Tag Archives: very best

First Quarter Best Reads 2018: Non-Fiction

To complement my First Quarter 2018 Best Reads: Fiction, I will now take a closer look at some non-fiction titles I’ve put on the growing 2018 longlist for the Miramichi Reader “The Very Best!” Book Award.

For me, it’s difficult not to like a non-fiction book, even if it is regarding a subject I am not that interested in. That was the case with two of the books here: Game Misconduct and The Art and Passion of Guido Nincheri. One was about violence in professional sports, the other about a master stained glass artist. However, as I was reading them, I soon became interested in the topic, a tribute to skillful and knowledgeable writing on behalf of the authors.

Death at the Harbourview Cafe is a true crime book that reads like a novel, The Homing Place is an enlightening discourse on early east coast Indigenous and Settler literature and the Tappan Adney book is like a beautiful scrapbook presentation of Tappan Adney’s life in Woodstock New Brunswick.

There are more non-fiction titles to be added in the next few months!

Happy Reading!

This article has been Digiproved © 2018 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

First Quarter Best Reads of 2018: Fiction

Here it is almost May and the Spring 2018 titles are upon us! While I have been able to review some of them, thanks to advance reading copies (ARCs) from the publishers, I thought I would highlight some of the best reads from the last few months.The following titles are in no particular order.

Short Fiction

Historical Fiction

Some Observations

The first thing you might notice, and I have no explanation for this, is that there are more titles here from female writers vs. male. It would be interesting to know if this is reflective of the publishing industry itself, or do publishers send me more books by women authors to review? At any rate, if it wasn’t for the name on the cover,(or sometimes the subject) I likely could not identify which gender wrote the book.

I’m a big fan of historical fiction especially when it leads me to discover some event or time period I was previously unaware of. Such was the case with Amah and the Silk-Winged Pigeons by Joyce Cullity. I didn’t realize the British East India Company would seize towns (such as Lucknow in this case) abolish local rule and set up their own laws. Unthinkable, yet it happened.

As of this post, there appears to be a paucity of Atlantic Canada authors, but this should change soon. Raymond Fraser will have a new book coming out this year too which I’m looking forward to reading.

I’ll soon be posting about the best Non-Fiction I’ve read so far.

What are some of your favourite reads in 2018? Have you read any of the books on my list?

Happy Reading!

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This article has been Digiproved © 2018 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

My 22 Recommended Reads of 2017

Many book-ish sites this time of year take time to reflect back on some of the standout reads from the past year. Some you can find online, and some are hardbacks which is good for everyone’s different preferences. Understandably, sometimes you can’t access content online and so some people like to use tools like this Piratebay proxy to help them do this. It really depends on one’s location, however overall there isn’t really a limit to what you can access but preferences in certain formats. So anyway, however you find these reads, make sure you give them all a go! Here is my list of recommended reads of 2017. I can recommend them all with out hesitation. (Books that won a 2017 “Very Best!” Book Award are marked with an * asterisk. Some titles are on the 2018 longlist for the award; I had finished reading them after awarding the 2017 winners.)

Fiction (in no particular order)


According to my Goodreads 2017 Challenge, I read 103 books last year. I would be hard pressed to recall them all, that’s for certain. That is why I started this blog in 2015: it was to be an online journal of my reading history, including short reviews of each book as well. For 2018, I set my sights a little lower: my goal is to read 75 books, down from 100 last year. I want to focus more on quality and not quantity.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the publishers (and their respective publicists) for the review copies as well as the ARCs. All of the books I read in 2017 came primarily from publishing houses; some came directly from the authors themselves.

Positive feedback quote of the year is from Carol Bruneau, author of the wonderful short story collection A Bird on Every Tree:

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the Miramichi Reader for this amazing review–the kindest, most thoughtful review I’ve ever had.”

Thanks Carol! It has always been my goal to support East Coast writers and publishing houses, although I occasional stray to other parts of Canada from time to time. However, I’ve found that you can’t please everyone. as I had a publisher observe:

“I read your review of <insert book name here> and think that you might have missed the thrust of the book. A book like that can be misunderstood.”

Perhaps I missed the point of the book because the author buried it amid an orgy of unnecessary sex scenes, I replied.

2017 also saw the roll-out of a new web design which, I trust is more pleasing to the eye as well as giving “The Reader” a more professional look. Thanks to GeneratePress for the fabulous (and free!) WordPress theme and for the awesome new graphics: Lucian Husac.

Happy reading in 2018!

This article has been Digiproved © 2018-2021 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

The “Very Best!” 2017 Book Award Winners

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.

  • The 2017 Winners

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

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*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.

This article has been Digiproved © 2017 James FisherSome Rights Reserved