Mary Smith – an update on a new book

Mary Smith was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in March 2016. She’s back now to tell us of a non-fiction book, on which she collaborated with photographer Allan Devlin, that’s just been published.

Castle Douglas Through Time
by Mary Smith and Allan Devlin
Published by Amberley Publishing
Genre: Non-fiction, local history, photography

The market town of Castle Douglas, beside Carlingwark Loch in the southern Scottish region of Dumfries and Galloway, is relatively new, though the area has been inhabited from prehistoric times and the Romans had a military base close by. In the fourteenth century, Archibald the Grim, the 3rd Earl of Douglas, built Threave Castle nearby.

The town came into being thanks to fertiliser found in the loch and wealth merchant William Douglas, who laid out the present town in 1792. Though his dream of creating a cotton industry failed, Castle Douglas became a flourishing market town. The opening of the rail line to Dumfries in 1859 improved the town’s connections.

Castle Douglas from Dunmuir Hill. The imposing spire of St George’s Free Church dominates the old picture of the town. Houses have been built along the old railway line and a green space, Burghfield Park, has been created.

Though the railway closed in 1965, the A75 trunk road ensured the town’s survival as a major stopping point for travellers. Today, it is a major tourist destination, with many visitors using it as a base for exploring this beautiful part of Scotland.

All these changes are recorded in this unique and fascinating series of new and old photographs, making this book essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Castle Douglas.

                                                                   Douglas Arms Hotel, King Street. The picture shows the many changes in transport over the years. The hotel was owned for 83 years by the Payne family who offered to send a bus to meet all trains. Charabanc outings to the countryside were popular.

 

 

Background to writing the text: Amberley Publishing approached me about four years ago to ask if I was interested in working on a book, Dumfries Through Time. Of course, I said yes. I teamed up with photographer Allan Devlin who is a stunning landscape photographer and together we began to search for the 90 old images needed. After it was published, Amberley asked if we’d be interested in another book and so we began to work on Castle Douglas Through Time. We both search for old images, Allan takes the photos of the places as they today and I do the research, write the introduction and captions for each pair of images. I loved doing the research but writing the captions is extremely frustrating as there is an 80-word limit. I find it almost impossible to tell the history of some of the images in 80 words!

Where to purchase copies:
The paperback edition of Castle Douglas Through Time is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Amazon CA

Mary and Allan at the book’s launch party.
Photo credit: Keith Kirk

Myrna Kostash

Myrna Kostash

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Seven Oaks Reader. Nonfiction.

Quick description: The Seven Oaks Reader, forworded by Heather Devine, offers a comprehensive retelling of one of Canada’s most controversial historical periods, the Fur Trade Wars, the Selkirk settlement and the explosive Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. As in the companion volume, The Frog Lake Reader, Kostash incorporates period accounts and journals, histories, memoirs, songs and fictional retellings, from a wide range of sources, to weave a compelling historical narrative.

Brief biography:
Life-long Edmontonian, Myrna Kostash is a fulltime writer, author of the classic All of Baba’s Children, and of the award-winning The Frog Lake Reader and Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium. Her latest book is The Seven Oaks Reader (NeWest Press, 2016). Her essays, articles, and creative nonfiction have been widely anthologized. She is a recipient of the WGA’s Golden Pen Award and the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen award for a Life of Writing. She is a volunteer barista at the Carrot Community Arts Café.

Links to buy Myrna’s book:
NeWest Press
Ebooks: Amazon Kindle ; Apple ; Kobo ; Nook
Distributor: LitDistCo
Overdrive for Libraries

Myrna’s promo links:
Website
Facebook

What are you working on now?
A playscript for the Edmonton Fringe

Myrna’s reading recommendation:
Betsy Warland’s latest book, Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas (Caitlin Press, Vancouver)

Robin Summerfield – Winnipeg Cooks

Robin Summerfield

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Winnipeg Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City’s Top Chefs – cookbook

Quick description: In Winnipeg Cooks, thirty-four of the city’s finest chefs share stories and recipes from the front lines of an emerging culinary hot spot. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next meal, look no further. Featuring the stunning photography of Ian McCausland and seventy mouth-watering recipes, Winnipeg Cooks will leave you hungry for more.

