Winter 2015


U of A alumni share their new books, including an Edmonton murder mystery, a biography of Grant Notley and a history of Castor canadensis — the mighty beaver.

Compiled by Lani Lupul

Photo by Richard Siemens

Book of Hope: Stories of Love, Courage and Recovery From Families Who Have Battled Eating Disorders

By Sue Huff, ’88 BA, self-published,

“While she struggled to learn to eat again, I was starving for stories of hope.” Sue’s daughter was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 14. Baffled and afraid, Sue realized she needed to connect with other families who understood the journey. This book is the result.

The Girl of Ghassan

By Jurji Zaidan, translated by

Basil Solounias, ’92 BEd, One Cent Press,

Now available in English, this classic of Arabic fiction is about a young man’s quest for true love under the watchful eye of his father and his faith. Hammad must overcome hardships of time and war, and survive the sweeping events of the birth of Islam so that he may at last marry the woman who holds his heart and guides his dreams.

Another Margaret: A Randy Craig Mystery

By Janice MacDonald, ’81 BA(Hons), ’87 MA, Ravenstone Press,

Anxiety is the watchword at most school reunions, with side-eye comparisons of greying hair and extra pounds around the belly. Randy Craig is more concerned with resolving a decades-old CanLit scandal and catching a ruthless killer. While helping her best friend Denise organize their grad-school reunion at the University of Alberta, Randy’s tumultuous past comes rushing into the present as she faces off against old ghosts and imminent death. Another Margaret is the sixth instalment of MacDonald’s popular Randy Craig series.

Natural Nutrition: Your Recipe for Health!

By Heather Bester, ’88 BSc(HEc), self-published

The best health care in the world is … eating nutrient-rich foods. This book offers time-efficient ways to enjoy more homemade, nutritious foods. The recipes are simple, easy to use and geared toward busy people’s eating habits.

Magazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture: Canadian Periodicals in English and French, 1925 – 1960

By Faye Hammill and Michelle Smith, ’97 BA, ’04 MA, ’08 PhD, University of Alberta Press,

Commercial magazines began to flourish in the 1920s alongside an expanding network of luxury railway hotels and ocean liner routes. The leading Canadian monthlies — Mayfair, Chatelaine and La Revue Moderne — presented travel as both a mode of self-improvement and a way of negotiating national identity. This book looks at the way magazines reflected a new culture of aspiration.

The Sisterhood: Book One of The Sisterhood Series

By Alison Clarke, ’95 BA, self-published

In a realm where magic and legends still exist, Oppie and her dragon friend Aurie face a terrible battle between good and evil. On their mission to defeat the forces of darkness, their army of light grows and the friends discover that history is never made alone.

Wombats and Mutant Humanoids: Field Notes of a Junior High Science Teacher

By John Robbins, ’74 BSc(Spec), ’76 Dip(Ed), Dempster & Craig Books

Funny and sometimes sobering, this memoir recounts Robbins’ 35-year career teaching junior high science at a rural school just south of Edmonton, where not once did he leave work thinking, “That was a bad day.” Essays, letters and photos highlight his remarkable and rewarding career.

Foreign Park

By Jeff Steudel, ’89 BA, Anvil Press,

Poisons enter the Fraser River Basin. An oil slick approaches by night, engulfing a fishing vessel, leaving its captain in open waters. The poems of Foreign Park detail the effects of environmental destruction and simultaneously explore family and community in Vancouver’s coastal cityscape. Winner of the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize and a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards.

Famines in European Economic History: The Last Great European Famines Reconsidered

By Declan Curran, Lubomyr Luciuk, ’84 PhD, Andrew G. Newby (editors), Routledge,

This volume explores economic, social and political dimensions of three catastrophic famines that struck mid-19th and early-20th-century Europe: the Irish Famine of 1845-50, the Finnish Famine of the 1860s and the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33.

Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver

By Frances Backhouse, ’83 BSc, ECW Press,

Beavers, those icons of industriousness, have been gnawing down trees, building dams, shaping the land and creating critical habitat in North America for at least a million years. Once They Were Hats examines humanity’s 15,000-year relationship with Castor canadensis, and the beaver’s even older relationship with North American landscapes and ecosystems.


By Jennifer Quist, ’95 BA(Hons), Linda Leith Publishing,

When Suzanne’s role as the perfect daughter-in-law ends in a deadly accident, she panics, makes a monumentally bad decision and upends her world. The bond with her sisters is the strongest force Suzanne knows, and it may be the one that can keep her from ruin. Quist’s new novel is hilarious, spine-chilling and original.

Strangers & Others: Newfoundland Essays

By Stan Dragland, ’64 BA(Hons), ’66 MA, Pedlar Press,

Alberta literary critic, editor, novelist and poet Dragland offers a collection of writings on Newfoundland subjects, literary and otherwise. He approaches the material from the perspective of an inside/outsider: a resident of Newfoundland originally from elsewhere, who nevertheless finds the figure of the stranger inscribed in much Newfoundland art.

Odd Odyssey

By Benni Chisholm (Hanbidge), ’52 Dip(Nu), ’53 BScN, Black Opal Books,

Philomela Nightingale and her employee Janice McGill take the trip of a lifetime — around the world. They fly to amazing places, meet fascinating people and, to their horror, also become involved with kidnapping and murder. Will Philomela’s powers of observation and intuition help police solve these puzzling mysteries?

Blood Oath

By Don Cummer, ’74 BA, Scholastic Canada,

Shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, Blood Oath is volume 3 of Cummer’s series about two boys — blood brothers — growing up in Niagara during the War of 1812. It is dedicated to the memory of U of A history professor George Rothrock.

Grant Notley: The Social Conscience of Alberta

(Second Edition)

By Howard Leeson, ’72 MA, ’83 PhD, foreword by Rachel Notley, ’87 BA, University of Alberta Press,

As leader of Alberta’s New Democratic Party from 1968 to 1984, Grant Notley left a sizable impression on Albertans. His dedication to social change and his “practical idealism” made him the social conscience of Alberta. Leeson’s new introduction in this edition discusses Notley’s contribution to the continuity and health of his party and acknowledges the work of his daughter, Rachel Notley, who led the Alberta NDP to electoral victory in 2015.

Sustainability Planning and Collaboration in Rural Canada: Taking the Next Steps

By Lars K. Hallström, Mary A. Beckie, Glen T. Hvenegaard, ’87 BSc(Forest), ’89 MSc, and Karsten Mündel, ’95 BA (editors), University of Alberta Press,

In step with rural development initiatives across Canada today, these case studies examine the shift toward sustainability-based planning as a key element of community development. Rural development researchers, decision-makers, policy analysts and community engagement practitioners will benefit from the book’s progression from problem identification to engagement, solutions and evaluation.

On Their Own: Women, Urbanization, and the Right to the City in South Africa

By Allison Goebel, ’97 PhD, McGill-Queen’s University Press,

What is life like for low-income South African women in the post-apartheid era? Does urban life offer new opportunities for equality and freedom? Are there new forms of marginalization and danger shaping women’s lives? On Their Own examines the legacies of apartheid and the aspirations of post-apartheid society for equality and opportunity.

Die on Your Feet: A Lola Starke Novel and In for a Pound: A Lola Starke Novel

by Sandra Gangel (Wong), ’94 BA(Hons), self-published,

Welcome to 1930s Crescent City, where mah-jong parlours and film studios hold sway, and where the city’s highest official is a ghost with unimpeachable power and a history with PI Lola Starke’s mother. Here, hauntings are a normal part of life and magic-fuelled funeral rites determine the dead’s journey in the sacred cycle of reincarnation.

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