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Self-published titles strong on history

'Tis the season for all book publishers to inundate the reading public with new titles, especially books that will make great gifts.

'Tis the season for all book publishers to inundate the reading public with new titles, especially books that will make great gifts. Before you buy, give a thought to the local authors on the Sunshine Coast, many of whom have self-published their own interesting books and sell them through Coast Books, Talewind Books or other outlets.Who hasn't talked to Sechelt's Terry Barker at farmers' markets and fall fairs? He's one of the Coast's most visible and gregarious of self-published authors who promotes his three volume set, Sunshine Sketches, that features his own illustrations and vignettes of the Sunshine Coast, also published in Coast Reporter.When Barker first put pen to paper on volume one, he was not clear on his goal. Now, he says, he realizes that the little books are a way of documenting history, providing a light-hearted record for future generations. He maintains that his latest, The Last of the Sunshine Sketches, will, indeed, be his last.The most recent self-published book on the Coast delivers a huge chunk of history. Growing Up in Grandview appeared in August. It's an illustrated three generation story, part memoir, written by Gibsons author Joan Proctor. She may be remembered for her regular column, Happily Ever Laughter, a weekly feature in the former newspaper, The Press, and previously in the Peninsula Times."Every day something crazy happens," says the comical author, who likes to turn funny incidents of true life into stories.Years ago, Proctor's sense of humour drew the attention of a Los Angeles syndicate, and her columns, similar to those of the Erma Bombeck series, appeared in many newspapers across the U.S.Growing Up in Grandview is her first full-length book written with love about her old neighbourhood, the Grandview area of Vancouver's East End."Grandview is so different today," she says. "I wanted to write about the way it used to be Ñ a little English-type neighbourhood during the 1940s and 1950s." She's already looking forward to her next book, a collection of her humorous columns.Chris Weicht, a retired professional pilot, has been prolific on the subject of aviation history. This year, the Roberts Creek author published his second book, Pacific Airway, in an anticipated seven book series (available at Coast Books) and is even now working on the third, Air Route to the Klondike, an aviation history of the Yukon. His first book, not of this series, entitled Jericho Beach and the West Coast Flying Boat Stations was published in 1997 and became a bestseller in Canada.On Nov. 3 at the Sechelt Public Library, Weicht will give a talk and slide show in honour of the Year of the Veteran with material drawn from Jericho Beach. He plans to include little known facts about the air force presence on the West Coast during the war, enemy submarines in our waters and the threat of balloon bombs. Copies of Pacific Airway, containing original photos and firsthand recollections by airmen who participated in West Coast aviation from 1919 to 1960, will be for sale at the talk.Last August, many of the local authors gathered at the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt to show and sell their books, at a display organized by writer Stella Mutch. Her title, Song of Salmon, is more than just a cookbook. It offers articles, myth, poetry and stories about salmon, along with recipes and praise for the hatcheries as a community resource. Mutch says there are many other songs of salmon in the making, but right now she's working on another project, The Moon Calendar 2007.Other authors whose books can be found at local outlets include Pauline Lawson's Darling, Pass the Darjeeling, a richly illustrated tea book, and Vene Parnell's A Portrait of Gibsons, a soft cover, full colour photography book.Ê