Book Reviews

Dublin Gulch

The present book, one of several projects Michael Gates has had on the go since he retired, is one he was commissioned to write by Victoria Gold, the owners of the Eagle Gold Mine.

A Parade of Dreams

Christopher Wheeler has had a long-standing dream to become an author. When COVID-19 arrived, it brought with it the opportunity for him to pursue this dream. The result is his first collection of poetry, A Parade of Dreams. “I’ve put the collection together over COVID,” Wheeler said. “I thought, why not? It’s been something I’ve …

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How to be an artist

Last March, just before the pandemic became real in Canada, we went to hear Jerry Saltz speak before a large crowd in Toronto about How to Be an Artist. This entertaining talk provided an advance peek at some of the ideas in his new book of the same title.

Jack London imagined a virus

What’s of particular interest to readers in this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, is that London managed to predict the spread of a virulent disease three years before the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

A politically-minded family drama

It’s easy to see why Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School (McLelland and Steward, 2019) was among Barack Obama’s favourite reads in 2019. At once a coming-of-age bildungsroman and a subdued political drama, this novel is as much about the nature of language and reason in American culture as it is about the power of memory …

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The Klondike Gold Rush Steamers

In these days of highways and 1000-year level flood dikes, it’s easy to forget that the best way to get to Dawson used to be by sternwheelers. While most of the stampeders made their way here in small boats and rafts in 1898, a sizeable number cruised to the fledgling town from St. Michael’s, Alaska, in riverboats and steamers and, once the White Pass chugged into Whitehorse, still more hopped on boats from there.

Facing Your Fears

Everyone experiences fear at some point in their lives. This universal emotion and our response to it forms the core of Eva Holland’s first book, Nerve.

An ABC Aviation Adventure

There are all sorts of ABC books out there, but they are seldom as focussed on a particular subject as this one, which manages to do the job of introducing all the letters while remaining firmly in the air.

Howls of the past are echoing again thanks to Joanna Lilley

The England-born, Yukon-based writer has just released her third poetry collection, Endlings, in which each poem is inspired by a different extinct animal species. The passenger pigeon is there, as is the Labrador duck, the Chinese river dolphin and the great auk. For Lilley the project is an extension of themes that have percolated for years. “Animals …

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Older, but not out of it

What is it that makes some of my younger olders so reluctant to admit they’re collecting their pension, qualify for the senior discount, or that they’re a member of the Golden Age Society, ElderActive, or Yukon Council on Aging? I think it’s ageism.

Hiking to Siberia

Lawrence Millman has written 16 books, including Hiking to Siberia. The latter is the subject of this column and the source of most of the stories Millman read to an attentive audience at the Alchemy Café when he visited Dawson City.

A contemporary Yukon storyteller

John Firth’s latest book includes the signature of a ghost. Caribou Hotel, Hauntings, Hospitality, a Hunter and the Parrot.

How real life can inform fiction

In the course of his Massey Lecture series in 2013 (published as Blood: The Stuff of Life, from House of Anansi Press), Lawrence Hill used a fair amount of autobiographical information for anecdotal evidence to enliven his research material. In this way, we learned that he once hankered to become a professional runner and was stopped …

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A Commemoration of the Yukon’s WWI Fallen Soldiers

This slender volume contains brief biographies and photographs of the men from the Yukon who fought and died for Canada between 1914 and 1918. Seven of the enlisted died in 1919, but are recorded as still being in active service. Many of their names are recorded on cenotaphs or memorial plaques in Dawson City or …

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A Trip to the City of the Lost – Returning to Rockton

Somewhere in the Boreal Forest, there is a small community called Rockton. It’s sometimes called the City of the Lost because it’s inhabited by people who, for one reason or another, really wanted to get away from it all. They may be in a witness protection program. They may be running away from some danger in their …

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ZHOH – The Spirit of the Wolf

Previews are supposed to pique your interest and entice you to buy the book, not tell you how it ends, but there is no harm in quoting the final sentence if it is a good one:“In the distance, snow-covered peaks rose through the whiteness. Far off, somewhere below in the fog, a wolf howled.

The ecological web: A story of salmon caught in the middle

“Nature is not something else, isolated, out there; it is as much a part of us as we are of it, and neither can be altered without impacting on the whole.” – Adam Weymouth The Yukon River holds many roles—the namesake of a territory, the history of peoples for thousands of years and home to …

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Investigating lost bull semen

Marcelle Dubé has written the fifth novel of her Mendenhall Mystery Series titled The Forsaken Men. Her Mendenhall isn’t a subdivision of Whitehorse, but rather a fictive place in Manitoba.

The Ravenmaster: My life with the ravens at the Tower of London

“Christopher Skaife is both a raven master and a master storyteller. Compulsively readable, I devoured the book in a single sitting!”—Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Butchering So did I! From 4 p.m. to midnight on the very day I found the last hard copy of The Ravenmaster for sale in Whitehorse. I bought it as …

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Bridging the Divide

Author Kate Harris shucked her space dreams and, with her friend, Mel Yule, picked up the courage to embark on a different trip: to cycle the Silk Road from end to end.

Through dark to the light

Winter Child, the first novel by Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau to be translated to English, is a lyrical journey through a mother’s grief of losing and outliving her child.

Canada’s first superheroine saved from obscurity

There’s no need to be a closet comic nerd anymore. The genre has exploded into accepted popularity over the last 10 years and it’s definitely something worth openly celebrating. If you’re like me, however, and relatively new to the scene, you might be surprised to find the roots of Canadian comic artists went mainstream more …

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Slap on a Hat, Slip into this Book

Every summer, Rose and her family pack up and head to their cottage in Awago Beach. There, the long days melt into lake swims and beach fires, counting stars, five-cent candies, watching movies and running around with her summer-sister, Windy. It’s summertime, and the living is easy, right? But this year something feels off. In …

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A book Canadians “must read”

An attack leaves two girls hospitalized. Two families looking for answers. In the Break Metis writer, Katherena Vermette tells the stories.

Playing in the Dark

“Think of magic as a tree. The root of supernatural ability is simply the realization that all time exists simultaneously. Humans experience time as a progression of sequential events in much the same way we see the horizon as flat: our reality is shaped by our limitations.” –excerpt from Son of a Trickster by Eden …

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The Grass is Greener Wherever Convenience Resides

“We imagined ourselves free of the hassles and troubles we’d accumulated in Toronto. We imagined a life without rushing, without the subway, without neighbours at each other’s throats, without the noise and frustration of daily commutes. Life with space. Life without the massacre of endless winter, frozen pipes, cracking plaster and mountains of snow to …

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Artist’s Amusing Alliterations

Visitors to the Yukon are seeing and feeling the territory for themselves. I don’t need to describe the landscape or the friendly Northern-way because these people are experiencing it. All Yukoners know that with the influx of tourists comes the inevitable question: “What should I get as a souvenir?” As an über-fan of both children’s …

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