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December 29, 2011

Books Worth a Look 2011

I haven’t seen so many books written in the Community Voices area in a long time. I have bought or borrowed many and want to share 10 of them briefly with you as possible gifts or library books for you or yours depending on your interests. Some are by relatively unknown authors who have unique and fascinating stories to tell whether fiction or non-fiction. The books are available in various book stores and most libraries. Most have been involved recently in author book signings at Gulliver’s Books and Toys in North Bay. Let’s start with someone we all know.

In the Beginning There Was Chaos

This 2nd Treasury of For Better or Worse columns by Lynn Johnston features a second story line about Lynn’s personal history that is a pleasurable bonus. The large hardcover book sells for a very reasonable price. The cover features Elly Johnston on the cover looking at the chaos of her living room with kids, toys, and the dog and the book is loaded with great family stories. Coincidentally when I married my wife many years ago her name was Elly Johnston and we have had the chaos of raising 5 kids.

Lynn Johnston’s new book of For Better or Worse cartoons 2011

Northern Shores

This beautiful coffee table book will support North Bay’s One Kids Place with publishing supported by various sponsors. The Kiwanis Club has produced the book. It has 150 pages of stunning full colour area photographs by some of the north’s best photographers along with accompanying stories.

Northern Shores the Kiwanis Club’s Canoe Project book 2011

Ernie’s Gold: A Prospector’s Tale

Most of us have heard about the famous prospector Harry Oakes but not his less fortunate partner Ernie Marten. The fascinating book by Brian Martin is “full of surprises and answers – and a few unanswered questions”.

Booyah: Memories of an Old Rink Rat

This family history is about Don Pecore, a Second World War veteran and one time North Bay recreation director, arena manager and volunteer. The book was finished by Don’s daughter Tina. An excellent example of a dedicated man’s long and successful life.

Ancestors are Arranging Things – a Journey on the Algonkin Trail

Noreen Kruzich discovered her aboriginal roots after some incredible hard work and has recorded the experience in a refreshing and rewarding way. She features 3 remarkable chiefs. There is a Mattawa connection with the Bernard family whose Gertrude became Anahareo, Grey Owl’s influential muse. One of my Community Voices articles is referenced.

Highway Book Shop: Northern Ontario’s Unexpected Treasure

One of my favorite stops on my history excursions was The Highway Bookshop (1957-2011) south of Cobalt. I met Doug Polland, his wife Lois and their staff many times and always came away with a pile of excellent reading material. I met Doug on various other occasions at conferences and on his sales tours including when he would drop in to the Powassan Library.

When Doug died in 2009 Lois kept the Shop open and tried to sell it but eventually closed it She then wrote this remarkable book . Many are not aware of the publishing they did and I was surprised at the pages and pages of local history books they published. One of my favorites that I have written about was the story of Mattawa’s Master painter Gordon Dufoe. A touching story about a remarkable cultural centre.

The Monteith Prisoner of War Camp

When Wayne LeBelle wrote his book Anson’s Folly the Story of Iroquois Falls in 2010 he profiled the nearby POW camp at Monteith in WWII and mentioned historian Peter Lanosky. Peter has since written a complete book on the camp called Barbed Wire, Black flies, 55⁰ F Below: The Story of the Monteith, Ontario POW Camp 1940-1946. Books have been written on other POW camps but this one is especially interesting. When I worked for the Ministry of Correctional Services in the 1970s when the camp was a correctional facility I visited it several times and wondered about its past, so found the book especially interesting.

A Cure for Emma

Julie Colvin writes a moving story about her quest to heal and care for her daughter Emma from type 1 diabetes.

Running to Extremes

Steve Pitt who lives in Rutherglen has written the story of a young man who gave up his destructive habits and became a successful marathoner. The book is especially relevant to young and restless young people looking for a goal in life.

Not in My Father’s Footsteps

If you are looking for some historical fiction you might enjoy the story of men who fought the fascists in Spain in the 1930s. The author Terrence Rundle West did some remarkable research including a visit with Jules Paivio the architect who designed and otherwise helped establish the Mattawa Museum and who fought in Spain in the 1930s.

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