In the holiday seasons of the “before times,” I would take some time to read a handful of newly-released books and pair them with a beverage. One of the pleasures of a wintery afternoon—a glass and a page turner.
After the distractions of 2020 and 2021, making sure everyone knows how to Zoom, having turkey dinner delivered, ordering gifts early to avoid delays from natural disasters, the books and booze pairings are back.
And how lovely to feature books written by a childhood friend, a fellow champion of B.C. wine, one of Canada’s most enjoyable food writers, a beloved cartoonist, and one new discovery. Enjoy.
The Descendants, Robert Chursinoff
Rob—I can call him that because his parents grew up with my parents and we and our siblings used to hang out around Castlegar as kids—has penned a debut novel that pulls in layers of our shared heritage as Doukhobors, wrapped in layers of sometimes heartbreaking modernity. Reading portions of it drew me right back to the Kootenays. Suggested pairing: One Faith Vineyards Grand Vin, because ultimately the book is about just that—faith.
The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines, Luke Whittall
Yes, you can probably fit this book into the back pocket of some well-worn jeans as you traipse through a vineyard. Luke, and I can call him that because he’s driven me around in a golf cart, keeps adding to his repertoire of wine books. All wines are under $50, and you can peruse by attitude. Suggested pairing, under “Texas Gunslinger”: Lakeside Cellars Syrah. Save for the first spring BBQ and pass the book around while the meat’s grilling.
you are human and you need cake, Julie Van Rosendaal
Dinner with Julie
Why yes, I did have dinner with Julie this summer, and yes, I made the table share a huge Baked Alaska, and, yes, she has a recipe for it in this book that should be a stocking stuffer for anyone who bakes cakes. The back story of “blackout” poetry is an inspiration, as is the Nanaimo Bar Cake. Suggested pairing: a hot cup of Constant Comment tea spiked with bourbon, a dollop of honey, a squirt of fresh orange juice with a orange slice on top.
Wildlife for Idiots and Other Animal Cartoons, Adrian Raeside
Because animals in cartoons are funny, the cover has wild animals from a safari wearing “hello” nametags as if they’re at a networking event, and with chapters such as “Rakish Reptiles”, “Bodacious Bears” and “Ubiquitous Ungulates”, what’s not to love? Include subtle and not-so-subtle digs at humans messing everything up and you’ve got an enjoyable light-hearted read. Suggested pairing: Saintly, the good sparkling rosé. Fun and uncomplicated.
Incredible Crossings – The History and Art of the Bridges, Tunnels and Ferries that Connect British Columbia, Derek Hayes
A wonderful blend of beautiful images and history, if you’ve ever wondered about the bridges you cross, how mountain tunnels were made or what happened to that 10-minute ferry you used to ride across the Columbia – RIP Castlegar Ferry. When you travel the province, this is a great coffee table book to pick up instead of Google. Photo buffs will love flipping through it. Suggested pairing: Q&A, a red blend, so you can slowly sip through the questions and answers in the book.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.