P’lovers Book Club: A Possible Madness

October 24th, 2012

by Frank MacDonald – $19.95

A Possible Madness

Frank MacDonald writes about what he knows – the people, community and politics of small town Cape Breton. This novel starts with a death and winds its way through 60 years of history into the kind of tangle that occurs when old resentments and fears come face-to-face with present-day differences around environmental preservation and economic development.

Mrs. Big Sandy (and her husband Big Sandy) are central characters, even though Big Sandy dies at the beginning of the book. Big Sandy’s funeral filled the church and the front page of the local paper, ‘The Shean Witness’. Father Eddie Walker’s eulogy skirted the facts of Big Sandy’s life to dwell upon the historic significance of his passing which centres around what will happen to the family home and the land on which it sits.

Another key character is David Cameron who is the current Editor of the town’s newspaper. Cameron had recently returned to Cape Breton with his wife, Alexandra, and children, Tony and Mary, for a summer vacation from his job with a Toronto newspaper. He decided to make his life in his hometown of Shean, wanting his children to have a childhood in the small community. Alexandra, his wife, returned to Toronto to her job, planning to have the children visit during vacations.

Add to the list of important characters a young woman, Rita MacDonald, who recently left her dream job as a cruise ship nurse to come home to Shean to look after her father, Ronald MacDonald after he had a stroke.

David begins to hear unsettling bits of gossip around the town mostly at The Gulf Grill where the local people gather for coffee and lunches. He and Rita uncover devious plans by unknown business people and government workers for the expropriation and destruction of Mrs. Big Sandy’s house, the building of a seawall and plans to begin strip mining for coal.

When all this is exposed to the towns’ people in ‘The Witness’, the townspeople become divided, some wanting new construction and jobs and some wanting to maintain the town as it is. Old grievances imagined or real come to the surface but a crisis of a house fire – which sends David’s children to Hospital, helps new friendships develop and long held feelings of wrongdoing and resentment heal.

This novel is a great yarn and, while fiction, sounds very familiar to some of the current issues many small towns are facing when development is pitted against environmental protection.

P’lovers Book Club: The Rest is Silence

July 27th, 2012

by Scott Fotheringham – $29.95

The Rest is Silence

This is a fabulous first novel and we are already hoping for a second!

‘Lily Lake Road, North Mountain, Nova Scotia. Islands of quiet remain, where we can hear bird songs and the air smells sweet, but they are shrinking.I have found one in the woods where I feel safe. I moved here because this was far from the rest of civilization-from Boston, New York, Toronto and I had grown weary of a world that didn’t make sense.’

Mr. Fotheringham takes the reader between the tranquil backwoods life in rural Nova scotia and the gritty urban life of New York City.

‘The calendar said the summer had ended but waves of heat rose from the pavement of New York anyway, enveloping Benny as she walked home from her grad School lab. I came to this school to learn how to rid the planet of plastic. When our grandparents were kids, there were no plastic bags, no yogurt containers, no six pack rings, nothing.’

In both the chapters on living on Lily Lake Road and the chapters on living in New York City, the characters are so genuine the reader feels he knows them. The main character himself, who has escaped urban life, in search of some peace; Martin and Jen, neighbours, who help with the homestead; Art , living on his own now that his wife has Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home; Lina pitching her tent near the fire circle, bringing the wisdom of her first nations ancestry.

And as the reader moves through the worlds of the locations and the characters, the reader wonders ‘What is the connection between the main character’s living on the land and Benny’s life in New York City, doing research to develop a bacteria to eat plastic?’  The author keeps this tension until near the end of his novel and the ending is not without questions and not without hope.

Scott Fotheringham holds a PHD in molecular biology and genetics and has co-authored many scientific articles about genetically engineered fungi, bacteria and fruit flies. His knowledge perfectly enables him to bring credible realism to ‘The Rest is Silence’.  A book not to be missed!

P’lovers Book Club: I Am Not a Plastic Bag

July 27th, 2012

By Rachel Hope Allison – $22.50

I Am Not a Plastic Bag

This book is a graphic novel…which is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art, either in experimental design or in traditional comics format.

Artist and storyteller Rachael Hope Allison tells the story of what happens when we casually throw away our trash and she brings to life the plight of our oceans in this moving graphic novel.  Her delicate art shows us that when even just one plastic bag is thrown away and is carried by wind, it can find its way to an ocean.

An excellent foreword is provided by Jeff Corwin, a biologist who has work with endangered species and ecosystems all over the world.  He describes the amount and diversity of unwanted material we produce and discard every day. Globally, humankind discards,on our planet Earth, about 5 billion tons of trash each year.  The book ends with additional information about ocean debris and threatened marine life along with suggestions as to how we can help to reduce our footprint on the world’s oceans.

Given the format and the message, this is a book for all ages.

Curtains are Open Blog

May 29th, 2012

Click Here for a great article on the ‘Curtains are Open’ Blog on P’lover’s new Halifax location.

Environmentally Sensitive Personal Care Products

May 7th, 2012

P’lovers tries to always ensure that we have the best environmentally sensitive products available and we are fierce in terms of screening everything we sell. Several years ago, for example, we chose to no longer carry anything with chemical fragrances and only stock personal care items that use essential oils. We welcome your thoughts and comments as to how we can continually do better.

