Read all about it: Some good summer reading

Some new publications with the West Coast as the central theme

by Stephen Hume

Part two: A few more titles for a good read this summer.

 

 

Unlikely Love Stories

by Mike McCardell

Harbour Publishing

317 pages, hard cover

 

Another homey look at the people who catch the fancy of master storyteller Mike McCardell. McCardell has a talent for making even the smallest, sometimes unnoticeable moments ones of importance. They are vignettes of life and love as he sees it. — they are real life, real people told in McCardell’s own style. He observes and he listens and then he writes.

He tells one story of the declaration of the Sun Yat-sen Garden in Vancouver as  a national monument by federal dignitaries. They give long speeches and admired the gardens with words but never ventured out into what they were honouring. McCardell is good at seeing the irony and recognizing puffed up bureaucrats for what they are. His humour is tongue-in-cheek, but it is also about truth and speaks to the magic of the human character.

McCardell has travelled a long road through many newsrooms to get to this place where he can write about the stories that never make the headlines but have an importance far beyond the everyday niceties. They are about those unique ordinary people who have so much to teach us.

Unlikely Love Stories is the eighth book by McCardell and contains 75 stories about love. These stories have a way of making you feel a part of the world we live in and make you want to explore in the way McCardell does — with an open mind and an open heart.

 

Fishing the Coast

A Life on the Water

by Don Pepper

Harbour Publishing

223 pages, paperback

 

Success in commercial fishing is dependent on a variety of factors, nature, fish, boats, economics and technology as well as the unreliable runs of fish.

Fishing is a complex occupation and author Don Pepper talks about the boats, the various jobs on those boats, fishing communities and all other aspects of this business which is fraught with danger, poor runs and sketchy boats.

A life on the water is exactly what this book is about. Pepper tells stories of the characters he met and the experiences he was privy to. A lot has changed since he caught his first fish out of Alert Bay in 1941. His life was the life of a fisherman, he made seine nets and has seen the fisheries from both the beach and the wheelhouse.

Pepper remembers fishing as it was in the old days and brings an insider’s view to the business. His stories become a historical perspective on the way fishing used to be, before the introduction of modern technology. He fished with his wits and knowledge of the sea and the fish in it. As his friend and captain said, “You have to know where the fish aren’t.”  It’s a good read and provides many insights into the world of fishing.

 

A Walk with the Rainy Sisters

In Praise of British Columbia’s Places

by Stephen Hume

Harbour Publishing

223 pages, Hardcover

 

If Stephen Hume wasn’t writing about places in British Columbia, he could easily be a master story teller. Well, in fact he is. While he is passionate about the geography, he is equally passionate about the people he meets and the stories they have to tell. One story, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, talks of a life on lighthouses and their importance to those who go out to the sea in boats.

Hume takes us on a energetic hike into the wilderness of his experience. He carves out the essence of those places and delivers it to us in eloquent words. He  makes you want to go and explore this province and decry the loss of treasured places and the people who also love the edges of civilization.

A Small Death on Whiffin Spit is about seabirds dying from an oil spill and the story speaks of the risk to wildlife and eventually you and I.

Hume contemplates the natural world and our place in it through his walk with the rainy sisters. He makes us fall in love with land at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Harbour Publishing has a compelling list of books with a British Columbia and western Canadian focus.

Many of the books featured in these reviews are available in Sooke at the Reading Room.For Harbour Publishing publication lists go: www.harbourpublising.com

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