journeys, to stock the lending libraries of the Northwest Trading Company. British Columbia’s early libraries were established in saloons, hotels, news agents, in private collections, company reading rooms and a shelf or two of shop space.  In the 1860s, British Co…

"Indian Horse" by Richard Wagamese

“You go somewhere when you’re on the ice,”  Virgil said to me after one practice.  “It’s like watching you walk into a secret place  that no one else knows how to get to.”
Hockey is the saving grace of young Saul Indian Horse’s life. Lost to his family and orphaned in his grandmother’s arms, eight-year-old Saul is discovered at an icy railroad stop in northern Ontario and stolen away to spend the next six years at St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School.
“St. Jerome’s took all the light from my world,” Saul remembers. He saw children die of abuse or suicide, with whatever they had to take themselves away from hell on earth: a pitchfork; rocks to weigh down a dress in water; rope to swing from the rafters of a barn. Anything, even death, was better than the despair of suffering the school’s daily humiliations.
It is a hockey ice rink, built at St. Jerome’s during Saul’s second winter, that saves him. In the years that follow, the crack of light opened by hockey will widen to include fr…

Give and Take: a Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant

February 11, 2015

In his 1986 autobiography Is that it? Bob Geldof, the Irish rock musician and humanitarian, quotes Mother Theresa on giving. “When you give, give generously and without conditions,” said the Albanian nun known for her lifelong devotion to the poorest of the poor. But in organizational dynamics, it’s not that simple—an individual may be a giver, a matcher or a taker or a complex combination of the three. Their dominant tendency will not only shape their career, and the satisfaction they draw from it, it can also create a ripple effect throughout the organizations and the communities they serve.
The giving that The Wharton School's Adam Grant studies is not primarily of the charitable kind, but it is no less generous. Grant’s givers may or may not be writing cheques to worthy causes, but they share a common aptitude and interest in supporting the well-being and fulfillment of others. In Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Grant describes how wise “…