The Year in Books: 2013
Our annual review of new books by local authors and illustrators In The Hills.
It’s time to raise our seasonal toast to the pleasures – and durability – of the printed word. As usual, our yearly roundup of new books produced in the hills is a delightfully varied feast. From ecology to history, mystery to meditation, education to illustration, and all stops in-between, you’re bound to find plenty to keep you – and everyone on your gift list – contentedly absorbed through the long winter months ahead.
The Once and Future Great Lakes Country
An Ecological History
by John L. Riley
1990. The Elba cave – a narrow chasm in the Mono escarpment. John Riley finds animal bones later identified as 9,780-year-old femurs of a pika, a creature whose sibling species now lives on the tree-lined talus slopes of the Rocky Mountains. This startling find illustrates the massive change our environment has undergone. John Riley leads his readers through centuries of geological and social upheaval and their impact on the biodiversity of our region. Knowing our history is essential, he says. Only by looking back are we able to judge our actions of today and gauge the effects they will have on the future.
John Riley is chief science advisor for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He lives on an old farm property in Mono, which he is “re-wilding.” (MCGILL-QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY PRESS, $39.95)
by Helke Ferrie
“There is hot outrage and there is cold outrage. With hot outrage you end up hurting yourself. It burns you up…nothing is accomplished. Cold outrage focuses the mind steadily and creatively and fortifies the heart,” says medical journalist Helke Ferrie. And the blood certainly boils after reading this collection of articles in which the author takes on corporate corruption in the public health system, as well as the government’s complicity in serving the needs of Big Pharma instead of its citizens. To turn outrage into productive action, Ferrie investigates such issues as Lyme disease denial in Canada, GM foods, electro-pollution, the cut-burn-poison paradigm of cancer therapy and suggests obtainable goals for change.
Helke Ferrie lives in Alton. (KOS PUBLISHING, $30)
Stars of Georgian Bay
by Mary Lazier
Did you know the first ski lift at Blue Mountain was a sleigh pulled by six Clydesdale horses? Or that, when the police raided an illegal still in Stokes Bay, the brewer’s daughter flailed rattlesnakes at them? Or how about an early Collingwood bylaw to prevent animals from roaming the streets, provoking one outraged resident to write town council: “Are they [the cows] not amongst our soberest citizens? Do they howl profane and vulgar epithets outside the hotels after dark?”
Mulmur’s Mary Lazier follows on the success of her previous title Stars of Dufferin County with this colourful combination of history and her own folk-art paintings. (FRIESEN PRESS, $25)
May I Be Excused, My Brain Is Full
by Krista Preuss-Goudreault
Illustrated by Gary Wren
Ten-year-old Olivia has Asperger’s Syndrome. Having Asperger’s doesn’t make her scary, she explains, just different. Like how she loves fish so much she’d like to talk about them all day, or how loud noises and last-minute changes to her schedule might make her temper fly. Olivia attends school and has friends, goes to birthday parties and plays with her siblings, just the same as other kids her age – except, sometimes, she needs a little extra space. See? Not scary – just different.
May I Be Excused, My Brain Is Full is not only perfect for parents to share with “aspie” children, it’s a great teaching tool for all children to learn empathy and inclusivity. Krista Preuss-Goudreault and her daughter Olivia (who helped in the writing of the book) live in Orangeville. (FRIESEN PRESS, $12.99)
by Brian Footitt
Rupert Cosgrove, a respected pharmacist, is caught on the wrong side of the law after defending himself against a violent addict. Swept into a flawed justice system, Rupert must fight to free himself, even if it means relying on new-found friends met behind bars.
