German Settlements in Saskatchewan

German Settlements In Saskatchewanby Alan B. AndersonPublished by Saskatchewan German Council Inc.Review by Madonna Hamel$20.00 ISBN 9780969401674 Growing up I heard stories about my grandmother’s job as the postmistress of Krupp and of the acres of sunflowers planted by German farmers surrounding my grandparent’s land just North of Fox Valley. When my sister and I went looking for Krupp we found no evidence of it, although someone speculated that a large feed bin was once the old post office. I could have used this meticulously researched history of the province’s settlements in my searches. It would have explained to me that many of the Russian-German settlements spanning an expansive territory bordered by Medicine Hat, Leader and Maple Creek, including my French-Canadian-Metis-Scottish-American grandparents farm, had changed their names after both world wars. When Leader became the “de facto centre of the settlements” in 1913 it was actually named Prussia. But during World War I the town name was changed along with street names like Berlin, Kaiser and Hamburg. No doubt Krupp suffered the same fate. Prelate was also a name I’d heard as a child. I knew there was a church there, just ten kilometres down the road from Leader, and…

Shoot Out
Wood Dragon Books / 25 May 2022

Shoot Out (Jessie Mac Hockey Series)by Maureen UlrichPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$18.99 ISBN 9-781989-078648 In 2009 I reviewed Maureen Ulrich’s YA novel Power Plays—the first title in her Jessie Mac Hockey Series—and all these years later it’s been a pleasure to read her fourth and final book in this action-packed series. As with the earlier books, Shoot Out concerns hockey: 14-year-old protagonist Courtney’s debut with a U15 boys’ team (Moose) in Estevan, and her 19-year-old sister Jessie’s second season with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Women’s team in Saskatoon. Ulrich’s successfully “passes” the spotlight back and forth between these two athletic characters: the siblings’ narratives alternate throughout this adeptly-written novel. Interestingly, Ulrich’s melded real-life Huskie hockey players and experiences–based on the schedule and statistics of the 2013-2014 women’s team, for which her daughter played—with fictional ones, and it’s a win-win. There’s plenty to admire, from the crisp writing to the personal growth of the McIntyre girls, who have much more to navigate than hockey ice. Romance simmers on the back burner for both gals, and there are mercurial friendships, family dynamics, educational upsets, and injuries to attend to. The major conflicts, however, are how young Courtney…

Stroke of Grace, A
Wood Dragon Books / 25 May 2022

A Stroke of Grace: A Guide to Understanding and Living With an Acquired Brain Injuryby Julianne HeagyPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$19.99 ISBN 9781989078891 This powerful book is a must-add for your to-read list! In a nutshell, Assiniboia-based writer Julianne Heagy suffered a life-changing stroke on her 31st wedding anniversary. This compelling read shares her story. Heagy doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this memoir; she includes all the grisly details.  I appreciate how this book is broken up chronologically. Heagy had her stroke on May 21, 2019, and A Stroke of Grace details one month per chapter. Once Heagy passes the one year anniversary of her stroke, the chapters morph into approximately yearly quarters. This layout allows for a seamless flow of the book with no distracting timeline jumping. While taking us on her journey, Heagy uses a friendly, casual tone with her words; it suits this story perfectly. Aesthetically speaking, this is a beautiful book. The image drawn on the cover carries throughout the book, softening the words. The font the creators picked was an excellent choice, pleasing to read and soft. The size of the font is bigger than you usually find in books although it…

Shifting Baseline Syndrome

Shifting Baseline Syndromeby Aaron KreuterPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$19.95 ISBN 9780889778542 Can anyone alive remember a time without TV? Not many people can. Soon enough, no one will remember a time without it. TVs and screens of every size will become part of our collective memory—things that have always just been—and we’ll forget how things were. The “name […] for this forgetting” is “Shifting Baseline Syndrome,” which is also the title of Aaron Kreuter’s second book of poetry. In this collection, Kreuter, with a unique blend of directness and sardonic wit, shows us how “[t]elevision is just another name for the Anthropocene.” Although we’re seeing a growing trend of climate change and doomsday poetry, Shifting Baseline Syndrome stands out because of its ingenious use of the television/life metaphor and Kreuter’s unabashed approach. These poems don’t hesitate to comment on the ridiculousness of our obsession with and over-consumption of television, the internet, and cell phones. For example, in the poem “Meanwhile,” we watch “Homer and Marge argue about the nuclear codes they / accidentally won in the town raffle; […] [m]eanwhile, the balsam fir colonizes another warming valley.” Put in a language us TV-obsessed readers can understand,…