Brief biography:
Robin is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in newspapers across Canada. She is a former features writer and columnist at the Calgary Herald, and editor of Ciao! magazine. She is food contributor to CBC and writer for Flavours magazine. Robin was also the writer and photographer behind pegcitygrub.com, a culinary tourism website for Tourism Winnipeg. Her stomach and palate have been frequently enlisted to judge culinary competitions.

At home in Winnipeg, she often freestyles in the kitchen, throwing in most any ingredient and leaving out little. This cooking approach has been met with moderate success. It has, however, given her an appreciation for the talent of chefs everywhere, including the remarkable crew assembled here. These days she cooks for a husband who will eat anything and a young son who eats pretty much nothing.

Links to buy Winnipeg Cooks:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo.ca / independent bookstores

Robin’s promo links:
Figure 1 Publishing
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a pop-culture memoir about the death of my husband, and my life as a young widow and only parent. What’s a pop culture memoir? Before his death, my husband wrote a list of his favourite things inside a journal. So now I’m watching and reading, and listening to my husband’s favourite movies, TV shows, books, albums. And I’m travelling to his favourite places around the world.

It’s light and dark, and real and raw. And funny too, I hope.

Robin’s reading recommendation:
Nemo in Slumberland and The Spirit – Both are graphic novels. I am reading Nemo in Slumberland to my six year old son. The Spirit was my one of my husband’s favourite characters. We named our son after the author.

I am a big fan of long-form, creative non-fiction so I tend to read meaty magazine pieces. I love the New Yorker, and New York Times Magazine, for example. Macleans Magazine also does some amazing work. Recently, they published a story about Manitoba’s underground railway. It was incredible, compelling storytelling and journalism.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Montreal Cooks
Ottawa Cooks
Edmonton Cooks

Tina Faiz & Leanne Brown – Edmonton Cooks

Tina Faiz and Leanne Brown

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Edmonton Cooks – cookbook

Quick description: A sumptuous sampling of Edmonton’s thriving food scene from its top chefs and restaurants.

Brief biography:
Tina Faiz loves to ask questions and loves to eat. It’s no wonder this award-winning journalist’s insatiable curiosity (and appetite) helps her unearth stories about food as well as politics, design, art, and culture for newspapers and magazines across the country, including the Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, and Montreal Gazette, among others, and in a regular food column for CBC Radio. She’s Western Living Magazine’s former Edmonton Editor and regularly judges food competitions in the city. When she’s not writing, she is co-owner and strategist at Big Pixel Creative, helping clients use digital communications for social good.

Leanne Brown is a writer and avid home cook born and raised in Edmonton but currently living in New York City. She believes everyone deserves to eat good food every day and that cooking is the key. Most recently she wrote the award-winning, bestselling, Good and Cheap, a cookbook of appealing, beautiful food for very low incomes. She has been delighted by cooking and baking ever since she realized that they were the closest things we have to magic.

Links to buy Edmonton Cooks book:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo.ca / and all major bookstores

Edmonton Cooks‘s promo links:
Figure 1 Publishing
Leanne’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

What are you working on now?
Leanne: My next book! It’s still a secret though.

Leanne’s reading recommendation:
Leanne: I just got back from vacation and read a bunch of random fantasy books, but before that I was loving Lindy West and her first wonderful book, Shrill.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Montreal Cooks
Ottawa Cooks
Winnipeg Cooks

Anne DesBrisay – Ottawa Cooks

unspecified1 Anne DesBrisay

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Ottawa Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Finest Chefs of Canada’s Capital Region – Cookbook

Quick description: Award-winning food writer Anne DesBrisay brings together recipes from forty-one of the Capital region’s most inspiring cooks. From fine restaurants, food trucks, and farmhouse kitchens, here are signature dishes, favourite staff meals, and traditional family recipes from one of the most interesting and diverse food cultures in the country. Beautifully photographed by Christian Lalonde, Ottawa Cooks showcases more than eighty delicious recipes—and the gifted chefs who create them.

