The Year in Books: 2012
Our annual review of new books by local authors and illustrators In The Hills.
Once again computer keyboards have been clacking away all year in the hills. And once again the result is a stupendous outpouring of humour, drama, fantasy, history and advice. With Christmas around the corner, we’re sure you’ll find these pages a one-stop shop of treats, including something to delight everyone on your list with hours of cozy fireside reading.
Gilded Lives on a Fatal Voyage
by Hugh Brewster
“It (the Titanic) has inspired hundreds of books, movies and websites, so one hesitates to launch another craft into such crowded sea lanes,” says Titanic expert and Mulmur resident Hugh Brewster. “Yet in most accounts of the disaster, the Titanic is the protagonist and her passengers merely supporting players.” And so, to mark the 1ooth anniversary of the “unsinkable subject,” Brewster delves into the lives of the rich and famous on that fateful crossing.
Letters, diaries and newspapers articles combine to create a rich history of the Astors, the Molsons, Lady Duff Gordon, and the notorious Arthur Peuchen, the Canadian accused of donning women’s clothing to secure a place in a lifeboat.
by J.L. Morrison
Hailey appears to have it all. She’s pretty, smart, has great friends and the boy she’s crushing on is crushing her right back. What nobody knows is how bad things are at home. Hailey walks on eggshells to please her erratic mother. Her stepfather plays cruel games to get her in trouble. Her love of music is the only thing in her life that makes sense.
When Hailey’s world turns violent, she must make a choice no 17-year-old should have to face. Surviving Seventeen is a powerful story of loss and hope. A must-read for anyone who wonders why kids “choose” to live on the streets of Toronto. Suitable for teens. J.L. Morrison lives in Mono.
(friesen press, $12.99)
The Complete Letters from Wingfield Farm
by Dan Needles
Dan Needles’ rural roots run deep in the Headwaters area. As a child, his artist parents bought a farm on the 7th Line of Mono Township and let their children run free. In 1974, he returned as editor of Shelburne’s Free Press and Economist, creating alter ego Walt Wingfield, a Bay Street stockbroker who escaped to the country to become a farmer in the thinly disguised fictional community of Persephone Township.
The first stage production of Letter from Wingfield Farm, starring Rod Beattie, was performed at the Rosemont Orange Hall. The rest is history. The hit play has been performed over 4,ooo times in almost every English-speaking theatre in the country.For the first time, all seven episodes of Wingfield’s letters to the editor are published in one chuckle-inducing volume. Dan Needles now lives on a small farm near Collingwood.
(Vintage Canada, $24.95)
The President’s Daughter
by John Denison
Hanna’s got problems. Corporate lobbyists are harassing her father (aka, Mr. President), making him grouchy and distracted. Her history teacher, the sadistic Miss Longbottom, has it out for her. The Vice President’s greasy son keeps hitting on her, and The National Enquirer is nosing through her private life.
As if all that weren’t enough, a lovesick entity living inside the Internet turns her world upside down, making her question the razor-thin line between virtual and real. Oh, and a crazed Russian with a rocket launcher plans to blow up the White House. ’Nuff said? Hannah is, by turns, a thoughtful and hilarious look at our techno-driven times. Suitable for older teens.
(why knot books, $14.95)
Death of a Highland Heavyweight
A Seaglass Mystery
by Jayne E. Self
Picking out bridesmaids’ dresses can be murder. At least that’s what newly engaged Gailynn MacDonald thinks until she stumbles upon the scene of town hero, Claude Oui, dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs.
The victim is a Highland Games Heavyweight Champion with a lucrative endorsement deal and enemies to spare. As the pressure mounts and the clues stack up, Gailynn must use all her sass and smarts to find a killer – and also a thief.
Who on earth is breaking into houses and stealing ceramic frogs? And, for heaven’s sake, why?
Death of a Highland Heavyweight, sequel to Murder in Hum Harbour, is a delightful combination of faith and humour. Orangeville’s Jayne E. Self is director of Write! Canada, a Christian writers’ and editors’ conference.
