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Vanessa Ratjen


Vanessa Ratjen likes books more than most things, except when she can read books and eat cookies from Baked, because multi-tasking is a good skill to have.


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Issue: 2017-05-17, PHOTO: Amazon.ca

Rumbling with dark humour, real life and bewitching characters, Eden Robinson’s latest novel, Son of a Trickster, is a confident coming-of-age story with a beautifully rhythmic cadence. Set in Kitimat, British Columbia, which is the town adjacent... more

May 17, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-05-03, PHOTO: Amazon.com

Our environment says much to those who will listen, and author Stephen Hume is all ears. Distilled from curiosity and personal ruminations, Hume ponders the wonders and uncertainties of life in British Columbia in his book A Walk With the Rainy... more

May 3, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-05-03, PHOTO: Amazon.com

Breasts, boobs, tits, tatas. Mind the title, because, yes, this really is a story about tits, but it’s also, oh! so much more than that. Because, what are breasts to women? I won’t overstep boundaries and assume to know everyone’s relationship... more

May 3, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-04-19, PHOTO: Goodreads.com

Growing up is hard. And the microcosm of high school — with its changing expectations and responsibilities and the push-pull of social dynamics, while, at the same time, you’re trying to establish emotional coping mechanisms and, above all... more

Apr 19, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-04-12, PHOTO: Pixabay

It’s (hopefully) coming to the last wintery blows before the ice breaks; the spring will soon rush in and soon after we can cast our mittens aside for a season. Enjoy the longer nights – while they last – by burying yourself in one (or all) of... more

Apr 12, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-04-05, PHOTO: Amazon.com

Stories are invaluable teachers, says B.C. author Caroline Woodward, they have the ability to “give us whole worlds.” Old stories, too, are relevant artefacts that help us gain perspective on how much, or how little, progress we have made. more

Apr 5, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-03-29, PHOTO: Amazon.com

After Toronto’s worst winter in decades, Amber McMillan is finished with the cold hustle of the big city. She’s tired of the urban trudge, tired of the commute, tired of neighbours whinging, and now she wants out. So along with her partner, Nate... more

Mar 29, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-03-22, PHOTO: amazon.com

“In the beginning was the world. And it was weird.” So begins the story of Cherry and Hero, two women and lovers, in the mythical empire Migdal Bavel. And, yes, the world English author Isabel Greenberg illustrates in her 2016 graphic novel The... more

Mar 22, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-03-15, PHOTO: Amazon.com

“This is how you want to talk about your beers — with pride and a bit of humour too — and to do that, you have to produce beers that you’re proud of.” --Excerpt from Brewing Revolution by Frank Appleton more

Mar 15, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-03-01, PHOTO: Wikipedia

The Luminaries is a story of drama and mystery of the best variety; it will delight both those brainier sorts with a very calculated attention to detail, but also dreamers of the astrological sort— as long as you’re willing to work through its... more

Mar 1, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-02-22, PHOTO: Amazon.com

From breakfast to dinner, allergies to diets, less sugar, more greens — we talk a lot about what we do and do not eat. But what about once we’ve supped our plates clean? Do you feel awkward already? Digestion is a private if not at times taboo... more

Feb 22, 2017 12:00 AM Health and Wellness

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Issue: 2017-02-15, PHOTO: Amazon.com

How to Survive in the North is a graphic novel where three northern tales — two historical and true, one fictional and set in present-day — are woven together in an artistic cartoon arrangement. While the title suggests the book may provide... more

Feb 15, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-02-08, PHOTO: Amazon.com

“Maybe she didn’t cry because tears were a currency in her life for so long that holding them back meant she was richer.” Birdie is an experience. Here the written word weaves between oral and written history, dreamtime and shared reality... more

Feb 8, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-01-25, PHOTO: Graphicstock

Libraries are the most thrilling silent spaces to walk into; to me, they’re goldmines of intrigue. But when going in blind, the variety and selection can seem a bit overwhelming. With so many titles how do you make sure you’re choosing the right... more

Jan 25, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2017-01-11, PHOTO: Graphicstock

Up until a year ago, I was unenthused about graphic novels, but Time Clock by Leslie Stein captured my interest. It’s a great example of the genre’s burgeoning popularity and adult appeal. more

Jan 11, 2017 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2016-12-21

A plane crashes off the coast of a small island. As the search for survivors surges, the victims’ relatives gather at an inn near the crash site to hope, wonder and come to terms with new loss and old memories. In Birds of Fall author Brad Kessler... more

Dec 21, 2016 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2016-12-14, PHOTO: amazon.com

For eight-year-old Ajay Mishra, America brims with the extraordinary opportunities his family could never attain in Delhi, India. So when his mother and older brother, Birju, join their father to live in New York, Ajay revels in the power of their... more

Dec 14, 2016 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2016-12-07

In the 2014 novel The Room, our protagonist, Björn, works in a standard corporate office simply titled “the Authority.” Everyday he checks in, ties on his indoor shoes and shovels numbered files across a desk; it’s a beige existence. But... more

Dec 7, 2016 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2016-11-30, PHOTO: wikimedia.org

This is a book about the beautiful sadness of surviving. In Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, a fictional swine flu pandemic, called the Georgia Flu, wipes out a fantastic number of the population – around four out of five people on the... more

Nov 30, 2016 12:00 AM Literature

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Issue: 2016-11-02, PHOTO: wikimedia.com

“Stories are not only words, you know. Words are just the clothes that people drape on stories.” - Brian Doyle, author of Mink River I was drawn to Mink River without knowing the author or the story... more

Nov 2, 2016 12:00 AM Literature

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