Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 19, 2016


Sig - profile pic

Sigmund Brouwer

Reader of the Day #73 Sigmund Brouwer

Sigmund is a Red Deer native and a true inspiration – especially to the Reading College students every July (where he donates his time). I love his books. Every one I’ve read (and I think he’s written over 130) has been a memorable read – from his kids’ books to the adult novels; he has a unique way of capturing one’s interest from the very beginning and adding lots of clever twists and turns.

When I asked him to comment for READER OF THE DAY, Sig said, “I’m an ebook convert. I use the Kindle app to read on my iPhone while waiting in line, on my mini iPad on the couch, and my Kindle reader in bed. I love that my reading progress is synced on all the devices. I read incessantly and omnivorously. Probably 4 books a week, often more. My reading list over the last two weeks has jumped from non-fiction on Vimy Ridge to historical fiction to spy fiction back to non-fiction about Cro-Magnons versus Neanderthals. Currently reading I AM PILGRIM, and it’s on my top ten list for the last year.”

Sigmund’s books on Amazon:

Sigmund’s Rock and Roll Literacy site:

Wikipedia says: Sigmund Brouwer (born 1959) is an author with books published by mainstream and evangelical publishers. He has written books across many genres, from children’s picture books to scientific thrillers, and more.

One of six children born to a family with Dutch heritage, Brouwer is a native of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. He is married to a Christian singer Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.

Brouwer is perhaps most noted for his work with Hank Hanegraaff in the controversial Last Disciple series, released in 2005 and 2006. It is a fictional series set in the “end times” of the 1st century AD, narrated from a Partial-Preterist viewpoint. Brouwer is also the author of the Mars Diaries science fiction series for young adults.

Sigmund Brouwer has nearly 3 million copies of his books in print.[1]


Thief of Glory

Justine McQueen

Dead Man's Switch

Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 17, 2016


Melissa Koster

Reader of the Day #72 Melissa Koster

Melissa is the Assistant Pro at the Innisfail Golf course. When I asked her if she was a reader, her answer was immediate – “You bet.” Jan has golfed with Melissa and knows she can read putts but she also reads books. I asked what she was reading at the moment, and she said, “The Oath by Frank Peretti.” She went on to list a handful of other books Peretti has written: This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness, Monster and more.

Frank Edward Peretti (born January 13, 1951) is a New York Times best-selling author of Christian fiction, whose novels primarily focus on the supernatural. To date, his works have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Peretti is best known for his novels This Present Darkness (1986) and The Oath (1995). Peretti has held ministry credentials with the Assemblies of God, and formerly played the banjo in a bluegrass band called Northern Cross. He now lives in northern Idaho with his wife, Barbara.


Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 14, 2016


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Reader of the Day #71 Avery Bissonette

Avery is my 7-year-old step-granddaughter and a reader of renown. Avery has grown up “off the grid” in a cabin near Telkwa, BC – no running water, a wood stove, one propane light in the cabin, no TV . . . but lots and lots of books. In the early years, both her mom and dad read to her constantly and, much sooner than most, she was reading on her own.

When I asked her mom to describe what Avery is reading now and what she usually reads, Heather said this:

What she’s reading: The Sea Wolves, Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest by Ian Macalister.

What she normally reads: books about animals, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Animal Friends, The Day the Crayons Quit.

Jock’s note: Books in a series like the Wimpy Kid and Animal Friends are guaranteed winners.

The Sea Wolves: Living Wild in the Great Rain Forest

The Sea Wolves sets out to disprove the notion of “the Big Bad Wolf,” especially as it is applied to coastal wolves—a unique strain of wolf that lives in the rainforest along the Pacific coast of Canada. Genetically distinct from their inland cousins and from wolves in any other part of the world, coastal wolves can swim like otters and fish like the bears with whom they share the rainforest. Smaller than the gray wolves that live on the other side of the Coast Mountains, these wolves are highly social and fiercely intelligent creatures.

Living in the isolated wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest, coastal wolves have also enjoyed a unique relationship with man. The First Nations people, who have shared their territory for thousands of years, do not see them as a nuisance species but instead have long offered the wolf a place of respect and admiration within their culture.

Illustrated with almost one hundred of Ian McAllister’s magnificent photographs, The Sea Wolves presents a strong case for the importance of preserving the Great Bear Rainforest for the wolves, the bears and the other unique creatures that live there.

