Book of Ecological Virtues, A
University of Regina Press / 6 January 2021

A Book of Ecological Virtues: Living Well in the AnthropoceneEdited by Heesoon Bai, David Chang, and Charles ScottPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$39.95  ISBN 9-780889-777569 I made several “notes to self” while reading this anthology. Although not a critical marker re: the book’s literary or academic merit, it does indicate that the text spoke to me on a personal level. Read Canticle to the Creatures (St. Francis), I scribbled. Try editor/contributor David Chang’s awareness practice on Pg. 226/227. Google Peter H. Kahn, Jr. Share the quotes on grief with ____.   This heartening anthology of well-constructed essays addresses how one can live both ethically and full-heartedly during this epoch’s “sombre reality of ecological degradation.” The trio of editors – all professors at Simon Fraser University – asked diverse contributors to consider not only what living well looks like in these times, but also what “suffering well” means. “No one discipline, tradition, or orientation has privilege over another,” the editors explain. Indeed, they have forged a “textual garden” in which scholars, educators, and poets from various disciplines and traditions – Buddhism, Christianity, psychology, ecology, ethics, traditional knowledge systems, etc. – present their interesting, individual responses, each “marked…

Uncertain Harvest
University of Regina Press / 6 January 2021

Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planetby Ian Mosby, Sarah Rotz, and Evan D.G. FraserPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$27.95      ISBN 9780889777200 Does a diet of algae, caribou, kale, millet, tuna, crickets, milk, and rice sound like the food future you imagined for yourself? Don’t worry, authors Ian Mosby, Sarah Rotz, and Evan D.G. Fraser are not predicting that the solution to our “collective food future” relies on these eight staples (despite what a quick glance down the contents page might imply). Rather than predict how we can create “a sustainable, resilient, and equitable food system,” Mosby, Rotz, and Fraser “critically assess the food futures being imagined and implemented this minute” in their new book Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planet.  Part of what makes this book a success is its non-prescriptive approach. Right from the preface, the authors acknowledge that predicting the future is, and has been, futile. Algae pipelines, radiation-grown potatoes, self-replicating steaks – none of these previously put-forward solutions ever came to pass, nor were they even viable.  It’s unsurprising to learn, then, that the authors’ conclusions don’t involve glowing tubers or magical hybrid seeds;…

Cold Case North
University of Regina Press / 2 December 2020

Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absolom Halkettby Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric BellPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Michelle Shaw$24.95 ISBN 9780889777491 In 1967, Métis leader James Brady and Absolom Halkett, a Cree Band Councillor, vanished from their remote lakeside camp while prospecting in Saskatchewan. No trace of them was ever found and their disappearance became one of Northern Saskatchewan’s most enduring mysteries. The initial police investigation concluded that the men had got lost and died while trying to find their way out of the remote area. But rumors persisted for over 50 years. If they were indeed lost why was no trace of their bodies ever found, even though there was an extensive search at the time. Many people believed they were murdered, and their bodies disposed of, probably in the nearby lake which was very cold and deep. Various attempts were made over the years to discover what had happened, but none were successful. Deanna Reder, a Professor of English and Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU), grew up hearing the story of Brady and Halkett. Her uncle Frank, in particular, talked about his memories of the two men and…

Faces of the Force
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 2 December 2020

Faces of the Force: From Depot to Detachment – True Stories of C-1966/67 Troopby Helen Metella and Pamela CowanPublished by Your Nickel’s Worth PublishingReview by Toby A. Welch$19.95 ISBN 9781988783529 Faces of the Force: From Depot to Detachment – True Stories of C-1966/67 Troop contains the stories of 32 men from across Canada who gathered in Regina on June 10, 1966. They were all there to undergo a rigorous training regime to become RCMP officers. Fast forward to the troop’s 50-year reunion in Regina. The get-together inspired the group to record their stories, sharing how their lives have played out since they first met five decades earlier.  Enter Helen Metella and Pamela Cowan. Both former journalists, they compiled each individual story. They did a phenomenal job of evoking strong imagery with their words and encapsulating the men’s lives.  The first story belongs to Constable Tony Antoniuk, the C66/67 Troop’s drill instructor. That is followed by the story of Corporal Doug Farenholtz, the PT instructor for the 32 men. After that, we delve into the lives of each individual troop member.  When Senator Bev Busson wrote in the book’s forward that the stories were “gritty, told in real life language with…

Horse Lake Chronicles
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 27 October 2020

Horse Lake Chroniclesby Aldred NeufeldtPublished by Your Nickel’s Worth PublishingReview by Keith Foster$19.95 ISBN 978-1-988783-56-7 In his Horse Lake Chronicles, Aldred Neufeldt recalls growing up as a Mennonite youth in the 1940s on a farm in northern Saskatchewan. Located near Rosthern, the rural community was known as Horse Lake, even though, as Aldred explains, there was no lake by that name nearby. Horse Lake Chronicles provides a family history for Aldred’s descendants. For people too young to remember, it paints an accurate picture of what life was like in those early days; for those who lived through it, it’s a trip through nostalgia. With their farm surrounded by forest, Aldred’s parents, Henry and Agatha, built a log house. Following their Mennonite heritage, the family religiously observed Sunday as a day of rest and worship. One of the great sins they tried to avoid was pride. Aldred maintains that his family wasn’t poor; they just didn’t have any money. They made do with what they had. Being nimble with her foot-pedalled Singer sewing machine, Agatha made winter coats for Aldred and his younger brother Boyce. The boys looked dapper, and Agatha was pleased to display her handiwork. “Dad, for his part,…

Healthy Aging Naturally
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 16 October 2020

