St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the January 22, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

WinterlustWinterlust : finding beauty in the fiercest season

By Bernd Brunner

A sweeping, beautiful survey of all things winter. A farmer painstakingly photographs five thousand snowflakes. Indigenous peoples thrive on frozen terrain, where famous explorers perish. This lovingly illustrated meditation on winter entwines the spectacular with the everyday, expertly capturing the essence of a beloved yet dangerous season, which is all the more precious in an era of climate change.


Magnetic NorthMagnetic North : sea voyage to Svalbard

By Jenna Butler

From the endangered Canadian boreal forest to the environmentally threatened Svalbard archipelago off the coast of Norway, Jenna Butler takes us on a sea voyage that connects continents and traces the impacts of climate change on northern lands. With a conservationist, female gaze, she questions explorer narratives and the mythic draw of the polar North.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

A Dance of Cranes Dance of Cranesby Steve Burrows

Burrows creates fantastic momentum in this 6th novel in his Birder Murder Series by having a death occur at the beginning of each of chapters 1 and 2.  They are each profoundly disturbing in their own way. We are treated to three different story lines in two different countries (Canada and the U.K.) and we are hard-pressed to keep up with the pace that Burrows has created.  

Jejeune is back in Canada, estranged from his girlfriend Lindy who remains in the U.K.  When he is informed that his brother Damien has gone missing in Wood Buffalo National Park while conducting research on Whooping Cranes he sets out to search for him. Back in the U.K., Lindy has gone missing, and Danny Maik fears that she’s been kidnapped.  The sense of place that Burrows has created in this novel is so real and atmospheric that we’re right there whether it’s in the Canadian wilderness or in Jejeune’s former home in Saltmarsh.

As the story lines converge and the whys and hows are answered the peril faced by Jejeune and Lindy is palpable.  Their fate lies in the hands of so many.

4 Daggers
Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the January 15, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Out of darkness, shining lightOut of darkness, shining light : a novel

By Petina Gappah

The captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone’s body across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there. This is a story that encompasses all of the hypocrisy of slavery and colonization while celebrating resilience, loyalty, and love.


Shadow kingThe Shadow king : a novel

By Maaza Mengiste

With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. A heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

Weekend Picks

Best Indie Films of 2019 Vol. I

The Farewell

Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate.



Told from a wildly original, fresh, and modern perspective, this is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds they create that last a lifetime. Capturing the spirit of the times, it is a coming-of-age story for a new generation.


Biggest Little Farm

John Chester chronicles the eight-year quest he and Molly Chester went on when they traded city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chesters unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.





St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the January 8, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Body - BrysonThe Body : a guide for occupants

By Bill Bryson

The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.


Talking to strangersTalking to strangers : what we should know about the people we don’t know

By Malcolm Gladwell

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.