(Harbour Lights, $14.95)
The Melville White Church
A Celebration in Art
by Belfountain Heritage Society, foreword by Nicola Ross
In 1837, Scottish settlers cleared a patch of dense forest with axes and handsaws to build the Melville White Church on what was to become Mississauga Road, south of Belfountain. The hardy Rockside pioneers worshipped there, held socials, baptisms, weddings and buried their dead in the one-acre cemetery. The church, so rich in local history, closed in 1969 and the building fell into decades of disrepair. Now, thanks to the diligent fundraising and hard work of the Belfountain Heritage Society, the building has been restored to its former glory. To commemorate the landmark’s 175th anniversary, the BHS commissioned Belfountain’s Nicola Ross to write the foreword, and asked local artists to contribute works inspired by the church and its history. The result is a charming softcover book that features an array of photographs, paintings, fabric art and sculpture, all inspired by one of the oldest timber-frame churches still standing in Ontario. (Rockside Publishing, $30)
Dark Days at Saddle Creek
by Shelley Peterson
Fourteen-year-old Bird Simms’ gift of communicating with animals results in a horrifying revelation – a trainer is abusing horses in the show community. Her investigation of the mystery leads Bird not only into danger, but uncovers the truth about her own heritage and the origin of her special gift.
Dark Days at Saddle Creek is Shelley Peterson’s most accomplished novel to date. Complex issues of love, loss, race relations and difficult life lessons are skillfully explored. Early teen readers will love this poignant tale.Shelley Peterson lives and operates a stable in Caledon.
(Dancing Cat Books, $12.95)
Liberty is Dead
A Canadian in Germany, 1938
by Margaret E. Derry
Liberty is Dead: A Canadian in Germany, 1938 Throughout the 1930s, The Globe and Mail and London’s Times reported conflicting theories on “The German Question” and the troubling rise of fascism in Germany. Franklin Wegenast, a lawyer and third-generation German-Canadian concerned by the gaps in information, travelled Germany, Austria, and the bordering villages in Italy and France in an attempt to understand the psyche of the common German man. In his remarkable diary, Wegenast describes picking up hitchhikers (most were nationless men attempting to flee the country), visiting pro-Nazi cousins, and witnessing the chilling spectacle of Hitler delivering a bombastic speech in Innsbruck.
Margaret Derry edited the diary for form and content, resulting in a fascinating and highly readable book.
(Wilfrid Laurier University Press, $24.95)
Art and Science in Breeding
Creating Better Chickens
by Margaret E. Derry
Art and Science in Breeding: Creating Better Chickens “Chickens are the most scientifically engineered of all livestock,” says Margaret Derry. In this, her latest book on animal breeding, Derry seeks to answer the question of how the art of poultry breeding in pre-mid-19th-century Europe became so singularly eclipsed by new science, and how in North America the role of genetics interacted with the breeding process to bring about a revolution of the industry.
(University of Toronto Press, $65)
You Might Be a Crazy Dedicated Hockey Dad If…
You Might Be a Crazy Dedicated Hockey Mom If…
by Jason Howell
Do you consider arena poutine a breakfast food? Buy pucks by the dozen? Have you turned down a promotion at work because it would interfere with your kid’s game schedule? Did you get your child’s first skates bronzed?
Answer yes to any of these questions and you might be an out-of-control hockey mom or dad. Sadly, there is no cure. Best to accept the condition and embrace the lifestyle.
Following the success of the I Love My Hockey Mom and Thanks to My Hockey Dad series, Orangeville’s Jason Howell’s new gift books are sure to tickle the funny bone of any parent who has only a vague recollection of what their children look like without their helmets. (Magenta Entertainment Ltd, $14.95 each)
by Alyxandra Harvey
“Emo best friend, crazy mother and feral vampires in the woods … Just another Thursday night in Violet Hill.”
Bleeding Hearts, the fourth installment of The Drake Chronicles, finds Lucy and her vampire boyfriend Nicholas disturbed by the unstable behaviour of Solange, the prophesied Vampire Queen.
Their anxiety escalates when Christabel, Lucy’s T.S. Eliot-quoting cousin, is kidnapped. With the help of Nicholas’s brother Conner, the teens set out to save Christabel and prevent a vampire civil war.