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Brief biography: Anne DesBrisay is an award-winning food writer and the author of Capital Dining, the most trusted guidebook to the best places to eat in Ottawa. The region’s leading culinary voice for more than twenty years, she is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine, a senior editor for Taste & Travel, and a judge for Ottawa Gold Medal Plates and the Canadian Culinary Championships. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Links to buy Ottawa Cooks:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo / Restaurants featured in the book

Anne’s promo links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

What are you working on now?
Working on my regular food columns for Ottawa Magazine and Taste & Travel Magazine, on a cookbook project with a chef, and judging culinary competitions. Helped judge a terrific one last night – The Poor Chefs Competition, in support of Operation Come Home’s efforts to end homelessness in Ottawa. Each chef given $3.15 to work with, and three common items from the Food Bank. Remarkable results!

Anne’s reading recommendation:
Currently enjoying Olive Odyssey, Searching for the Secrets of The Fruit that Seduced the World, by Julie Angus.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Edmonton Cooks
Montreal Cooks
Winnipeg Cooks

Jonathan Cheung – Montreal Cooks

unspecified3 Jonathan Cheung

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Montreal Cooks: A Tasting Menu from the City’s Leading Chefs by Jonathan Cheung and Tays Spencer – cookbook

Quick description: Montreal has evolved into a city of unparalleled culinary excellence, arguably one of the finest culinary centres in the world. Montreal Cooks celebrates this excellence, presenting eighty recipes from forty of Montreal’s most talented and unique chefs. Written with the home cook in mind, this cookbook is designed to make recipes from fan-favorite restaurants achievable for everyone.

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Brief biography:
Jonathan Cheung is originally from Vancouver, BC, but currently calls Montreal home. He is the owner and chef of Appetite for Books, Montreal’s premier cookbook shop and cooking school. From a very young age, Jonathan was surrounded by food, whether it was hanging out in his grandmother’s kitchen or eating through a number of his family’s restaurants in Vancouver and Hong Kong. With more than fifteen years of professional cooking experience, Jonathan has been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, Eat St., and CTV Montreal, and in the Montreal Gazette and on local radio. He is also a regular presenter on Breakfast Television Montreal.

Links to buy Montreal Cooks:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo / The restaurants featured in the book.

Jonathan’s promo links:
Appetite for Books
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

What are you working on now?
I am still running my bookstore, Appetite for Books, and teaching the cooking classes that we have. I have a couple of projects that are brewing but nothing to report officially. Once our plans are more confirmed we will for sure blast it out to bring our customers and readers into the loop.

Jonathan’s reading recommendation:
I cook from over a hundred different cookbooks a year. I have come across favorites for sure. It’s hard to name one book to recommend because I own a cookbook store, I am surrounded by shelves and shelves of cookbooks that are specialized in different cuisines that I reach for depending on what I am in the mood for that day, but if I really think about it the one that I tend to keep going back to repeatedly when I cook private dinners or am cooking for my family at home is Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, published in 2009 and it still rings true to today’s cooking trends. Fail-proof recipes that are packed with flavor and excellent go-to for seasonal cooking. It is also a great read and inspires me to always focus on using seasonal ingredients in all my meals. A book that definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Edmonton Cooks
Ottawa Cooks
Winnipeg Cooks

Linda Granfield – release of a new book

Linda Granfield has visited Reading Recommendations previously, here and here. She returns now to tell us about a new book on a little-known story from WWI.

www-scholastic-ca

The Vimy Oaks
by Linda Granfield, illustrated by Brian Deines
Published by Scholastic Canada
Genre: History, Ages 7-12

A soldier, a handful of acorns — and a hundred-year legacy of hope, remembrance and renewal.

“I am writing seated at the foot of a large oak,” wrote Leslie Miller in his diary in 1916, while war raged around him. Little could this Canadian soldier have imagined how future generations would come to enjoy the majestic oak trees he grew after his return to Canada.

