Having had a chance to catch our corporate breath after an intense September / October / November of book releases and book launches, it’s time to get caught up with our New Star Review of Reviews, in which we link to some recent mentions of those very books we’ve been working on all year.
No doubt about it, the 2013 New Star title currently garnering the most attention is Graeme Truelove’s Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics. Ten years out of the limelight doesn’t seem to have dampened people’s fascination about the long-time Burnaby MP.
Over on rabble.ca, Robinson’s old comrade-in-arms Judy Rebick writes a long and appreciative review of Truelove’s biography. The site features photos of the Toronto launch on November 30 at Frontier College. Kudos to the website Gay Vancouver, which chose to take the less obvious path by interviewing the straight author rather than the gay subject of his book. Robinson is scheduled to be a guest on Power and Politics, hosted by Evan Solomon, later this month.
Perhaps the most moving review is this one by Lynda Philippsen on her blog, The Way of Words. Phillipsen was Truelove’s high school Humanities and English teacher, and as her review makes plain, she tried to be a very fair teacher to all of her students. And Xtra! featured Svend Robinson on the cover of their November 21 — December 4 issue.
Here’s a gallery of photos by Truelove’s new bride, event photographer Janine Bell. Shots are from the Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto launches for Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics, as well as the November 16 book signing at Chapters Strawberry Hill, where the young author spent many an afternoon.
Another recent New Star title that’s generating a certain amount of warmth is Rolf Knight’s memoir Voyage Through the Past Century, published this past spring. The book has its devotees, including Alan Twigg, who devotes the centrespread of the current issue of BC Bookworld, with Douglas Coupland on the cover, to a long and appreciative review-essay about Knight’s Voyage. Alex Varty wrote an appreciative review in the Georgia Straight. Another fan is Daniel Francis, the North Vancouver-based historian who wrote about Voyage Through the Past Century on the 49th Shelf book review blog (scroll down). Not everyone loves Knight: a forthcoming BC Studies review by John Belshaw criticizes the book for the very thing that other reviewers seem to like most: Knight’s sharp observations and even sharper tongue. (He also seems preoccupied with correcting the historical record: John is NO RELATION to Cyril Belshaw, longtime UBC anthropologist.) And there’s a review in the bran’ new Geist, No. 90 (wow!), not on-line, which I’ll have to rush out now and buy.
And, but also:
Vladimir Keremidschieff’s book of photos, Seize the Time: Vancouver Photographed, 1967–1974, is starting to get some attention. Over on the Vancouver Is Awesome website, Lani Russwurm, who has his own very fine dog in the show, Vancouver Was Awesome, published by Arsenal Pulp Press, nevertheless lists Seize the Time as a Great Gift Idea on his own blog. Now that’s class.… Ronald Liversedge’s posthumously published Mac-Pap: Memoir of a Canadian in The Spanish Civil War was reviewed in the Georgia Straight.… rob mclennan perambulates Peter Culley’s Parkway, and talks about Culley’s “Hammertown” project, over on his eponymous rob mclennan’s blog.…On September 19, Mark Leier was featured in Simon Fraser University’s downtown series of talks, Heroes and Villains. The event doubled as a booklaunch for the newly released update of his Rebel Life: The Life and Times of Robert Gosden, Revoluionary, Mystic, Labour Spy, originally published in 1999. Leier’s highly interesting talk about Gosden, and about his book about Gosden, can be viewed here on the SFU site.… Seattle poet and critic Paul Nelson takes on George Stanley’s spring release After Desire here. Meanwhile, the Georgia Straight asked Stanley, and a bunch of other writers, to name the book that changed their lives, and Stanley’s choice is, typically, not one you’d expect a poet to cite.