5 Alberta authors to add to your New Year’s reading list

Take a moment to unwind while supporting local writers. Here are five Alberta authors you should resolve to read in 2014.

Science, student newspapers and mesmerizing memoir among titles on list

It’s no secret life can get a little hectic, especially around the holidays.

Luckily, you can take a moment to unwind while supporting local writers.

The past year saw so many great books written by homegrown talent, including those on this list. If you haven’t already, here are five (in no particular order) that you should resolve to read in 2014.

The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston

The Dilettantes is published by Calgary-based Freehand Books and runs 272 pages. (Credit: Freehand Books)

Edmonton-based author and book reviewer Michael Hingston released his debut novel in September and it’s been getting rave reviews ever since. The book centres around the editors of Simon Fraser University’s student-run newspaper, The Peak, and their struggle to keep readers after a big-name free paper comes on campus.

While a novel about narcissistic 20-somethings runs the risk of alienating post-university readers, Hingston’s characters manage to engage and entertain the reader while evoking nostalgia for those last frenzied months as an undergraduate facing the looming deadline of adulthood.

Finish it quickly and this could make the perfect stowaway for your son or daughter’s suitcase as they return to university for their final semester.

The War on Science by Chris Turner

The War on Science is published by Greystone Books and has 176 pages. (Credit: Greystone Books)

For years, scientists have been trying to raise the alarm bells over what they say is "muzzling" by the federal government.

In his new book (which tops out at less than 200 pages), Calgary-based award-winning journalist Chris Turner lays out a detailed and strongly-argued case to support what he says is the most vicious attack ever made by a Canadian government on science.

If you’re looking to get your nose stuck in a piece of non-fiction or prepare early for Easter dinner with your politically-opinionated great-uncle, make sure to pick up a copy of The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada.

Come Barbarians by Todd Babiak

Come Barbarians is published by HarperCollins Canada and has 368 pages. (Credit: HarperCollins Canada)

If you liked Liam Neeson in Taken, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Come Barbarians.

Written by Edmonton-based author Todd Babiak, Come Barbarians is a thriller based around a man who moves to the south of France to escape guilt over his past wrong-doings.

When his wife is kidnapped by a Corsican crime ring, he has to use all of his skills learned from a career as a security agent to get her back, all the while navigating a political conspiracy corrupting some of France's top leaders.

This is the kind of page-turner that will make you stay up way too late just to find out what happens next.

A Countess in Limbo by Olga Hendrikoff (ed. by Sue Carscallen)

A Countess in Limbo runs 460 pages. (Credit: Barnes and Noble)

While the manuscript this book evolved from was technically written by a Russian aristocrat, she spent her last 20 years in and around Calgary.

Olga Hendrikoff was the great aunt of Sue Carscallen, a Calgary editor who found a beat-up trunk with pages written by Hendrikoff detailing her escape from Russia after the 1914 revolution and remembering her life in France during the Second World War.

Carscallen did some fine-tuning and turned the manuscript into A Countess in Limbo.

Truth is often stranger than fiction, and this elegantly-written memoir is full of rich detail and mesmerizing memories of a world so far removed from modern times.

This is the perfect book for cherishing over a cup of tea while curled under a blanket by the fireplace.

Marathon Quest by Martin Parnell

Marathon Quest is published by Rocky Mountain Books and runs 192 pages. (Credit: Rocky Mountain Books)

To some, he’s a madman. To others, he’s the master of marathons. 

In Marathon Quest, Calgarian Martin Parnell details his mission to run 250 marathons in one year, all in the name of raising money for Right to Play.

Whether you think he’s downright crazy or an inspiration to all, this captivating book will make you rethink the challenges of your daily life and consider what you can do to make an impact on the world.

It’s the perfect read for ruminating over plans to attack that list of New Year’s resolutions.