Brian Footitt worked for over 20 years as the community pharmacist in Creemore. Destructive Agendas (the first in a soon-to-be-released trilogy), a work he describes as a “creative non-fiction novel,” draws on personal experience and tongue-in-cheek satire to shine a spotlight on corruption and prejudice in our legal systems. (ACADEMIA PRESS OF ALBION, $34)
The Pig Sleep
by Cory McCallum
Illustrated by Matthew Daley
Mr. Monitor is a private investigator trying to eke out a living in a Raymond Chandler-esque world where dames have stems that keep going up, and the streets are full of hustlers hustling, goons gooning and crooked culprits crowding every corner. This graphic novel for teens and adults is a treat with its fresh, punchy writing and crazy, geometric artwork. Included in the chapbook are bonus strips previously published in Broken Pencil magazine.
Orangeville writer and illustrator team Cory McCallum and Matthew Daley won the 2013 Gene Day Award (Self Publishers) at The Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards for The Pig Sleep. (PLIER PANTS PRODUCTIONS, $5)
7 Questions to Ask Before You Die
by Thomas William Deans, PhD
A psychotherapist, an estate lawyer and an expert on securing wealth in family businesses walk into a bar. No, it’s not a setup for a bad joke. Tom Deans imagines a conversation between these three professionals in a hotel bar during a break in a business convention to reveal how relationships are regularly torn apart through a culture of secrecy regarding wills and society’s fear of death. A will isn’t only a legal document dividing money and property among your beneficiaries – it can be a collaboration and a teaching tool, an inspiration for conversation and creativity and, perhaps most important, a lasting, evocative link between the past and the future.
Hockley Valley’s Tom Deans is a writer and speaker. His previous book Every Family’s Business: 12 Common Sense Questions to Protect Your Wealth is a financial bestseller. (DÉTENTE FINANCIAL PRESS LTD., $22.95)
The Quilts of Dufferin County
Women’s Art, Women’s Stories
by Shelagh Roberts
Photography by Pete Paterson
Quilts are so much more than patterned fabrics stitched to batting and used to warm chilly toes on a cold winter night. They are, in their quiet way, amazing storytellers. Local history is revealed through the fabrics, styles, purpose and technology of construction. They also help to relate the profoundly under-chronicled lives of women, their joy and struggles, hopes and fears.
Beginning with a tulip design quilt made by Ann Elizabeth (Duke) Rawn of Mono Mills in 1861 – the oldest quilt in the collection of Dufferin County Museum & Archives – Shelagh Roberts takes the reader through the decades, from pioneer days, years of war, depression and boom to modern-day quilts. Archival black-and-white photographs of life in early Dufferin are interposed throughout Pete Paterson’s stunning colour photography of each featured quilt.
Shelagh Roberts lives in Orangeville. Pete Paterson lives in Caledon East. (DUFFERIN COUNTY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES, $39.95)
Discover Your Warrior Spirit When Battling Disease
by Nelson Sleno
Nelson Sleno, a former champion weight lifter, educator and coach with a black belt in karate, tackles his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at age 49 with an unflinching determination to fight. Sleno describes facing his condition with the mindset of a warrior: “When the final outcome is set, each and every daily battle becomes crucial. This war is to be prolonged and fought on your own terms, drawing strength…from those allies around you whose own battles and victories give transferable strength in your own fight.” Shaking Hands is an inspiration to anyone fighting their own Darkness and a reminder that joy can still be found on the battlefield of life.
Nelson Sleno lives in Orangeville. (TITAN PRESS, $15)
Moon of the Goddess
by Cathy Hird
The gods are fighting again. And this time, those hungry for power believe the lives of certain mortals will ensure victory. Thalassai, daughter of a king, wakes from a drugged sleep to find she’s been kidnapped and on a ship headed for a foreign land. Her older brother, enraged and fearing for his sister’s life, races in pursuit. The siblings are tested in ways they never dreamed, form bonds with surprising allies, and come to see their turbulent world with new eyes.
Caledon East resident Cathy Hird is the minister of Palgrave United Church. Moon of the Goddess, her first novel for young adults, is an exciting tale of Ancient Greece. (PRIZM BOOKS, price not yet set.)
