From cooking to teen fiction, from travelogues to tombstones: books galore come through our doors at the Citizen. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Books, books, books: many by Cowichan Valley authors mean a stack of good reading

A Niagara of books flow through our doors at the Citizen

If you visit our offices at the Cowichan Valley Citizen and make your way back to the newsroom where the reporters lurk you’ll spot a well-filled bookcase against one wall.

It’s filled with the unsolicited books we receive — a great many by local writers — that we seldom have time or space to review.

I’ve decided to spend a little space this fall presenting them briefly. Gift-buying season will be upon us soon enough and your book-loving friends will like nothing more than discovering a fresh, new read to savour quietly amidst the hustle bustle of the year end.

So, book lovers, start your engines.


The Hot Springs Cove Story by Michael Kaehn. This book, by a Victoria author, is all about the beginning of Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, which is “tucked into Clayoquot Sound on the west side of Vancouver Island, and one of the chief attractions for visitors to Tofino. Learn more at Harbour Publishing. An ebook is also available.


Rescue to, What a Run by James McManus from Shawnigan Lake. If you want to learn more, contact Gladys McManus at 250-748-3775


The New Beachcombers Guide to the Pacific Northwest by J. Duane Sept. This new edition of a best-seller is sure to please almost anyone who loves the seashore. It’s been completely revised with more than 250 species added, along with 850 new colour photos in a surprisingly compact 410-page volume. It’s published by Harbour Publishing.


One-Pot Wonders: James Barber’s Recipes for Land and Sea by James Barber. The “new trade paper edition” of Barber’s classic cookbook, One-Pot Wonders, features more than 100 simple yet gourmet recipes to enjoy, either out on the boat, or when cooking space is limited. Released by Harbour Publishing, an ebook is also available.


The Mysterious Ledge by Loren Halloran. A Valley author, Halloran has taken on a tale of a young Cowichan Valley boy, Georgy Walker, who is mesmerized by an eagle circling high above a lone standing tree on a nearby mountain. Published by Author House.


Tales the Tombstones Tell by the Citizen’s own columnist T.W. Paterson. Ah, T.W., one of our favourite people around here and a fine raconteur as well as a painstaking researcher and entertaining writer. This walking guide to the cemeteries of the Cowichan Valley is filled with fascinating insights for armchair historians as well as easy-to-follow directions and diagrams for the more adventurous. Presented by Fir Grove Publishing, check out for info.


Catla and the Vikings by Mary Elizabeth Nelson. Published by Orca Book Publishers, this tale follows the adventures of a 13-year-old girl, who watches from afar as Viking invaders burn her village and imprison her and the other villagers.


Hannah & the Wild Woods by the Cowichan Valley’s Carol Anne Shaw. It’s spring break and 14-year-old Hannah Anderson is spending it with a group committed to cleaning Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s beaches of debris from the tragic Japanese tsunami of 2011. Hannah and her raven sidekick, Jack, are deep in an adventure. Woods loves writing for a young adult audience and this is the third book in her Hannah series. Check her out on Facebook at carolanneshawauthor.


Return of the Raven by Sue Coleman. Known to most of us as a superb painter of West Coast subjects, Coleman is strongly influenced by First Nations culture, which she loves to interpret in her own work. According to the jacket, this book is “the culmination of many years of research detailing the legends and background” to many of her paintings. It’s published by Friesen Press.


A Summer Father by Joanna M. Weston. When her father, Maj. John Jarmain died in the battle of Normandy on June 26, 1944, Weston was six years old. A book of Jarmain’s poetry was published in 1945 and Joanne read the poems again and again in an attempt to know the man behind the words. More than six decades later her own book of poetry gives us a poignant portrait of her absent father and her own war-marred childhood. Published by Frontenac House.


Compositions: Notes on the Written Word by Naomi Beth Wakan. This could be of special interest to our burgeoning community of writers. Wakan is a prolific writer and enthusiastic presenter of workshops on the subject of writing, especially by late bloomers. Check out the publishers Wolsak and Wynn for more information.


Once a Murderer by Zoe Landale is a book of poetry by a prize-winning Pender Island writer. The book jacket says “these poems are locked and loaded.” It’s published by Wolsak and Wynn.


Uprisings: a Hands-on Guide to the Community Grain Revolution by Sarah Simpson & Heather McLeod. This non-fiction book, by our own Sarah Simpson and her farmer friend, takes you on a fascinating journey from seed to loaf with everything you need to know about building a community with grain. Check out New Society Publishers for more info.


Slaves of the Bear Clan by Morgan Nyberg. This award-winning novel takes place 400 years after the death of civilization. The action ranges from Cowichan Bay to Ladysmith to Lake Cowichan. In a time of superstition and bloodshed, a single man, Frost, clings to the ideals that we take for granted. This is Book 5 of Nyberg’s post-apocalyptic series The Raincoast Saga. His books are available on Amazon at


Tails from the Truth Fairy by James Dure. This slim volume, illustrated by Poppy Shandler, is published by Dreampalace Publishing, and is Volume 2 of The Fire Fly Faerie series of children’s books, which includes words and pictures to colour.


The Codfish Dream: Chronicles of a West Coast Fishing Guide by David Giblin. This author worked as a fishing guide on Stuart Island. His reason for coming to the island “stemmed from a more practical need: the alarming state of his bank balance”, according to the book jacket, which also says the book, published by Heritage House, is about “what happens when the fish you catch take on a life of their own”.


Salt Spring Has Issues by John Bateman includes a forward by Arthur Black. This book features plenty of fun about the island, which is described as “often visited, occasionally misunderstood, and always entertaining.” Find out more at


Harry by Chris Czajkowski from the B.C. Interior. This is published by Harbour Publishing and is described as “A Wilderness Dog Saga”. We hear the tale from the pooch’s point of view, written by a woman who has spent nearly 30 years in her beloved wilderness, writing 11 books in that time.


A Field Guide to Marine Life of the Protected Water of the Salish Sea by Rick M. Harbo; A Field Guide to Marine Life of the Outer Coasts of the Salish Sea and Beyond by Rick M. Harbo; and A Field Guide to Foraging for Wild Greens by Michelle Catherine Nelson are three intriguing titles for the outdoor enthusiast from Harbour Publishing’s list.


River Tales: Stories from My Cowichan Years by Crofton’s Liz Maxwell Forbes. Swept up in the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s, two couples buy a rural property and set in motion what would be 20 years of adventure and misadventure for Forbes. The backdrop for this engaging picture of country living was the Cowichan River, a constant presence and reminder of what is most important in life. Published by Osborne Bay Books.

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