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L.A. Beat

Book Beat

This is Michelle Greysen’s book column
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Reading clubs turn the page on whole new worlds for adults and youth

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Literacy Day is Jan. 27, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore books for the rest of the year. If you don’t know where to start, two book clubs Teenbrarian Paige McGeorge hosts a new book club for parents and children. Photo by Richard Amerybased of of the Lethbridge Public Library downtown branch and Lethbridge Public Library Crossings Branch on the west side are happy to point you in the right direction.


“We’re all readers, so reading a book a month isn’t a problem,” said Sheila Braund, a long standing member of the Definitely Not Plato reading group. For the past dozen years, the group has met on the fourth Monday of every month in the Lethbridge Public Library community meeting room to discuss their favourite books. The committee meets in June to determine the books they will be reading in the next year. All of the members get to submit their favourites, both new and  classic releases though the library must ensure they have enough copies of the book for everyone to read.


”We don‘t read a lot of pop fiction like Danielle Steele, but we read a lot of award winning books,” she emphasized.
 This month they are reading Calgary based author Betty Jane Hegerat’s latest creative non-fiction story “The Boy.” Hegerat has released several others including  “Delivery,” which  was shortlisted for the 2010 Alberta Literary Awards George Bugnet prize
 She will be coming down to Lethbridge to speak with the group when they meet this Wednesday, Jan. 25, though this is a special event.
 “We don’t do this very often because we don’t have any money for it, but we will for local or southern Alberta authors,” Braund continued, noting Hegerat is the mother of one of the librarians, so she was a perfect fit for the event.


Hegarat was part of the World On The Street Festival this past summer.
Braund is excited about this event and introducing the book to the group members.


“I read the book in three days, I couldn‘t put it down,” she enthused. She is excited she was able to recommend it to the group.
 The group also video conferences with members of the club living in rural areas, who are connected to the Chinook Arch library system. They can log in at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month at their closest library to join the discussion, though she doesn’t know the exact number who do.

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Lots of book events coming up including special guest Betty Jane Hegerat

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After a cold blast of winter many of you will need to get out next week in the warmer temperatures promised. There are a few bookie events worth checking out on the Lethbridge Public Library calendar. http://www.lethlib.ca
The Crossings Library will host the Definitely Not Plato Book Club’s evening on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, 7-8:30 p.m. with a guest reading by Betty Jane Hegerat.

Mentioned in my previous column’s Christmas shopping book list, Hegerat released a new novel this past fall.

“The Boy” (Oolichan 2011), is a creative non-fiction tale told around the 1959 Cook family mass murder in Alberta. Her previous title, “Delivery,” was shortlisted for the George Bugnet Prize for Fiction in the 2010 Alberta Literary Awards.

A social worker by profession, Betty Jane now teaches creative writing for Continuing Education at the University of Calgary and for the Alexandra Writers Centre and other venues.

Betty Jane writes from a longstanding fascination with relationships and families and the secrets and lies that bind ordinary lives together.

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Gord Tolton examines Southern Albertas first military regiment— The Rocky Mountain Rangers

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Gord Tolton is best known as the man behind the cannon at Fort Whoop Up, but he is more than just a “yahoo who likes to fire guns.” He knows all about the history of southern Alberta circa 1885, as he shows in his new book “ The Cowboy Calvary — The Story of the Rocky Mountain Rangers.”
 Gord Tolton with a copy of his book “The Cowboy Calvary: The Story of the Rocky Mountain Rangers.” Photo by Richard Amery“ The Rocky Mountain Rangers were to be Southern Alberta’s first military regiment. They weren’t just a bunch of yahoos who wanted to fire guns in the air,” summarized Tolton, sitting in his second home — The Lethbridge Public Library.


“They were some of Southern Alberta’s first settlers, some potentially, readers might find their great grandparents here,” he said.


 The story unfolds before the backdrop of 1885 and the Riel Rebellion, Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, breaking of the first Indian treaties, worries of invasions from Indian bands and  American raiders, miscommunication and a little bit of paranoia.

