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Books for the Holidays

Some interesting books for the particular people on your holiday gift list!

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For Your Favourite Foodie

Cedar and Salt: Vancouver Island Recipes from Forest, Farm, Field, and Sea, by DL Acken and Emily Lycopolus

About the book: Homegrown, modern recipes that feature the most treasured local ingredients from Vancouver Island’s forests, fields, farms and sea.

Off the shore of Canada’s west coast lies a food lover’s island paradise. Vancouver Island’s temperate climate nurtures a bounty of wild foods, heritage grains, organic produce, sustainable meats and artisan-crafted edible delights. This thoughtfully curated, beautifully photographed cookbook brings Vancouver Island’s abundant food scene into the kitchens of home cooks everywhere.
While celebrating such treasures such as fresh blackberries, foraged chanterelles and fiddleheads, freshly harvested spot prawns or oysters, line-caught spring salmon, grass-fed beef, and cultivated foods like heritage red fife wheat, the book's recipes highlight the most sought-after ingredients on the island and honour the producers and artisans dedicated to sustainable and ethical producing and harvesting.

Try recipes like Craft Beer–Braised Island Beef Brisket, Nettle and Chèvre Ravioli, and Beetroot and Black Walnut C …

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Books for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, and we've got recommendations for gorgeous books that make great gifts. 

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Out of Old Ontario Kitchens, by Lindy Mechefske

About the book: Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is a window into the past, exploring the stories of the First Peoples and settlers. It pays homage to all those who trapped and fished and hunted; to those who cleared the land and planted crops; and most importantly to all those women — our mothers and aunts, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers — who got up and lit the fire; who toiled and stirred and cooked and baked and who kept families alive through long hard winters, through plagues and depressions, famines and wars. Work every bit as important as agriculture, commerce, mining, politics, and the development of infrastructure.

With over a hundred historically sourced recipes as well as scores of old photographs, early artworks, botanical prints, and illustrations, Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is both a visual and virtual feast. If you want to know what life was really like in early Ontario, come to the table with us. Food stories are, after all, the real stories of our lives.

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Books for the Holidays Part Three

There's still time to find that perfect holiday gift for your special someone, and to that end, we're recommending more books for every kind of someone on your list. 

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For the Armchair Sleuth

Glass Houses, by Louise Penny

About the book: When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sureté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

In Glass Houses, her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters …

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Picture Books For the Holidays

These are some of our favourite books this year, titles that would make great gifts for readers of all ages.

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For the Tastemaker

A Horse Called Steve, by Kelly Collier

About the book: “Steve is a fine horse,” begins Kelly Collier's clever picture book. “But he thinks he could be finer. He wants to be EXCEPTIONAL.” When Steve finds a beautiful gold horn lying on the ground in the forest, he realizes he has found his path to the exceptional! He immediately ties the horn to the top of his head and prances off to show his friends. Not everyone is impressed, but most of his friends agree —Steve and his horn are indeed exceptional. In fact, many of his friends are so inspired, they decide to tie items to the tops of their heads as well. So when Steve discovers his horn has suddenly gone missing, he's devastated and frantically searches everywhere to find it. He won't be exceptional without his horn! Or will he?

This is a laugh-out-loud tale of an endearingly self-absorbed horse, illustrated in lively black-and-white artwork. Throughout the story, Collier interweaves humorous commentary and some definitions (such as for devastated: “That means really, really bummed.”). The tone of the book allows children to feel like they're in on the joke while the main …

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Books for the Holidays

14 Days until December 25! Still haven't finished your shopping? Well, here are a few suggestions to help you cross out a couple more items on your list. 

