Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Do your Christmas shopping early!

We'll be at the Agi Christmas Fair at the Community Centre this Saturday (Nov 30) from 10-6 with AS-NEW books in all genres. They have no marks, no names, no tears, no signs of having been read before. Many are First Editions but we are offering them at "just for the island" prices ranging from $10 to $20 (no tax.) Cash only please. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Good Reads & Great Gifts

July 2013 Catalogue - For Islanders Only

It's summer. It's not raining. The sun's even out! Complete this idyllic picture with a great book to read - for you or someone else. Here's a tiny sample of books from the July catalogue.

Fabulous Fiction
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Soft cover; as new, $10)
Room by Emma Donohue (Hard cover, as new, $10)
The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland (First ed., HC, $10)

Remarkable Memoirs
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Soft cover, as new, $8.00)

Is there a hunter in your life? As a person who doesn't hunt, eats little meat, and feels guilty when she inadvertently walks through a spider's web, I found this memoir by the author of Mercy for The Children enlightening. Not that I could empathize, but I certainly appreciated the expanded point of view. The book is Facing the Hunter: Reflections on a Misunderstood Way of Life by David Adams Richard (First ed., HC, $10)

Another memoir on the topic (which I have not read) is A Hunter's Confession by David Carpenter (First ed., HC, $8)

For Gardeners and Gardener-Wannabes
Garden Diary: A Green Thumb Guide and Personal Planner by Maggie Malone (First ed., HC, $12)
Perennials for BC by Alison Beck and Marianne Binetti (SC, $12)

For Beach & Nature Lovers
Ocean Alpine: BC Nature Guide by Joy and Cam Finlay (First ed., SC, $10)
Living Things We Love to Hate by Des Kennedy with Foreword by David Suzuki. Inscribed by author. (SC, $8)
Seashore of BC by Ian Sheldon (New, SC, $10)

For Children and the Young-at-Heart
Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes by Margaret Atwood (First ed., HC, $12)
The Kids' Cottage Book: Official Activity Book of Summer by Jane Drake and Ann Love (Large, SC, $8)
The Kids' Book of Canada's Railway: How the CPR was Built by Deborah Hodge (First ed., HC, $10)
Who Runs This Government Anyway: A Guide to Canadian Government by Joanne Stanbridge (First ed., SC, $8)
Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu (First ed., HC, $10)

Noteworthy Non-Fiction
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (First ed., HC, $10)
The Legacy: An Elder's Vision for a Sustainable Future by David Suzuki. Foreword by Margaret Atwood. Signed by author. (First ed., HC, $15)

All 150 books in the catalogue are suitable as gifts: they're clean and in new or as-new condition. Many are first editions and some are signed or inscribed by the author. The catalogue lists titles, authors, editions, and prices by genre. You'll notice that the prices are very reasonable - usually half the list price or less.

To get your copy of the full July 2013 catalogue, email me at Then, if you see a book (or two or three) you'd like to view, let me know. You can come by our house to view them or meet me at FolkLife Village or I'll drop them off next time I'm in your neighbourhood.

Happy reading!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2013 Gift Catalogue

For Islanders Only

This is a perfect opportunity to stock up on books for gift-giving - for others and/or yourself! All 150 books in the May catalogue are suitable as gifts: they're clean and in new or as-new condition. Many are first editions and some are signed or inscribed by the author. The catalogue lists titles, authors, editions, and prices by genre. You'll notice that the prices are very reasonable - usually half the list price or less.

To get your copy of the catalogue, just email me at Then, if you see a book (or two or three) you'd like to view, let me know. You can come to our home-based studio to view them or meet me at FolkLife Village. (I write at the Old Crow a couple of afternoons a week, and am happy to meet you there with a bag of books.)

Happy reading!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wonderful News from Gabriola's New Society Publishers

The following statement (revised slightly) was issued today
by NSP spokesperson, Sara Reeves.

In a surprise move, New Society Publishersa former imprint of Douglas & McIntryre, has been re-acquired by its previous owners, Chris and Judith Plant, and Carol Newell of Renewal Partners. Judith Plant will once again take on the role of Publisher and all distribution channels will remain unchanged. D&M, the company that purchased New Society in 2008, declared itself insolvent in October 2012, and the BC book publishing community has been wondering if New Society could be reclaimed.

