Archive for the ‘Activity Books’ Category


Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Finally, the last of the order lists.  To make it more intriguing, look for fat biographies, detailed memoirs, journals, logs, or diaries of adventurers in places doing things we know too little about, at least four works with (sometimes remote) ties to Tenants Harbor, more beach, shore, or sea-going works–some with romance or suspense added, books mentioned in earlier blogs,  more Maine books, and, for Roseledge Books Regulars, some re-orders which suggest Roseledge Books may have the beginnings of a canon.

Fig. #55.  This is Roseledge Books if you come downhill.  The only sign is hanging from the front porch bench which means you'll only know you're here if you look up the front walk or if you recognize a good time from an earlier visit.  Come soon, get happy, and bring sunshine into this rainy June.

Fig. #55. This is Roseledge Books if you come downhill. The only sign is hanging from the front porch bench behind the rose bush which means you'll only know you're here if you look up the front walk or if you recognize a good time from an earlier visit or from this post. Come soon, get happy, and bring sunshine into this rainy June.

Erdrich, Louise.  The Plague of Doves
Fowler, Karen Joy.  Wit’s End

Galchen, Rivka.  Atmospheric Disturbances

Green, Jane.  The Beach House

Obama, Barak.  Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Patterson, James.  Sail

Pearl, Matthew.  The Dante Club

Penny, Louise.  The Cruelest Month: A Three Pines Mystery

Penny, Louise.  A Fatal Grace

Perry, Thomas.  Dance for the Dead (Jane Whitefield)

Perry, Thomas.  Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield)
Petterson, Per.  Out Stealing Horses

Philbrick, Nathaniel.  Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
Pollan, Michael.   In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Price, Richard.  Lush Life

Reich, Christopher.  Rules of Deception

Rosen, Jonathan.  The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature

de Rosnay, Tatiana.  Sarah’s Key

Ruberstine, Lorne.  A Season In Dornoch: Golf and Life in the Scottish Highlands

Sayers, Dorothy ?l.  Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery)
Shorto, Russell.  The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America
Siddons, Anne River.  Colony
Smith, Diane.  Letters from Yellowstone

Spencer-Fleming, Julia.  In the Bleak Midwinter
Spencer-Fleming, Julia.  A Fountain Filled With Blood

Spencer-Fleming, Julia.  I Shall Not Want

Stott, Rebecca.  Ghostwalk

Strout, Elizabeth.  Olive Kitteridge

Taylor, Jill Bolte.  My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
Tey, Josephine.  The Daughter of Time

Theroux, Paul.  The Elephanta Suite: Three Novellas

Toobin, Jeffrey.  The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Upson, Niccola.  Expert in Murder: A Josephine Tey Mystery
Woods, Sherryl.  Flowers on Main

Woods, Sherryl.  Harbor Lights
Woods, Stuart.  Hot Mahogany

Finally, the lists are done.  Now the fun is in discovering paperback treasures already on the shelves and getting cheaper and yellower and harder to find each year they go  unpurchased.  It’s also fun to find the elusive tie to Tenants Harbor.  I  may start with a biography of Teddy Roosevelt to see if he loves North Dakota as I do (possible if tenuous tie) or if he visited with my late neighbor Harry when he visited his aunt who, Harry said, lived next to TR.  So many puzzles, so little time.


Monday, October 13th, 2008

We were all of an age, though I more so, talking about how we remembered book lore. I argued for webs of proper nouns, especially names because they are more easily checked for misspellings, and connected by moving information. Reader Steve mentioned Jonathan Spence’s book, Matteo Ricci’s Memory Palace, in which each of many rooms in the palace houses a subject. I haven’t read the book, but this seemed a useful device for assigning meaning to my connected facts.


Fig. #40+. How about granite bricks/blocks to house the subjects of one’s mind, especially as the b/b’s are varied in size, placement, and color but each necessary to the wall’s standing. I love this rock wall in Tenants Harbor.