Standing amidst the devastation of war, Leslie picked up a handful of acorns and mailed them home, where they were nurtured. This small but amazingly hopeful act continues to be felt just as powerfully today, one hundred years after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The living legacy of Leslie Miller’s “Vimy Oaks” inspires hope as the world remembers and honours the soldiers who served in the First World War.

Également disponible en édition française

Where to purchase Linda’s book:
Scholastic Canada
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

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Ron Smith

I was a sales rep for Ron Smith’s publishing company back in the day, and was shocked to learn recently that Ron had suffered from a massive stroke a few years ago. The good news is that I discovered this news when reading an announcement for this book Ron wrote about the experience and his recovery. So I’m now very pleased to be able to bring attention to readers around the world about this very important book by Ron Smith.

rons-photo Ron Smith

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke Non-fiction: Memoir

Quick description: “What is a stroke?” This is the question that plagues Ron Smith as he emerges from the carpet bombing of his brain. The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke is a first-person account of a massive ischemic stroke to the brain stem. Smith takes the reader inside the experience and shows how recuperation happens ― the challenges of communication, the barriers to treatment, the frustrations of being misunderstood and written-off, the role of memory in recovering identity, the power of continuing therapy, and the passionate will to live.

Full of arresting anecdote, enlivened by a vivid and vigorous style, the book tells of successes and failures and draws on the newest research in stroke treatment.

This is a necessary book for stroke survivors still dealing with the effects of their trauma and for care-givers, vital to the process of recuperation, who feel hampered and harried by concern and confusion. The book is a caring companion, offering support to people navigating the fear and bewilderment that accompanies a stroke. For medical professionals, the book offers insights into the workings of the brain, the power of the brain to heal, critiques of conventional limits imposed on therapy, and suggestions for ways to improve care.

More than an evocative memoir, more than a breathtaking journey out of stroke and back to a literary life, The Defiant Mind is a beautifully written love story; it is a glimpse inside the tender and fulfilling relationship between the author and his wife. Smith makes clear that defiance (with unconditional support) is the first step to making hope a reality.

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Brief biography:
Ron Smith the author and editor of several books. For close to forty years he taught at universities in Canada, Italy, the States and the UK. In 2002 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia and in 2005 he was the inaugural Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. In 2011 he was awarded the Gray Campbell Award for distinguished service to the BC publishing industry where he has played an essential role in the growth of literary, historical and public policy publishing. He now lives with his wife, Patricia Jean Smith, also a writer, in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island.

Links to buy Ron’s book:
At most bookstores, on Amazon, or directly through the publisher, Ronsdale Press

Ron’s promo links:
Website
The Defiant Mind Journal
Ronsdale Press
The World Stroke Organization
CBC News article: ‘They’re little steps, but they all add up’: Stroke survivor sends a message of hope in new book
CBC Radio North by Northwest interview
CBC Radio On the Island interview
Vancouver Sun review (appearing also online at Montreal Gazette, Edmonton Journal, and other Postmedia publications)
BC BookWorld review

What are you working on now?
A new children’s book and a novel

Ron’s reading recommendation:
Anything and everything by John Berger. I particularly like A Fortunate Man and here is where we meet.

Rick Bergh – update on Transitional Loss series

Rick Bergh has been a visitor to Reading Recommendations twice previously – once to promote a children’s book he has published with his wife, Erica, and again to promote the first book in his Transitional Loss series. He’s back now to tell us about the next two titles he’s recently published.

sample1-finding-anchors-book-cover Finding Anchors: How to Bring Stability to Your Life Following a Cancer Diagnosis
It’s raw, it’s real and it’s brave! If there is one book to give your family or friends following a cancer diagnosis, this is it. Rick Bergh shares the principles he has studied, taught and lived out for more than 30 years in this practical, inspiring and hopeful guide that will help anyone stabilize their life following a cancer diagnosis. Finding Anchors will teach you how to: • Reduce your anxiety • Tackle daily challenges • Move forward in confidence • Continue to live your life in a meaningful and new way Far beyond a collection of good ideas, this book lays out 17 tried-and-true principles from hundreds of people, including Rick’s own personal journey with his wife and four children. They courageously found ways to face their mom’s cancer diagnosis while inspiring friends and family to join them on this significant journey.

