Alberta Reads Provincial Book Club

About

The BPAA is pleased to announce the second shortlist for the Alberta Reads Book Club – this time featuring 6 intriguing non-fiction titles!

All of the winning and shortlisted titles are available digitally at Alberta public libraries through the Read Alberta eBooks and Prairie Indigenous eBook Collections. They are also available through local bookstores across Canada.

November-December 2020 Alberta Reads Book Club Title

Stay tuned for the winning title announcement on November 4, 2020!

Shortlist

Finding Wakâ: Jaysen’s Story by Jaysen Flett-Paul and Sunflower’s Story by Sunflower Paul
Published by Eschia Books

Jaysen’s Story

When 14-Year-old Jaysen Flett-Paul loses his mother in a violent shooting, he considers suicide to stem his anger and grief. Even doubting that anything will help, he allows community Elders to guide him through sweat lodge ceremonies and a Sundance. Supported by the Elders and his family—and Wakâ—he finds his inner Spirit and has a message for other youth who may think there’s no way out of grief, sadness and anger.

About Jason Flett-Paul

Jaysen Flett-Paul is a member of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, which is situated on the west end of Lac Ste Anne, the site of an annual spiritual pilgrimage.

Sunflower’s Story

Grade eight is a nightmare for Sunflower Paul. While learning how to cope in a blended family, she also faces racism at her new city school, something she’s never experienced on the rez. Stressed to the max and suffering from extreme anxiety after a car accident, she thinks about ending it all. When her grandfather suggests she fast on the land, she doubts herself. Can she deal with the hunger and isolation? But she emerges from the ceremony having found her inner spirit and Wakâ.

About Sunflower Paul

Sunflower Paul is a member of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, which is situated on the west end of Lac Ste Anne, the site of an annual spiritual pilgrimage.

About Eschia Books

Created to meet the demand for accessible, affordable books about Indigenous subjects, Eschia titles educate, inspire and entertain. The unique stories, information and experiences within the pages of our books engage all readers, and our future intentions include publishing material for Indigenous youth, who may be reluctant readers, to engage them in their own peoples’ history, experience and achievement.

Eschia Books is proud to provide a venue for Indigenous writers, especially emerging authors and those who live in isolated areas of Canada. By publishing their stories, we promote cross-cultural awareness that bridges the gap between groups that have lived so close and yet so far from each other for centuries.

Go Ahead and Shoot Me! And Other True Cases About Ordinary Criminals by Doug Heckbert
Published by Durvile Publications

Go Ahead and Shoot Me! is a collection of stories written and edited by former probation officer Doug Heckbert about real people who have been convicted of real crimes and who have been on probation, on parole, or in prison. The title story is of a woman who shot her husband upon his insistence and who, like many other subjects in the book, have come to see their offences as being “pretty stupid.” Some stories might be described as ordinary crimes and some are stunningly extraordinary, but all stories show the human side of criminals that Heckbert worked with and came to know, not just the nature of the crimes they committed. By getting inside glimpses of offender’s backstories, motivations, and personalities, Go Ahead and Shoot Me shows there is much more to an offender than their criminal behavior. Says Heckbert, “I have always been guided by the mantra, “The criminal is not the crime.”

About Doug Heckbert

Doug Heckbert’s work experience includes: probation officer and prison caseworker with Alberta Correctional Services; parole officer with the National Parole Service; staff trainer and program director with Native Counselling Services of Alberta; and instructor with MacEwan University. Doug obtained Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Alberta and has taught courses to community groups and conducted research projects concerning offenders.

About Durvile Publications

Durvile Publications, a small-but-mighty Canadian indie press, publishes print books, audiobooks, e-books, and professional development courses.

The Durvile imprint publishes the True Cases series and books about the law; The UpRoute imprint features Indigenous titles and voices of diversity. Pepper Ranch Studio produces print, audiobooks, and book trailers.

Pourin’ Down Rain: A Black Woman Claims Her Place in the Canadian West by Cheryl Foggo
Published by Brush Education

The 30th anniversary edition of Cheryl Foggo’s landmark work about growing up Black on the Canadian prairies.

Cheryl Foggo came of age during the 1960s in Calgary, a time when a Black family walking down the street still drew stares from everyone they passed. She grew up in the warm embrace of a community of extended family and friends, with roots in the Black migration of 1910 across the western provinces. But as an adolescent, Cheryl struggled against the negative attitudes towards Blackness she and her family encountered. She struggled against the many ways she was made to feel an outsider in the only place she ever knew as home.

As Cheryl explores her ancestry, what comes to light gives her the confidence to claim her place in the Canadian west as a proud Black woman. In this beautiful, moving work, she celebrates the Black experience and Black resiliency on the prairies.

