Lake Diefenbaker: Yours to Discover
Canadian Plains Research Center / 14 September 2011

Lake Diefenbaker: Yours to Discover by Michael and Anna Clancy Published by Canadian Plains Research Center Review by Keith Foster $19.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-229-8 Looking for the ultimate guide to the many enjoyable features of the Lake Diefenbaker area? Then Lake Diefenbaker: Yours to Discover is just the ticket. As the name suggests, this book revolves around what the authors call “Saskatchewan’s Great Lake” – Lake Diefenbaker, located in the heart of southern Saskatchewan. If stretched end to end, the lake’s shoreline would reach from Regina to Calgary. Authors Michael and Anna Clancy visited more than thirty communities, plus seven regional and four provincial parks, as they researched this extensive resource. They obviously enjoyed their travels, and their positive attitude is reflected in their descriptions. They talk affectionately about the Eye Candy Shop in Eyebrow and the Sweet Treats Ice Cream Shop and The Jelly Bean candy store in Elbow. From fishing, camping, swimming, boating, hiking, or bird watching, to rodeos, golf, tennis, auctions, craft and garage sales, dances, and the Tugaske Turkey Shoot, the area has something for everyone. Winter enthusiasts can enjoy curling, skating, sleigh rides, and tobogganing. For a slower pace, there are museums, art galleries, and historic…

Red Smoke Rising
Basket Case Publishing / 12 January 2011

Red Smoke Rising by Rick Anthony Published by Basket Case Publishing Review by Rudolf Sandmeier $10.99 ISBN: 978-0-9866661-0-0 When I first heard of Rick Anthony’s Red Smoke Rising it was described to me as “a good rip of a read” and it did not disappoint. Each chapter is a rapid sequence of action-packed episodes and builds to a climax that takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride, zipping through its course. There is always the risk in books that move at this pace that the reader could be simply overwhelmed by the plot. However, Anthony handles this element admirably and is able to keep everything rolling together quite smoothly. Somewhat conversely, another reason why the novel is successful is the economy of language Anthony employs – while he has a lot going on he doesn’t use an excess of words to describe the action. These two characteristics combine to benefit the novel as a whole – Red Smoke Rising clocks in at over 300 pages but it simply doesn’t feel that long when reading it. In the end, Anthony’s efforts have produced a well-balanced and efficient work. We’re plunked down in the middle of the action as the novel begins…

Larger Than Life
Parkland Publishing / 8 July 2009

Larger Than Life: Saskatchewan’s BIG Roadside Monuments by Robin and Arlene Karpan Published by Parkland Publishing Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall $18.95 ISBN: 0-9683579-9-7 From the world’s largest still in Vonda, to four-by-eight-foot hockey cards in Kelvington, there couldn’t be a stone – er, monument – left uncovered by Saskatoon writer-photographers Robin and Arlene Karpan. More than 70 communities find their way into the 176 pages of Larger Than Life, their guide to Saskatchewan’s roadside attractions. Each is captured in black-and-white photos, with a 14-page section of colour photographs in the centre to show the decorative nature of these provincial icons. “Some are serious art, many tell a story, and some are just plain fun or a tongue-in-cheek look at some aspect of life in Saskatchewan,” write the authors in their introduction. The roadsides sport their share of human figures. For example, two 11.5-foot tall figures carry a 30-foot canoe through downtown La Ronge in “Portage,” a monument the Karpans say “symbolizes the north.” Mounted police in towns like Redvers and North Battleford vie with countless other figures such as Goodsoil Gus, the Willow Bunch Giant, Potash Pete in Esterhazy, Lignite Louie in Estevan, Santa Claus in Watson, and many…

The Cypress Hills: An Island By Itself
Purich Publishing / 26 February 2009

There are still places of reflection and wonderment. Places that existed in their natural form for centuries upon centuries. Capturing these jewels, expressing their significance, is a noble charge commanded by few. “The Cypress Hills, an Island by Itself “ represents one of these jewels. The history of this isolated region is surprisingly long, fraught with characters, misdeeds, government greed, and failed promises. Affected most throughout these trials were the First Nations peoples.

The Romance of Saskatchewan Settlements
THORO / 2 July 2008

The Romance of Saskatchewan Settlements by Colin A. Thomson and Rodney G. Thomson Published by THORO Publishing Review by Chris Istace $22.95 ISBN 0-9734313-0-X There’s something quaint about the way communities are named in Saskatchewan. Whether the names honor heroes or villains – local or foreign – a geological feature, or a historic occurrence, each community and the stories behind their naming are a significant part of their histories. Their names say something about both the people who settled there and the generations that followed. Colin A. Thomson and Rodney G. Thomson seek to establish how much of an influence the “people of the pen” – writers, poets, journalists, scientists, historians, composers, artists, and others – had on the people of Saskatchewan with The Romance of Saskatchewan Settlements. Working in the vein of Bill Barry’s “People Places,” the Thomsons outline the lives and times of the writers and artists who had their names etched on maps and highway signs throughout Saskatchewan. The authors pay particular homage to the communities in the southeast area of the province, which they have labeled “Writer’s Corner”. This zone includes a box on the map that runs from Moose Jaw, south to the U.S. border,…