A Novel Idea!


August 4, 2021

Words by: Heidi Johannson

The long lazy days of summer are finally here and one can’t help but to relish the thought of basking in the sun with the perfect summer read. The crack of the spine and the smell of fresh paper – a new book can take you to places undiscovered. It’s an opportunity to turn strangers into friends or possibly, foes. Or perhaps your book of choice is an old acquaintance, a literary keepsake. With an earmarked page, a sentence underlined, it’s like sitting down to dinner with a lifelong companion. Whatever your preference, our long sunlit days are meant for reading and relaxation. Meet a few standout Edmontonians who share their favourite books so we can get started on what’s promising to be a summer to remember.



Sarah Chan
Pianist, Writer, Social Advocate

Book Available at
Audreys Books Ltd
10702 Jasper Avenue | audreysbooks.com

This July, I am partial to enjoying Midlife, an anthology of essays written by friends I met at the Gateway student newspaper. I am a writer, co-publisher and co-editor of this book!

Created as a gift amongst friends during the pandemic, Midlife takes you through personal reflections on self-discovery, growth, ambition, infertility, family illness, parenthood, and health.

Midlife is a passion project fuelled by the desire to reclaim our creativity, particularly in a time when our lives feel like they are narrowing. A true labour of love via a reunion of these friends, and a gift to each other and the community during a time when connection is more important than ever.

This book is witty, sharp, funny, and moving; featuring an equal representation of men and women contributors.No matter what your age, reading Midlife will connect you to yourself and to a community of creatives

Midlife’s contributors all love reading and writing, and recognize that literacy is a privilege. Most of us have careers that are heavily focused on communication, which is one of the gifts of reading. The ability to express yourself and to extract comprehension and meaning from what you read is a beautiful thing. I love celebrating the work of these talented friends and writers in the sun – in my garden.



Teresa Spinelli
President, The Italian Centre Shop

Book Available at
Audreys Books Ltd
10702 Jasper Avenue | audreysbooks.com

No Wifi, no distractions, just plenty of time spent at the lake, it’s my favourite place to read. And although I love all types of books, I am really looking forward to World Without End by Ken Follett. I spent last summer immersed in The Pillars of the Earth, the first in the trilogy. Simply, it’s a story about the early centuries and the building of cathedrals. There is significance in the hierarchy and challenges faced by each of the characters. Yes, it’s fiction based on historical facts but there are still many lessons to learn. The more we know about the past and how it came to be, the more we understand and the better prepared we are at making decisions for the future. I’m hopeful that I will get through his second book this summer, learning about serious issues and the in-depth personal perspectives about the life and times of these characters. I’m already anticipating the summer of 2022 when I can finish off the trilogy with A Column of Fire.

“Buon Estate!” – Teresa Spinelli



Corey Christopher
Entrepreneur and Designer

Book Available at
Audreys Books Ltd
10702 Jasper Avenue | audreysbooks.com

Smokey Bear is a truly unique and ambitious restaurant. Chef owner Riley Aitken is an Alberta boy who followed his culinary impulses first to Denmark and then on to Australia. There he trained with chef James Viles at one of Australia’s top ranked restaurants, Biota Dining, where Viles had elevated Aussie open-fire barbeque to the level of modern haute cuisine. When Aitken returned to Canada, he bought the former Accent Lounge space off Whyte and traded acacia logs for Canadian maple, applying these primeval techniques to Albertan ingredients. This brightly oak-clad minimalist space is a joy, gently perfumed by smoke and the swirling juice of Edmonton’s largest natural wine list.

Smokey Bear’s beef short rib connects all the dots from Down Under up over to Whyte Ave. They take these gorgeous grass-fed cuts—sourced from Pine Haven Farm in Wetaskiwin—and quickly seal them over a scorching hot flame, then place them in a braise for several hours. They’re then ferried onto a higher mantle above the fire to further soften and gather in clean maple smoke. Finally, they’re seared on the grill and shined up with a malt glaze and a dazzling flakey salt that melts in your mouth about as fast as the beef. If that wasn’t enough, they include a dollop of their harissa paste made from house charred then fermented peppers. Wash it all back with a natty big red (yes, natty big reds do exist!) and you too can feel like the first person to tame fire.

The long lazy days of summer are finally here and one can’t help but to relish the thought of basking in the sun with the perfect summer read.

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