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For the Art Lover

The Girls With Stone Faces, by Arleen Paré

About the book: Arleen Paré, in her first book-length poem after her Governor General Literary Award-winning Lake of Two Mountains, turns her cool, benevolent eye to the shared lives of Florence Wyle and Frances Loring, two of Canada's greatest artists, whose sculptures she comes face to face with at the National Gallery of Canada. In the guise of a curator, Paré takes us on a moving, carefully structured tour through the rooms where their work is displayed, the Gallery's walls falling away to travel in time to Chicago (where they met at art school and fell in love in the 1910s), New York, and Toronto (where they lived and worked for the next six decades). Along the way, Paré looks at fashions in art, the politics of gender, and the love that longtime proximity calls forth in us. The Girls with Stone Faces is one of the finest collections of poetry about the lives of artists—and most importantly their work—to appear in Canada in many years.

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For the Canadian Committed to Reconciliation

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Books for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, but we've got you covered with amazing book suggestions for all the types on your list.

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For the CanCon TV Buff

25 Years of 22 Minutes, by Angela Mombourquette

About the book: The final chaotic season of Codco had just wrapped when Mary Walsh sat down at a Toronto bistro with George Anthony, then creative head of CBC TV's arts programming. She'd been thinking about a news-based comedy show—did he think that would fly? He did. That was the early '90s. Twenty-five seasons later, hundreds of thousands of Canadians continue to tune in weekly to This Hour Has 22 Minutes for its unashamedly Canadian, biting satirical take on politics and power. 

25 Years of 22 Minutes takes readers backstage to hear first-hand accounts of the show's key moments—in the words of the writers, producers and cast members who were there. Readers will have a front-row seat to the birth of the show—including a crisis that had producers scrambling in the very first episode—and offer an insider's take on the highs, the lows, and the daily grind behind the scenes at 22 Minutes.

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For the Dog Person: 

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More Books for the Holidays

With just days to go before Christmas, we wanted to get these recommendations onto your radar. Here are few more books to satisfy the particular types on your shopping list. 

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Book Cover Rising Abruptly

For Your Favourite Mountain Climber

Rising Abruptly, by Gisèle Villeneuve

Gisèle Villeneuve’s short stories test the elastic pull between passion and terror. For inspiration, Villeneuve turned to her personal history to examine what lures urban dwellers outdoors, to test themselves against peaks and valleys. Using the overarching metaphor of mountain climbing, she plays with form, language, and narrative to reveal our fears, our loves, our passions. Rising Abruptly is a perfect companion for anyone who likes to travel, loves a climber, or simply glories in the allure of the mountains.

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Book Cover Les Faux Bourgeois

For the Francophile

Les Faux Bourgeois: Bon Vivants on the East Side, by Andreas Seppelt

Les Faux Bourgeois Bistro is an award-winning French bistro situated at the awkward intersection of Kingsway and Fraser Street in an equally disjointed neighbourhood in East Vancouver. Founded in 2007, Les …

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Books for the Holidays: For Kids

We've got books under the tree for all the types on your list this season. Here are some recommendations for young readers. 

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Book Cover Cure for Wereduck

For Odd Ducks

Cure for Wereduck, by Dave Atkinson

Kate is an odd duck-literally. When the full moon arrives, the rest of her family turns into wolves, but she is a happy wereduck. Relatively happy, that is. Her family has been uprooted from the wilds of New Brunswick to a placid farming community in Ontario, thanks to a fellow werewolf, Marcus, selling them out to sleazy tabloid journalist Dirk Bragg. When Kate discovers her great­-great-­grandmother's recipe "A Cure for Werewolf," she can't help but wonder—is it really possible? Could she one day resist the call of the moon? Could she be free from the constant threat of exposure? When Marcus's abandoned werewolf son, John, books a desperate train journey back to New Brunswick at the full moon, the ancient recipe and its arcane ingredients are put to the test. Will Dirk Bragg finally corner Kate and John in their were­forms and expose them to the world, or will Cure for Werewolf keep them safe?

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For the Dino Freak

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Books for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, and we've got book recommendations for every kind of reader. 

