Journey Without a Map
Thistledown Press / 22 October 2008

Opening Caruso’s book is like opening your family photo albums. You’ll delight in remembering special events like graduations, reunions, and weddings. Equally special are the every day but never mundane events like children running through the sprinkler in the backyard or standing on a stool stirring cookie batter. Cooking is an important part of Italian culture. Caruso walks us through the art of salad making, cooking perfect pasta, and making miraculously healing chicken soup. This book is a legacy to her family with her pride shining through in every page. Caruso poignantly shares details of her life. Her book is sometimes humourous like Uncle Nick dancing at a wedding, sometimes sad like when grandma died when Caruso was thirteen years old, but always entertaining.

Thistledown Press / 6 September 2008

Like numerous other professional writers’, Heidi Garnett’s work had appeared in reputable literary journals and chapbooks, was broadcast on CBC, and earned her awards. She had honed her craft at the renowned Banff Centre, and participated in other creative writing programs. In short, the poet had an impressive curriculum vitae before her first book, “Phosphorus,” was ever published, and the proof of her apprenticeship is in the quality of the poems themselves.

Emry’s Dream: Greystone Theatre in Photographs and Words
Thistledown Press / 27 August 2008

Current Greystone Theatre director, Dwayne Brenna – known to many as a writer, actor, and “Eddie Gustafson” on CBC SK Radio — has orchestrated a history of Greystone with essays and black and white archival photographs that reveal the theatre’s finest hours — and some of its darkest – in “Emrys’ Dream:
Greystone Theatre in Photographs and Words.”

Sandbag Shuffle
Thistledown Press / 13 August 2008

The Red River Flood of 1997 swallowed a large portion of southern Manitoba, leaving in its wake stories of tragedy and heroism. The wall of water that crawled toward Winnipeg caused the evacuation of more than twenty-five thousand people, two thousand head of cattle and forty-five thousand chickens. Tens of thousands more were evacuated in the United States, including forty-six thousand residents of Grand Forks, North Dakota. For most, it was a disaster of epic proportions. For Owen and Andrew, the young protagonists in Kevin Mark Fournier’s first novel, it’s an opportunity for escape.

First Mountain
Thistledown Press / 30 July 2008

First Mountain by Paulette Dubé Published by Thistledown Press Review by Sharon Adam $15.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-33-1 This volume of poetry is thin, but the contents are definitely not. Ms Dubé layers her writer’s voice with a variety of subjects, all of which populate her life in the mountains. Time and space revolve around images that are both familiar and spiritual. Her sharp observations and specific recollections engage the reader and encourage further exploration into this small but powerful time capsule. The pattern of words that the author evokes rises from her experiences living in the foothills of Jasper, Alberta. They evoke feelings of peace and calm while triggering memories in our own lives. The poems are not titled, rather they are numbered like the pages of a diary, or journal. They meander throughout the landscape, bringing the life of the wilderness to the heart of the suburbanite. These reflections of time and place introduce a sense of calm and quiet the mind so that our inner voices can hear and respond to the rhythm and cadence of the poetry. She has pushed back the of wave of civilization with its tendency to erode our natural life experience. The journal style…

Thistledown Press / 23 July 2008

In this 469-page novel, Nolan Taylor, a Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball Olympic champion, searches for a new identity after hip-replacement surgery. The title has multiple meanings, referring to her position on the team as well as her post-operative angst: “I was an elite wheelchair basketball player. The centre for Team Canada. The Big Girl. The Post. Now, I am a… former elite wheelchair basketball player: the post-Post.”

Thistledown Press / 17 July 2008

Svoboda by Bill Stenson Published by Thistledown Press Review by Chris Istace $ 18.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-30-0 Svoboda, by Victoria, B.C. author Bill Stenson, is a story of assimilation, providing a strong overview of how one Doukhobor family came to be as Canadian as their neighbours. Vasili Saprikin grew up in the midst of the tumultuous early history of the Doukhobor’s struggle to maintain the way of life they wanted to bring to Canada from Russia. A communal people, their settlements in both Saskatchewan and British Columbia were being assaulted by governmental attempts to assimilate the Doukhobor people into the Canadian culture of the 1950s. The Doukhobor’s response to this pressure developed into a pacifistic faction and a violent one. Learning from his grandfather, Alexay, Vasili stood outside these two factions while being taught to be proud of his heritage, regardless of how the circumstances of his culture changed. This was a challenge after the boy was whisked away from his single mother, Anuta, to residential school, where he was introduced to a conventional North American education and lifestyle. Vasili came to enjoy being educated and living the life of a standard teenager, however negative his experience at the residential school…

Interwoven Wild
Thistledown Press / 8 July 2008

Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose in the Garden by Don Gayton Published by Thistledown Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $15.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-35-5 When one considers gardening books, “coffee table” books containing sumptuous photographs might spring to mind, but BC writer and nationally-known ecologist Don Gayton has written a gardening book of another nature, and for this gardener’s money, it’s far more satisfying than a full-colour, glossy album of gardens I could never aspire to. Gayton’s book of intelligent, easy-to-read literary essays, Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose in the Garden delivers an ideal combination of history, witty personal anecdotes, and practical information. A vague through-line exists in the antics of Gayton’s dandelion-flinging dachshund, Spud, “who looks like an Irish setter might if it were left in the dryer too long.” Gayton is a first-rate writer and an “every person’s” philosopher. He makes the biology of a compost bin sound like both poetry and stand-up comedy (“Nobody likes a monotonous diet, not even bacteria”). Of the “Split Eden” – our penchant for pairing the cultivated and the wild – he contends that this duality “courses well beyond yard and garden into our very understanding of nature.” His subjects include soil quality…

A Stone in My Pocket
Thistledown Press / 4 January 2008

Imagine living in the year 1850 as a young girl moving towards woman hood. Imagine being a free spirit yet raised in a very conservative, strict Methodist household. Imagine finding a good Indian friend named Baketigweyaa from Mississauga who is part of the Algonkian tribe. Imagine your father dislikes Indians.
Review by Marion Harder