Then, Eureka! (That is a little librarian joke.) I remembered the Dewey Decimal System. As a long ago library cataloger of books, I knew well Melville Dewey’s classification system for all of 1876’s knowledge which he divided up into 100 subject/parts. Could Dewey parts be like subject rooms? An aside: Dewey was a strange, if clever, man. For instance, he placed the subject women in the high 300’s between folklore and holidays, instead of with men in the low 300‘s. This particular ninniness was changed in later editions, but psychology is still a subset of philosophy.

I’m ordering Jonathan Spence’s Matteo Ricci’s Memory Palace. I love Jonathan Spence.  I don’t know of an introduction to the peculiarities of the Dewey Decimal System or any other classification scheme, but each has them. Any suggestions?

Why read? Reason #4: Readers make good conversation last longer and continue later.


Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Leaving Tenants Harbor is always full of pangs, but when early September comes, it’s time to head back to Minnesota. “You winter in Minnesota?” an incredulous visitor asks. I do. Minnesota’s snow and very cold are easier for me to maneuver than Maine’s moderate clime and post-sunset ice.


Fig.#38. Leaving Tenants Harbor; looking back at Rosledge Books.

To subdue the pangs, I choose a withdrawal read, usually something to do with Maine. I remember the now-defunct Maine Times (newspaper) or New England Monthly (magazine), and I still subscribe to Down East (magazine), and have thought about the Courier Gazette (newspaper) which was recently sold to, but this year I just kept reading the book I started before I left Maine, and, oh joy!, it has become a lovely transitional read.

The book is Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Travels with Herodotus, a treasure of essays written in the late 50’s and 60’s (so far) as he began his career as a reporter from Poland traveling to Third World countries (India, China, Congo, and Iran, so far) with his editor’s gift: a copy of Herodotus’ Histories. What a great gift — to him and now, to us! (There is a well-reviewed new translation of Heodotus’ Histories published last year.) So I read it and think about other places, including Roseledge Books’ front porch, connect as I can, and get ready to face the houseboundedness that is much of winter.


Fig. #39. Trying to wish a last look into a memory.

Why read? Reason #2: Read more to appreciate more — about places, people, or things, before, during, or after an encounter. Life will be fuller and more fun.

I remember dismissing all seagulls because I so disliked Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A friend told me to learn more about seagulls and my opinion might change. I did and it did and today I love waiting for the summer sounds of gulls, watching them soar above the returning lobster boats in the harbor, and looking long and carefully at Jamie Wyeth’s paintings of gulls. (I have his gull poster next to the washing machine.)

The webcam is hibernating.


Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Quite exciting news is that Roseledge Books has a second bestseller — which means three coipies have been sold. Walter Isaacson’s Einstein is now added to Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map, and together they document how nifty are the readers of Roseledge Books. If number of books by an author, regardless of title, were key, then Julia Spencer-Fleming’s mystery series with the police chief and the Vicar, e.g. In the Bleak Midwinter would be bestseller #3. It just gets better and better.

Fig. #34. Life is good with a book in Tenants Harbor

Meanwhile, more books have been added to the shelves.
Akunin, Boris
. Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk: A Novel (Mortalis)Banville, John. The Sea

Barbero, Alessandro. The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire

Braestrup, Kate. Here If You Need Me: A True Story
Cohan, William. The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.
Cussler, Clive. The Navigator (Numa Files)
Deveraux, Jude. Return to Summerhouse
Drabble, Margaret. The Sea Lady

Gardner, Lisa. Hide
Isenberg, Nancy. Fallen Founder

Kapuscinski, Ryzard. Travels with Herodotus
Kaysen, Suzanna.
Far Afield
Mills, Mark. The Savage Garden
Petterson, Per. Out Stealing Horses
Preston, Douglas and Lincoln Child. The Wheel of Darkness
Reichs, Kathy. Bones to Ashes

Silva, Daniel. The Secret Servant
Spencer-Fleming, Julia. In the Bleak Midwinter

Goldstein, Rebecca. The Mind-Body Problem
Huber, J. Parker. The Wildest Country: Exploring Thoreau’s Maine. 2nd ed.

Manjoo, Farhad. True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
Murdoch, Iris. The Sea, The Sea (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Perry, Thomas. Metzger’s Dog
Willey, Tammy. St. George Peninsula, The (ME) (Images of America)

The webcam is showing dreary, which it is.


