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West of 119°

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British Columbia has a wonky, diagonal north/south borderline that falls somewhere between longitudes of 115° in the south and 120° in the north. Near Beauty Creek (the fictional setting of Cambium Blue) it's 119°. Since this geography moulded the novel (and me) as much as my lifetime of reading, I have built my list around BC books/writers. When I'm working on a novel (and when I'm not) I read a lot of nonfiction but novels are my first love, so I am always all over the place with books.

I plucked these titles from my shelves because they have shaped either my writing life and practice, or my understanding of this diverse place I call home, or both.

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Swamp Angel, by Ethel Wilson

This BC classic was first published in 1954. This was the first novel by a BC woman, about a BC woman, that I’d ever heard of. And not just any woman but a woman leaving her husband to live in the interior of BC. A woman leaving her husband to become. I snatch up old copies at yard sales and pass them on.

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