In Progress: Stories by Catharine Leggett

Catharine Leggett lives in London, Ontario and In Progress was the winner of the Eludia Award, which is given yearly by Hidden River Publishing as a first-book award, for a book-length work of fiction (either a short story collection or a novel) by a woman writer, age 40 or above. Recognition like this from a publisher is not easy to come by, so even before I opened the cover, I knew that In Progress met with someone's standards for what good stories should be.

A Dark House and Other Stories by Ian Colford

I never had an opportunity to read Ian Colford’s previous book, Perfect World (2016, Freehand Books), but I had read many positive thoughts about it on social media and elsewhere. For example, Naomi MacKinnon (of Consumed by Ink) said of it in a guest review here: “By writing this book, Ian Colford has given us a chance to vicariously experience a life that is hard for many of us to imagine.” Anne Logan (of I’ve Read This) said of Perfect World in her review: “Colford doesn’t feel the need to show empathy for his protagonist, but his respect for the reader is evident in his succinct and unsentimental sentences.”

A Dark House and Other Stories* is a collection of eight stories covering about 180 pages, so the stories here are not too short, but are long enough for character development, particularly of each protagonist’s thoughts which is a standout characteristic of Mr.… Continue reading

Inquiries: Poems by Michelle Porter

Michelle Porter is a Red River Métis poet, journalist, and editor. She holds degrees in journalism, folklore, and geography (Ph.D.). She currently lives in St. John’s Newfoundland. Inquiries is the debut collection of her poems.

I’m assuming that the book’s title is tied to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The poems within Inquiries are all tied together taking a hard look at the hardscrabble life of a Métis woman and her children eking out an existence near the Red River (and sometimes in NL), moving when the rent cannot be paid, leaving memories and items behind (a dollhouse that wouldn’t fit in the station wagon, gym sneakers left in a school locker).… Continue reading

Blue Bear Woman by Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Originally published in French as Ourse Bleu in 2007, Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau’s book has the distinction of being the first novel published in Quebec by an Indigenous woman. Now, English readers have Blue Bear Woman, a translation by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli and published by Inanna Publications.* Blue Bear Woman is a powerful little novel of a mixed blood Cree/Métis woman (Victoria is her given name) searching for the memories of her past growing up in the James Bay area of Quebec.… Continue reading

Announcing the 2019 “The Very Best!” Book Award Winners!

It is time to announce the 2019 winners of The Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Awards! It was another great year of reading, and some very good books written by new and established authors found their way into my hands. For 2019, I decided to streamline the awards a bit. There will only one book in each category that will receive an award (except in the case of a tie, which did happen this year.… Continue reading