Book Reviews

Maine’s Remarkable Women by Kate Kennedy

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 Some of them you know: Margaret Chase Smith, Sarah Orne Jewett, Fly Rod Crosby. But I’ll bet you didn’t know as much about them as you’ll learn in Kate Kennedy’s wonderful book, Maine’s Remarkable Women, published by Down East Books.

And I’ll bet you’ve never heard of most of these other remarkable women, whose stories you will find interesting and inspiring.


As we begin another winter, you’ll enjoy Tante Blanche’s story. She strapped on snowshoes, loaded up her sled with food and supplies, and traipsed out into a huge blizzard in Madawaska to save her starving neighbors. She was an Acadian who was expelled from Nova Scotia by the English. Yes, she was an immigrant, as were fourteen of the other 15 remarkable women profiled in Kennedy’s book.

Maine’s Favorite Birds by Jeffrey and Allison Wells

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 Do you know Maine’s favorite birds? Jeffrey and Allison Wells do! And they’ve shared that information in a book, Maine’s Favorite Birds, published by Tilbury House.

Linda and I became avid birders twelve years ago, and have found that it adds so much to our travel visits, as well as our time in the wilds of Maine (and even on our front lawn!). While I try not to obsess over it, I do keep a list of the birds we’ve seen, which now totals 504.

Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliot

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Children’s books these days are amazing, with beautiful illustrations, great stories, and often, important messages for kids. All of those descriptions fit Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliot, published by Tilbury House and illustrated by Aaron Boyd.

Young Melena’s been a bad girl. She didn’t make her bed. She didn’t put her toys away and a friend of her grandmother tripped over one and banged into a table, breaking her mother’s favorite vase. “It seemed like everyone was mad at me,” she said. No kidding!

But then, she’s redeemed. “I never let the sun go down on my anger,” her grandmother tells her at breakfast the next day. “Today’s a new day, Melena,” says her mother, “and that means you’ve got a fresh start.” Lucky girl!

A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes by Gale Eaton

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 A book about hoaxes seems very appropriate these days. Just sayin’.

And boy, some of the hoaxes in Gale Eaton’s book, A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes, published by Tilbury House, are amazing.

You will have heard of some of them, the Trojan Horse, the Ponzi scheme. But do you know the entire story? Pretty entertaining, to say the least.

Eaton selected hoaxes that range through human history from Medieval times (wow, the pope’s authority was a hoax!) to modern times. I was particularly fascinated by the moon landing conspiracy theory. Nope, these folks didn’t believe we actually landed on the moon.

Amazing fly fishing available in and around our national parks

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 Amazing fly fishing available in and around our national parks

To 25 Best National Parks Fly Fish by Terry and Wendy Gunn

Apparently, as Linda and I and our kids were visiting some of our most amazing national parks, I should have had my fly rod along. Don’t I wish that this new book, 25 Best National Parks To Fly Fish by Terry and Wendy Gunn, were available back then!

Well, not really, because those were family vacations, and later, after the kids grew up, Linda and I did fish in one of the most spectacular places: Alaska. In several trips to Montana for conferences, I also was blessed to have fished there with my friend Joe Sowerby of Montana Fly Fishing Connection, who grew up in Maine.

This tortuous hiking adventure is amazing and inspiring

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 You have to give Jeff Ryan credit for his determination, stamina, and love of the outdoors. It took Jeff 28 years to hike the Appalachian Trail, and many of his sectional hikes were, well, not much fun. That’s my opinion, only. He loved every hike, and that love and enjoyment comes through in his book, Appalachian Odyssey, published by Down East Books.

Over the years, Jeff endured terrible weather, injuries, and more, all with an amazingly positive attitude. Here’s how he described one hike.

You won’t believe the farmyard adventures of this Maine veterinarian

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 You won’t believe the farmyard adventures of this Maine veterinarian. He was trampled, dragged, mauled, and more by farm animals, especially horses.

I have to admit, Dr. Bradford Brown’s book, While You’re Here, Doc, published by Tilbury House, was a lot more interesting than I expected. Once I began reading, I couldn’t stop, spending an afternoon and evening racing through the non-stop astonishing stories – like this one about the final of six cows he was checking for pregnancy.

“I managed to lasso the last cow without much trouble. As I’d done with all the others, I ran for the truck bumper with my end of the rope. Then, somehow, before I got there the cow managed to tangle the rope around my right thigh.  Two seconds later she crashed through the flimsy fence of the corral, sending parts of it twenty feet into the air.

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