2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush

I was quite excited to find a book of short stories inspired by the music of one of my favourite rock bands, Rush. They have been around for forty-plus years, so this 18-story anthology covers songs from their vast catalogue of intelligent songs. The collection also includes the stories that inspired such Neal Peart-penned Rush classics as “Red Barchetta” and “Roll the Bones”. Included as well is Kevin J.… Continue reading

Dancing in a Jar by Adele Poynter

Life in the small Newfoundland village of St. Lawrence was not easy in the early 1930’s. The town was still recovering from the tsunami that hit there in 1929. The disaster killed 28 people and left hundreds more homeless or destitute. It was the most destructive earthquake-related event in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and, making matters worse, occurred at the beginning of a worldwide depression. It was into this environment that Donald Poynter and his new bride Urla Crammond entered upon leaving the U.S.… Continue reading

Strangers on the Beach by Josh Pahigian

Maine resident Josh Pahigian’s first novel Strangers on a Beach (2012, Islandport Press) is what I consider the perfect type of “summer read”. By that I mean it is a mystery/thriller that will hold your attention until the end, the type of book to take on vacation, one you can put down to have some fun, then pick up when you have a relaxing moment. That is not to say you cannot read this in the dead of winter; it’s just the location of the book (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) lends itself to summer and playing in the waves or sitting on the beach getting some sun.… Continue reading

Getting Around the Rock by Leonard Lahey

The challenges of establishing and maintaining various forms of transportation on the island colony of Newfoundland (pre-Confederation) posed various challenges and these are well documented in Leonard Lahey’s book Getting Around the Rock: by Land Sea and Air (2016, Flanker Press). The stories were primarily based on the recollections of William (Bill) Joseph Lahey, the author’s uncle and Raymond Lahey, the author’s father. Both were involved in various forms of transportation in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as establishing wireless telegraphy in the early days of communication.… Continue reading

Wild Pieces by Catherine Hogan Safer

Aptly named, Wild Pieces (2015, Breakwater Books) is a collection of short stories by Catherine Hogan Safer, author of Bishop’s Road (2004, Killick Press), thus making it her first major release in over 10 years. For her fans, it certainly has been a long wait, and if (like me) you haven’t read Bishop’s road or any of her previous work, then this collection will serve as a good introduction to her writing style, particularly that of her peculiar characters.… Continue reading

Rapid Reviews: Two Non-Fiction Titles (April 2016)

The coming of spring brings with it many new book releases and the 'read' stack here at the Miramichi Reader is getting high. So I have resorted to writing some 'rapid reviews' of books that I have read and that do not require a lengthy article to summarize them. This works particularly well for non-fiction titles and I have two that I would like to incorporate.

The Glory Wind & Rain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard

Miramichi's resident young people's author Valerie Sherrard has had many of her books shortlisted and awarded in various categories, and The Glory Wind and Rain Shadow are no exceptions. I am reviewing these middle-grade reader books together since they both take place in the fictional town of Junction, Manitoba in the mid 1940s, and Rain Shadow compliments some of the story lines in The Glory Wind, so for the most emotional impact, The Glory Wind should be read first, but this is by no means a requirement.

Father Fell Down the Well by Kendall Morse

A collection of traditional Maine “Downeast” stories by writer, musician and performer Kendall Morse, Father Fell Down the Well (Islandport Press, 2015) has been years in the making, figuratively and literally. The author has collected and performed these stories over a number of years, and they go back to the days of the rural Maine farms and woodlands when folks liked nothing better than to tell yarns over a cup of mulled cider while sitting on the piazza, or over to the general store where the men always seemed to congregate.Arranged in ten chapters, we are introduced to many Downeast Maine characters and the stories they tell (some of them even have a grain of truth in them), each one seeming to lead to the next crazy tale.… Continue reading