“This poem is a fascinating exercise in the bending, blending, and merging of genres while at the same time assaulting the empty pretensions of narcissistic nihilism in today’s grossly politicized literary environment,” writes local writer Roger Lewis in his review of Art Joyce’s newest work, Dead Crow & the Spirit Engine.
“Not the usual series of disjointed prose statements about the poet’s emotions, Dead Crow & the Spirit Engine is an epic narrative of thirty linked poems written in tercets framed by a prose introduction with notes at the end. It explores many layers of meaning in a time when we are told nothing means anything. Mythic characters and episodes span all creation and time. Individual passages glow with lyric intensity and individual lines can have epigrammatic force e.g. ‘Starvation/does vicious things to innocence’ (p. 47). Dead Crow has a narrative voice that veers from grand literary eloquence to the flatly prosaic, sometimes a laconic film noir drawl with coarse diction. Other genres include fable, folktale, dream vision, dramatic monologue, soliloquy, fantasy and heroic quest.”
Our shelves are full of great books, particularly after replenishing our stock this week. We have a full dozen of the 15 current bestsellers in BC, and several other national bestsellers.
One of these popular books that we are especially excited about – Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya – is authored by a fellow Kootenaian, Bruce Kirkby of Kimberley.
“One morning at breakfast, while gawking at his phone and feeling increasingly disconnected from family and everything else of importance in his world, it strikes writer Bruce Kirkby: this isn’t how he wants to live.
“Within days, plans begin to take shape. Bruce, his wife Christine, and their two children—seven-year-old Bodi and three-year-old Taj—will cross the Pacific by container ship, then travel onward through South Korea, China, India and Nepal aboard bus, riverboat and train, eventually traversing the Himalaya by foot. Their destination: a thousand-year-old Buddhist monastery in the remote Zanskar valley, one of the last places where Tibetan Buddhism is still practised freely in its original setting.
“Taken into the mud-brick home of a senior lama, Tsering Wangyal, the family spends the summer absorbed by monastery life. In this refuge, where ancient traditions intersect with the modern world, Bruce discovers ways to slow down, to observe and listen, and ultimately, to better understand his son on the autism spectrum—to surrender all expectations and connect with Bodi exactly as he is.
“Recounted with wit and humility, Blue Sky Kingdom is an engaging travel memoir as well as a thoughtful exploration of modern distraction, the loss of ancient wisdom, and the challenges and rewards of intercultural friendships.” ~ Douglas & McIntyre
We would like to introduce some of the great local books that have come out thus far in 2020. (With so many, this will be the first of two installments.)
Silver Rush Cover Photo Credit: SilverySlocan.ca
Our best seller this year is Silver Rush: British Columbia’s Silvery Slocan 1891 – 1900 by former New Denver resident Peter J. Smith. Writer and historian Greg Nesteroff calls the hefty tome, “By far the most detailed and accurate account of the Silvery Slocan mining rush ever written. Highly entertaining too.” For more information, see Greg’s Nelson Star article: NelsonStar.com/community/new-book-reappraises-silvery-slocan-mining-rush.
Prize-winning poet Tom Wayman, a longtime Slocan Valley resident, recently came out with his newest collection entitled, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time. Writing in the Vancouver Sun, Tom Sandborn prefaces his review of the work by saying, “Wayman clearly wants to demonstrate that even if poetry cannot change the world, it can provide comfort and courage – even in times as dark as our own.” Sandborn concludes, “Wayman is still at work creating poems that are as astringent and individual as human pain, and as universal as our highest hopes for a beloved community. Readers will be grateful for this record of his latest labours.”
When We Are Broken is the latest work from prolific author Luanne Armstrong, who has spent most of her life on her family’s 100-year-old Kootenay Lake farm. Writes Armstrong about this lovely book – her 22nd – that includes many photos from her farm, “Part of my life’s work has been to truly understand the place where I live and the other creatures that dwell there with me. In my daily walks, I focus on the quiet, always changing occurrences of nature. Every day, I stand, watch, listen at the margins of things, the line between mountains and sky, lake and mountains, the ragged roughness that separates human from non-human. When something snags my attention, I stop and look, I try to bring such moments home with me in the form of words or photographs. This book is a small compilation of these meditations.”
As you hunker down for another white season, you may be interested to know that our shelves are currently chock full of wonderful books – not to mention beautiful journals and world music CDs – and a lot of those titles are by regional and provincial authors. Recent arrivals include our own Lila Strand’s newly-revised paperback edition of Little Star: A Hidden Seed, the sequel to her beloved The Star Children; Revy author Laura Stovel’s Swift River: Stories of the First People and First Travellers on the Columbia River around Revelstoke; and two collections of ‘essays on ecology’ by the late, great Stan Rowe of New Denver: Home Place (Revised edition) and Earth Alive.
Some of our most popular titles are from Kootenay-born author Iona Whishaw. Her Lane Winslow mystery series is set in post-WWII Nelson and area, incorporating many regional landmarks that are familiar to local residents. We have all six books that make up the series, while a seventh installment is eagerly expected in April. The Globe and Mail calls it “a terrific series” and says Whishaw is “a writer to watch,” while Kirkus Reviews has deemed it “relentlessly exciting.” Why not spice up your winter – or that of a loved one – with this engrossing series?
New to Raven’s Nest are very cool slouchy hats and beautiful scrunchies! They are designed and made by stay-at-home mothers in Kelowna using natural bamboo (and linen in the case of some scrunchies). Thanks to our model Rose and photographer Mallory!