About Cheryl Foggo

Cheryl Foggo is a multiple award-winning author, playwright, and filmmaker, whose work over the last thirty years has focused on the lives of Black people in western Canada.

About Brush Education

Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Brush Education is an independent publisher of books for college, university, and professional audiences. Its publishing program includes medical and health sciences, education, and K9 training.

Over its more than three decades of operations, Brush has published more than 100 authors from across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Many of its authors have published several works with the company. Brush is an active member of both the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and the Association of Canadian Publishers. The Brush publishing program is supported by the Government of Alberta through the Alberta Multimedia Development Fund and the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund.

A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya by Michael Schauch
Published by Rocky Mountain Books

A deeply personal travel memoir that combines alpine adventure, family connections, and spiritual encounters in two very different worlds: a Himalayan village and Vancouver, Canada.

In 2012, Michael Schauch and his wife, Chantal, undertook an expedition deep in the Himalaya of northern Nepal, into a remote valley that had been closed off to outsiders for decades. They led a team of artists (a photographer, a musician, and a painter), with the objective of capturing a moment in time through their unique lenses. As a mountaineering fanatic, Michael had a second (and less conspicuous) goal to climb an unknown mountain he had only identified through a photograph. What unfolded in the mountains forced him to question his values and his own identity, and eventually resulted in meeting a little girl, which was the most profound encounter of his life. Little did either know that from that moment they would completely change the trajectory of each other’s life.

A Story of Karma recounts this journey, and the years that follow as Karma (the little girl), and Michael and Chantal grow their lives together amidst the confusing dichotomies and backdrop of Karma’s 17th-century Himalayan village; the impoverished and polluted Kathmandu; and the modern world of Vancouver, Canada.

About Michael Schauch

Michael Schauch is a mountaineer, entrepreneur, and storyteller who lives to explore remote places around the world and to share the depth and beauty of human connection he discovers along the way. With early success as an entrepreneur at age 15, and over 20 years of global financial investment experience, Schauch brings his business acumen and altruistic heart to help lead and support local and international mentorship, fundraising, and educational initiatives. These include the education of girls and student mentorship in Nepal, outdoor youth leadership for those facing barriers to access nature, and holistic Indigenous leadership development in BC. Schauch holds an MBA from Queen’s University and is a member of The Explorers Club. He and Chantal make their basecamp in Squamish, British Columbia.

About Rocky Mountain Books

Founded in 1979 by passionate and renowned mountaineers Tony and Gillean Daffern (they sold the company in 2004), RMB has grown to become one of Canada’s more vibrant, long-standing and evolving book publishers. Established to specialize primarily in guidebooks for hikers, climbers and skiers, RMB has repositioned itself for the 21st century and now successfully publishes and promotes a dynamic, growing list of provocative, engaging and award-winning books on mountain history, adventure travel, outdoor lifestyle, environmental consciousness, Indigenous culture, and contemporary photography—as well as a growing selection of bestselling books for children.

Taken by the Muse by Anne Wheeler
Published by NeWest Press

Laced with humour and revelation, Anne Wheeler’s creative non-fiction stories tell of her serendipitous journey in the seventies, when she broke with tradition and found her own way to becoming a filmmaker and raconteur.

Join this celebrated screenwriter and director as she travels south of Mombasa after calling off her wedding; attempts to gain acceptance in a male-dominated film collective; travels to India to visit friends who are devoted to a radical Master, and ultimately discovers her sense of purpose and passion close to home, sharing stories that would otherwise be lost about ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Taken by the Muse: On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker is a must-read for anyone open to exploring the possibilities of who they are and what they might do with their lives – and for those who love a good story told with integrity and warmth.

About Anne Wheeler

Alberta-born Anne Wheeler earned degrees in mathematics and music, while performing in theatre whenever possible. Her first films were documentaries, but by the 1980s, she was making Canadian features such as Bye Bye Blues, The Diviners, Better than Chocolate, and Loyalties, winning numerous national and international awards. A master storyteller, she has garnered seven honorary doctorates, an Order of Canada, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (being the first woman to do so) from the Directors Guild of Canada. She lives in White Rock, BC, and continues to write, direct, and mentor younger filmmakers.

About NeWest Press

Founded in 1977, NeWest Press is one of Canada’s first independent literary publishing houses. NeWest publishes literary fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, and drama, as well as a line of mystery novels, with a particular interest in books by Western Canadian authors. Its Nunatak imprint is the longest-running first-fiction series in Canada.