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Book Cover Finding Franklin

For the Armchair Explorer 

Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search, by Russell A. Potter:

In 2014 media around the world buzzed with news that an archaeological team from Parks Canada had located and identified the wreck of HMS Erebus, the flagship of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Finding Franklin outlines the larger story and the cast of detectives from every walk of life that led to the discovery, solving one of the Arctic’s greatest mysteries. In compelling prose, Russell Potter details his decades of work alongside key figures in the era of modern searches and elucidates how shared research and ideas have led to a fuller understanding of the Franklin crew’s final months. Illustrated with images and maps from the last two centuries, Finding Franklin recounts the more than fifty searches for traces of his ships and crew, and the dedicated, often obsessive, men and women who embarked on them. Potter discusses the crucial role that Inuit oral accounts, often cited but rarely understood, played in all of these searches, and continue to play to this day, and offers historical and cultural context to the contemporary deb …

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The Final Dash: A List of Books for all the Types on Your List

There's just about a week left until Christmas Eve! So it doesn't count as "last-minute shopping" yet but we're certainly coming down to the final dash. And here's hoping we can help you hook up some of your loved ones with the perfect present (and even the less-loved ones for whom a present is still required). 

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Book Cover Mr Jones

For the Conspiracy Theorist: 

For the guy who thinks that 9/11 was an inside job, and still keeps scrapbooks of news clippings on Igor Gouzenko, may we suggest Mr. Jones, by Margaret Sweatman? If Graham Greene had written a Canadian Cold War novel, it might have been this one, the story of a disillusioned Canadian civil servant during the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, and his encounters with secret agents, spies and dreamers during a time of particularly heightened political tensions. And then there's his relationship with his wife, who has secrets of her own. The plot thickens, indeed, but have we also mentioned that, in addition to the plot, Sweatman's prose is gorgeous?

Book Cover The Trouble With Brunch

For the Hipster Hater:

For the pal who loves nothing more than …

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Gatherings: Hosting a Successful Open House

Book Cover Gatherings

Sustenance is fine, sure, but really, what is the point of food if not to bring people together?

In their new cookbook, Gatherings, celebrated food writers Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal share great recipes and tips for all kinds of events big and small for which friends and family gather around a table—weekend brunches, kids' birthdays, cocktail parties, book clubs, beer tastings and more. Including the December holidays, of course, the month kicking off today and beginning the mad dash through it all.

But don't just be dashing—remember also to savour and enjoy. And to help you out with that, we're pleased to feature great advice from Scott and Van Rosendaal on hosting a successful open house, and a recipe for their "Cheesy Christmas Tree," an idea so brilliant and simple that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it first. 

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Hosting a Successful Open House 

• Avoid cooking during an open house; with guests coming and going at different times you want to be free from the kitchen so you can greet them appropriately.

• This should be the easiest type of gathering you host; keep self-serve in mind when it comes to planning the menu.

• If serving hot foods, prepare them so they can be heated in batches, with a constant rotation of warm foods at the ready …

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Books: Help to Make the Season Right

Book Christmas Tree

Pictures of this Christmas book tree have been making the rounds online for the last week or two, representing a tangible link between reading and the spirit of the holidays. Though such a link would come as no surprise to anyone for whom gift-giving is a tradition, because there is no object on earth as easy to wrap as a book is. Even the clumsiest thumbs are capable of a present-worthy wrap job, thanks to compact solidity and right-angled symmetry. Further, once the wrapping is shed, the book is ready for reading straightaway, no batteries required, no plugging in to charge. And they come in such a magnificent range that there truly is a book out there for everyone, from board books for the newborn to large-print for the long-in-tooth, and anybody in between. The recipient doesn't even have to like reading in particular (though it helps), for there are so many books as extraordinary in their visual images as in their text.

Books have the potential to make everything that's wrong with Christmas right, to make gift-giving about more than acquisition and stuff. There is no such thing as ism for the consumer who buys her books from a local independent bookseller, and is selective enough to include books from independent presses in the mix. The consumer who is not bl …

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