Reading Nova Scotia: 150 Books of Influence gobsmacked me from first sight in Amherst’s Four Fathers Memorial Library. With a picture of sandbars at sunset on the cover, this 8” x 11” booklet drew me in...to browse the colourful pictures of the covers of books about Nova Scotia, usually four to a page. Each one is accompanied by a description written by “Reader”, “Librarian” or “Publisher”. Each one is identified as “Children’s”, ”Teen” or “Adult”; “Fiction”, “Nonfiction” or “Poetry”. There are two labelled “Teen Graphic Novel”.
Eventually I settled down to read the booklet from cover to cover, discovering first that it is arranged alphabetically by titles. There is an alphabetical author index at the back.
The committee of librarians who narrowed down the possibilities to 150 sought to represent “the books that live in the hearts of Nova Scotia’s readers” which “help define the Nova Scotia experience”. The author had to be Nova Scotian or there had to be a strong focus on Nova Scotia. The list is inclusive of our ethnic groups, our historical periods, of different areas in the province.
Like many other readers, I’m sure, I checked off the books I have read and the books I own. I totalled approximately twenty in each category, and own six that I have yet to read.
Some of my favourites are Ami McKay’s The Birth House, Helen Creighton’s Bluenose Ghosts, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, and No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod. I was delighted to find Tidal Life: A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy by Harry Thurston.
Reading Nova Scotia is “A province-wide library project...in honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation” in 2017. Cumberland Public Libraries’ member on the Project Committee is our own Chief Librarian Denise Corey.
You can pick up your own copy for free at our Four Fathers Library.
Five Score and More: Reflections of a Centenarian is a publication of the Cumberland County Genealogical Society (CCGS) and, like my recent publication, THE CHRISTIE BOOK, was started by and is dedicated to my cousin, Susan (Christie) Hill 1959 - 2014.
Arranged alphabetically by surname, the majority of this paperback coffee table size book has a different centenarian’s Recollection on each page, often with a picture taken in the person’s youth and one taken in old age. The last few pages are obituaries when no additional information could be obtained. The final page lists eight other Cumberland County individuals who were known to have passed their 100th birthday.
I can testify that the CCGS was strict about entrants reaching 100 years as my great-grandmother Bent who died at 99 could not be included. My grandfather Christie’s first cousin, Ethelyn Mingie, did qualify and I was pleased to write the entry.
The Centenarian Book is a great conversation starter. Marg E. Smith’s mother, K (Kathleen), died in November 2016 and is well remembered. Each time I see Stephanie Allen, she tells me another story about her great-aunt Mollie Allen who is still living, as is Lorne Embree.
A significant historical figure, Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres 1721 - 1824 who “celebrated his 100th birthday by dancing on a tabletop in Halifax”, was recently the subject of a lecture by Morris Haugg for the Tantramar Seniors’ College.
Five Score and More is available from the CCGS for $55, less if you buy a membership. The office at 16 Church St., staffed by volunteers, is on summer hours until Thanksgiving: Thurs., Fri., Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
To buy my publications, including my new THE CHRISTIE BOOK, a genealogy, and my almost new Read More About Amherst, a collection of my last forty columns to 2017, go to the Amherst Artisan Gallery, Amherst Centre Mall and to Maritime Mosaic, Dayle’s Grand Market, Victoria Street, Amherst.
Coles carries My dear Alice.
For my six earlier self-published books and booklets, go to the Cumberland County Museum and Archives; the YMCA Amherst; Flying Colours, Maccan; and Main and Station, Parrsboro.
Clare Christie is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.