Book Reviews

The Forgotten Lawmen by D.B. McCrea

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The Forgotten Lawmen by D.B. McCrea

DB McCrea, the author of The Forgotten Law Men – The Life and Adventures of a South Dakota Game Warden - has written a wonderful account of his 23 years as a game warden in South Dakota.

Actually, shortly after McCrea began his job they changed his title to conservation officer, something he never liked. Starting his career in a location that had not had a warden for a long time, he found himself in the land of poachers, some of whom were very dangerous.

A Love From Away by Joe Haskins Jr.

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 Joe Haskins, Jr., is a native of North Carolina, but he sure did capture Maine in his novel, A Love From Away. There is a good reason for that: Haskins married a teacher from New Brunswick, Canada, and they moved to Maine in 2007.

So you won’t be surprised when the novel features, Gabriel, a guy from the south who, while teaching a semester at the University of Maine, meets a Canadian girl in Bangor and falls in love with her. But the guy doesn’t fall in love with Maine, and he leaves our state and the girl to return to North Carolina.

You’ll enjoy these 60 years of bird hunting stories

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 I love it when people write their hunting and fishing stories, and not just because North Country Press published A Lifetime of Hunting and Fishing, my own book of hunting and fishing stories this year.

Often, as people tell me their stories, I’ll encourage them to write those stories. And many will say, “Oh, I can’t write.” To which I respond, “Of course you can. You just told me a wonderful story. Write it down!”

I am so pleased that Brad Varney has done just that, in his new book Maine-ly Bird Hunting. Brad’s 60 years of bird hunting adventures give us some awesome stories.

I’ve known Brad a long time, and benefitted from his shooting lessons at Varney’s Clay Sports in Richmond. He is a superb teacher, and took me from a pathetic wing shooter to a pretty good one.

My Island by Patrisha McLean

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From the stunning photos to the comments and stories from the kids, My Island by Patrisha McLean gives us wonderful portraits of Maine island children. This book is a real treasure.

Patrisha McLean has been leaving her Camden home for many years to photograph children living on the Maine islands of Isleboro, Vinalhaven, and North Haven. Her images capture these kids in all their glory. The powerful stare from the girl on the book’s cover will draw you right into the book.

But even better, Patrisha presents the thoughts and stories of these amazing kids. Here’s an example: “Me and my friend Joe made a restaurant. We found all kinds of seaweed and rocks and stuff. Rocks were money. Seaweed goes inside the burger and the sand is the bun.”

Yup, island kids have great imaginations!

It's no surprise that this book was a finalist for the 2016 Maine Literary Awards.

Two Tents by Jim Haskell

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 I finished the Appalachian Trail at the top of Mt Katahdin. Of course, I started that hike at Katahdin Stream at the bottom of the mountain, so I didn’t hike the entire AT!

Thankfully, I don’t have to hike the entire trail because I experienced that in Jim Haskell’s great book, Two Tents, published by Maine Authors Publishing. The title references a mistake Jim made on one of his hikes, lugging two tents up into the mountains.

Jim, a Maine native, was not a “through hiker.” He completed the 2200 mile hike in sections over a 21 year period. And he was inspired to do that at the age of 9, when he and his Dad and older siblings climbed Mount Katahdin. Yes, Mount Katahdin can be inspiring!

Crossing Northern Borders by Patricia Leach

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 The poems and stories about Maine and the Maritimes in Patricia Leach’s book, Crossing Northern Borders, is almost as good as traveling that same path. Published by Maine Authors Publishing, the book is organized into stories and poems about farming and community, fishing and discovery, Cape Breton, and my favorite: Gratitude.

The best way I can share my enthusiasm for this book is to share some of it with you. Here’s a bit from an inspiring story about Patricia’s house raising.

“In these first years in Maine, the kindness of the people I had met was amazing.” Including friends from out of state, “There were more than fifty people for the house raising… A day filled with work, laughter, and picture-taking, and by its end, the frame stood tall and strong. The evening, under a starlit sky, was filled with great food and wonderful music from guitars.

Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010 by Mark Pawlak

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 My heritage is centered in Lubec, the most beautiful place in our state. So I was pleased to receive Mark Pawlak’s book, Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010.

The book is a collection of poems and narratives of his experiences along the coast of Maine, which he captures in all its glory and grit. You will hear the fog horn, see the waves lapping the shore, and oh yea, see the rusty draggers and tired motels too.

If you have never been to Lubec and Quoddy Bay, you will want to go after you read this book.

My great grandfather was the keeper at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec for 32 years. My Mom grew up in South Lubec, and I often visited my grandmother there when I was a kid. My wife Linda and I visit Lubec and Campobello two or three times a year, relishing every trip and our time there.

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