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The Daily Journal
KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — After 50 years of teaching geology at Olivet Nazarene University, Dr. Max Reams is continuing to take his knowledge outside of the classroom and is sharing it with readers everywhere.
Just this year, the Bourbonnais resident has added three new titles to his bookshelf, and his writings do not stop at the topic of geology. He also writes on couple counseling and has penned a few mystery and detective novels, The Daily Journal of Kankakee reports.
When asked how he jug- gles so many varying genres, he said he has “an insatiable desire to learn things.” The book topics and ideas he’s generated over his years of teaching have created a “backlog in my brain” that is now becoming a collection of published works.
In 2013, Reams released “Geology of Illinois State Parks,” a book that was at least six years in the mak- ing. It was written with assistance from his traveling companion, “field assistant” and wife, Carol, to whom he has been married for 60 years.
The book is a guide to geological wonders that make up the state of Illinois. This year, he released another guidebook in a sim- ilar realm called “Waterfalls in Illinois — Hidden Beauty at Your Doorstep: An Interpretive Guide to the Geological Side of Illinois Waterfall Wonders.”
“A year after (the 2013 book) came out, I started having ideas for novels, so those began to occupy my time,” Reams said, adding he didn’t complete a book at that time due to teaching. “After I retired, I began to put together other concepts and ideas.”
Additionally this year, Reams released “My Mine or Yours: A Novel from the Files of Eric Bonfield, Private Detective-Geologist.” The book is a sequel to the 2019 “Oil On My Hands,” which introduced the char- acter of Detective Eric Bonfield. Bonfield is also the subject of another title released this year, “Diamonds: Friend or Foe.”
Two years ago, Reams released study guides for married and soon-to-be- married couples, titled “On the Journey: A Married Couple’s Study Guide” and “Before the Journey: A Premarital Study Guide,” respectively.
Reams shared that he has worked with hundreds of married couples over the years, which gave him the knowledge and interest to create the study guides. Because of the aforemen- tioned backlog of ideas that he’s had for years, it only took him a few weeks to write these books.
“It was only a matter of how fast I could type,” he said.
As far as the mystery nov- els are concerned, he has three other books in various stages of the writing process.
He said that Carol is a great idea generator for his books, as she often poses him with questions that make him think about the trajectories of the novels.
“When she says those sorts of things, then it begins to cause a cascade in my brain to say, ‘OK, here’s a couple of thoughts I have not worked on before that would be great to do.’”
He’s also currently working on more nature-related books, including a book on Ice Age animals of the Midwest, and Missouri state parks. His nature books are not written for geology experts, but for anyone looking to learn more about the subject.
Reams has not only completed the fieldwork for these books but has completed drafts as well. The books are currently out to readers for feedback.
“Fortunately, I have a lot of wonderful people that serve as my readers and they give me lots of great constructive criticism,” shared Reams. “That lets me know if I’m being clear or not.”
Reams taught his last ONU class this past spring and now focuses his time on writing. He and Carol also do volunteer work with Riverside, and host religious services there twice per month.