THE BOOK SHELF: Inspirational new books to start the new year


Happy New Year readers! Hope 2022 brings you happiness and enough quiet time to read, think, and spend time outdoors.

The restorative power of nature should not be underestimated, especially in these unstable times. Being outdoors is good not only for our mind and body, but something deeper. Standing at the edge of the cliffs of Cape Split, gazing out over the vast Bay of Fundy after a long hike, or watching the rising sun transform the dark morning sky into a palace of beautiful blues, pinks and purples, inspires feelings of awe and wonder . We can use these feelings more in our lives, especially at times when the pandemic seems endless.

Poet Brian Bartlett hopes his new book will inspire readers to go out more often, especially in the early morning hours, in the quiet hours just before sunrise. In Daystart Songflight: A Morning Journal (Pottersfield Press), Bartlett draws inspiration from journal entries he wrote outdoors in various locations, from Little River in Lunenburg County to Crystal Crescent Beach in Sambro Creek, between April 2018 and November 2019.

“Daystart Songflight: A Morning Journal is powered by a curiosity for the natural world – light, sky colors, voices of birds, flowers, trees, floods, strangers (the list could easily be tripled or quadrupled) – as well as by reflections on aging, retirement, obsession, names, journaling, family, mortality, poetry, history of the Maritime provinces, political anxieties and climate change, “he writes in the author’s note.” Instead of the millstones hay and Monet’s water lilies, I joked, the newspaper deals with song sparrows and mosquitoes. The pace is quiet and unhurried. Questions are asked but not always answered. Digressions, memories and associations surface freely .

Muinji’j asks why

Shanika MacEachern, a Mi’kmaw woman and Indigenous student advisor with the Annapolis Valley Center for Education, has written a new children’s book that is a great resource for teachers and parents looking for sensitive ways to explore reconciliation. , residential schools and the impact of schools. had on Canada. Muinji’j asks why: The story of the Mi’kmaq and the Shubenacadie Residential School (Nimbus Publishing) is illustrated by Zeta Paul. The book follows a Mi’kmaq girl named Muinji’j as she learns from her grandparents the history of her ancestors and the history of residential schools.

“I want to learn Mi’kmaq, dad. Why don’t I know Mi’kmaq? You have to teach me, ”Muinji’j said to his grandfather.

“I only know a few words, Tu. I need to learn Mi’kmaq like you, but here is an important word that I know: The nu. It means “the people”, that’s what we call ourselves.

“And another important word is kitpu, it means eagle. Eagles are sacred to our people: they fly highest in the sky and are closest to the Creator. “

After learning that the Shubenacadie residential school closed in 1967, Muinji’j wants his grandmother to tell him that everyone is okay now. Her grandmother can’t.

“Our communities are still suffering today because of these schools and the terrible things that happened there. It is difficult to heal from suffering that lasts a lifetime. It is difficult to heal when so much has been taken away and so much harm has been caused. But our people are working together to heal and be well. Now is the time for all of Canada to help us heal.

“Well, they can’t hurt me! “

“You are right, Muinji’j; these schools are all closed now. No one will ever have to go to residential school again.

“Are you sure I will never have to go to residential school?”

“Yes,” Nana said. “Because of the suffering of our people, no one will ever have to go back to residential school again. “

It’s not that easy now

Poet Christopher Heide was born in Prince Edward Island but lived for years in Mahone Bay. The poems in his latest collection, It’s Not So Simple Now (Pottersfield Press) were written not only near his home on the South Shore of the province, but also in different parts of Nova Scotia, as well as elsewhere: Ottawa, Banff, Baffin Island and even Indonesia.

“More often than not, the poems collected here are half of a dialogue with someone who has spoken to me: a friend, a lover, a child, a parent and others whom I have listened to attentively, with affection. Heide writes.

Of his poem “When We Are Fragile (from Iqaluit),” Heide tells readers:

Forgive everything.

Gather it all together quickly


And throw it away

In this wind,

Watch him blow

Across the night sky.

We will stand at the open door

And watch it become

White curtains of light

And we will feel

Our strength is returning.

“Heide has always been and still is a breathtaking poet, a hardworking artist, and a person that we in Atlantic Canada are fortunate to have with us. This poet from this collection of poetry writes love letters to all of us, on every page. With Every Word, ”writes author Sheree Fitch in the book’s foreword.

It’s Tracy and Martina, Hun!

Two best friends from Cape Breton, Justine Williamson and Greg Vardy, who formed the comedy duo Tracy and Martina, take readers on a crazy trip around the island in their colorful new book, It’s Tracy & Martina, Hun !: A Guide to Cape Breton Livin ‘(Nimbus Edition).

Williamson, better known as Tracy, grew up in Glace Bay and Vardy, better known as Martina, is originally from New Waterford. He is a member of the LGBTQ + community. The friends met at a local bingo hall when they were kids and have been close ever since. In 2017, the duo teamed up with CBC Comedy and their comedy duo gained national attention.

It’s Tracy and Martina, Hun! is filled with color photos showing the two heavily made-up friends enjoying cigarettes, drinks and local activities.

Their book’s mission, they say, is to introduce readers to life as they know it on the island, from darts and meat to trolling to their comprehensive Cape Breton food guide. The guide includes doubles doubles, combo pizzas, molasses tea cookies and the Cape Breton minnow shot: one ounce. moonlight and the juice of a lobster claw.

The book also features a Cape Breton dictionary of words and sayings such as “b’y”, which they explain is short for buddy or “bullets on a priest.” The phrase refers to someone or something of no use or purpose and they give an example of how this can be used in a sentence: This western guy was useless like bullets on a priest.

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