The end of another reading “season” has come to an end (September 1st to the following August 31st) here at the Miramichi Reader and it’s time to announce the winners from the 2017 Longlist that I’ve been adding to throughout the year. As usual, there have been many, many excellent books to choose from and all the books on the longlist should be considered recommended reads (all reviews here at the Miramichi Reader are 3 – 5 stars). However, the 5 I have chosen represent the best of not only the ones that I have read but some of the best writing (and publishing) to come out of Canada’s Atlantic provinces.*
Recap: The 2017 Longlist
The 2017 Winners
It would be nice to nominate a book for every possible category, but it came down to these five which are representative of the “Very Best!” of the above 16 titles, which were chosen from the 70+ books I have read this year, according to Goodreads.
With the exception of Carole Giangrande, all the authors are from Canada’s Atlantic provinces (which is the focus of the Miramichi Reader). However, the events in Carole’s book take place while the main protagonist is vacationing on the islands of St. Pierre & Miquelon, which, while they are a collectivity of France, are only 25 KM offshore from Newfoundland. You can read more about each title from the links above, but I just want to mention two books in particular.
First, I would like to mention that Gary Collin’s Desperation: The Queen of Swansea is a story based on a true event, one that had no survivors to tell the story, nor did they leave any record behind of what took place. Mr Collins excels at storytelling, and he has created what I call “fictionalized history”. The story is a plausible one, and he tells it expertly. Promises to Keep by Genevieve Graham is notable for building a story around the Acadian expulsion (Le Grand Dérangement) that began in 1755. She even incorporates what life was like in the ill-fated Acadian settlement on Beubear’s Island on the Miramichi River, which is a National Historic Site today and just a few kilometres from where I live. It will also appeal to the YA (young adult) reader as well.
In my opinion, all of the 16 books deserve a place on any bookshelf or “to-be-read” list.
That wraps up another great year of books here at the Reader. I will soon be starting my 2018 Longlist, which already has a few worthy candidates! Happy reading!
James M. Fisher
*Disclaimer: at this time, the awards are purely honorific. It is my intention to at some point have some small token acknowledgement for the winners. Also, the choices for the longlist and final winners are solely based on my overall enjoyment of the books.