The Year in Books: 2011

When the weather outside gets frightful, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, put up your feet and snuggle in for a delightful winter’s read.

November 21, 2011 | | Arts

Our annual review of new books by local authors and illustrators. Dream of your spring garden, solve a legal case, pursue your spiritual life, renovate your diet, or just bury yourself in a rollicking good tale. There’s plenty of opportunity to do all that and more in this year’s offerings of local books.

So, when the weather outside gets frightful, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, put up your feet and snuggle in for a delightful winter’s read.

The Untamed Garden

by Sonia Day

The Untamed GardenVictorian ladies deemed peonies to be a symbol of bashfulness. Not even close, says Sonia Day, writer and gardening columnist for The Toronto Star. “With their blowsy, D-cup blooms strutting atop those precarious chicken-leg stems they are (to modern eyes at least) the Dolly Parton of the garden.” With wit and luscious language, Sonia deconstructs flower lust, myth and history, both past and present. Gorgeously illustrated with photos, paintings, botanical drawings and saucy artwork, The Untamed Garden is sure to inspire passion in the hearts of all green thumbs. Sonia Day lives just west of Headwaters. (McClelland & Stewart, $26.99)

Landscapes and the Proposed Mega-Quarry

by Donna Wells

Landscapes Proposed Mega QuarryIn this book of beautiful photography, long-time Headwaters resident Donna Wells captures the long views and simple lines of the Melancthon farmland and rivers threatened by the proposed mega quarry. Donna says her purpose is to inspire an emotional reaction in the viewer and “create a visual description of the area and the way of life that will be altered irreparably” if unfettered development is allowed. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to ndact (North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Task Force). (Donna Wells, available at BookLore or order online at, $30)

Murder in Hum Harbour

by Jayne E. Self

Murder In Hum HarbourSea-glass designer and part-time medical secretary Gailynn MacDonald knows everyone in the sleepy Nova Scotia town of Hum Harbour. Or at least she thought she did until she found the very dead body of Doc Murray aboard his beached boat. Secrets bubble to the surface, and the list of suspects grows to include a distractingly handsome young doctor, her closest friends and even members of her own family.

Murder in Hum Harbour seamlessly blends humour, faith and mystery in this marvellous read. Jayne Self is a member of The Word Guild, a national association of Christian writers and editors, as well as The Headwaters Writers’ Guild. She lives in Orangeville. (Harbour Lights, $14.95)

In Full Uniform

by Anthony Carnovale

In Full UniformBullying is a childhood problem. Fourteen-year-old Jesse Cullen clings to this belief like a drowning swimmer to a lifeline. Someday, he believes, the students who torment him at school will grow up and out of their cruel games. But when terrorists crash airplanes into the Twin Towers, Jesse’s illusions are shattered. Bullying isn’t confined to the hallways at school; it’s everywhere, and he sees only one end to his pain. Suicide.

Orangeville’s Anthony Carnovale is the teacher-librarian at St. Michael Catholic School in Bolton. He based In Full Uniform on the true story of a 16-year-old Brampton student who took his own life after years of bullying. The book is now required reading for the staff of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. (iUniverse, $15.95)

A Recipe for Continuous Bloom

by Lorraine Roberts

Continuous BloomContinuous blooms are what every gardener strives to produce throughout our frustratingly short growing season, but no matter how carefully you plan, precious weeks may go by without a flower of interest brightening your plot.