Chris and Judith Plant with Mango the cat

A mission-driven company, New Society Publishers has for decades published books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society, and has conducted its business in a way that models that vision, bringing to print authors whose work inspires and offers tools for change.

New Society led the book publishing community in Canada through a collaborative arrangement with Friesens, a leading Canadian printer, by committing to print all of its books on 100 percent post-consumer recycled book paper, and making that paper available on the shop floor, thereby making it ready and affordable for others. New Society was also the first publisher to go carbon-neutral and was named BC Publisher of the Year in recognition of this and other achievements. 

The “new” New Society will continue to acquire books with an activist focus. For, as publisher Judith Plant says, “Given climate change, ecological limits, the end of cheap energy, and the underlying economic and social collapse here and around the world, the party’s over, as New Society author Richard Heinberg succinctly puts it. We’re at a tipping point, and we need tools, techniques, strategies and inspiration for radical change, now.”

New Society is also embracing other technological challenges facing the publishing industry in the 21st century. Explains Plant, “Of course we sell all of our books as ebooks, and we plan to continue this. But the real challenge as a publisher is adapting to the broader electronic culture. We’re working on proactive ways to harness these technologies to work for our authors in getting their critical messages out to the reading public, in whichever form that public might use.”

“Courage and resiliency are at the core of New Society Publishers’ corporate culture, and this has never been more evident than in the past months,” says Plant, “when our committed, passionate, smart and savvy staff stuck with New Society through uncertainty and constrained working conditions.”

It all gives the distinct impression that if anyone is going to survive this time of turmoil and transition in the industry, this team will.

Congratulations from The Island Book Shoppe! 
This is such good news for Gabriola Island
and great news for the publishing industry and book lovers everywhere!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Books I Loved in 2012

I started keeping a "Books I've Read" journal a couple of years ago. Initially my motivation was to be better prepared for my Book Club (BC) because whenever I read a BC selection months ahead of the meeting, I would find myself scrambling to recall the characters and story line by the actual discussion. But now I keep my "Book Journal" as much for me and my friends as for BC. (Nevertheless, the motivation is essentially the same: to help my aging brain remember!) I love being able to quickly look up the essence of a story - and my personal reaction to it - when a friend asks for a recommendation or opinion on a particular book. Without my journal, I might be able to say, with some confidence, "I loved it" or "Nah, skip it" but often I would have forgotten why I felt that way. And for me, the 'why' matters.

The thing is, my opinion of a book can change dramatically from one reading to the next, especially if there are years in between. Clearly, it isn't the book that changes! It's somethig in the reader, in me. And maybe in you? How we respond to a book at a given moment depends on a variety of factors including our mood and our life experience, both of which change, of course.

This year my favourite fiction reads included:
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • Wild Lives by Monique Proulx
  • The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
  • and the post-acopalyptic tale, Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland.
In all these stories, complex and believable characters, unforgettable characters, drive the story. Although set in various parts of the world -- Ethiopia, Maine, Quebec, Washington State, California -- the human dramas that are played out are placeless, rooted in human nature at its best and its worst. They are filled with characters I won't easily forget.

In the non-fiction category, my favourite book this year was, without a doubt, The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram. This remarkable book about the roots of the gradual disconnection between modern (literate) civilizations and the natural world, and the consequences of that disconnection, changed the way I see the world. It is not a light read (!) but I took my time, gleaning the wisdom I could in small bites. Abram's sometimes poetic use of language often snuck up and delighted me, kept me going, hungry for more. Here's one line I noted in my Book Journal:

" ... smells and tastes and chirping rhythms warmed by the sun and shivering with seeds."

What about you? Any favourite books of 2012 you're willing to share? (Just use the comment box below.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Happy New Year everyone!  Dennis and I hope you all had a lovely holiday season with friends and family - and that you are now eager to dig into some serious winter reading ... 

This blog, which replaces the Island Book Shoppe website, might help with that. I will be posting book reviews, links to interviews with authors, and "book world" stories and news. I'll also let you know about our newly-acquired books, book sales, local readings, and other literary events. So be sure to "Follow" us by submitting your email address on the left. Then, each time there is a new post (hopefully a few times a month) you'll get the link in your inbox. What could be easier!