So, Christmas is only a few days away, and you're not ready. Don't panic. Here's the solution: you can still do all your Christmas shopping for everyone on your list at one easy location. Your nearest bookstore.
Bookstores give you the widest range of choice in gifts, from self-help books, cookbooks, how-to books, adventure, history, mystery, romance, and now, even 50 shades of eroticism, complete with S&M, for those so inclined.
I know there are E-books, and all kinds of other appliances with tiny screens to read books on, but you're trading convenience for the actual feel of a new book, the full page illustrations in children's books, and the chance to look erudite reading a real book on the SkyTrain, while everyone else is exercising their thumbs on their phones.
So here are a few new offerings from local and other publishers.
DEADLINES - Obits of Memorable British Columbians, by Tom Hawthorn (Harbour).
This is a book full of interest and surprises. Who knew that the inventor of the walkie-talkie, so necessary in the Second World War, once lived in Burnaby, owning the top of Capitol Hill?
Or that a famous singing cowboy Alberta Slim (and his horse) retired here? There are lots of fascinating life stories of aviatrixes, doctors, politicians, entertainers, artists. A great read and a great gift.
UNLIKELY LOVE STORIES, by Mike McCardell (Harbour).
McCardell's insightful stories are always good for a smile, chuckle or a tear, especially in this collection, with lots of local connections.
CORNERED - Hijinks, Highlights, Late Nights and Insights, by Ron MacLean (Harper-Collins). Just the book for hockey junkies longing for a hockey fix in these lean days.
The book is filled with stories of his own life, his broadcasting partner, Don Cherry, stories of important games and hockey players, all told with self-effacing humour.
THE ART OF THE IMPOSSIBLE - David Barrett and the NDP in Power, 1972-1975, by Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh (Harbour). This is an inside look, meeting by meeting, election by election, personality by politician, that covers all the characters involved in this game-changing period of B.C.'s history. A must for political addicts.
CANADA CROSSWORDS - BOOK 13, by Gwen Sjogren. A new treat for crossword addicts or their friends, just out for Christmas. Its themed puzzles and clues include lots of Canadian references,
ECHOES ACROSS SEYMOUR, by J. Pavlik, D.Smith and E. Smith (Harbour). If North Vancouver is in your past, or someone else's, either of you would enjoy this book of stories of the area from the Ironworkers Bridge to Deep Cove and beyond. Illustrated with lots of historic and current photos.
A YEAR AT KILLARA FARM, by Christine Allen, illus. Michael Kluckner (Harbour).
This description of a year in the south Fraser Valley, is part gardener's calendar, recipe book, and art book - completely attractive, interesting and useful. The authors loved their farm, and their enjoyment can be shared on every page.
GINTY'S GHOST, by Chris Czajkowski (Harbour). If you've dreamed about getting away from it all, living in the bush - you can do it vicariously as you read this interesting and detail-filled book about a woman who does just that - with some photos to illustrate.
TRUCKING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, by Daniel Francis (Harbour). This coffee-table sized book is full of photos of trucks, old and new, including a time-line of transportation from 1865, to the present day. The stories of the characters, the machines, the almost roads and rough terrain cover a fascinating aspect of our history.
DIRT OF AGES, by Gillian Wigmore (Harbour). Poetry ranging between the world around us and the worlds within us, vividly in Northern B.C., thoughtfully in the old world across the sea, Wigmore creates vibrating word pictures.
SONG AND SPECTACLE, by Rachel Rose (Harbour). Rose explores the mysteries of our human bodies, children, our daily world. She finds and marvels at the universal and beautiful, the pain and joy in everyday life.
GUBBY BUILDS A BOAT, by Kim La Fave and Gary Kent (Harbour). A lively story of fishing, set right on our West Coast. Done in full page comic book style, it even shows how to build a new fishing boat, when the old one gives out.
RAINBOW CROW, by David Bouchard, illus.
David Jean, music, Manantial, (Red Deer). An old Métis legend of how Crow brought the gift
of fire to a freezing world, at the cost of his beautifully coloured feathers and singing voice. An enclosed CD tells the tale in English, French and Metis.
THE LOST CHRISTMAS GIFT, by Andrew Beckham (Raincoast). An unusual and beautiful picture book about a magical Christmas adventure that had been lost, and now was found
AVA AND THE LITTLE FOLK, by Neil Christopher and Alan Neil, illus.
Jonathan Wright (Inhabit Media). An Inuit orphan boy is welcomed into the magical family of the tiny hunters who hide in the Arctic.
Beautiful illustrations and a charming story.
THE GIANT BEAR, by Jose Angutinngurniq, illus. Eva Widermann (Inhabit Media). A beautifully illustrated Inuit folk tale of the days of monster animals. A clever hunter manages to outwit and catch one of the giants and save his family.
GIFT DAYS, by Kari-Lynn Winters, illus. by Stephen Taylor. (Fitzhenry & Whiteside). Set in Sierra Leone, with full-page illustrations, this is about a little girl who wants to go to school like her brothers. It seems impossible, but she tries to help herself, and when her brothers finally help her, she grows up to help other girls go to school, too.
JASON'S WHY, by Beth Goobie (Red Deer). Told through the eyes of an autistic boy who is devastated when he is placed in a group home and how he and his mother eventually come to understand each other.
HOME IN TIME FOR DINNER, by Kathryn Ellis (Red Deer). What do you do if you suddenly see your picture in a missing kids ad? That's the problem for 15-year-old Chris, who decides to run away and find the rest of his family.
HOCKEY GIRL, by Natalie Hyde (Fitzhenry & Whiteside). The challenge: Can this girls' hockey team have a better season in their league than the boys' team does in theirs? The losers have to wear costumes and cheer for the winners.