In Blood Moon, as vampires from all over the world gather in Violet Hill for an ancient ceremony, Solange continues to battle her feral instincts. Spurning the aid of her family, her best friend Lucy and boyfriend Kieran, she finds herself drawn to Constantine, an alluring vamp with dark powers and an even darker agenda.
Page-turning action, fresh, funny dialogue and a dash of romance make Bleeding Hearts (with the bonus short story Lost Girls) and Blood Moon excellent additions to the critically acclaimed Drake Chronicles.
Alyxandra Harvey lives in Mono.
(Walker & Company, $10.99 each)
Juan de Fuca’s Strait
Voyages in the Waterway of Forgotten Dreams
by Barry Gough
The Northwest Passage: dream and downfall of many an explorer. Historian Barry Gough takes his readers back to 16th-century Venice where adventurer Juan de Fuca met an English merchant who spoke of a marine passage connecting Europe to the riches of the East.
What follows is a compelling tale of politics and misadventure on the high seas as Spain and England vie to secure their empire’s dominance and economic power.
Barry Gough won the John Lyman Book Award for best Canadian naval and maritime history for his previous book Fortune’s a River. He divides his time between homes in British Columbia and Mulmur.
(Harbour Publishing, $32.95)
Illustrated by Kasia Charko
Jake, Tommy and cousin Lexie are thrilled to go on the last ski run of the day by themselves. Jake, the eldest, feels terribly important carrying the first-aid kit and decides to lead his two charges down Wildcat Run, instead of the lame bunny hill his father told him to take. Disaster soon strikes and the kids must think quickly to stave off hypothermia and evade a hungry cougar.
Alton illustrator Kasia Charko perfectly captures the snowy wonderland of a backcountry ski run and the emotions of the children as they face each challenge of their adventure.
Charko and Australian writer Sonya Spreen Bates’ previous chapter books for young readers featuring Jake, Lexie and Tommy are Smuggler’s Cave and Marsh Island.
(Orca Book Publishers, $6.95)
Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
By Michael Ian Black
A girl in the grips of excruciating ennui is challenged by a talking potato to prove she’s more exciting than a flamingo. Sound crazy? You bet! Kids (and adults) will delight in this charming picture book full of imaginative cures for boredom’s blahs.
The illustrations by former Mono resident Debbie Ridpath Ohi bring author Michael Ian Black’s story to life as her pig-tailed and expressively eyebrowed heroine play-acts amusing scenes for the unimpressed root vegetable.
(Simon & Schuster books for young readers, $19.99)
The Eat-Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook
by Tosca Reno
“Vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice that needs to be adopted carefully and thoughtfully,” says Caledon-based health and fitness guru Tosca Reno. Ensuring balanced meals with enough protein, vitamins and minerals is a must. Incorporate these ideals with the Eat-Clean Diet philosophy of eliminating all processed foods (such as white bread and sugar) and, with a little Tosca magic, the result is a cookbook full of healthy and delicious recipes. Included are options to turn many of the dishes vegan or gluten-free, as well as information about macronutrients, top proteins and the benefits of canning and dehydration.Tosca Reno’s New York Times best-selling Eat-Clean Diet books have sold over two million copies.
(Robert Kennedy publishing, $24.95)
by Robert Kennedy
Robert Kennedy began his business career selling chicken manure as a hair-growth product (for which he received a cease-and-desist order from the British Trade Association). Years of experience taught him plenty, and he became the wildly successful publisher of Oxygen magazine and the best-selling Eat-Clean books by his wife Tosca Reno.
Bull’s Eye reveals the secrets of his success and lays out an easy-to-follow plan for securing wealth and fulfillment. Also included are interviews with entrepreneurs and motivational speakers, such as Bob Proctor and Jay Hennick. Sadly, Robert Kennedy died of cancer in April this year. He lived in Caledon.
(Robert Kennedy publishing, $16.95)
I’ve Got the No-Skateboard Blues
by Anita Yasuda
Tyler must learn responsibility and the value of a dollar if he wants to attend the grand opening of Victory School’s new skateboard park and take part in the Best Trick Contest.
Early readers will enjoy this lively chapter book, as well as the other sport-based stories by Anita Yasuda in the Victory School Superstarsseries. Anita Yasuda, formerly of Mono, recently moved to California.