So a wide variety of people including former NWMP officers, military veterans, ranch hands and cowboys formed the Rocky Mountain Rangers to defend the countryside.


“It was a little anticlimactic because the rebellion did not spread to southern Alberta,” he said.

 The book sets the scene for the formation of the Rangers by outlining the stories of some of the men who started it and the conditions and political climate they were living in.


There is an appendix including condensed encapsulated biographies of most of the members.
“It was an open range with no fences. So they wanted people who had the ability to ride and shoot,” he said.

The roots of the book came from his research into Kootenay Brown, a scout who among his accomplishments, founded Waterton Lakes National Park and was one of the original rangers. He discovered him and the Rangers while researching a shorter book on the Rangers for the Lethbridge Historical Society in the early ’90s.

“He was the most famous of the rangers,” he said.

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Buy southern Albertan books for Christmas

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Everyone loves to get a good read for Christmas. Consider supporting your local authors and put Alberta books on your gift-giving and gift-getting lists. There are many to choose from no matter what your interest.

Best of all, your hard earned shopping dollars will truly stay in your own city and province and support your local book industry.

Richard William Stevenson, Lethbridge College english professor, is a well-published poet author of over 25 books, an entertaining performance poet and has been called "a human writing machine" sending out poems and prose all over the world. He was described by the Calgary Herald as delivering "creative poetic resuscitation" with his work and noted as an inspiration to a younger generation of writers as a teacher in Lethbridge. 

His latest adventure is into Juvenille fiction with The Haunting of Amos Manor, about a haunted house and a self-confessed science geek and amateur sleuth, searching for a scientific solution to uncovering the mystery of his family’s new somewhat haunted home.

Jane Harris Zsovan is a Lethbridge author and journalist who also teaches and writes for national and regional periodicals about business, faith, politics and social issues.

Her books include Stars Appearing: The Galts’ Vision of Canada and her latest is Eugenics and the Firewall: Canada’s Nasty Little Secret. Between 1928 and 1972 nearly three thousand citizens were sterilized, lied to, experimented on, and subjected to daily abuse at the hands of provincial staff in Alberta, under the government’s Sexual Sterilization Act, which removed the need to obtain consent to sterilize “mental defectives”.

Between 1928 and 1972 nearly 3,000 citizens were sterilized, lied to, experimented on and subjected to daily abuse at the hands of provincial staff in Alberta.

Calgary author Betty Jane Hegerat is the author of two novels and a collection of short stories.   Her creative non-fiction book, The Boy, is about a mass murder in Alberta in 1959. Her previous title, “Delivery,” was shortlisted for the George Bugnet Prize for Fiction in the 2010 Alberta Literary Awards.

A social worker by profession, Betty Jane now teaches creative writing for Continuing Education at the University of Calgary and for the Alexandra Writers Centre and other venues.

Betty Jane writes from a longstanding fascination with relationships and families and the secrets and lies that bind ordinary lives together.

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The Book Beat— Don’t miss out on The Word On The Street

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This Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, the city of Lethbridge will partake in a national day of celebrating reading and advocating literacy. With history dating back to 1990, The Word On The Street is an annual one day festival also happening nationally this year in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Kitchener and Saskatoon.

These communities coast to coast will participate in hundreds of author events, presentations and workshops and boast a marketplace of the best selection of Canadian books and magazines.
The fun filled free event hosted by the Lethbridge Pubic Library, will fill the downtown street venue between the Bowman Arts Centre and the downtown library, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with exhibits, performances, author reading, storytelling, marketplace, teen zone and book inspired crafts and fun for the whole family.


Some of the many talented writers, too many to list here, joining in the festivities include local writing icon, poet, author, and Lethbridge College teacher Richard Stevenson on hand with his latest book, his 26th title and his first novel. Calgary’s award winning Sheri-D Wilson has seven collections of poetry; her most recent, Autopsy of a Turvy World, was launched in April at the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival.

Young adult novelist, David Poulson will be here before leaving to tour Japan and Korea with his award winning latest title Numbers. Prairie gardens and outsmarting winter will be featured in the titles available by garden expert June Flanagan.

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