The Gift of a Good (Local) Read

With all the talk of “buying local” buzzing around at this time of year, it seems fitting to highlight some of the recently published books by Ottawa Valley authors. When you think about it, these people who live in our communities took the time to share their personal stories, or to research topics that are dear to their hearts, or to create works of imagination — how much more “local” can you get? Here’s a quick round-up of the ones that have crossed our path over the past few weeks.

Tales-from-the-TroubadourTales from the Troubadour

Written by the Valley’s own troubadour, musician Lyle Dillabough, these tales span decades of living and music-making throughout this area. In each one, Lyle’s unique voice shines through — inquisitive, appreciative, humble and optimistic. Whether he’s talking about Hank Williams, Max Keeping or Carleton Place’s own Dale “Scoon” Scott, Lyle finds something to love about and learn from each of his subjects. Much like life itself, you’ll find heartache here too, but from Lyle’s perspective it becomes something to learn from rather than something to be avoided. Tales from the Troubadour is available at Mill Street Books in Almonte, Temptations in Carleton Place, the Arnprior Book Shop, Shadowfax in Perth, or by emailing Lyle.

A New Voice

Just before press time, Almonte resident and longtime Humm subscriber Janet Paterson contacted us about a book that she had just published. Entitled A New Voice, it is an entry point into the combined worlds of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and clinical depression (CD), both of which Janet deals with daily. The book is a compendium of email messages that Janet has sent to an online support group — her “cyber-siblings”, as she calls them — taking the form of poetry, prose, and humorous quips. I really can’t imagine a more honest glimpse into those worlds. Janet is donating proceeds from sales of her book (available at Mill Street Books in Almonte) to Lanark County Interval House, and will gladly loan a copy to anyone dealing with PD or CD. She has also donated copies to the Almonte Library.

View-from-the-DeckView From the Deck

View from the Deck — Arctic Adventures is a personal account of the adventures of an eighteen-year-old on the CGS C.D. Howe — a hospital ship equipped to meet the medical needs of the Inuit during an era defined by a high incidence of tuberculosis, the Cold War, and a changing way of life — and those who sailed with her during the summer of 1959. Generously illustrated with archival photographs taken by author Murray Ault, View from the Deck deftly captures a time of change — for both a young man and a people. It is available at Mill Street Books in Almonte, The Book Nook in Perth, or by emailing the author.

Barns: A Reflection of Changing Times

Barns have held a special place in Claudia Smith’s heart since she was a young girl. “Old barns have spoken to me since I was a child,” says the popular local author and historian. “I remember going to the family cottage near Killaloe in Renfrew County and several times a week we would go to a farm to get our mail and eggs. While my grandparents passed the time of day with the postmistress, I ran to the line of old log barns and drank in the beauty of the logs and the golden colour of the pine sheathing boards. The times when the heavy horses were in their stalls added to my delight. I remember those days because I always felt transported — like I had walked in another time.”

Smith has captured many of those memories in her latest book, and you can find a lovely review of it by John Pigeau on page 21 of the December issue of theHumm! It is available at many Valley bookstores, or by emailing the author.

Tilting the KiltAnything by Linda Seccaspina

In need of some cheering up? Try almost anything by the Queen of Carleton Place — Linda Seccaspina. Linda is famous for having founded and run the iconic Flash Cadilac store on Ottawa’s Rideau Street from 1976-96, and more recently for having founded and populated the quirky Facebook page “The Tales of Carleton Place”. Her writing is like her awesome self: irreverent, insightful, sometimes intensely personal, and often hilarious. With titles like Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac, Menopausal Woman from the Corn, and Tilting The Kilt – Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place, you can probably tell that you won’t be satisfied with just one… Linda’s books are available at Wisteria in Carleton Place and Mill Street Books in Almonte, and Tilting the Kilt is also at local museums.

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