(Stone Arch Books, $6.95)
Hikes & Outings of South-Central Ontario
by N. Glenn Perrett
Day trippers will find much to explore in this new book of scenic destinations, all within easy driving distance of the Headwaters region. Glenn Perrett features 3o of his favourite all-season, family-friendly nature walks, with interesting descriptions of the flora and fauna, caves and waterfalls encountered on hikes with his wife and two young children.
Most of the parks and conservation areas they visited are located along the Bruce Trail, from Niagara Falls to just north of Owen Sound, while a few stray from the spiny back of the Escarpment to Midland and further east along Lake Ontario.
Mansfield writer Glenn Perrett’s informative guide deserves a valued spot on any nature lover’s bookshelf.
(Lone Pine Publishing, $21.95)
Murder on Manitou
by Diane Bator
Secrets and sordid histories are exposed in this crisply paced mystery.
Orangeville’s Diane Bator won the Wynterblue Publishing 2010 Mystery in Ink writing contest.
(Wynterblue Publishing, $12.95)
The Quiet Light
by George Dick and Talia Hodgson
Orangeville’s George Dick teamed up with Waterloo’s Talia Hodgson to spin a fictional tale based on historical fact.
I Am Not Me
The Orangeville Novel
by Leslie G. Sabo
Is he experiencing a mid-life crisis as his wife suggests? Or is it something more?
Orangeville’s Leslie Sabo owns and operates Summit Books. I Am Not Me is his first novel.
(summit books, $18.95)
Twelfth Night in Royal Blue
by David Chesterton
The murder of a veteran following the Great War in England stumps Scotland Yard. However, Conrad Chezeldene, writer, art critic, flutist and amateur sleuth, is intrigued and, with his loyal servant Abraham, will stop at nothing to bring a killer to justice.
David Chesterton’s previous titles include St. Vincent’s Passage and Pigmented Spectacles. He lives in Caledon.
(David Chesterton, $15)
Grounds for Death
by Andrea Zanetti
The problem? A skeleton found at the bottom of an old well. When Marilee decides to dig for clues, she risks putting more than her bank balance in danger. Grounds for Death is the second book in Caledon writer Andrea Zanetti’s Garden Plot Mystery series.
(Andrea Zanetti, $12.50)
by Harry Posner
Harry Posner skillfully weaves a 1960s-infused, Kerouac-like storyline with poetic language reminiscent of raspy-voiced Tom Waits crooning sideshow melodies in Frank’s Wild Years.
Posner is a member of Words Aloud Poetry Collective. He lives in Orangeville.
(Harry Posner, $15.95)
The Art of Being Friends with God and a Few Others
by Norm Allen
“The true inner journey can become lonely until we find authentic, transparent companions,” says Norm Allen. Spiritual Friendshipis a guide to building intimate relationships that bring both parties closer to God.
Norm Allen is a founder of Touchstone Ministries. He lives in Orangeville. (Clements Publishing Group, $14.95)
Book One of Lirieia’s Children
by S.J. Faerlind
S.J. Faerlind is the pen name of a Grand Valley writer.
Lirieia’s Children is the first book in this fantasy series.
(S.J. Faerlind, $12.99)
by Alanna Wilson
After a terrible accident kills her first love, Celeste Marsden awakes from her injuries with memories that aren’t her own. Suddenly, the world she knows cracks open and a power- ful being, one with malice in its heart, is determined to destroy her.
Enchanted Awakening is the first in Erin author Alanna Wilson’s two-part series for teens.
(Alanna Wilson, $12.99)
by James Solo
Jim Hickman, writing under the pen name of James Solo, weaves together a suspenseful tale of gunrunners, a broken-down cop, the drummer for a famous metal band, and a paradise resort in Cuba where the ancient religion of Santeria enthralls a man bent on revenge.
Mono’s Jim Hickman is a musician and creative director.
(Iguana Books, $24.95)
Mollie’s Birthday Party
Mollie Meets Santa
written and illustrated by Darci-que
Mollie Doodle’s adventures continue in two new children’s picture books by Creemore’s Darci-que. Mollie’s fourth birthday is a runaway hit in Mollie’s Birthday Party, and the arrival of Santa in Mollie Meets Santa catches Molly off guard. (Darci-que, price t.b.d.)