Book Reviews

Maine's Splendid Scenic Drives

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We returned from a September visit to Bethel to find a book in our mailbox, sent to us to review by its publisher, Down East.

When we opened the book to the first chapter of Maine’s Most Scenic Roads written by John Gibson and republished recently by Down East in a revised an updated version from the original that was published in 1998, we were astonished to find a description of Route 113 from Gilead to Fryeburg. We thought on that trip to Bethel that we’d discovered this drive! Turns out John Gibson was there ahead of us.

In fact, Gibson has been to a lot of our favorite places. Linda and I are working on a travel column about the drive from Rockland to Port Clyde, one of our all-time favorites, and sure enough, Gibson’s got it.

Paul Fournier's Misery Ridge Tales Are Mighty Fine

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Paul Fournier hooked me with his first sentence: “I was fifteen that summer when first love struck.” His first love was a 17 foot long Old Town canoe.

On the third page of Paul’s new book, Tales from Misery Ridge, (Islandport Press, 2011) he started to reel me in when he purchased his second canoe – at age 17 – from Leon Prince of North Monmouth.

Leon was my wife’s grandfather, and when I read Paul’s words describing her grandfather to her, Lin said he had captured her twice-widowed grandfather exactly. Paul noted that Leon was “a small, genial, lonesome gentleman in oversize overalls. Contrary to the stereotype of taciturn rural Maine folk, he was downright garrulous.”

Paul Doiron's New Novel Compelling and Real

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Some of my favorite mystery authors started out with a good book, then got better as they went along. Maine’s Gerry Boyle did that. I liked his initial books but his last two are terrific.

Paul Doiron wrote a great first novel, superb really. Not only did he start right out of the novelist’s box with an unusual three-book contract, but his first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award, heady territory for any mystery writer.

I enjoyed Paul’s first novel and wrote a favorable review. But his second book, Trespasser (Minotaur Books, 2011), is much better. It was a “kept-me-up-late” mystery, compelling, suspenseful, and very true-to-life.

Book Offers Fascinating Look at Early Maine Wildlife

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“The year 1805 will long be remembered on account of the advent of the wolves from Canada to the State of Maine and other parts of New England. They came in droves, and their howling was a terror to everyone.”

 

This important event may not be remembered these days, but it won’t be forgotten either, thanks to a valuable new book, Early Maine Wildlife, by William Krohne and Christopher Hoving, published in 2010 by the University of Maine Press.

 

Drawing from old magazines, journals, and government reports, Krohne and Hoving compiled fascinating accounts about Canada lynx, moose, mountain lions, white-tailed deer, wolverines, wolves, and woodland caribou in the period from 1603 to 1930. Most of the references fall between 1830 and 1930, a period rich with sportsmen’s publications and journals.

 

The Poacher’s Son – A Great Book!

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Paul Doiron is lucky.

Yes, it took him four years to write his first novel, The Poacher’s Son. And he’s wearing himself out traveling the state promoting the book before small gatherings at libraries and other venues. And he still has to go to his regular job as editor of Downeast magazine.

But right out of the novelist’s starter’s gate, he snared a great agent, a 3-book contract with Minotaur, and an initial printing of 30,000 books.

Robyn Jackson, a newspaper features editor with 20 years experience who now writes about writing on her website, www.robynjackson.com, claims that 80 percent of Americans want to write a book.

“Anyone who has ever tried to find an agent or get a manuscript accepted by a publisher knows what a tough business writing is. Even if you do get your book published, there’s no guarantee anyone will buy it,” Jackson says.

She points to statistics about book publishing and reading on self-publishing guru Dan Poynter’s website, www.parapub.com.

An Entirely Synthetic Fish by Anders Halverson

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An Entirely Synthetic Fish
By Anders Halverson
Yale University Press 2010

This book could change your angling future. It should change the way you think about fish and fishing. It’s a “must read” for all Maine anglers.

Anders Halverson, in his book An Entirely Synthetic Fish, explains “how rainbow trout beguiled America and overran the world.”

Maine’s new flirtation with rainbow trout demands a better understanding of that fish and its impacts around the world. More importantly, it’s time for more Maine anglers to respect and protect our native fish.

Sure, that new painted-up hussy is attractive and tempting, but it’s never a good idea to abandon the one you brought to the dance. Appreciate what you’ve got, Maine anglers!

In state after state, rainbow romances drove anglers and fisheries managers to toss aside native species in favor of the painted hussy. It grew fast, jumped out of the water when hooked, and was easy to catch.

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