#Curling Book Review: Open House

Open House
Canada and the Magic of Curling
By Scott Russell
337 pages

"The goal is to arrive under the glare of the spotlights on a big stage, but the starting place is almost always more humble."
(p. 189)

Scott Russell is one of the faces of curling (and other sports) on Canada's national TV network, the CBC. If you watch Canadian sports, you know his voice. Besides commentating, he's written two books about hockey.

This book is a very personal journey through the sport of curling. The author retells his own curling story, and discusses or recounts conversations with top curlers. He visits small town curling clubs and big competitive venues and tells their stories as well. There's also some curling history woven throughout each story (chapter) - and a healthy smattering of black and white photos.

The organization of this book was sometimes jumpy (from place to topic to person and back to place) and I on occasion found it a bit slow. But I did enjoy the personable writing style - Scott takes you along on his journey and sometimes you do feel like you're there watching the action. I really appreciated his insight into some of curling's big characters (Guy Hemmings for example), but also that he took the time to visit small town clubs to tell their previously unheard story.

Again, the unfortunate part of this book is that it's quite out of date. It is interesting to follow the careers of the junior curlers Scott writes about (who are now famous rockstars, or not). As a point of time piece in history though, it's an interesting look at our sport.

I would recommend this book to curling fans who have followed curling for awhile and who want an insider's look at the sport. If you're new to the sport and don't know some of the big names from history you might find it lacking, but then again, the other chapters about clubs or Scott's curling story might make up for that. This book used to be in my library, but it found it's way onto Bookmooch and to a new home with another curling fan.