NeWest Press books have won or been shortlisted for numerous national and international awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Canada-Japan Book Award, the Leacock Memorial Medal, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, the Danuta Gleed, the Lambda Literary Awards, the Arthur Ellis Awards, the Alcuin Society Awards, the Sunburst Award, the ReLit Awards, as well as being featured on Canada Reads.

What You Take with You: Wildfire, Family and the Road Home by Therese Greenwood
Published by University of Alberta Press

Four years after Therese Greenwood and her husband moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta, their new community was devastated by one of the worst wildfires in Canadian history. As the flames approached, they had only minutes to pack, narrowly escaping a fire that would rage for weeks, burn more than 85,000 hectares and force 80,000 people to flee. This skillfully told first-person account is more than a disaster narrative: Greenwood’s experience and skill as a journalist and a mystery writer engages and maintains suspense. Her portrayal of how people behave in an emergency and how a community comes together is uplifting. Her stories of what she saved from the fire will resonate with anyone who has lived through a crisis, and help make sense of a life-changing event that garnered interest throughout the world.

About Therese Greenwood

Therese Greenwood has worked as a writer, reporter, editor, broadcaster, and communications executive. Her short fiction has appeared across North America. She lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

About University of Alberta Press

University of Alberta Press (UAlberta Press) is a unit of the University of Alberta Library, reporting to the Chief Librarian. Operating since 1969, it has a reputation for publishing books that have scholarly impact, demonstrate publishing innovation, and achieve creative distinction.

UAlberta Press is staffed by resourceful and accomplished publishing professionals with a range of expertise in academic publishing. It contributes substantively to the University of Alberta’s mission, its national and international reputation, and its research and teaching goals by means of a diverse publishing program that is recognized annually with a host of awards for excellence in both scholarship and publishing.

UAlberta Press and its activities are funded by a combination of sales revenue, licensing fees, international distribution rights, project funds, federal and provincial culture and research support grants, as well as institutional support.

Download the PDF Media Release

October 2020 Book Club Title

Watershed by Doreen Vanderstoop
Published by Freehand Books

It is 2058, and the glaciers are gone. A catastrophic drought has hit the prairies. Willa Van Bruggen is desperately trying to keep her family goat farm afloat, hoping against hope that the new water pipeline arrives before the bill collectors do.

Willa’s son, Daniel, goes to work for the pipeline corporation instead of returning to help the family business. When Daniel reveals long-concealed secrets about his grandfather’s death, Willa’s world truly shatters. She’s losing everything she values most: her farm, her son, her understanding of the past — and even her grip on reality itself. Vividly illustrating the human cost of climate change, Watershed is a page-turner of a novel about forgiveness, adaptation, and family bonds.

About Doreen Vanderstoop

Doreen Vanderstoop is a Calgary-based writer, storyteller and musician. Her short fiction has been published by Loft on Eighth and Prairie Fire and has appeared online at Montreal Serai, Prairie Journal, Epiphany Magazine and others. As a storyteller/musician, she intersperses songs among tales of all genres, including her own original stories. Doreen performs for audiences of all ages at schools, libraries, festivals, conferences and more. She leads workshops to ignite in others a passion for the power of story —oral and written. Watershed is Doreen’s debut novel.

About Freehand Books

Freehand Books has a very simple mandate: to publish excellent Canadian literature. Our list is an aesthetically diverse, award-winning collection of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by both established authors and exciting new voices.

Materials

Book Club Questions

Media Release: September-October Alberta Reads Book Club Pick

Giveaway!

The book, Watershed is a fast-paced dystopian novel about family bonds in the face of climate change, set in near-future Alberta after the glaciers have gone.

Every Tuesday and Friday, we’ll be posting a book club question about Watershed. Respond using Facebook, Twitter or our online form below with your answer to be entered to win a $50 gift card to the indie bookstore of your choosing.

All form submissions will be kept anonymous and confidential.

Events

Medicine Hat Public Library Author Talk with Doreen Vanderstoop

Doreen Vanderstoop, Calgary-based author of ‘Watershed’ will be in Medicine Hat for an author talk on Saturday, September 12 at 2:00 pm! To ensure safe physical distancing, we’re hosting Doreen at the Band Shelter in Kin Coulee. We encourage you to read the book NOW and then join us in front of the Band Shelter prior to her author talk for a book discussion beginning at 1:00 pm. If you’re still in isolation, watch for a recorded version of Doreen’s talk to be released on our social media during the Culture Days weekend (September 25th).

The Medicine Hat Public Library is also hosting a giveaway to go alongside their event. Once you’ve read the book, write a review to be entered to win a $50 Chapters-Indigo gift card!

Materials