Thankfully, Lorraine Roberts – co-owner and operator with her husband Robert of Caledon’s Plant Paradise Country Gardens – has come to our rescue. Gorgeous photography accompanies her recommendations, as well as information about which species attract birds and butterflies, resist hungry deer, are drought tolerant and have eye-catching foliage. Best of all, this guide is specific to the tricky Ontario climate and is ideal for use in the Headwaters area. (Plant Paradise Country Gardens, $29.95)

Out of the Wood

By Rosemary Kilbourn

Out Of The WoodThis book presents 80 reproductions of wood engravings created by Rosemary Kilbourn over a period of 50 years, most of them during her long-term residence at The Dingle Schoolhouse in Caledon. The engravings, many of them representing the escarpment landscape surrounding her home and spiritual subjects, are accompanied by short, elegaic fragments of text that elucidate her unique aesthetic. The book includes an introduction by Tom Smart whose profile of the artist appeared in the fall of issue of this magazine. (The Porcupine’s Quill, $27.95)

Deadly Voyage

by Hugh Brewster

Deadly VoyageIn 1986, Mulmur’s Hugh Brewster worked with Dr. Robert Ballard – leader of the team who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985 – and helped identify artifacts seen on the ocean floor. From there he went on to oversee the creation of the popular children’s book, Polar the Titanic Bear (illustrated by fellow Mulmur resident Laurie McGaw) and wrote his own books, Inside the Titanic and 882½ Amazing Answers to All Your Questions About the Titanic. With expert flair, Hugh distills his vast factual knowledge of Titanic lore into Deadly Voyage, a fictional account of a Canadian boy, his parents and the events surrounding that fateful crossing.

Award-winning author Hugh Brewster’s latest novel in the I Am Canada series is perfect for readers aged 10-14. His previous book, Prisoner of Dieppe, was published in 2010. (Scholastic, $14.99)

This Child, Every Child

Illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

This Child Every ChildEvery child in the world has a right to health, education, protection from discrimination and harm says the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. By comparing the lives of young people through their diverse cultures and living conditions, This Child, Every Child explains how different countries are living up to this promise – or not.

Shelagh Armstrong’s beautifully drawn illustrations capture David J. Smith’s description of the village-to-global impact of each fundamental right. Shelagh grew up in Orangeville and is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been commissioned by The Royal Canadian Mint and Canada Post, and is featured regularly in this magazine. (Kids Can Press, $19.95)

You Be The Judge

by H. Clark Adams Q.C.

You Be The JudgeCongratulations to Clark Adams! His 2010 self-published book Your Turn to Judge was picked up by Dundurn Press and is now receiving nationwide circulation and acclaim. Fourteen new cases (along with the original 40) take you inside the complicated world of small claims court. Both sides of the argument are presented. You are then invited to bring down the gavel on behalf of the plaintiff or defendant. The second half of the book reveals how Adams ruled and why. Test your knowledge of the law. Take a moment to reflect on what your rulings reveal about your own ethics, and enjoy the stories – some serious, some bizarre – behind the lawsuits.

Orangeville’s Clark Adams practised law for 35 years and sat as judge in small claims court for 15 years. (Dundurn Press, $19.99)

Haunting Violet

by Alyxandra Harvey

Haunting VioletA new teen novel by Mono’s Alyxandra Harvey is always cause for celebration. This year we’re lucky enough to have two.

Borax powder thrown on a fire, flowers threaded on string, a few drops of laudanum in the tea: all tricks of the trade 16-year-old Violet uses to assist her mother, Mrs. Willoughby, spiritual medium to the seance-mad, upper crust society of Victorian England. During a particularly lucrative score at the country manor of a wealthy lord, Violet barely has time to feel the usual guilt settling in her gut when something truly extraordinary happens. The ghost of a drowned girl appears before her cynical eyes and demands she bring her murderer to justice.

Haunting Violet combines Gothic suspense with just the right measure of humour and romance. (Walker & Company, $21)

Out for Blood
Volume Three of the Drake Chronicles

by Alyxandra Harvey

Out For BloodOut for Blood, the third volume in the internationally popular Drake Chronicles, introduces us to Hunter Wild, a senior at the vampire-hunting Helios-Ra Academy. Hunter is strong, brave, quick-witted and loyal to a fault, which is why she can’t believe the sudden outbreak of illness among the students could be originating from within the walls of the academy. With the unlikely ally of Quinn Drake, vampire son of the Royal House of Drake, Hunter soon finds she has battles to face on all fronts – her school, friends, feral vamps, her beloved grandfather and, most dangerous of all, her heart. (Walker & Company, $12.50)

Explore Water!
Explore Simple Machines!
Big City Sights
There’s No Crying in Baseball
Beach Volleyball is No Joke

by Anita Yasuda

It’s been a banner year for Mono’s Anita Yasuda with the publication of five children’s books. Explore Water! and Explore Simple Machines! are activity books in the same series as Yasuda’s previous title, Explore the Universe! Facts, projects, words to know and a history of our relationship with water, wedges, catapults and much more fill the cartoon-illustrated pages.

