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Must Reads before a Canada/New England Cruise


Islander500
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Hello all,

I love to read books that focus on an area before I travel there. They can be fiction or non-fiction as I find that either can provide interesting context, details and a point-of-view about the area. Will be traveling to Boston, Bar Harbor, Sydney, Halifax, PEI, Portland and Quebec City.

Would appreciate it if you would share your particular favorites!  Thanks in advance. 📚

 

 

 

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In terms of Halifax, one of the big events in our history was the Halifax Explosion of 1917. It was the largest explosion in the world until 1945 when the atomic bombs were dropped. Hugh MacLellan wrote a book called Barometer Rising which is almost required reading for historical purposes. It will give you a great perspective on Halifax and so much of what you’ll hear about while here. The military history, the War even the Titanic which happened in 1912. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which many visit will be much more meaningful if you decide to visit it. 

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Being from Halifax I second that recommendation. There are several books on the Explosion and if anything it is an "underrated" disaster considering the death toll in the thousands. Most Americans have not heard of it. It was a side effect of WW1 and if it happened in a US port would be infamous across thr land. The Maritime Museum has decent exhibits on both the Titanic and the Explosion as jdavid pointed out. Lots of info and stories online as well if you google it. 

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This is an excellent question, and one for which I hope there will be more replies.

When we sailed to the Mediterranean, I always tried to read a book about at least one of the ports. We've done C/NE cruises a number of times, but it never occurred to me to loiok for books about these ports, all of which I like.

I second (third?) the recommendation to visit the Maritime Museum while in Halifax, if you can take time out from all the other attractions right there in the city.

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2 hours ago, shipgeeks said:

This is an excellent question, and one for which I hope there will be more replies.

When we sailed to the Mediterranean, I always tried to read a book about at least one of the ports. We've done C/NE cruises a number of times, but it never occurred to me to loiok for books about these ports, all of which I like.

I second (third?) the recommendation to visit the Maritime Museum while in Halifax, if you can take time out from all the other attractions right there in the city.

And if anyone is going to Rome for the first time read Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code. I have read it before my two visits

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a funny book if you can find it

Dictionary of Canadianisms - How to Speak Canadian, Eh

 

Also check out  "Canadian Slang "   for fun

 

Interesting reads

The Last Spike  by Pierre Burton

Original Highways: Travelling The Great Rivers Of Canada  by Roy Mac Gregor

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I'm currently reading (and frequently laughing out loud at) "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" by Mordecai Richler.  Duddy is third-generation immigrant in Montreal, and there's ample local color.  There's a very popular series of Inspector Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny that are set in the area around Montreal.  "The Seats of the Mighty" by Gilbert Parker is a bit of a slog, but I learned a fair bit about the Seven Years' War.  (Getting prepared, as I'm leaving on a cruise from Montreal in a couple weeks . . .)

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Hope more ideas are coming.  I’ve created a reading list. 😉

Saw on another post a recommendation to watch the short Netflix documentary series “This is a Robbery” about the art heist in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Fascinating story so ordered one of the many books about that.  

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Last year in Halifax I bought this book at the Maritime Museum:  Atlantic's Last Stop: Courage, Folly, and Lies in the White Star Line's Worst Disaster Before Titanic by Robert G. Chaulk.  

 

The Atlantic was en route to New York and diverted to Halifax to buy coal.  She struck rocks and sank off the coast. 

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this is an excellent thread !    I have ordered Barometer Rising on thrift books.

 

For the whole maritime area - I think Moby Dick is a great  read (although difficult) to appreciate the lives of those in the whaling industry in this part of the world.   It was a very difficult life.

 

For Boston - tons of history books.    Two come to mind, both by McCullough:  1776  and John Adams. 

 

Different topic..... For those going to Venice:  City of Falling Angels (not fallen angels that is a different book).   City of Falling Angels gets into the business end of the city, which families own which buildings on the grand canal, how the city is run, etc. 

 

 

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On 7/15/2023 at 12:54 PM, quacker5 said:

Hope more ideas are coming.  I’ve created a reading list. 😉

Saw on another post a recommendation to watch the short Netflix documentary series “This is a Robbery” about the art heist in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Fascinating story so ordered one of the many books about that.  

The Gardner is an interesting museum to visit, not too big, but packed with a lot!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I first learned about the Halifax explosion when we were on an RV road trip and listened to an audiobook "A Wedding In December" -- the novel was set right after 9/11 in Massachusetts but WAY more interesting to me than the main plot (a group of friends reuniting a la The Big Chill) was the story-within-a-story, a novel one of the friends was writing that centered around the Halifax Explosion and its after-effects. Made me want to learn more, so I will read that book "Barometer Rising" before our Canada/New England cruise coming up in October.

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i am late to the party, but if you get up to St. Johns NFL “Death on the Ice “ is required reading for schoolchildren.  As an adult If

und it a very good read. 

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This was a great read from the Canada Reads library selection
A subtle and moving novel about a young Lebanese woman who flees from war-torn Beirut and finds herself in Montreal Quebec, Canada as a single mother. 
2.The Halifax Explosion by John U Bacon ….more up-to-date version with new discoveries about the events.
 
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just watched “ Maudie” on Netflix about the artist Maud Lewis(like Grandma Moses) who lived in Nova Scotia.Movie had Ethan Hawke and I really enjoyed it.Her painted house is in the Nova Scotia art gallery in Halifax which is within walking distance along the boardwalk from the pier.

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re-reading this thread, I am surprised no one has mentioned the book "the day the world came to town".... this is about all of the jumbo jets coming from Europe that had to land in Gander Newfoundland on 9/11 as the U.S. airspace was closed.   The  small town had to deal with thousands of passengers for many days.    So much you don't think about.... Local Pharmacists overwhelmed trying to fill all of the Rx as people's luggage was on lockdown in the planes cargo holds for days due to terrorist concerns.... also local vets trying to rescue the dogs that were in those cargo holds.   Plus, feeding and housing all of the visitors.    Very interesting true story.  

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