Saturday, August 6, 2011

LIST: Top Ten PEI books

John has challenged participants to make a top ten list of books from your or about your province.
Can I do a top ten list of Prince Edward Island books without putting the obvious book on the list? Clearly, we all know LM Montgomery is from PEI, and I can't do a list without her on it at all, but see if I can leave out Anne of Green Gables. I don't know how available some of these books are, but I have read or own all of these.

Top Ten PEI books, in no particular order

1. Bannock, Beans and Black Tea by John Gallant, reviewed here
Great read about life on not very perfect Prince Edward Island during the depression. The font and illustrations make this one classified as a graphic novel in my library, but I question that.If you've got an entitled kid that is bugging you, give them this one to show them a different perspective.

2. Tide Road by Valerie Compton on LT
I'm in a huge line at the library for this one with the local crowd. I'm not sure what it's about but it is getting some rave reviews. Stay posted, I'll hope to review this once I finally get it. Hurry up ten people ahead of me!
3. Them Times by David Weale on LT
Weale is a great oral story teller and works the summer circuit here often. He tells great stories from 'them times' and is a humorous, enjoyable read. He's got several books of this ilk, and is famous (to me) for introducing me to the wonderful writing of Alistair MacLeod in his Island Studies university course.
4. Micmac by Choice by M Olga McKenna on LT
Confession - McKenna is my grand-aunt, but this is one of several historical books she has written, including a history of the Sisters of Charity. She's a pretty impressive lady, professor emeritus of education, and will turn 91 later this month. It was great to see her last weekend at a family gathering.
Micmac by Choice is the story of Elsie Sark who married into the native community after the first world war and became a beloved part of it. It's been republished a few times, I believe.

5. The Dictionary of Prince Edward Island by TK Pratt on LT
Fun book with local words and phrases collected and explained. A wonderful social history of the smallest province, from 'the inhaled yes' to 'stormstayed', from 'slippy roads' to 'as useless as a bag of hammers'.

6. The North Shore of Home by Frank J Ledwell  on LT
This is a wonderful collection of stories, essays and poems by the late poet laureate of PEI. Ledwell is from my husbands community of St Peter's Bay so we have a special affinity to this book. I also want to thank Frank for asking me if I was an English major, when I took his course in third year university. I wasn't, (chemistry) but he restored faith in my writing ability after a disastrous episode in freshman year.

7. The Green Gables Detectives by Eric Wilson on LT
Looking for a book for your child to read about PEI? Wilson has a great series about detectives Tom and Liz Austen as they vacation all over Canada, so if you want to get your child reading mysteries, or books set in Canada, Wilson is a great beginning.

8. Rink of Dreams by Nancy Russell on LT
Nancy Russell is from PEI and has written a couple sports-based kids chapter books. I enjoyed her So Long Jackie Robinson (review), set in Montreal just before Robinson broke into major league baseball. This one is hockey based my son read it a few years ago.

9. The Stand-In by David Helwig 
I own this novella, and I read this years ago, but I can't remember much about it. Helwig has written a number of books and plays, so he's name you can investigate if looking for other Island authors than you-know-you.

10. The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery my review here
Speaking of you-know-who, here she is! I could easily have made the list all LM books, but I'll go with my favorite of the non-Anne series.This is such a charming, delightful read that if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. She's not that famous for no reason.


  1. Wow, with the exception of LM Montgomery I haven't read any of these books! A lot of them I have never even heard of... I obviously need to read more PEI books

  2. Hmmm, my original comment seems to have the way of the dodo.

    Anyway, I had said that I really like the list and look forward to using it when it comes time for me to read PEI again. I've read zero on your list, but the John Gallant one is screaming for me.

    I'm also not a big fan of Milton Acorn, so I'm glad not to see him make the cut.

  3. kailana - I had even more books I could have added, including many cookbooks! Maybe I'll do another list next year.

    John - it's those intense debate comments. I got the comment,but it got lost. I hope you can find some of these books. I have never read Milton Acorn so couldn't put him on my list. There are a lot of poets here on PEI, home of many rubber-booters escaping the rat race.

  4. For me PEI is synonymous with L M Montogomery. I had no idea there were so many other writers from there!

    I read The Blue Castle only a couple of months go on a friend's recommendation. I LOVED it! I'm currently re-reading the Green Gables series.:D

  5. Hi Risa, thanks for commenting. LM is certainly the most famous, but I'm glad I could offer some new authors. I'm so glad you loved Blue Castle. It's been performed as a musical too!

  6. Is that so? I should look it up...I love musicals!

  7. I've read Them Times and enjoyed it. I'll be waiting for your review of Tide Road.

  8. Oh, meant to say how very neat about your grand-aunt! Here we say, 'great' - isn't that interesting. I like grand better.

  9. risa - it's a wonderful musical, but hasn't been performed here in a few years.I think there is a copy in our library, but beyond PEI, I don't know.

    Nan - Have you read any other David Weale books? He tells a great story, and if you ever get a chance to listen to him, he is quite wonderful.
    Grand-aunt is the same level as grandmother. She is my grandmother's sister. She would be a great-grand aunt to my children, like my nan was their great-grandmother.

  10. Nice list, and I'm glad you included at least one of LMM's books ;) I love David Helwig's "Saltsea", set at a hotel named Saltsea in PEI. I was pleased to see his name on the list, too.

    Still thinking I need to make a top ten list myself for John's challenge...

  11. Wow, I knew only The Blue Castle from this list!! How sad :)

  12. melanie - I'll have to try another Helwig book. I think Saltsea is his most well known. I had to include one by LMM. Looking forward to your list.

    ami - really? Some of them are a bit obscure, plus the children's books. I'm opening so many eyes with this list!

  13. You really are! I've really only read Montgomery from PEI. Embarrassing!

  14. Um...
    So does this mean you're not going to do the All-LMM-All-the-Time-PEI-Books-List also?

  15. BIP - I'm sure I'll manage an all-LMM-top-ten-list at some point. Since there are 8 books in the Anne series alone, it would be pretty easy!


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