CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale

I’m pretty pumped about finding eleven solid ‘reads’ at the CBC Big Book Sale.  For going on four weeks, I’ve been down for the count with some hack and honk virus and reading is right up my alley right now.  I’ve been avoiding gatherings and sticking to time on my own as much as possible.  There’s nothing wrong with that sometimes.  Anyway, here are my treasures, a mere $4.00 a piece.

First, I picked up the first book of Ken Follett’s Century trilogy.  It’s been a long time since I read Follett, having thoroughly enjoyed his first Trilogy.  I’ve heard good things about this one also, so looking forward to propping this big baby up in bed very soon!

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E. Annie Proulx is one of my favourite writers and I spotted one that I haven’t read, That Old Ace in the Hole.  I’d have to agree with this; Prize–winner Proulx imparts this information with such minute accuracy that it’s like seeing a painting up close and magnified, with each tiny brush stroke lovingly emphasized. One grows quite fond of the characters so beset by nature, fate and bizarre accidents, especially old Ace Crouch, a lifelong repairer of windmills, who represents the joke that the title promises.

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Complicated, Iris Murdoch became of interest to me when I saw the movie, Iris.  The fact that she suffered Alzheimer’s disease made her story so special.  Words meant everything to Iris, in her life.  Her husband, John Bayley, also a writer, was dedicated to Iris Murdoch in the most amazing way.  When I remember his part in her life, I think of my father.  I found The Green Knight at the Big Book Sale.

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I absolutely treasure Timothy Findley’s writing and consider them some of my favourites!  If you haven’t read Findley, please do!  I was happy to find hidden amid all of the more popular things in the ‘General’ section,  a novella, You Went Away.  Excited for this.  Timothy Findley’s female characters are forever-compelling.

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I’ve met Karsten on at least two or three occasions and heard him speak twice.  He wrote and filmed Being Caribou, a book and documentary that inspired me and my growth as a human being.  I heard him speak of this Walking the Big Wild, but had never picked it up.  Whoot!  Another great and hidden gem!

Walking the Big Wild is the story of Karsten Heuer’s extraordinary 18-month journey of hiking, sking, and paddling across 2100 miles of mountains, forests, and rivers from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to the Canadian Yukon. Accompanied by occasional human companions and a remarkable border collie named Webster, Heuer encountered immense challenges: storms, avalanches, floods, and grizzlies. At the end of the journey, Heuer proved that there is nearly continuous wilderness that can support wildlife along the length of the Rockies-and is salvageable if the right decisions are made now.

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I picked this one up out of interest in the topic and the geographies of the north…quite intrigued by this one as its format includes both poetry and prose, a sincere concern for the ice.  Looking forward to reading Enduring Dreams: An Exploration of Arctic Landscape by John Moss.

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As I gazed upon the options in the Visual Arts and Photography section, I felt as though I was looking at my own collection at times.  This one, Female Gazes, stood out because it is beautifully illustrated with concise autobiographic material on each of 75 female artists.  Fun!

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If you’ve read any Nick Bantock books, you would know that Barbara Hodgson, another Vancouver writer, has a similar approach of writing mythologies along side amazing collage and visual images.  I don’t have this little treasure, and given my travels with daughter Erin, back packing from Palermo, Sicily all the way up to Venice, Italy, this will be a gem!

With its genius for art and culture, there is no country in the world as wonderfully civilized (and civilizing) as Italy. But seething below this surface is a long and shadowy history of corruption, cruelty, and the generally bizarre. For centuries it has been overrun by waves of invaders, all contributing their own questionable bits of culture, and all wantonly adding to the confusion. So, how is a poor visitor supposed to make sense of this anarchic place? Co-creator of the cult favorite Paris Out of Hand, Barbara Hodgson has neatly brushed away the chaos and assembled an eclectic treasury of forgotten and overlooked oddities: long-lost popes, bloodthirsty mercenaries, tempestuous artists, and inexplicable follies. Italy Out of Hand is not a traditional guidebook, with hotel addresses and hours of operation. Rather, it is an idiosyncratic tour of a country that is too overwhelming and extravagant for most of us to comprehend without a little guidance. Illustrated with an equally eclectic selection of photographs, portraits, and art, Italy Out of Hand is the perfect companion for those who like their truths to be stranger than fiction.

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If you listen to CBC radio at all, you will be familiar with Thomas King.  I enjoyed several seasons of his Dead Dog Cafe series.  He is a consummate story teller!  I was so happy to find this little treasure.  Tom King has a way of using tongue-in-cheek humour to get to the heart of painful histories.

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I’m not familiar with this author, but the topic was of interest to me.  I was thinking of artist, Bev Tosh’s series of War Brides.  An historical fiction, I think this will be appealing to me.

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I did really well finding these books at the sale.  I hope my Calgary readers have a chance to get out to make their own selections over this weekend.  Happy reading!

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