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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hockey books abound…but what about curling?

Tis the season of book reviews. Newspapers and magazines and even those specially printed advertorial mags in Chapters are pushing books you can pick up as gifts for Christmas.  I had some fun reviewing four hockey books for my local newspaper and scored copies of Don Cherry’s latest, Al Strachan’s tell-all, and a couple of argument-inducing “best goals ever” collections.

Hockey gets all the attention, but there are tons of curling books out there, too. It’s time they got some attention, so here’s a sample from my own shelves (with quick descriptions) to get you started. Please, feel free to suggest others so we can make a definitive list.  Here goes:

abby and the curling chicks - cover1. Abby and the Curling Chicks by Jean Mills

Ok, you knew I was going to start with my own book!  C’mon people!  It’s a YA novel aimed at young readers, set in a small town, all about girls who are reluctantly enrolled in a kids’ curling program and find out they actually like the sport. Not everyone’s taste, but younger kids seem to like it. You can find a sample chapter and ordering info here.

2. Hurry Hard! by Russ Howard

Russ’ background in curling and his run up to and including the 2006 gold medal in Torino with Brad Gushue. Lots of inside deets on the Olympic experience, and some funny behind-the-scenes stuff too. And here’s another book by Russ, Curl to Win, released this year. Read it and (presumably) start your climb to Olympic glory.

3. Curling Secrets: How to Think and Play Like a Pro by Colleen Jones

Colleen Jones knows and loves the game – and she’s had tons of success. After a bit of a break, she’s back in the competitive ranks this season.  So what’s her take on playing the game as if you, too, were headed for the pro ranks? Lowly club curlers, this is one way to find out.

4. Curling for Dummies by Bob Weeks

A classic. And Bob – a terrific writer who does not need the assistance of a ghost writer (unlike some of the other “authors” on this list…ahem…) – has another fun book as well, Curling Etc. and  Whole Bunch of Stuff about the Roaring Game.

5. Canada Curls: The Illustrated History of Curling in Canada by Doug Maxwell

The late Doug Maxwell, a journalistic giant who passed away in 2007, wrote about curling with humour and respect while drawing on a seemingly unlimited supply of knowledge and experience. This is a terrific book.  And if you want more of Doug, read Tales of a Curling Hack. Another delight.

6. Fit to Curl by John Morris and Dean Gemmel

John Morris is pretty fit, wouldn’t you say?  This book shows how you can look just like Johnny Mo. Well, maybe not.  But it’s certainly worth a try, and here’s the recipe to help.  And if you want to keep up with John’s “how-to” message, check out his blog, Fit to Curl, on the Canadian Curling Association website. Check out Dean Gemmel’s podcast, The Curling Show (find it on iTunes) for weekly interviews with curling’s best and brightest.

7. Between the Sheets by Cheryl Bernard and Guy Scholz

It’s not all on the ice, people.  See what crowd-pleasing Olympic silver medalist Cheryl Bernard – she of the many marriage proposals from besotted fans – has to say about preparing yourself for the game.  And you can follow her advice by reading her CCA blog too, Between the Sheets.

8. Books about and by other famous curlers

Yes, you can find books by/about the Ferbey Four, Brad Gushue, Vera Pezer, CBC host Scott Russell and more, but one of my favourites is Sandra Schmirler, the Queen of Curling, by Perry Lefko, the poignant story of Sandra Schmirler and her team of best friends. A wonderful woman, friend, wife and mother who also happened to be one of the game’s best-ever curlers. She won us a gold medal at Nagano, and she died far too young. This is a compelling (but kind of sad) read.


9. The Black Bonspiel of Willie McCrimmon by W.O. Mitchell

Classic curling fiction from Canada’s classic Prairie author.  Grab a dram and read on – it’s a hoot, mon!

10. The Curling News edited by George Karrys

No, it’s not a book.  But it’s great reading (and I’m not just saying this because I’m the associate editor, either). Curling Olympian and Managing Editor, George Karrys, finds curling stories that matter – and entertain, too. Want your curling bits in small bites throughout the season?  Subscribe. Very simple – and very rewarding.  Here’s how: click!  There’s a blog, too.

So, take THAT, hockey!  Curling literature is well-established and growing. Read and write on, curlers!

One last note: And if you’re tracking down John and Cheryl on the CCA website, you might find my blog there too, Around the House, for recreational curlers on and off the ice.

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