Sea Wolves

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Magical Animal Friends

The Day the Crayons Quit

Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 13, 2016


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Reader of the Day #70 Jillian Mackenzie

*** I recently posted (in error) only pictures for Jillian’s READER OF THE DAY entry. Oops! Here’s the text and the pictures.

I love reading and wish I did it more. I have been reading for 30 years! I was fortunate to learn how to read from my Auntie Olga before kindergarten started. She instilled a love of reading in me at an early age. I mostly read fiction novels. My favourite book is “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtney. Lately, I have been reading mostly children’s books with my son and “The Avalanche Handbook” for work.

This spring and summer I am looking forward to reading some novels and many more children’s books. Reading for me has been a great way to relax and also an interesting way to learn about history, nature and everything in between. My dad has also been a significant reading role model for me. Thanks Dad for helping me to love reading!

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Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 3, 2016


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Reader of the Day #69 Justin Engbers

Justin is usually known as the cook at Kim’s Riverview Cafe but his family knows him as “The Phone Guy.” Justin tells me he does all of his reading on the phone . . . and it sounds like he reads everything: world and local news, politics, sports, the stock market, and so on. When is he on the phone? On and off all day. Why? He has an inquiring mind and it gives him something to talk about with both family and friends.

As Yogi Berra said, “You can hear a lot just by listening.” And I’ve heard and learned a lot by asking people about their reading. Most of my news comes from listening to the CBC, but after hearing what Justin had to say, I’ve downloaded Google News to my own phone and will try checking it out as another source.

Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 2, 2016


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Reader of the Day #68 Roger Rudyk

Dr. Roger Rudyk and I see eye to eye; he’s my optometrist. When I went for my not-as-regular-as-it-should-be eye exam, we chatted about reading. Much of the time, Roger reads what he calls ‘scientific’ literature. (see first pic . . . and this one looks well read). At other times, he says he reads history and biographies.

He’s currently reading about Russia’s Vladimir Putin; recently he read about Napoleon Bonaparte. Roger also spoke of reading about the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in WWI.

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Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | April 1, 2016


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READER OF THE DAY #67 Robert Reed

Or as Robert suggested – Reeder of the Day. Robert has been a good friend ever since our G.W. Smith Elementary days when we worked on a Readers’ Theatre project. We don’t spend half enough time together but when we do, it’s always ‘golden.’

When I asked him to share some thoughts, he said:

My first memory of loving to read would be the excitement of signing out (from the Athabasca public library) a blue hard-covered Thornton Burgess epic (Peter Rabbit, Sammy Jay, Reddy Fox). My two all-time favorite novels are Trinity (Leon Uris) and Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett). I am now reading almost exclusively with a Kobo e-reader. Reading provides me with opportunities to:

learn how others view our world

acquire new knowledge

travel to other times and lands

escape from the real world.

Thornton Burgess

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In 1910, writer/naturalist Thornton W. Burgess wrote his first book, Old Mother West Wind. It contained sixteen stories about animals including Reddy Fox, Peter Rabbit, Johnny Chuck, Jerry Muskrat, Bobby Coon, Little Joe Otter, Buster Bear and many other characters who would go on with their adventures in the dozens of sequels that followed. Burgess in 1934 said that he had written over 11,000 stories since OMWW’s publication. Harrison Cadys charming illustrations also contributed greatly to the overwhelming popularity of the series.

Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | March 31, 2016


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Reader of the Day #66 Lynn Fish

Lynn is a retired teacher who is a regular attendee at the Thursday Cafe Vera Coffee Gathering. It is at these meetings that the exchange of books or discussion of books takes place – and right out in public.

Lynn does all of her reading on an iPad . . . as of today, her brand new iPad. Because she suffers from an eye affliction, the iPad allows her to enlarge the print so it’s readable. She gets all of her eBooks from Apple books. She tells me this service allows her to acquire current best sellers and well . . . everything. A current read is “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi.

Lynn, thanks to her mom, started to read at an early age. Mom consistently ensured that she and her sister had books that were appropriate to their reading levels; at just the right time it was Winnie the Pooh, then The Wizard of Oz, then (and I could even hear her smiling) Anne of Green Gables.