Friday, June 27th, 2008

Journals or memoirs (a kind of rolling journal?) are my current favorite form of reading. For instance, I loved learning about the Middle East from William Dalrymple’s From the Holy Mountain, Rory Stewart’s The Places In Between, or Carl Raswan’s Black Tents of Arabia (My Life Among the Bedouins) because each walked the terrain, albeit at different times, in different areas, and for different reasons, but I knew everything each author noted was verifiable. Given their specificity, maybe these works are journals rather than memoirs, and probably I like journals more; but books of this kind are hard to find. All of these examples were shelved under Travel at the bookstore when first I checked.

Fig.#31. Easy to think about linking with the larger world.

Then we have today’s memoir-ugliness. James Frey embellished his memoir of addiction and recovery and the woman who lives in Oregon invented her memoir of living on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Memory is always an iffy thing and mostly depends on whose remembering, but why lie? Why not call the work fiction and admit to the sources of inspiration in the acknowledgements, especially if no backup journals exist? Humph, I say.

Fortunately, Roseledge Books has some fine Maine journal/memoir reads. My favorites (in no particular order) include:
James Balano’s The Log of the Skipper’s Wife (actually Dorothea Moulton Balano’s “log” of her time sailing with Captain Fred Balano in the early 1900’s; the Balanos lived in Port Clyde)
Celia Thaxter’s An Island Garden (with wonderful paintings by Maurice Pendergast; garden is currently being recreated)
Elizabeth Coatsworth’s Personal Geography
Jim Sturba’s Frankie’s Place (Midwesterner joins many-generationed “rusticator” on Mt. Desert)
May Sarton’s The House by the Sea: A Journal (her first journal after moving to Maine)
Clearly, Maine draws writers. And Roseledge Books hopes readers, too.

Fig.#32. Sea Street shadows as backbone of a novel’s events?

The fun of blurred journal lines is deciding how much of a novel is actually a journal with new names. Consider, for example, Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs. She visited Tenants Harbor and rented a room and a schoolhouse in Martinsville. She knew the area, so how much of the work is her experience or local lore?

If the webcam is working, I take full credit.


Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Before “Before”
Before lobster-in-the-crisper possibilities could exist, the lobster had to be living, near Tenants Harbor, and trapped by a lobsterman who brought it to Witham’s Wharf where catches are gathered and sometimes sold. A sign in a nearby window declared that pigs are for sale, too.

Two good books that explain more and better are Colin Woodward’s The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier and Linda Greenlaw’s Lobster Chronicles: The Life on a Very Small Island. Ms. Greenlaw’s book is about Isle Au Haut (Remember Gordon Bok’s song, “The Hills of Isle Au Haut?”), but Coastal small town life and lobsters is more like Tenants Harbor than different. Mr. Woodward’s book doesn’t mention Tenants Harbor on map, in text or index, but he has a good bibliography and discusses at length Monhegan, which is close via Port Clyde, and where, with Tenants Harbor, Jamie Wyeth lives.

Hunger and lobster attitude (“I only eat Maine lobster, preferably bought from the lobsterman”) sent the guilty down the road. Art’s Lobsters (the name may have changed) does not sell retail. Witham’s does. The rest of the tale is best told in pictures.

Fig. #22. Before (in the crisper). Great colors. Not a cuddly look.

Fig. #23. During (in Julie’s hands.) Inaugural lobster use of pot by excellent first-time lobster cooker.

A little wary? Marjorie Standish’s Seafood: Down East Recipes may be helpful. Certainly those of us offering advice about which we knew nothing were not.

Fig. #24. Almost Ready (in the flawed lobster bowl). Great color. Definitely an appetizing look. Hark! Are they cuddling?

Fig. #25. After. Turn around on Sea Street, away from Roseledge Books (near the top of the hill), to reachTenants Harbor’s award-winning Transfer Station (still, to me, affectionately called the dump).

After “After”

Lobster detritus needs quickly to become one with bagged Transfer Station compost if its regeneration (reincarnation?) as next Spring’s effusiveness of rhubarb is to become, with a dollop of ready-whip, the topping on the last of twelve boxes of Dr. Oetker’s organic white cake mix I had to buy to get one from the Coop.

