Red Deer Reads co-chairs Candice Putnam and Briana Ehnes stand next to the program’s winning title for 2019: ‘Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine’ by Dr. James Maskalyk. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Red Deer Reads winning title revealed

The winning title for this year’s Red Deer Reads describes a doctor’s experience working in a downtown inner city Toronto ER and a hospital in Ethiopia.

Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine by Dr. James Maskalyk was announced as the winning title at the Red Deer Public Library’s Timberlands branch Thursday evening.

“Red Deer Reads is basically a community-wide book club. We tried to bring together as many Red Deerians as we can to have a shared reading experience,” said Candice Putnam, youth services manager and Red Deer Reads co-chair.

Briana Ehnes, manager of adult services and fellow co-chair, said Life on the Ground Floor is a “compelling” non-fiction novel.

“It kind of relates the experiences Maskalyk’s had in Canada and overseas, and how at the heart of it, the human experience, no matter where you are, is quite similar,” said Ehnes.

“He ties it in with his own personal experiences with his family – he has aging parents. There are pieces of … what he talks about that hopefully resonates with readers throughout the city.”

A Good Wife by Samra Zafar and Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin were the top finalists for Red Deer Reads, which was first launched in 2015. The program has run every year since, other than 2018.

Ehnes said she was excited to hold an event to announce the winning title.

“Up until this point it’s almost like virtual participation, through Twitter, voting online or people occasionally coming into a branch and talking about the books. But this is the first time we can officially bring everybody together and get the excitement going,” said Ehnes.

Coun. Ken Johnston, who officially announced the winner at Thursday’s event, said Red Deer Reads is a great way to bring residents together.

“I think the greatest thing (about Red Deer Reads) is that it gets people involved in the world of books,” said Johnston.

“Our libraries are champions for community building and literacy. Red Deer Reads was an opportunity for Red Deer to read some great books by Canadian authors on some pretty broad topics … and have a little fun at the same time.”

Maskalyk will be at the RDPL downtown branch Oct. 17 from 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

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Red Deer Coun. Ken Johnston officially reveals the winning title for Red Deer Reads at the Timberlands branch library Thursday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

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