By Gary Dyck
It is good to have different books for different seasons. Sometimes I even have four books ‘on the go’, each with its different tone to suit my mood. When I’m tired, a magazine is my go-to friend. If I’m in the mood for a slow-page-turner, a coffee book is the perfect companion. This year I recommend a new coffee book entitled: Mennonite Village Photography: Views from Manitoba 1890-1940.
Here is a description of the book: “With the fresh optimism and audacity of youth, they (the four photographers) captured a unique period in the history of Mennonite life in western Canada. For all four men, photography was a bold hobby, inviting the admiration of some and the consternation of others who discouraged such flirtations with modernity. The delicate glass and film negatives that these men left behind – some recovered from dusty barns – reveal that the photographers were experimenting with the art of photography through movement, flash lighting, double exposures, humor, spontaneous shots, and choreographed composition. More than a century after these photographs were taken, the worlds they feature appear fleeting. These rare photographs are tangible remnants of the Manitoba Mennonite experience in the early twentieth century.”
Last week I read Wilma Derksen’s latest book, Dispelling the Clouds – A Desperate Social Experiment. In a freezing November thirty-six years ago, Wilma lost her daughter Candace to an unknown murderer. It is not her first book, but it probably is her best written book to date. The first chapters begin with a description of ‘clouds’. Clouds are a very useful metaphor when dealing with evil, grief and ambiguity. This book suits a winter read.
We need books which enlighten our understanding of the systems that govern our world. While informing the reader of the Candace story, Derksen’s latest book does a fantastic job of exposing how the justice system does not work well for victims. This book will definitely create more informed citizens and hopefully more advocacy work for our justice system to honour the roles and voices victims should have in the courtroom and beyond. Let this be on the books you read this winter. If you check out the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) YouTube channel, you will find a recent interview I had with Wilma. She is an excellent communicator that everyone should take the time to listen to.
The Village Books & Gifts at MHV is selling both of the books I mentioned above and much more. I highly recommend you check out this store online for great gift ideas. Like Santa’s workshop, we even have an in-house artist who provides unheard of gifts like hand-painted crokinole pieces. It’s a perfect place to buy Christmas gifts for the young, the old, and everyone in between. Shop online 24/7 (see mhv.ca).
ED correction: last weeks article should have read G.G. Kornelsen not Kornelson.
Calendar of Events
Village Books & Gifts is open online 24/7. Order today.
*Mennonite Heritage Village is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
December 1, 7pm – Tourmagination virtual preview of Mennonite Heritage Village’s 2021 exhibit “Mennonites at War”. Senior Curator Andrea Klassen will be highlighting artefacts from the museum’s collection as part of Tourmagination’s virtual tour series.