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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas Book Picks

I'll be the first to admit it. Buying books for someone else can be like picking out that special electric toothbrush that you know they will just love. Exclaiming when they open their gift, "Hey! It even comes with it's own batteries!" only goes so far. Also, I figure that after getting my lion's share of socks for the first half of my life, I would not mind receiving books the last half. Here are my suggested titles I spotted at the Ottawa Independent Writers Christmas Book Fair last month. This event was a fantastic opportunity to support Ottawa area writers. More information about this event and the group can be found online at

1. Mimi The Angel Gets Her Wings, Story by Sylvie Brûlé and Jennifer Clark - Illustrations by Julie Lefebvre [$10] For ages 3 and up, this book is for the little ones in your life. It is an inspiring story created as a way for young children to relate to a positive role model. More info:

2. Sing, Girls, Sing! A novel by Bobbie Smith [$12.85] This recently published book is aimed at a teen audience. It's an inspirational tale of how four Canadian twelve-year-old girls get together in Ottawa to form their own all-girl group. More Info:

3. Along Nature's Path: A Collection of Photographs by Wendy Booth [$42.75] One of my coffee table picks for the holiday season, Wendy's book will remind you that Summer is just around the corner. More info:

4. A Theatre Near You: 150 Years of Going to the Show in Ottawa-Gatineau, by Alain Miguelez [$40, Penumbra Press] My second choice of coffee table type book, especially for film buffs, presents a history of movie theatres in and around the nation's capital. It's profusely illustrated with 315 vintage photographs which will bring back memories of years gone by. More Info:

5. The Ottawa Sharpshooters, Edited by John D. Reid [$24, British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa] The story of the individuals who made up the Ottawa Sharpshooters is told based on new research. This is one my historical picks for those who want to know more about the monument in Confederation Park of a soldier with a bearskin headdress and the their compatriots. More Info:

6. The Mother-In-Law Book, by Rosaleen Leslie Dickson [$20, General Store Publishing House] A compilation of the fifty best questions posed to "Ask Great Granny" and her thoughtful replies. "The age-old dilemma of two possessive women both loving the same man, one being his mother, the other his wife." Give this gift as a gentle reminder or for pure entertainment. More info:

7. Guides to Exploring England Independently: Preplanning Your Trip, by Linda Loder [$8] Going abroad soon? Feeling overwhelmed at planning your first trip? Want to surprise your loved one with a trip to England? This slim book is all you need to know to start the process of travelling to specific areas in England. More info:

8. Pucks, Pablum & Pingos: More Fascinating Facts and Quirky Quizzes, by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray [$18, Dundurn Press] Everyone loves trivia. This book is ideal for those hard to buy for - of any age. The quizzes in this book are both fun and informative. More info:

9. Spring Garland, text and poetry by E. Russell Smith, engravings by Gerard Brender à Brandis [$10, Buschek Books] My book of poetry pick is a lovely produced book. The wood engravings are spectacular. The accompanying poems will please any reader or gardener of spring flowers. More info:

10. Shoplifting.....The Funnier Side, by Gary Miles [$20, Baico Publishing] Humour books make easy gifts. This one does not disappoint. Mr. Miles, a private investigator and security expert, shares hundreds of his on-the-job anecdotes in a fun to read collection.

11. Yesterday's Shadows, and A Walking Shadow by Jo-Anne Southern [$10 each, Bookman Publishing] Originally from Lancashire England, Jo-Anne spent many years in the entertainment industry and was known as both Diamond Lil and the Pearly Queen with the Skyline Hotel chain in Canada. I had to get both of her books - at ten dollars a piece they were hard to resist. Yesterday's Shadows recounts the "bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil" and in A Walking Shadow, Jo-Anne writes speculatively of what may have happened following this battle. More info:


Blogger Stephen Rowntree said...

Another great Citizen piece, John. And yes, Melissa is 'way' talented, its a shame she had to move back to the oil-patches. I suggest reading Amanda's poetry on latchkey (somethingortheother) her writing is much neglected I fear. As usual, your ongoing committment to and encouragment of Ottawa writers and poets, myself included, thanks, is without peer. Thanks for taking the time to do that voodoo that you do so swell.


Monday, December 19, 2005 2:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I almost bought 8 and 10 myself at the OIW fair. With 2 dozen books unread ahead of me I put it on hold. So much good writing and good stories are out there.

Monday, December 19, 2005 9:44:00 AM  

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