Another Favorite Publisher: Firefly Books

Firefly Books Logo

Not long ago I commented on the remarkable Canadian publisher Douglas & McIntyre.   Another nifty Canadian publisher worth taking note of is Firefly Books, which emphasizes non-fiction.  Aside from McClelland & Stewart, a major Canadian publisher that is a division of Random House, it seems that when it comes to high quality books from Canada one of these two outfits is sure to have had a hand in such works.  While Richmond Hill, Ontario-based Firefly produces a high number of science, nature and “how to” type books, the titles that stand out for me are those focused on art and photography.  Their volumes in those two areas are among the best on their subject matters.

Pictured above is a random selection from the Firefly catalog.  Coincidentally, I have four of these and each is very well done for its subject matter.   Of these, David Silcox’s The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, is the subject of an earlier post here, and I plan to comment on Pat & Baiba Morrow’s The Yukon and George Walker’s Graphic Witness — each mesmerizing in its own way — in the next few weeks.

Although it’s generally not fair to judge a book by its cover, the graphic elements of book design can play a role in pulling in a prospective reader.  So it’s a minor complaint that the website for Firefly Books, unfortunately, does not do its catalog justice in this respect.  When searching for a book a listing of titles is initially displayed and one must click on the title to get more information and only then get a visual on a given title.  Of course, this is a non issue once you’ve located the book for which you were searching or already have it in your hands

Douglas & McIntyre: An Exceptional Indy Publisher

Although several volumes produced by the Vancouver-based Douglas & McIntyre have sat upon my shelves for quite awhile,   I had not focused on this independent publishing powerhouse until I recently posted some thoughts about art in the Pacific Northwest and pondered the coincidence that two art books (Shore, Forest and Beyond and Mythic Beings) mentioned then were from D&M.  I also count Inuksuit (noted in O’Canada Blog on January 31, 2011) and Arctic Eden  among my books from D&M that contain beautiful images of special aspects of the Canadian physical and cultural landscape.

Exploring their catalog of titles, what strikes me are the diverse range and high quality — there are many award wimmers here — of Douglas & McIntyre’s art-themed volumes and its literary fiction and non-fiction.   Its affiliated imprint, Greystone Books, is also quite good.  I’ve added several to my wish list.   Some of the titles that stood out from my browsing include those below.

First Nations Art of the Pacific Northwest

During a trip to Vancouver last December with my two sons, we visited the Vancouver Art Gallery’s outstanding exhibition “Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection”.  What a spectacular display of traditional and contemporary artworks related to British Columbia!  The Vancouver Art Gallery and Douglas & McIntyre Publishers (more on them in a later post) collaborated on a book, Shore, Forest and Beyond, showcasing the exhibition that is well worth obtaining.  On that visit, I also brought back a copy of Gary Wyatt’s beautiful book, Mythic Beings: Spirit Art of the Northwest Coast (also published by Douglas & McIntyre).  While there’s much that can be said about the show and several of the commercial art galleries in that region that focus on such artists, for now it prompts me to share some contemporary art with traditional motifs from the first nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest and a few of the galleries where such works can be found.

Selected Art Galleries:

Ahtsik Native Art Gallery, Port Alberni, BC

Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, BC

The Path Gallery, Whistler, BC

Coastal Peoples Fine Arts, Vancouver, BC

Black Tusk Gallery, Whistler, BC

I-Hos Gallery, Courtenay, BC

Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

Spirit of the West Coast Art Gallery, Courtenay, BC

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