Wednesday November 26, 2014

Suggestions on what to read this summer


It may come as a shock to many of you, but I actually enjoy reading.

But while my esteemed colleagues might read scientific style, fact based books or fantasy/sci-fi stuff, I do not.

I’ll admit, the ‘Harry Potter’ series and ‘The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings’ are books that I’ve enjoyed several times (don’t judge, you know full well you read them all too).

But the books that I’d recommend someone should read this summer are all sports based.

The first one on the list is titled ‘After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice and Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes’. I’m sure you figured it out by now, but this book is about the African American and Hispanic players to play Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in 1947. It’s an eye-opening read into what it was like to be a black man in racist America. Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read.

My second book makes the list of one that I want to read. The only problem is, it hasn’t come out yet. It’s called ‘The Metro Prystai Story’ and it’s about a local Yorkton hockey player who made good of his NHL dream in the 1940s and 1950s, winning two Stanley Cups and being named to three All-Star games. The audio book is out, but I don’t want to listen to someone read it. I want to dive into it myself.

The third and final book I’d recommend is not, as you’d think, a sports book. It’s called ‘The Stand’ and it’s written by Stephen King. The best non-sports book I’ve ever read cover-to-cover seven times. I’m not going to spoil it for you, let’s just say it’s a twisting, turning and intense masterpiece.

—Randy Brenzen

Ah, the lazy days of summer often too hot, or too rainy, to do more than curl up with a good book for a little getaway time.

So what three books do I suggest?

Well I’m going to start by suggesting a series, which itself collects a comic book series, into nicely accessible graphic novels.

The series is Proof, which came to my attention a couple of years ago when I met the artist Riley Rossmo at a comic convention in Saskatoon.

Rossmo is from Saskatchewan, although he has since moved to Calgary, so the interest was immediate. In the case of Proof, written by Alex Grecian, Rossmo’s art is a perfect combination of dark and humour to set the mood of the story line. has a nice short description of Volume #1 of the graphic novel series ‘Goatsucker. “If you believe in monsters... Proof doesn’t leave urban legends where it finds them. Bigfoot wears a suit to the office. Fairies devour anyone in sight. A lonely monster wears human skins for company.”

I was sold, and an avid reader will want all six GNs in the series.

In terms of summer reading graphic novels are always conveniently short reads enhanced with art and Proof is a great, albeit somewhat offbeat story line, and with a Saskatchewan artist on board is ideal.

Next let’s go with a classic in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a fine alternative choice).

Most avid readers have read Twain’s most famous book before, likely as a young teen, but it is always worth a second read to wile away a summer day.

I wanted a mystery book for my third recommendation, but picking one was difficult.

The Royal Wulff Murders, a fishing mystery by Keith McCafferty came to mind.

As did the Joanne Kilbourn mysteries by prolific Saskatchewan writer Gail Bowen. The Kilbourn mysteries are not as intricate as some, but the familiar setting of our home province makes them worth a summer read.

But in the end I settled on another Saskatchewan mystery writer, Ian Hamilton, who has at least seven mysteries starring Ava Lee, out.

The heroine is unique, the settings varied, and the mysteries compelling.

The Water Rat of Wanchai is the first of the series and the perfect place to jump in and become a fan.

-- Calvin Daniels



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