Kids are sure to love the edible “Glacier on the Move” activity made from ice cream and coconut-packed ice, chocolate chip rocks and a cookie-sheet hillside. Or perhaps they’d rather build their own milk-carton castle with a pulley draw-bridge. Guaranteed fun for children in elementary school. (Nomad Press, $13.95 each)

Big City Sights is a beginner’s graphic novel that’s sure to engage early readers. Tyler has plans for his family’s trip into the city: dinosaur skeletons at the museum, lunch in Chinatown, and then up to the top of the tallest building to take in the sights from an observation deck. When the museum is closed and the rain starts to fall, Ty must find a way to salvage their visit. (Stone Arch Books, $6.95)

There’s No Crying in Baseball and Beach Volleyball is No Joke follow the adventures of Tyler and his classmates at Victory School for Super Athletes. Tyler’s ability to throw or spike a ball with absolute accuracy is hindered only by his ego and love of pulling pranks. Both chapter books for young readers entertain with fun language while teaching gentle lessons about friendship and social behaviour. (Stone Arch Books, $6.95 each)

Eat Clean DietThe Eat-Clean Diet Stripped

by Tosca Reno

Caledon fitness guru Tosca Reno’s latest book in the Eat-Clean Diet series (over a million copies sold) is dedicated to conquering the most difficult obstacle standing between you and your optimum weight: the dreaded last 10 pounds. Starting with a diet free of overprocessed, sugar-filled food, Tosca takes you step-by-step through the process, from the best workout to avoiding the mental gremlins of self-sabotage. As always, the book includes detailed meal plans and new recipes to help expand your Eat-Clean repertoire. (Robert Kennedy Publishing, $21.95)

Just The RulesJust the Rules


Just the Rules is a handy pocket guide to the Eat-Clean philosophy. It covers the basics: what foods to eat and avoid, how to read labels, the real deal on the so-called “diet meals” in the supermarket’s freezer section, and much more. (Robert Kennedy Publishing, $10.95)

Red Coat Diaries
True Stories from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

by Aaron Sheedy

Red Coat DiariesMounties are icons of bravery and square-jawed fortitude against wild Canadian winters (and wild Canadian lawbreakers) of times past. Today, Mounties still play an important – though perhaps less romantic – role in all levels of our judicial system. Caledon’s Aaron Sheedy takes us inside the world of the RCMP with 26 stories of heroism and humour from the men and women in red serge.

RCMP Constable Aaron Sheedy is the narcotics detector dog handler at Pearson International Airport and is a member of the Ontario Tactical Troop. (Mosaic Press, $21.95)


by John Denison

BoogerFifteen-year-old JW has a lot on his plate. Exotic animals confiscated by his veterinarian father fill his house, his mother moved in with Mark Nash, Famous Rock Star and Rotten Person, a greedy developer wants to tear down the local burger joint, and he’s about to lose Inventors (only the biggest competition at his school) for the second year in a row to his arch nemesis, Douglas “Don’t call me Dougie” Brown. What’s a guy to do but launch Project Alpha Amoeba, Quest for Life with a piece of asteroid (Guaranteed Genuine), a can of Diet Coke and an egg? The unexpected result changes JW’s life forever. Booger’s riotous pace and clever use of language is sure to tickle the funny bone of young teens.

