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Ex libris: the May issue

Ex libris: the May issue

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Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry

In 2009, BlackBerry controlled half of the smartphone market. Today that number is less than one per cent. What went so wrong? Sean Silcoff, Com’92, is the co-­author, with Jacquie McNish, of Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry.

This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.

The book follows the publication by the authors of a National Newspaper Award-winning ­feature on the downfall of BlackBerry in The Globe and Mail in September 2013. In Canada, the book is published by Harper Collins Canada and by Flatiron Books in the U.S.

This is Sean’s first book and Jacquie’s fourth. Sean can be reached at seansilcoffjournalist@gmail.com.

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Reviving Canadian Democracy

There is no reason to hope that our politicians will suddenly ’see the light’ and embrace democratic principles and ­practices. Only if you and large numbers of other disaffected Canadians reconnect with our political system can we exert enough pressure to bring about the changes that we need and want.

Richard Tindal, Arts’64, MA’67, writes this call to ­action in Reviving Canadian Democracy. The book explores how Canadian democracy has been undermined, describes reforms that are needed, and contends that only an awakened and involved public can bring about those necessary changes.

Dr. Tindal, who taught at both St. Lawrence College and Queen’s School of Policy ­Studies, has been writing about government for 50 years. His newest book is “designed to enrage and then engage Canadians in the battle to revive their democracy.” His previous works include Local Government in Canada (now in its eighth edition) and A Citizen’s Guide to Government.

The Merit Birds

“When I was 28 I was tricked into marriage,” says Kelley Powell, Artsci’97, when discussing the impetus for her first novel, The Merit Birds.

“After studying politics at Queen’s and getting my MA in international development (University of Guelph), I travelled to Laos to live with my boyfriend and work with CUSO.”

Shortly after their arrival, the couple took part in a “welcome party” that turned out to be a surprise wedding ceremony. “We were now husband and wife, at least in Laos!” she says. “But our Lao neighbours must have been onto something because, 12 years later, we are still happily married and have three kids.

When I was 28 I was tricked into marriage.

“In The Merit Birds I try to depict this extraordinary country where I married, lived and researched violence against women. It’s about Cam, an angry teenager who begrudgingly follows his mother from Ottawa to her new job in Laos. Eventually he falls in love with Nok, a fiercely intelligent Lao girl who can’t go to school because she must work. Tragedy strikes and Cam is forced to find freedom from his lifetime of anger in the most unlikely place.”

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Riverdale: East of the Don

Elizabeth Muir, Arts’56, takes us on a neighbourhood tour back in time with Riverdale: East of the Don. Lushly ­illustrated, the book explores the people, architecture and institutions that shaped the Toronto neighbourhood.

"There are so many stories in Riverdale," she writes, "from its beginning with the first Don Valley squatters in the late 1700s, through the late 1800s when the area became an official port of the City of Toronto."

American Christian Support for Israel: Standing with the Chosen People, 1948-1975

I will bless those who bless you [Abraham and his descendants], and I will curse him who curses you.

Eric Crouse, PhD’97 (History), has a new book out, his fifth: American Christian Support for Israel: Standing with the Chosen People, 1948-1975.

Conservative American Christians have long been supporters of Israel. The author says that Israel’s embodiment of western ideals and its remarkable economic development were attractive to conservative Christians but the main reason for their unconditional support was the key biblical text, from Genesis, of Christian Zionism: “I will bless those who bless you [Abraham and his descendants], and I will curse him who curses you.”

Dr. Crouse is professor of ­history at Tyndale University College in Toronto, where he teaches U.S. politics and economic theory. He is ­currently working on his next book, Ronald Reagan: The Making of a Conservative President, 1962-1980. You can also find him on Twitter @ ER_Crouse.

Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion

[cover of Orthodox Christianity book]Heather Coleman, Artsci’90, MA’92, is editor and contributor to Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion (Indiana University Press). From sermons and clerical reports to personal stories of faith, this book of translated primary sources reveals the lived experience of Orthodox Christianity in 19th- and early 20th-century Russia. Each document is introduced by an expert in the field.

