Book Reviews

Derek Lovitch has published a great new Maine birding guide

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 Derek Lovitch’s new birding guide, Birdwatching in Maine, is a must-have for all who love Maine’s birds.  The book is comprehensive, covering all the state’s best bird watching places.

I can tell you that he includes all the places where Linda and I enjoy birding. Well, he doesn’t tell you about our yard, but he’s got all the rest of our favorites!

Derek and his wife Jeannette moved to Portland in 2003 and it didn’t take long for them to establish their Freeport Wild Bird Supply and a very busy guiding service. “Maine offers a tremendous wealth of birding opportunities for all levels and interest and experience,” he writes in the preface. That’s an important point because you don’t have to be an obsessive nearly-professional birder to find value in this book.

“No small part of the reason Jeannette and I stayed in Maine is the reason you are reading this book,” he notes.” Yup. We are a birding paradise.

Disappear our Dead is Profound

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 Gin Mackey’s new novel, Disappear our Dead, is profound. I know that’s an unusual adjective to apply to a novel, but this is much more than a great story.

The death of the husband of Abby who lives on the coast of Maine plunges her into grief, her life deteriorating into isolation, when she rarely got out of bed. But then her daughter gets her up and out, and she finds new life in performing home funerals and “awakes.”

I loved the idea of “awakes” which gather folks around a dying person to let that person know how much he or she meant to the folks. These were major events with music and lots of story telling, and clearly made a big difference as the end of a life neared. I also learned a lot about home funerals, something that was common in the old days but is rare today.

Great reads about hunting, fishing, and more

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 I probably overwhelmed Kristina Wheelock when she asked for book recommendations. I’ve got bookshelves full of books about hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife, and the great outdoors. Some are very old, some just published, and lots in between.

Kirstina is assistant librarian at Gardiner High School, and emailed me, “I am always on the lookout for hunting/outdoor books about Maine and beyond. Our students love this hunting/outdoor genre.

You can almost hear the roar of the tide in this wonderful book

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                 Jonathon White’s book, Tides, roars in and out like the tides at Lubec. Which is very appropriate, given that the book, subtitled The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, is all about our amazing tides all over the world.

                White fills his book with fascinating stories about his worldwide adventures, lots of history, and plenty of science. Yes, something for everyone.

                He hooked me in the first chapter, all about the tides in the Bay of Fundy, my favorite place on earth. Linda and I visit Lubec often, where the Bay of Fundy begins, and enjoy watching those magnificent, high, fast-moving tides rush through the narrows between Lubec and Campobello island.

Ardeana Hamlin’s novels are enjoyable reads

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                 I wasn’t sure I’d like these novels, given that they are set in 19th century Bangor and focused on lots of family problems and challenges, but from the very first page of Pink Chimneys, I was hooked. And after finishing that book, I moved quickly to Hamlin’s follow-up novel, Abbott’s Reach.

                My thanks to Islandport Press in Yarmouth for republishing these novels in paperback, making them easily accessible for all of us.

Ardeana Hamlin’s novels are enjoyable reads

Blog Showcase Image: 

                 I wasn’t sure I’d like these novels, given that they are set in 19th century Bangor and focused on lots of family problems and challenges, but from the very first page of Pink Chimneys, I was hooked. And after finishing that book, I moved quickly to Hamlin’s follow-up novel, Abbott’s Reach.

                My thanks to Islandport Press in Yarmouth for republishing these novels in paperback, making them easily accessible for all of us.

Let Me Tell A Story by Paul Betit

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 Paul Betit wants to tell you a story. Well, actually, a bunch of stories. And he does just that in his new book, Let Me Tell A Story, published by BeeMan Books in Brunswick.

If you haven’t read Paul’s three novels, you should. They are very good. But it turns out he can write nonfiction too. Well, sort of.

Paul says his new book is “a mix of short fiction and memoir.” He told me, “This book is a big departure from the books I have published in the past. It’s more personal and, I think, much more literary. Basically, the book is about growing up and growing old.”

It is all of that, a relatively short (116 pages) trip through Paul’s interesting life. I would love to know what is fact and what is fiction, but part of the fun is trying to figure that out.

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