Alberta Books

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Alberta Books

Ago 18, 2009, 10:51am

This is a thread for listing and discussing books with an Alberta setting.

Ago 18, 2009, 8:13pm

There's fun, charming book about a woman who joins her husband, a mountie, outside of Calgary a hundred years ago. I loved it when I read it as a teenager and have recently acquired a copy so that I can read it again. It's called Mrs. Mike.

Ago 18, 2009, 8:18pm

>2 RidgewayGirl: I haven't read that one, but I've seen it mentioned here on LT and made a mental note of it. It sounds like a good one.

Ago 18, 2009, 9:51pm

Last week I read Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King, and it was excellent. Definitely one of my top reads this year.

Ago 18, 2009, 11:01pm

I read The Great Karoo from the Early Reviewers program late last year. It's a bit slow-moving, but interesting for history buffs.

Sep 1, 2009, 8:30am

Gil Adamson's The Outlander is partly set in the Alberta wilderness in the early 1900's. It was a terrific read. I definitely recommend it.

Sep 14, 2009, 3:25pm

I will have to echo >2 RidgewayGirl: in saying that Mrs. Mike is a great read for Alberta. I just finished it. It's one of the better books I've read this year. I'll just warn you that you'll want to have a few tissues at hand.

Sep 20, 2009, 3:43pm

I highly recommend Plainsong by Nancy Huston (Le Cantique des plaines in French; although from Alberta, Huston writes in French and translates her own work). It's a powerful look at living in the prairies.

Nov 5, 2009, 4:56pm

Just finished another Alberta book: The Kappa Child, by Hiromi Goto. Japanese immigrants meet Little House of the Prairie, cucumbers, and some very strange happenings concerning mythological creatures. It won the Tiptree Award, which is for "works of science fiction ("SF") or fantasy that expand or explore one's understanding of gender". If you like your fiction on the weird side, I recommend this one.

Feb 7, 2010, 5:47pm

Yeah Mrs Mike! I have a copy kicking around somewhere and have never read it even though I am somehow related to her (I think through the marriage of my aunt). There are others in the series if you enjoyed that one. The Search for Joyful is one.

Abr 15, 2010, 11:33am

I just started an odd historical novel set on and near the Athabasca glacier in Alberta called Icefields. I'll let you all know what I think about it soon.

Mayo 5, 2010, 11:44am

Has anyone read The Garneau Block by Todd Babiak?It is set in Edmonton.

Mayo 5, 2010, 12:07pm

I haven't read The Garneau Block, but it is on my wishlist!

Icefields by Thomas Wharton was a fantastic book, full of the feel of that whole area around Jasper, but especially the Athabasca glacier. It's set back when the little town of Jasper was just forming and before that, when the area was being explored. The language and feel of the novel is beautiful.

Mayo 5, 2010, 12:43pm

I think I have Icefields coming through bookmooch! :)

Mayo 5, 2010, 1:26pm

There are some mystery series located in Alberta:

Deborah Nicholson features theatre house manager Kate Carpenter in Calgary

Suzanne North features Phoebe Fairfax, a TV journalist

Garry Ryan, police procedural, Calgary, Detective Lane

Cherylyn Stacey writes as R. F. Darion, lives in Edmonton

Mayo 5, 2010, 1:40pm

Ooo Thanks Marshall!

Editado: Mayo 6, 2010, 2:29am

>12 Bcteagirl: I read The Garneau Block. It was originally published in the Edmonton Journal in daily segments. It may have lost something in book format but I enjoyed it and it reminded me so much of when I lived in Edmonton. I recommend it. I think I may have mentioned it in another post.

I hope to start Icefields by Thomas Wharton as soon as I get my Early Reviewer and current books finished. Thanks to pmarshall for the recommendations above, they are next.

edited to correct typo

Ago 23, 2011, 5:54pm

Just finished The Garneau Block and really enjoyed it :)

Jun 19, 2012, 2:34pm

I have to add Inukshuk to the list of worthy Alberta books. It was very good.

Jul 7, 2012, 12:35am

Second fmgee's endorsement. Written by an american, but set in Alberta. Largely about a boy obsessed with the Franklin expedition.

Ene 29, 2014, 11:34pm

Falling Backwards: A Memoir / Jann Arden
3.5 stars

Jann Arden is a Canadian singer/songwriter. This is her autobiography, from her childhood up to when she got her first record deal just before she turned 30.