For some time, in her adult life, she spent a great deal of time reading British mysteries. She says now she reads books that have more of a philosophical bent and lots of non-fiction. One of the best ever is Diary of a Country Priest by George Bernanos but the very best are the poems of T.S. Eliot. Lynn says, “He is the most accomplished writer, a great thinker!”

Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | March 30, 2016


Garry Ryan

READER OF THE DAY #65 Garry Ryan

Garry Ryan is a friend who I met through the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. He is a retired teacher (must be salt of the earth) and a writer. He has published seven books in the Calgary-based Detective Lane series; the eighth (Indiana Pulcinella) will be out this April. I have enjoyed reading every one of them; I’ve also enjoyed the first two books in his other series about women pilots in World War II: Blackbirds and Two Blackbirds.

I thought that a writer might give a different perspective to being a reader. Here’s what Garry said:

The problem is I’m always reading. Reading signs, emails, books, newspapers, people, our dog. There’s this insatiable need to understand what’s going on making me sift clues from words, colours, expressions, tone, shapes, wind, clouds. Reading is all part of that. Trying to see what’s really going on. When I read a book like Kite Runner or This is Where I leave You, it begins a process where images and experiences gather to create novel. I keep a collection of photographs like this sunset image taken on a sidewalk in San Jose Cabos San Lucas. The reading, the photographs, the experiences, the impressions, eventually come together to create a novel from all of it.

Indianna Pulcinella

Detective Land and his impetuous partner Nigel Liz find themselves back on the hunt, this time looking for the perpetrators of a gruesome killing with a crime scene matching that of a man put away by Calgary Police years earlier.

As more innocents fall victim to the copycat killer, Lane and Liz must team up with some unlikely new allies in Calgary’s trendy Kensington area to crack the case.

Meanwhile, with the birth of his nephew Indiana, Lane’s happily chaotic households faces a new challenge, as the laconic detective’s estranged fundamentalist family reappears to try and raise the baby their way.

Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | March 29, 2016


Marty Chan

READER OF THE DAY #64 Marty Chan

I can’t remember when I first had the pleasure of meeting Marty but it’s been interesting and fun for some time. He spoke to the Writers’ Ink group at the annual Spring Workshop, and has presented at our local teachers’ convention. I had the honour of interviewing him when I wrote an article (The Relentless Reinventions of Marty Chan, Volume 32, Number 3, May/June 2012 ) for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s WestWord magazine.

Marty’s website is worth a visit. Here’s link to his “About” page

As a writer, his views on reading are these:

As an author, I have the excellent excuse that I need to read for work. I often pick up non-fiction books to help me research a subject. For example, I have three shelves bursting with books about New York history because I was working on a steampunk fantasy novel set in 1890s New York. I’ve also devoted a bookcase to books by authors I have met, and nothing makes a book come to life better than meeting the person who wrote it and hearing their voice in person. If you ever get a chance to go to a book signing or public reading, go out and meet authors. It’s a great way to get insight into the origins behind their books.

When I’m reading for fun, I let my mood dictate the next book I pluck off the shelf. Sometimes, I feel like reading a mystery. Other times, I’ll feel like reading a biography about a celebrity. I just picked up Karen Bass’ The Hill, a YA thriller set in Alberta, and I can’t wait to read it. I just finished reading the magnificent novel, We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen. Both writers are Canadian, and I encourage everyone to find a book by a Canadian author and give it a read. You’d be amazed at the talent we have within our borders (and they’re still living).”

Wikipedia has this to say about steampunk novels:

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

Infinity Coil

Here’s a bit about Karen Bass’ The Hill:


Jared’s plane has crashed in the Alberta wilderness, and Kyle is first on the scene. When Jared insists on hiking up the highest hill in search of cell phone reception, Kyle hesitates; his Cree grandmother has always forbidden him to go near it. There’s no stopping Jared, though, so Kyle reluctantly follows. After a night spent on the hilltop―with no cell service―the teens discover something odd: the plane has disappeared. Nothing in the forest surrounding them seems right. In fact, things seem very wrong. And worst of all, something is hunting them. Karen Bass, the multi-award-winning author of Graffiti Knight and Uncertain Soldier, brings her signature action packed style to a chilling new subject: the Cree Wîhtiko legend. Inspired by the real story of a remote plane crash and by the legends of her Cree friends and neighbours, Karen brings eerie life―or perhaps something other than life―to the northern Alberta landscape in The Hill.



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