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What is Lunenburg reading?



(Illustration by Jessie McLaughlin)

South Shore residents are likely all too familiar with the cheeky sign that sits outside Lunenburg Bound on Montague Street: “Arguably one of Lunenburg’s top three bookshops.” The sign is referencing the strange and wonderful fact that three bookshops are within a book’s throw of each other on Lunenburg’s bustling Montague Street.

Lunenburg is no doubt a bookish town. Our public library is housed in the majestic Lunenburg Academy, a building that most bibliophiles could only dream of visiting to pick up their next read. There are countless books written about the region’s local history.

Artists, writers, and musicians are drawn here, many of whom put down roots and continue to enrich the local arts scene. Our three book shops offer a variety of fantastic reads and are staffed by wonderful folks who can help you find your next good book.  

All this leads one to wonder: what are the people of Lunenburg reading?

Jeff Mercer, deputy chief librarian of South Shore Public Libraries, was able to track down the data on the five most-borrowed books from SSPL in the past year.

South Shore Public Libraries – Top 5 borrowed books from the last year

1. The Spoon Stealer, by Lesley Crewe

2. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

3. Lessons in Chemistry: a novel, by Bonnie Garmus

4. A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny 

5. The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman

These titles suggest that South Shore residents lean towards mystery and historical fiction when choosing their next book. 

In order to further understand what Lunenburg locals and South Shore residents in general are reading, Jo Treggiari of Block Shop Books and Michael Higgins of Lunenburg Bound weighed in with their top-five best-sellers from the past year.

Block Shop Books – Top 5 bestsellers from the last year

Still Life by Sarah Winman

“An expansive and joyfully intimate historical novel about love and all the myriad ways it is expressed, chosen and found.” – Jo Treggiari

Heartbreak Homes by Jo Treggiari

“A tense, riveting murder-mystery that explores complex themes of social justice, family and friendship.” – Lisa Doucet, co-manager of Woozles Childrens Bookstore

If I Had An Old House On The East Coast by Wanda Baxter and Kat Frick Miller

“An artful meditation on stewarding an old house on the East Coast. Disarmingly whimsical.” – Jo Treggiari

Ducks by Kate Beaton

“A gorgeous, intimate and powerful graphic memoir of Cape Bretoner Beaton’s time in the oil sands. Plenty of humour and compassion offsets some harrowing themes.”
–  Jo Treggiari

Finding The Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

“An environmental memoir that examines and celebrates the interconnectedness of life on this planet.” – Jo Treggiari


Lunenburg Bound  – Top 5 bestsellers from the last year

Salmon Wars by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

“This is a great book about the environmental horrors of open pen fish farming, such as is practiced along the coast of NS.” – Michael Higgins

Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris

“This is more of the magical poetry and art from the creators of The Lost Words, an absolutely enchanting celebration of the natural world.” – Michael Higgins

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Robin is a First Nation scientist in this book she deftly blends First Nations understanding of the natural world and western science. A must read!” – Michael Higgins

Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koening

“This heartfelt book gives names to our most complex and obscure emotions, helping us understand that we are not alone in what we feel.” – Michael Higgins

Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
“A marvelously playful and yet very serious handbook for understanding clouds and why they form the way they do.” – Michael Higgins

Lunenburg’s third bookshop, Elizabeth’s Books, sells mostly second-hand books and therefore can’t provide the same kind of data as the other shops. However, book lover or not, everyone should pop by Elizabeth’s Books during the store’s “quirky hours” (as described on its Instagram page) to meet the business’s charming owner, Chris Webb. If reading isn’t your thing, Webb boasts a DVD library of over a thousand titles, and he would be happy to recommend something for you.

If you’re wondering what to read this summer, perhaps choose a title from the most popular books this year according to South Shore Public Libraries, Lunenburg Bound, and Block Shop Books. For both visitors and locals alike, Lunenburg is, arguably, a book lovers’ town.


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