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P’lovers Book Club: Wildlife Heroes

May 7th, 2012

40 Leading Conservationists and the Animals They Are Committed to Saving
by Julie Scardinia and Jeff Floken – $23.00

This is both a beautiful and inspiring book with amazing pictures of people who are working to save extraordinary endangered species of our land, water and air.

Each chapter is about a unique animal or bird or fish and is divided into paragraphs outlining facts of their habitat, their life habits and why it is important to preserve this species. And for each species, there is a picture of the wild life hero who is working to save that particular species along with their education and the reason they have chosen to do the important work they are doing.

For instance, Nguyen Van Thai, with a graduate certificate from the University of Kent in Britain, is a resident of Vietnam. As a young boy growing up in Northern Vietnam, most families didn’t have much and hunted wild meat to feed their families. Thai was very sad when he saw two people from his village attack an “Asian Pangolin’s” burrow, knowing that the captured pangolins would be going into the cooking pot!

Pangolins in Vietnam are endangered. Two other Asian species of pangolins and two of the African Pangolin species are classified as Near Threatened. Pangolins play a critical role in natural insect control, especially ants and termites, saving humans millions of dollars in pest damage, reducing the need for harmful chemicals. As well, pangolin burrows provide shelter for some rodents and reptiles.

Ngugen Van Thai is just one of forty conservationists profiled in this book, along with the species they are committed to preserving. It is likely that the reader will learn of species never heard of before. These inspiring people are not only trying to save these species, but through their work they are also working on related and crucial wild life issues: climate change; fire; wild life consumption and wild life disease; habitant loss; and ocean degradation.

This is both a ‘feel good’ book in terms of knowing how hard people are working to conserve things which are endangered but also a ‘worry’ book as one realizes all that is at stake if we do not find ways to help these heroes.

BIG NEWS!

April 13th, 2012

P’lovers is proudly celebrating its 20th birthday this year.  One of our ways of marking this milestone is that after 17 years in Park Lane, P’lovers is migrating to a new nest.

As of May 12th, P’lovers will be located in a spacious, light-filled new location in The Trillium at 1443 South Park Street.

Please come see us and help us begin our next 20 years of serving Halifax with eco-alternatives…for you and for the planet.

The Rest is Silence Book Tour

April 13th, 2012

Come out and celebrate the release of Scott Fotheringham’s remarkable new novel ‘The Rest is Silence’ – P’lovers is supporting two of the three events and will have books available for sale on May 2 at the Company House in Halifax,, on May 5 at the store in Mahone Bay and all of May at our two stores.

P’lovers Book Club: The Urban Food Revolution

March 12th, 2012

By Peter Ladner – $18.95

The Urban Food Revolution

This book is full of both fascinating facts and figures and inspiring examples of how people are trying to change the way we feed cities. Some issues covered by the author have been written about before – such as (a) the decline of fish stock in our oceans; (b) the huge amount of money spent on carbonated beverages ($12 billion was spent on carbonated beverages in American supermarkets last year!); (c) how difficult it is for inner city neighbourhoods stores to supply fruits and vegetables at all, let alone ones produced locally; (d) the perils of soil erosion and water shortages; (e) peak oil and carbon pricing; and (f) shortages of people willing to be farmers in a world largely controlled by large corporations.

Even though all of these topics can be hugely depressing, Ladner fins a way, through balanced reflection and writing, to show us what is already possible in terms of producing health food locally.  From the streets of downtown Detroit to the community gardens of Montreal, we see ways individuals and groups of citizens and urban leaders are addressing the issues of food security and the means to make changes for the better in our food productions and availability.

A lot of the book is about planning cities, but planning isn’t just for professional planners. We all contribute by the choices we make every day: how we get to work, where we live, what we are willing to pay for water and what food we choose to eat and grow.  This is a valuable book, with lots of information we can use to help us see how our choices matter and how we can contribute to changing the way we feed ourselves and our urban dwellers.

P’lovers’ next Book Club Meeting is on Monday, March 26, at 6 PM.
The book is ‘Wildlife Heroes’.

P’lovers Book Club: The Happiness Project

February 13th, 2012

by Gretchen Rubin – $17.99

The Happiness Project

This book has become an inspirational best seller. The author, Gretchen, became aware, one day, on a bus ride to work, that despite having a loving husband, two healthy daughters and work she loved something was missing. So she came up with what she called ‘the happiness project’ which was, for her, an approach to changing her life and experiencing more joy each day.

Gretchen started slowly. She first identified the situations that made her happy and also researched many books from varied authors about happiness. She started in January, the first month of a new year, and came up with projects for all twelve months her year, Each month has a theme and includes an elaborated list of four or five ways each month to increase happiness. The bottom line is that her project worked for her and she decided to share it with others.

“The Happiness Project” is very easy to read being both serious and light-hearted at the same time. One can read it from start to finish, in the order it is printed, or one can start with the month or the theme of one’s choice. It’s a great book to read and to have nearby as a reference or reminder to help on the road to a fulfilled and happy life.

The next book is “The Urban Food Revolution” by Peter Ladner – $18.95