I really enjoyed this. Jann had a fairly normal family and childhood, but it was still interesting to read about her growing up. I live in the city she grew up in (and still lives in), so I recognize many of the places. That's always fun. I was a little surprised that it wasn't funnier than it was, though. To hear her talk, she is absolutely hilarious! There were funny parts in the book, but I had expected more humour than there was. That being said, I still really enjoyed it.

Editado: Ene 29, 2014, 11:37pm

Is it ok to post reviews for what I read into the corresponding provincial/regional thread? I see people have mentioned other books, but I thought, in addition to that, I'd post my review. Please let me know if I shouldn't do that, so I'll know going forward. Thanks!

ETA: And yes, I do have my own thread, as well, so if it's better to stick with that, just let me know!

Ene 30, 2014, 3:27am

No, having the review in the province thread is a good idea. I like it, in any case!

Ene 30, 2014, 3:42am

Este usuario ha sido eliminado por spam.

Editado: Ene 31, 2014, 1:57pm

Post in both your own thread and the province thread - that way I'm sure to see it, and to find it easily at a later date.

ETA Nice review of Jann Arden's book. She said she always wanted to be a writer, not a singer. She does both very well.

Ene 31, 2014, 11:20pm

Thank you for your comments. I will continue to put my reviews in both threads, then - the province thread and my own. :-)

>25 VivienneR:. Thank you. I'm not a big fan of how I write my reviews (there are times I have trouble explaining why I liked something or didn't), but I try! I really did enjoy the book. In fact (maybe I should have put this in the review, though it doesn't expand on the why), I was waffling between 3.5 or 4 stars, so it came close. I do tend to rate lower than a lot of people already, and usually when I waffle, I go with the lower rating of the two.

Feb 2, 2014, 1:07am

419 / Will Ferguson
3 stars

When Laura and Warren's father drives himself off a cliff, it looks suspicious. The police quickly learn that Henry was being scammed by one of those Nigerian email scams.

In the first half of the book, I was ready to give this 3.5 stars (good), but when an additional character was introduced about halfway through and so much focused on him, I brought it down to 3 stars (ok). The parts that focused on Henry's family and on Winston, the guy in Nigeria behind the scam, I liked enough to rate good. However, there were two other characters that a lot of the book focused on (especially in the second half). I didn't find them nearly as interesting or entertaining to read about. I did learn more about those scams which was kind of interesting. Overall, I'm going to rate this one 3 stars, o.k.

Sep 18, 2016, 3:39pm

Looks like I didn't keep up with posting my reviews in this thread, but I am remembering this time! :-)

The Bone Cage / Angie Abdou
4 stars

Sadie is a swimmer; Digger is a wrestler. They are both training in Calgary for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. They are both at the end of their careers, so this Olympics will be their last shot. In addition to the training, they have things going on in their personal lives and about half-way through the book, they do meet.

This was probably good timing to be reading this, just after the Rio Olympics. I'm not that much “into” sports, so I wasn't sure how much I'd like this one, but I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much. The author is a swimmer, so she could go into behind-the-scenes details most of us wouldn't know. The chapters are told from alternating viewpoints and I enjoyed the personal stories of Sadie and Digger, particularly Sadie. Since the book was mostly set in the city I live, it's always fun to read about places you know, as well.

Oct 15, 2017, 8:12pm

What book set in Alberta would people recommend? I've read quite a few of the ones mentioned and the ones I haven't don't interest me too much. I would recommend Bow Grip by Ivan E. Coyote which is set in and around Drumheller.

Oct 15, 2017, 11:18pm

It looks like I've only posted three of my Alberta book reviews here, but since I started keeping track here, this is what I've read:

1. Falling Backwards / Jann Arden. 3.5 stars
2. 419 / Will Ferguson. 3 stars
3. The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul / Marty Chan. 4 stars
4. Green Grass, Running Water / Thomas King. 3 stars
5. The Outlander / Gil Adamson. 3.75 stars
6. The Bone Cage / Angie Abdou. 4 stars

So, it looks like, from what I've read The Bone Cage would be my favourite. Now there is also The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul, but I should warn you that it's children't lit! :-)

Oct 16, 2017, 7:26pm

>30 LibraryCin: I'm considering The Bone Cage as I have heard good reports about it.

Oct 16, 2017, 7:48pm

>31 gypsysmom: I hope you like it if you decide to give it a try!

Oct 29, 2017, 11:06pm

Plainsong / Nancy Huston.
3 stars

Paula’s grandfather has just died. As she goes through some of his journals/writings, she tries to piece together his life.

