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Reading my way across Canada

At the Library with Denise Corey

Published on July 14, 2017

To celebrate Canada 150, I’m planning to read my way across the country.  

No, I’m not planning to do lots of traveling; I’m just making an effort to read either a book by an author from each province or a book that is set in each province. So far I’ve read books from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. You can listen to me expound on this further in my book podcast BookRage.
From Newfoundland:
Company Town by Madeline Ashby might be considered cheating a little bit. Ashby is an Ontario writer and the book is set on an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland. This book was one of the Canada Reads selections this year. Set in the future this novel is not quite a dystopian, but is on the bleak side. Go Jung-Hwa works as bodyguard to sex workers who service the populace of New Arcadia. She's an anomaly because she is purely organic in a time when most people are augmented in some way. There's a murder mystery and sci fi and intrigue. It's hard to summarize and hard to put down.
From Nova Scotia:
Here’s an obvious choice: Haunted Girl: Esther Cox & the Great Amherst Mystery by Laurie Glenn Norris with Barbara Thompson. Unlike The Great Amherst Mystery by Walter Hubbell, Haunted Girl seeks to go beyond the mystery and try to find out something about the woman. Esther Cox was the centre of paranormal occurrences over the course of 15 months starting in 1878. Was this really an attack by spirits or was Esther acting out because of a trauma? A good reminder that there was a real woman behind the "ghost story".
Back in April, I read Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School by Chris Benjamin and a few weeks later I followed it up with Isabelle Knockwood’s book, Out of the Depths: The Experiences of Mi'kmaw Children at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. For almost 40 years, Indigenous children were sent to Shubenacadie to be taught that they were worthless and that their language and traditions were wrong and bad. They were abused emotionally, physically, and in some cases sexually. Knockwood speaks about her experiences, and those of other "students", at the Shubenacadie residential school. It's a difficult and recommended read.
And for something more lighthearted read Relative Happiness by Lesley Crewe. Lexie lives a quiet life in Cape Breton, surrounded by family and people who have known her forever. One day a stranger comes into town and turns her world upside down.
From New Brunswick
I thought I would reach beyond the usual depressing Maritime fare and try something different so I picked up a graphic novel written by Adam Atkinson and drawn by David Coates called Psychosis. The hero has a split personality, possibly from medical testing. The first volume only gives a tiny taste of the story.
Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life by Beth Powning contains lovely prose and beautiful photographs. Powning writes of leaving her life in New England to move to rural New Brunswick and embracing New Brunswick as her home as she learns about each season.
You can find these great Canadian books and many others at the library. Take a look at what we have on our website: www.cumberlandpubliclibraries.ca

Denise Corey is the chief librarian for the Cumberland Public Libraries.