Healthy Aging Naturally: Proven Strategies for Disability-free Longevityby Felix Veloso, M.D.Published by YNWPReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$18.88 ISBN 9-781988-783604 The 2019 UN World Population Prospect report suggested that by 2050, 25% of the North American and European populations may be 65 or older. Clearly, now’s the time to address what an aging population will mean for society, and how those of us approaching our “golden years” can live happier and healthier lives as we age. University of Saskatchewan professor, author, and neurologist, Dr. Felix Veloso, brings more than 40 years of expertise to the subject, and I found his well-researched book, Healthy Aging Naturally: Proven Strategies for Disability-free Longevity, full of vital information and interesting statistics. Furthermore, he’s wisely structured his book with a conversational through-thread – between “Dr. Ferurojo” and patient “Anita Tykinlee” – so readers feel they are actually part of a story. Tykinlee asks the questions we might ask if we were in a doctor’s office, concerned about our own or an aging loved one’s health, and Ferurojo/Veloso does an exceptional job of answering her questions in an easy-to-understand, conversational style while also organically inserting the scientific facts – and quoting numerous studies from around the globe…

Radiant Life, A
University of Regina Press / 8 October 2020

A Radiant Life: The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk, Scientist, Sports Icon, and Stateswomanby Merle MassiePublished University of Regina PressReview by Keith Foster$34.95 ISBN 978-0889777330 As twelve-year-old Sylvia Fedoruk watched their majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their 1939 cross-Canada tour, she thought this would be the closest she’d ever get to royalty. How mistaken she was. Nearly fifty years later she was sworn in as the Queen’s representative, becoming Saskatchewan’s first female lieutenant-governor. Merle Massie’s lively biography, A Radiant Life, offers an intimate look at the life and career of Sylvia Fedoruk. In her preface, Massie describes Sylvia as someone who “sang lustily, laughed uproariously and often, and believed that life was for living.” Instead of using her subject’s surname, Massie uses her first name throughout. Sylvia, after all, sounds much more personal. Right away, readers get to know her on a personal level and instantly feel closer to her. Sylvia attended one-room schools east of Yorkton, SK., where her father taught. To avoid being called “teacher’s pet,” Sylvia endeavoured not only to perform well, but to outperform. She did. She averaged at least two scholarships every year throughout high school and university. A sports enthusiast, Sylvia excelled at…

Reclaiming Tom Longboat
University of Regina Press / 8 October 2020

Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sportby Janice ForsythPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$27.95 ISBN 9780889777286 Although the famed Onondaga athlete features in the title, Tom Longboat (Cogwagee) is not the focus of Janice Forsyth’s new book, Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sport; rather, it is the Tom Longboat Awards that serve as the focal point for which Forsyth’s expert examination of Indigenous sport in Canada revolves. For over five decades, the Tom Longboat Awards have been subject to the various political agendas of the organizations between which it has passed hands. Conceived of by Jan Eisenhardt and Indian Affairs in 1951, Forsyth explains that the Awards were “no mere accident of history. Nor were they the consequence of serendipity, [or] of the right people coming together at the right time without political intent.” The Awards were a purposeful attempt made by the Federal Government to quantify and regulate Indigenous bodies through encouraging participation in mainstream sport. Throughout the 70s and 80s as Indigenous leaders became more politically active, they, too, realized the “symbolic value of sport” and used the Awards as “an opportunity to broadcast messages about the significance of self-determination” and “cultural…

Burned-Out Healer, The
Wood Dragon Books / 8 October 2020

The Burned-Out Healer: A Path to Trauma Release and Reconnection to Selfby Jacquie BaloghPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReviewed by Michelle Shaw$19.99 ISBN 978-1-989078-23-5 In The Burned-Out Healer, Calgary-based hypnotherapist Jacquie Balogh shares her journey from burnout towards spiritual and physical harmony and provides a practical roadmap for others to recognize and address their own energetic exhaustion. Jacquie has been involved in healing for most of her life. Even as a child, she says, she had a special knack for reading people, for knowing things about them she had no realistic way of knowing. “I was able to see things around them such as auras and visitors from another realm. I was able to decipher what those things meant and help people along their journey by sharing this knowledge with them.” Jacquie naturally gravitated towards a career that would involve helping others and became a licensed practical nurse, which initially she thoroughly enjoyed. But after fifteen years she was disillusioned, she says, with a system that seemed to focus more on bureaucracy than healing. She decided to train in other avenues of healing such as reiki, tarot, mediumship and hypnotherapy, incorporating her knowledge into her own healing work. But even though…

Serenity Unhinged
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 22 September 2020

Serenity Unhinged (a memoir)by Jim DugglebyPublished by YNWPReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$14.95 ISBN 9-781988-783574 As a writer myself, I’m always curious about other writers’ inspiration for their books. In his memoir Serenity Unhinged, Regina writer, editor and journalist Jim Duggleby mines the landscape of his own history – family, childhood, career – and his bright imagination for material, but the essays and articles in this fun read really owe their existence to a Regina writers’ workshop that took place between 2017 and 2019. The workshop, which included “fewer than a dozen people” at Regina’s Lifelong Learning Centre, was facilitated by Bob Juby and Ivan Millard, and was “loosely themed ‘As I Remember’”. Duggleby has a long history with and passion for the written word. The former Saskatoon Star-Phoenix reporter professes that he “can’t recall a time when [he] didn’t love writing” in various genres, from history to futurism, and his joy and wit translate into 21 entertaining stories in this recently-released softcover with YNWP. The author earns five stars for his captivating opening lines, ie: “Perhaps the most surprising thing about my mother’s death is that some people were saddened,” and “My father died twice.” (Interestingly, Duggleby’s pop was “the…