I think the story was fine, but I didn’t like the way it was written. No chapters, no dialogue. I don’t think this part really bothered me, but, as an fyi, it was written like Paula was talking to her grandfather in what she wrote, using “you”. It also jumps around in time, constantly back and forth, which is something that normally doesn’t bother me, but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the jumping around, so I didn’t like the way it was done in this book. I did like the history covered in the book (it was set in Alberta and much of it in my city, Calgary). I did not like the person her grandfather was (or who Paula thought she was or who she wrote him to be) – he was a horrible person!

Abr 30, 2018, 11:14pm

North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, and How I Survived Both / Cea Sunrise Person
4 stars

It was the 1970s. Cea was born to a 15-year old mom at a time when her mom, grandparents, aunts, and uncle were leaving California for Alberta to live out in the wilderness. They lived primarily in a tipi during Cea’s first 5 years of life. After that, her mom, Michelle, found Karl, so they left Cea’s grandparents behind to head to BC to live in a cabin… at which time Karl mostly managed to steal things they needed (including sleeping arrangements). Michelle seemed to only be able to function when she had a man to take care of her and Cea. Oh, yeah. Also, the drugs… that includes Cea’s grandparents. And the nudity, and sex. No one cared about privacy.

Interesting story. Sure don’t agree with how they lived, and the poor girl had such a crazy life. I liked that she continued her story, though not in as much detail or in nearly as many chapters (the bulk of the book/story was her childhood), into her teen years (when she became a model) and adulthood and how she dealt with her “unusual” background. People compare her dysfunctional family life with Jeanette Walls and “The Glass Castle”. It’s been a few years since I read it, but the neglectful parents/adults sure fit the theme! Toward the end, I considered upping my rating, but decided to go with how I felt reading the majority of it.

Ago 6, 2018, 12:38pm

>34 LibraryCin: Most of this book was set in BC and the Yukon

Editado: Ago 6, 2018, 1:56pm

>35 Nickelini: It was in all three places. I do mention both Alberta and BC in my review, so I remember more Alberta than Yukon, for sure!

I think they were back and forth, if I'm remembering correctly.

Ago 6, 2018, 8:40pm

>36 LibraryCin: The compound was in the Kootneys, living with the boyfriend stealing from cabins was at Shushwap, and living in the teepee with her grandparents in the winter was the Yukon. There was a part where she went to live with her mom in Calgary, but then she left right away to model. What else happened in Alberta?

Editado: Ago 6, 2018, 10:21pm

>37 Nickelini: I honestly don't recall the Yukon. I wrote my review right after I read the book, so I assume I remembered more at that point.

I think I thought Northern Alberta.

Ago 6, 2018, 10:24pm

I guess for other people reading this thread, then - you may not want to use "North of Normal" for Alberta.

I did - I thought there was enough of Alberta at the time I read it that I counted it for Alberta, but maybe don't go by that to choose an Alberta book.

Ago 6, 2018, 11:58pm

>39 LibraryCin: Okay, thank you, I just pulled up short at this being an Alberta book. But, beyond this back and forth .... North of Normal is an amazing book that I've recommended far and wide. Please read it! Wherever it's set .... as LibraryCin says, and I've reviewed earlier .... just read it!

Ago 7, 2018, 12:36am

>40 Nickelini: Yes, I agree! It's definitely well worth reading!!! Please do!

Dic 27, 2020, 9:12pm

Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson

Five stars from me for this book which is set mainly in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Places like Banff, Lake Louise, the Crowsnest Pass are all prominent. It's a combination of Western, murder mystery, psychological thriller and crime drama set in 1917.

Mar 19, 11:11pm

The Figgs / Ali Bryan
3.5 stars

June has just retired, but with her and Randy’s three adult children still living at home (though they’ve been trying to get rid of them for a while!), there’s not much time to relax. When she is trying to get her kids to help her clean the basement, her youngest son, Derek, gets a phone call. He needs to go to the hospital because Marissa is having her baby. Who is Marissa, June wonders, but they pile in the car to be there with Derek. Soon, Derek is home with a baby he’d only found out a week or so earlier that he was the father of. Daughter Vanessa seems to have a much older girlfriend – who new Vanessa was a lesbian!? Not June, nor Randy. Both June and Randy also have their own family issues going on at the same time…

This was a whirlwind! I liked it, but I’m sure happy to live alone. All that activity was crazy and would drive me insane! I like my quiet life. There was humour mixed in here and there, as well. This is a local author to me, so it’s always fun to read about places I know in my city.