Dream of my People
A Home on Lake Erie’s Shore
by Margaret E. Derry
Margaret Derry explores family and memory through the life of her great-grandmother, Adelaide Shay Bell, and her ancestral home of Nuttwood on the shores of Lake Erie. Episodes from Adelaide’s diary, layered with remembrances and passed-down tales from Derry’s mother and grandmother, come together to form a fascinating portrait of late 19th century life in the hamlet of Oxley (near Windsor).
Margaret E. Derry is a professional historian specializing in the study of genetics, agriculture and animal breeding. Her previous books include Liberty Is Dead: A Canadian in Germany 1938 and Manitoulin and Region: Voices from the Past. She lives in Caledon. (POPLAR LANE PRESS, $25)
A Sippy Cup of Chemo
A Family’s Journey Through Childhood Cancer
by Sue McKechnie
At the age of 18 months, Shawn McKechnie, a chubby-cheeked toddler with an engaging smile, was rushed to SickKids Hospital where a tumour was found in his brain. Sue McKechnie describes the nightmare of tests and surgeries her son endured and the stress it put on her family. Shawn’s death a year and a half later brought unimaginable grief, but also reflection. The generosity of their extended family, friends, bosses and others in the community humbled them to their core. They also found peace in the belief that his spirit watches them from the other side.
This story will rip your heart out, but it also inspires hope, confirming that every life – even one as short as Shawn’s – is deeply meaningful.
All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Meagan’s Walk, a fundraiser benefitting brain tumour research at SickKids Hospital (meaganswalk.com). Sue McKechnie lives in Orangeville. (WEMAKEBOOKS.CA, $19.95)
Thanks for Thanksgiving
Illustrated by Mary Jane Gerber
Thanks for Thanksgiving is a celebration of all things autumnal, from red and gold leaves crunching underfoot to Canadian geese honking their goodbyes as they fly south for the winter. Orangeville illustrator Mary Jane Gerber infuses warmth and a real sense of joy into Heather Patterson’s simple rhyme, describing a glorious October day spent outdoors enjoying the crisp fall air, followed by a special meal with family and friends.
First published as a picture book in 1998, this Canadian classic is now re-released for beginning readers in both English and French. (SCHOLASTIC CANADA LTD., $7.99)
What Every Parent Should Know About School
by Michael Reist
Michael Reist, an educator with more than 30 years of classroom experience, says our schools are based on a factory model – a factory where teachers are afraid to question the management’s draconian rules, grades are currency, and children learn that only the most ruthless and aggressive among them will be successful in our culture of corporate capitalism. It’s no wonder so many kids hate school, are stressed, depressed, self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, and are in conflict with other students, teachers, parents and society itself. What Every Parent Should Know About School is a guide to foster better communication between parents and children, as well as a call to action to change a broken system.
Michael Reist is an educator and speaker. He lives in Caledon East. (DUNDURN PRESS, $19.99)
The Eighteenth-Century Wyandot
A Clan-Based Study
by John L. Steckley
John Steckley pieces together fragmented stories and previously ignored sources to create a definitive text on the Wyandot. Using information on clan structure, clan relationships with each other and Jesuit missionaries, as well as the social structure of male and female leadership patterns, government census, marriage and birth records, a complex and rich history of these First Nation peoples is revealed.
John Steckley is a long-time instructor at Humber College. His previous titles include textbooks in sociology, physical anthropology and Aboriginal studies. He lives in Bolton. (WILFRED LAURIER UNIVERSITY PRESS, $85)
8 Principles That Will Transform the Culture of Your Business and Unleash the Full Potential of Your Team
by Peter Van Stralen
Only the very best managerial methods keep a family of 15 kids happy, healthy and somewhat sane. By incorporating the same principles his parents instilled in him and his nine bothers and five sisters and applying them to a business model, Peter Van Stralen lays the groundwork for a values-focused revolution in how we function in the workplace. C.A.R.E. Leadership involves creating a fun and respectful environment for employees, that, in turn, can inspire them to deliver a remarkable experience for customers.