taking_notice Taking Notice: How a Cancer Journey Helps Magnify What’s Important in Life
It’s honest, it’s humble and it’s surprising. Discover the meaningful life you have always wanted. It took a cancer journey with his wife, Pam, to stop author, Rick Bergh, from living out his fast-paced lifestyle and to discover what was most important in his life. Forced to re-evaluate his priorities over a five-year period, Rick began to “Take Notice” of what was happening inside himself. The results changed his life forever. Taking Notice will teach you how to: • Open your eyes up to unexpected possibilities • Discover the simplicity of the present moment • Move yourself forward in a new direction • Find life when it seems the most difficult Different than most self-help or personal development books, Taking Notice invites its readers to wrestle with 17 unique challenges during the most difficult times of their lives. Entering into our “muck” with complete vulnerability and wrestling with deeper truths brings maximum growth opportunities and unexpected results. Rick Bergh is a grief and loss counsellor and ordained Lutheran minister. His life’s passion is to write, speak and provide practical resources that really work when people are forced to transition through loss.

looking-ahead-bookwidgetnew Looking Ahead: How Your Dying Impacts Those Around You
This practical and hopeful book is a distillation of 30 years of work and study in the area of death, dying and bereavement. Author Rick Bergh shares his professional and personal experience as one who has lived through the loss of his first wife along with his four children, and his work with hundreds of people in their last chapter of life.
Looking Ahead will:
• Show you how to invite others into your important remaining days on earth
• Help you identify your new purpose and meaning in unexpected ways
• Give you tools to engage loved ones in meaningful conversation
• Provide a framework that enables family to be key contributors in your unfolding story
Far beyond a book that prepares you and your family for your death, Looking Ahead offers its readers 17 tried-and-true principles to live fully in the present. It will inspire you to author your own story and engage your family and friends in your journey looking forward.

Where to purchase the Transitional Loss Series:
Rick Bergh’s Website

Here’s a link to a video posted of Rick’s “End of Life” seminar.

The Cochrane Eagle recently ran an article about Rick and his books: Rick Bergh reflects on purposeful living in face of dying

Glenn Dixon

author-head-shot4Glenn Dixon

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Juliet’s Answer is a memoir. Published by Simon & Schuster in Canada and the United States, in May it will be released in Australia and New Zealand, Spain (Spanish translation) and China (where the story of Romeo and Juliet is quite famous).

Quick description: I taught Shakespeare to high school students for more than twenty years but when my heart was unexpectedly broken, I did something unusual. I went to Verona, Italy, to help answer the famous letters to Juliet. I was the only male among the secretaries of Juliet (a group of Italian women who have been answering the letters for decades). And, of course, I discovered a few things there that completely changed my life.

Verona old town and ponte pietra

Brief biography:
An author, musician and documentary film maker, Glenn Dixon has travelled through more than 75 countries and written for National Geographic, the New York Post, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, and Psychology Today. He holds an M.A. in socio-linguistics and his second book, Tripping the World Fantastic, was shortlisted for the W.O. Mitchell Award. A high-school English teacher for 20 years, he left that to become a full time writer.

And reviews for Glenn’s book have already begun rolling in! Here’s a review that was just published in Canada’s The National Post. Also, Anne Logan has posted a review to her blog, I’ve read this.

Links to buy Glenn’s book:
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
iTunes
Or your local independent book store

Glenn’s promo links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

What are you working on now?
I’ve only just begun the next book, which will be a novel. My thinking is that I’ll never have a true life story to rival Juliet’s Answer again. That was one in a million.

Glenn’s reading recommendation:
My book has been described as a male version of Eat, Pray, Love. The thing is, I didn’t like that book very much. On the other hand, I recently read The Signature of All Things by the same author – Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a novel and is absolutely brilliant. That one should have been the big best seller. It reminds me a little of Jane Eyre. It has that kind of classic quality.