John Denison lives on a farm in Erin. His short story, “Spirit of Christmas,” is featured in this issue. (Why Knot Books, $19.95)

Raising Boys in a New Kind of World

by Michael Reist

Raising BoysOur kids are growing up in an age of hyper-speed information and the limitless playground of cyberspace. Video games fulfill a primal need for goal setting, achievement, community and power. Unique problems are developing, says veteran teacher Michael Reist, especially among boys. Attention spans are shrinking and opposition to authority is on the rise. Raising Boys in a New Kind of World assists parents struggling with school issues, homework, bullying and discipline, and presents strategies for creating better communication.

Michael Reist is head of the English department at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School, and is also a writer, speaker and mediator. He lives in Caledon East. (Dundurn Press, $24.95)

Adventures at Camp Lots-o-Fun

by Marilyn Helmer

Camp Lots-o-FunDJ – otherwise known as Power Man – thinks Camp Lots-o-Fun should be renamed Camp Not-so-Fun. Between the pouring rain and a mean kid in his cabin, the week is turning into a bust. Good thing Power Man has a super-powered imagination and can find tarantulas, bears, lake monsters and aliens from outer space in the most unlikely of situations. With the help of Chris (the cabin’s sleep-deprived counsellor) and Sockster, the sock monkey (Power Man’s secret ally and protector), DJ transforms camp from glum back into fun.

Marilyn Helmer’s previous chapter books for young readers include Sharing Snowy and The Fossil Hunters. She lives just west of Headwaters. (Orca Book Publishers, $6.95)

Along Comes God

by George R. Slater

Along Comes GodLife-changing encounters, prophetic dreams, inexplicable coincidences? The explanation is in the helping hand of God, says Caledon’s George Slater in his new book, Along Comes God. The volume of personal stories – eight of them from Headwaters residents – details an array of experiences, from miraculous medical recoveries to lives saved through a whisper of premonition. Don Cherry kicks off the collection with an account of how his conviction in God helped him beat the depression he suffered at the end of his hockey career. (Ambassador International, $13.99)

Bringing Dreams to Life

by George R. Slater

Bringing Dreams to LifeDreams are explained through Jungian analysis in this reissued edition of Bringing Dreams to Life. George Slater helps you interpret your own dreams using the book’s worksheets, deconstruct images and symbolism, and learn how to use your findings to improve your waking life. (Kingfisher Communications, $13.95)

Chicken Soup for the Soul
Inspiration for the Young at Heart

Christiana Flanigan, contributor

Chicken Soup For The SoulOrangeville’s Christiana Flanigan’s essay in the latest offering of Chicken Soup for the Soul speaks volumes about the joys of retirement. There was no part-time job for her or her husband Pat after they left their working lives behind. The open road called, and the Flanigans responded by jumping in the car with a few essentials and setting off for parts unknown. Ontario is rich with tiny hamlets and unexpected waterfalls, mom-and-pop restaurants and breathtaking vistas only accessible by cross-country skis. We spend so many of our years tied to a schedule. Retirement, Christiana says, is for adventure. (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, $16.95)

Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment

Women Motorcyclesby Liz Jansen

Motorcycles are powerful, solitary machines. No wonder the women who break stereotypes and choose to ride them find tremendous freedom in all that metal and chrome. Liz Jansen has done a superb job of collecting women’s stories, as well as telling her own, and presenting them in this inspirational book about overcoming personal obstacles and taking the road less travelled. (Trillium Wordworks, $19.95)

Making It Big in Canada
The Life of William Ramsay of Bowland

by Douglas L. Derry

Making It Big In CanadaCaledon’s Douglas Derry mines his family history to document the life of William Ramsay. From his humble beginning as the illegitimate child of a farmer’s daughter in Scotland, Ramsay remarkably rose in wealth and status to become vice-president of the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway and a lifelong director of the Imperial Bank of Canada. (Poplar Lane Press, $20)

A Fearful Symmetry

by Stephen W. Shawcross

A Fearful SymmetryBurma, 1944. The survivor of a downed bomber plane, fleeing enemy territory in the heart of the jungle, stumbles across a tiger attacking a Japanese soldier.

