Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Local Book Nook #3: British Columbia, Canada

I am very excited to have the first Local Book Nook installment of 2018! Local Book Nook is a blog series I started last year, where I feature readers from all over the world talking about their favourite local books and authors.  If you want to read previous posts or learn how to participate, click here

Today on the blog to share her favourite local books is Shvaugn of The Borrowed Bookshelf. Shvaugn's blog has quickly risen from the ranks as one of my favourite blogs, as she consistently features lesser known books and great, diverse CanLit. One of my favourite posts is her Women in Translation Month Bingo, but really, all of them are great so go check out her blog when you're done here.

Where are you from?

Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta

My name is Shvaugn and I'm from a bunch of places. I grew up in various places along the BC coast and a small city on unceded Secwepemc territory in BC. I went to college in Kelowna on unceded Syilx/Okanagan territory, and university in Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory. Now I live in a small rural town in southern Alberta, which is Treaty 7 territory, traditional land of the Blood Tribe, Piikani Nation, Siksika Nation, Stoney Tribe and Tsuu T'ina Nation.

Because I've moved a lot, it's hard to identify as being solely from one place. I largely identify as British Columbian, specifically from the Shuswap region.


Lilooet, BC

Growing up in the Shuswap, there's a strong literary scene. Word on the Lake is the local writer's festival in Salmon Arm and has been going strong for over a decade. Bookingham Palace is the local bookstore, and there are also two used book stores, Hidden Gems and Book Nook. The library branch is also pretty kickass. 

Ottawa, ON

Living in Ottawa, there's a number of adorable second hand book stores, a strong (and slightly pretentious in my opinion) literary scene in both French and English. The Ottawa library is also fantastic with great branches and programs, and strives to serve areas without a branch by bookmobile.

The town I'm living in now doesn't have a bookstore at all. The only places to buy books are the thrift stores, Walmart and the grocery store. Thank goodness for the library. Alberta has a number of fantastic library systems and if you can't find the book you're looking for in your local system, you can order it online through interlibrary loan through the Alberta Library which covers the whole province.

Salmon Arm, BC

What are some of your favourite local books or authors?

Whenever I feel homesick for BC, I turn to one of these books or authors. 

Skin Like Mine by Gary Gottfriedson is a fantastic collection of poetry. Gottfriedson is a member of the Secwepemc First Nation and a lot of his poetry is set in the area surrounding Kamloops. 

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote. Coyote is one of my favourite storytellers and has an amazing ability to craft stories that are beautifully centred on people. They're also an oral storyteller so I recommend checking out the audiobook which Coyote narrates themself.

Salt Spring Island, BC

Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson is a beautiful, heartbreaking, moving coming of age novel that blends history, mythology and family. I lived in a different area of the BC coast, but Robinson's description of the Pacific and the coastline really connected with me when I was missing BC.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a recent favourite of mine. It's a really interesting and compelling read about time, quantum physics, island living, zen buddhism, depression and writing. 

Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life by Brian Brett. This book is part memoir, part history of Salt Spring Island, part poetry collection. Which doesn't sound like a fantastic sell but it's such a beautiful book. I lived on Salt Spring Island for a couple of years as a kid and still long for the arbutus trees and the beaches.



Shvaugn is a book lover who reads a lot, drinks too much tea, and owns a cat who only half loves her. She currently lives in rural Alberta in a small town without a bookstore. Her main reading interests include CanLit, fantasy, sci-fi, and queer books, but she'll read just about anything. Except westerns, she's never really liked westerns unless they're contemporary romance. A long-time supporter and lover of libraries, the majority of the books she reads and reviews are library books. You can find her reviewing books at the borrowed bookshelf.

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