Heather is an associate professor and the Canada Research Chair in Imperial Russian History at the University of Alberta. She is also the editor of Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue canadienne des slavistes and the director of the Research Program on Religion and Culture, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies.

Tales of a Mad Miner

Bill Glover, Sc’72, writes about his adventures on the mining trail in Tales of a Mad Miner. Share light-hearted adventures and hair-raising tales from Resolute to Shanghai - chased by bears, bad guys, lamenting ladies and the wanderlust curse. Enjoy laughing at life and plenty of characters from high and low places. Meet Maid Marian, Big Frank, Lightning Fred, Shutter-bug Marilyn, Gambay Dan, Big Red, Tunnel Rat Paul, Black Bear Billy, Old Tar and Brutus the Dog. This is Bill's third book.

Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada's Hockey Obsession

[cover of Puckstruck book]Stephen Smith, Artsci’90, explores Canada’s hockey obsession in his first book, Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada's Hockey Obsession (Greystone Books).

Stephen chronicles his wide-eyed and sometimes wincing wander through the game's literature, language, and history. On this journey to discover what the game has to say about who we are as Canadians, he seeks to answer some essential riddles.

  • What's so great about Howie Morenz, anyway?
  • What exactly is the Swedes’ problem?
  • Where did the hook check go?
  • Should those men really be permitted to keep punching each other in the head?
  • If hockey is the best of us, is it also the worst?
  • Is there hope?

Stephen is a writer and journalist in Toronto, a sometime contributor to Geist and McSweeney’s, The Globe and Mail, Outside, and The New York Times Magazine. He steers a blog, puckstruck.com, that keeps an eye on hockey culture

Destiny Calls

[cover of Destiny Calls book]Kathryn (Russell) Heaney, Ed’79, explores the genre of fantasy/paranormal-romance in her Destiny trilogy. The first book, Destiny Calls, began as a story Kathryn wrote for her daughter, Laura Heaney. Laura, who studied fine arts at Queen's, also provided the artwork for the cover of Destiny Calls and its follow-up book, Destiny Reclaimed, which was just recently published. The books are available as print and kindle editions and, for those in the Hamilton, Ontario, area, at your local public library.

Windigo Fire

Madeleine Harris-Callway, Arts ’70, PhD ’76, MBA ’90 has written her debut novel, Windigo Fire.This outdoor adventure tells the story of a young Native Canadian caught up in an illegal bear hunt and his struggle to survive the wilderness and the criminals pursuing him.

Under different titles, Windigo Fire was short-listed for both the Unhanged Arthur and the Debut Dagger awards for best unpublished crime novel.

After running a successful IT business, the author now writes full-time. Her award-winning crime fiction short stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies.

Never Smile at a Crocodile

[cover of Never Smile at a Crocodile]Paul DioGuardi, Law’64, tells eye-opening tales of life as a tax lawyer. A companion piece to The TaxMan is Watching (2008), Never Smile at a Crocodile captures the spirit of adventure that inspired a young and fearless lawyer to devote his practice years to tax. Paul shares adventures of a life which proves that tax, contrary to the popular misconception, is anything but dull. His anecdotes are intermingled with insights and advice on tax issues of relevance to all taxpayers.



What do you get when you cross a doctor with a sense of humour and a whole lot of hilarious scenarios from the world of medicine? How about a lighthearted read  exploring everything from dealing with difficult patients to navigating the medical system? The Secret Life of Doctors, a volume of short stories and musings by Stephen Kaladeen, Meds'88, MBA'01, includes a list of things doctors like best (“having their evenings off” and “Christmas presents with alcohol in them” both make the list) as well as “helpful tips from Dr. K” on everything from leaving the toilet seat up to how to ask for erectile dysfunction medication, all relayed with a self-deprecating sense of humour. 


[photo in Stuaffer Library]
In Stauffer LIbrary. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)


[photo of Queen's staff, faculty and students with a sign "Focus on mental health"]