A single decision sets both men on a fateful path to be played out decades later in the unlikely locale of Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Stephen Shawcross, perpetual world traveller, considers the Headwaters area to be one of his many homes. (Donut Train Press, $16.95)

Hearth and Homework

by Lisa Watson

Hearth And Homework

I am content to wash my floors
And I am content to listen to boring
Chatter, and flatter ’til blush makes us human
— excerpt from “Follow Your Nose”

Orangeville’s Lisa Watson, singer/songwriter and music reviewer for this magazine, presents Hearth and Homework, a delightful chapbook filled with lyrical poems of domestic love and beauty in its many forms. Her pencil sketches of old Ontario churches and farmhouses complement her words and add a heartfelt feeling of home. (Lisa Watson, $15)



by C.D. Wood

Beladar, a royal underling who worships the dark arts, claws his way to power and sets his sights on Jashar, home to a peaceful people. Shelburne’s Craig Duncan Wood spins a classic tale of good versus evil in this fast-paced Christian fantasy novel. (Word Alive Press, $19.99)

Shadows on the Flag

Shadows On The Flag

by Russ Graham

Private investigator Don Carling believes his latest assignment to follow a woman’s straying husband will be a straightforward case with the added perk of a trip to Paris. What follows is anything but simple as Carling races against time to stop an international terrorist plot.

Shadows on the Flag is the second thriller in Russ Graham’s Don Carling mysteries. He lives in Orangeville. (Wheatmark, $24.50)

Spirit’s Inspiration

Spirit's Inspirationby Jill Thomas

Orangeville’s Jill Thomas explores Carl Jung’s and Caroline Myss’s concepts of archetypes through storytelling. Short, parable-like vignettes illuminate simple truths about the human condition and reveal how the paths we choose lead us to happiness or despair. (Goldeye Publications, $16.95)

Lincoln County War

by Paul O’Brien

Lincoln County WarLawless cowboys, cattle rustling, horse thieving, murder and general mayhem fill the pages of Lincoln County War, a history detailing the late 1800s in New Mexico. Archival photos bring the cast of characters to life, including Billy the Kid and Alexander McSween (a ruthless man with Canadian roots), as they battle for power and property.

Paul O’Brien lives in Caledon East. (Giant Beaver Publications, $17.95)

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider

edited by N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles

Short stories, poetry and inspiration make up this second feel-good anthology of Hot Apple Cider from The Word Guild, a Christian association of writers and editors. Included in the collection of nation-wide contributors are Orangeville’s Jayne E. Self and Drayton’s Glynis Belec. (That’s Life Communications, $23.99)

Showbiz, and more

by Allan Wargon

Shelburne’s Alan Wargon has outdone himself with three new books published this year.

The first is Nia, a story of love and the maddening, destructive nature of obsession.

Next, the life of a biblical king is explored in David, a biographical novel delving into themes of democracy and decency.

And finally, Showbiz, and more contains a novella, an epic poem in sonnet format, and shorter prose pieces describing love and loss during the Holocaust. (Pied Piper Books, $24.95 each)

The Sidewalk

The Sidewalkby Patricia Brez

Construction on an ordinary piece of sidewalk in a small Ontario town uncovers a mystery dating back 55 years. Sidewalks, and the countless stories of the people who once walked on them, provide inspiration for Violet Hill’s Patricia Brez in this novel about family secrets refusing to stay buried. (Moose Hide Books, $21.50)

The Camera Guy

by Richard Goodship

The Camera GuyBill Waters, forensic investigator, sees the spirits of the dead at his crime scenes, an ability which gives his professional life a decided edge. When a demon begins consuming their souls, Bill must find a way to stop it before it threatens everything he holds dear.

Retired forensic investigator and Orangeville resident Richard Goodship draws on his wealth of experience to create this police procedural with a twist. And congratulations, Richard, on selling the movie rights! (Amazon Kindle, $2.99)

About the Author More by Tracey Fockler

Tracey Fockler is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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