Book Reviews

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.

Baby Bear’s NOT Hibernating by Lynn Plourde

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 Well, you know children don’t always behave. And that includes baby bears.

Lynn Plourde’s new book, Baby Bear’s NOT Hibernating, is sure to become a classic. With wonderful illustrations by Teri Weidner, it’s no surprise that Lynn has given us another great book. After all, she’s written thirty children’s books including my favorite, A Moosey Christmas, in which the reindeer take the night off and moose pull Santa’s sleigh. I’ll be reading that one, as well as Baby Bear, to my 2 ½ year old granddaughter this Christmas.

In her new book, baby bear is having too much fun with his friends, a moose, owl, and hare, to hibernate with his parents for the winter. But oh, that cold and snow is something he did not anticipate! Nor did he realize there’s nothing for him to eat in the winter.

Well, it’s a great learning experience for him, for sure! If only it was this easy with our kids.

Maine breweries featured in great new book

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                 Linda and I honeymooned in Germany 38 years ago, and that’s where I discovered great beer. For years afterward, I drank only German beer. But then, finally, Mainers began to brew great beer.

                Kate Cone’s new book, What’s Brewing in New England, published by Down East Books, includes all of my favorite Maine brews and breweries. The book covers breweries in all the New England states, and I am sure to use it during my visits to our son and his family in Massachusetts.

Can a Wolf and a Pig Be Friends?

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Good question! And no, this is not about politics!

Kevin McShane’s new book, Can a Wolf and a Pig Be Friends?, is very entertaining for both kids and adults who will enjoy discovering the many ‘hidden’ references in the background of illustrator Kristina Z. Young’s wonderful artwork. I chuckled when I saw “Wolf Blitzer” and the CNN news truck.

A Fairy Godmother intervenes to try to save the pig but, realistically, she says “You can’t blame the wolf… He’s just doing what wolves do. Wolves chase pigs in stories.” Well, in real life too!

You’ll have to get the book to find out if the Godmother is successful. I will say the ending is probably very realistic.

Woman Who Speaks Tree by Linda Tatelbaum

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 Yes, Linda Tatelbaum loves trees. But the subtitle of her wonderful book, Woman Who Speaks Tree, “Confessions of a Tree Hugger,” tells you even more about her life.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Linda’s life could be described as a contradiction: she’s a college professor and a back-to-the-land hippie who, with her husband Kal, lives in midcoast Maine where they built their home in 1977 with solar heat and great gardens.

“I still answer to the name of hippie,” she writes in the preface, “though I’ve also spent a career in college teaching while living this hard-earned organic life on the homestead we built in Maine.”

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