Using the C.A.R.E. Leadership method, Caledon’s Peter Van Stralen, along with all his brothers, turned their landscape management company into Sunshine Brands, a successful multinational franchise. (RIVER GROVE BOOKS, $18.95)
Awakening the Guru in You
Enlightenment through Conscious Communication — The Co-evolution Process
by Russell Scott
“The first step on the spiritual path is to know the truth. Once we know who we really are, what others are and what life is, then there is a great possibility that on a basic level we can live in harmony with these actualities,” says mentor and self-enlightenment master Russell Scott. With Scott’s guidance, readers are encouraged to discover their own personal truths by detecting and rejecting dogma, moving past trauma and reversing ingrained socialization. A course for personal growth is included, using a method of partnering in a dyad for intense conversations leading the participants on a journey of “co-evolution.”
Russell Scott is the former owner of the Ecology Retreat Centre in Hockley Valley, where he continues to conduct spiritual retreats. (BALBOA PRESS, $21.50)
ALSO ON THE SELF-PUBLISHED SHELF
by Randy Daudlin
Brutal murders – some with bodies completely drained of blood – draw ex-Mountie Reg Martin into Toronto’s dark underworld of vampires and violence.
Markdale resident and long-time special effects makeup artist Randy Daudlin seamlessly shifts his love of movie monsters to the page in this fast-paced tale of horror. (TWO GRUESOME PUBLISHING INC., $15.95)
The Fo’c’sle Door
by Les Cribb
Details of a strange murder scene puzzle Canadian police. An ocean away, eerie echoes of the crime are revealed in the dark history of a small English fishing village. Les Cribb’s debut novel, The Fo’c’sle Door combines drama and the supernatural in this mystery spanning centuries and continents.
Les Cribb lives in Orangeville. (IUNIVERSE, $22.95)
by Clare McCarthy
Clare McCarthy’s collection offers a wide and humorous variety of his “Meandering” columns in The Orangeville Banner. Topics include his trial-by-mostly-error upbringing in Northern Ontario to municipal issues and local personalities. Cartoons by his alter ego, Mac (also published in The Banner) are included at no extra charge.
Orangeville’s Clare McCarthy is a former educator and a gifted storyteller. (MAC PRESS, $14.95)
The Jasharian Chronicles, Book 2
by C.D. Wood
Eshek, the second volume in C.D. Wood’s Christian fantasy series, finds our heroes build- ing bonds of friendship after defeating the threat to their peaceful homeland. But a dark power still lurks, and the source of evil must be confronted and forever vanquished. (WORD ALIVE PRESS, $17.95)
by Steve Payne
The score isn’t terribly important when kids kick around a soccer ball for fun. It’s all about the moves – the fancy dekes and headshots that keep them playing and loving the game. Steve Payne, a UEFA Pro-Diploma coach and journalist for the Toronto Sun, has studied current trends in top soccer countries. He urges parents and coaches to focus less on winning at all costs and more on encouraging street-soccer creativity on the field.
Steve Payne has coached soccer in Tasmania, Australia, and taken part in Cruzeiro football in Brazil. He lives in Orangeville. (STEVE PAYNE, $20)
Life Is Like a Golf Course
by C.D. Wood
“There is an amazing similarity between the making of a golf course and the construction of a Christian,” says C.D. Wood. “Two words that apply to both would be time and commitment.” Wood uses the planning, building and maintenance of the perfect 19 holes as a metaphor for living a Christian life in this book of parables and scripture.
C.D. Wood lives in Shelburne. (WORD ALIVE PRESS, $13.95)
The Pearl Within
Finding my Way, my Truth & my Self
by Cheryl D. Campbell
Cheryl Campbell explores the roots of her spirituality in this warmhearted and honest memoir. From her childhood on a farm in East Luther Township, through marriage, divorce, failed relationships, the trauma of a grandchild’s serious illness, and finally finding love, Cheryl reveals how these experiences brought her in touch with her true self.
Cheryl Campbell, a long-time resident of Dufferin County, now lives in Fergus. (HEALING BRIDGE PUBLISHING, $16.95)