The webcam is ON.

SUMMER HAS COME IN (and so has a webcam)

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Roseledge Books is open. Summer has started, fleece hoodies and blankies over the knees on the porch during inaugural wine not withstanding.

Fig. #21. The only Roseledge Books sign “before” Charlie fixed the winter stressed message on his way to Boston’s Logan Airport. The “after” sign is in place, but you’ll have to visit to see it because Charlie didn’t have time to take a picture.

And Roseledge Books, always in the forefront, now has a webcam. The webcam picture of the harbor from atop Paul Wellstone (a biography by Bill Lofy)* on my desk at Roseledge Books is quite exciting.

Already a comment (okay, a complaint) from friend, Jerry:
“The picture on the webcam doesn’t move,” she noted.
No, it doesn’t. You have to refresh it every five seconds to get the next picture, a little like slow animation. Think of it as “relaxed animation” which is, to me, a particular joy of Maine. (But then I am so slow, I give new meaning to the verb “to turtle.”
“I see.”

*Bill Lohy’s Paul Wellstone
is one of several books specially selected, requested, reserved, and now stacked for the webcam and for Roseledge Books customers (in this case for Bob with whom I miss Paul Wellstone) who may or may not be back this year. It is atop Ronald Blythe’s Akenfield for Mary with whom I earlier loved Lillian Beckwith’s books about her years with the crofters on the Hebrides (e.g. The Sea for Breakfast). Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is next, a book for Elizabeth’s second-year-in-college gift after James Watson’s The Double Helix last year, and finally Suzanne Stremper Shea’s Shelf Life, a book about bookstores for the group that comes each summer and asks for a Roseledge Books withdrawal read. (By Chapter 9, Sheridan Hay’s The Secret of Lost Things became more an English major’s novel than a bookstore read.) I love thinking about the readers that special request shelves suggest are near.


Monday, May 5th, 2008

Spies operate best in murk. It’s best to be visually prepared.


Fig. #19. Spot any spies lurking in murky Tenants Harbor?

Murky lurkers. I like it.


Sunday, May 4th, 2008

More fear-dredging from Homeland Security this last week. Now the potential evil-doers are unobserved coastal boaters at rest in harbors. So Tenants Harbor boaters are to watch their water-borne neighbors and be alert for — who knows what?

This is craziness — and an invasion of privacy worse than any village gossip. Fortunately, Roseledge Books has two new paperback spy novels to bring up to date the spy behavior of Phoebe Atwood Taylor, Allen Furst, and Patrick O’Brien and chairs on the front lawn in which you can sit, read about spies, and watch the harbor. Multitasking alert.


Fig. #18. Tenants Harbor tide is on the way out and always fun to ponder. Can you spot the spies?

I am so ready to enjoy this view as I read David Ignatius’ Body of Lies. He “understands the nuances of [the CIA] trade (says George Tenet) and “the world of CIA operations in the Middle East” (says Seymour Hersh). I like him after reading his “seminal” spy novel set in Beirut of the early ‘80’s.

The other new paperback spy story I’m looking forward to is Alex Berenson’s The Faithful Spy, which is set among al-Qaeda in the mountains of Pakistan. It was a NYTimes Bestseller, but even better for quality control, it won the Edgar Award.

It’s best to know more about whatever we are expected to be afraid of — and have a good time, too. But Mainers don’t need much more knowing. In my 35+ years loving Maine, I have heard tell of German spies leaving one-way footprints in harbors of Mt. Desert as their rubber dinghies float back out on the tide, and nearer the St. George Peninsula, of rum-runners during Prohibition, drug-runners in the early ’80’s, and ever vigilant Secret Service helicopters protecting the first President Bush when he vacationed in Kennebunkport. Good new stories are always a plus, though.


Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Art is everywhere around. Artists are everywhere around, too. Maybe it’s something in the air or the light or the water or the spare, but finest-kind, [sic] lifestyle or the eyes of willing beholders, or something else, but art is part of everyday life in Tenants Harbor. Okay, and Greater St. George, too.

Figure #9. Lobster buoys, yes. But also a hooked rug pattern?

At the moment, here in Minnesota, I can think of two books that illustrate the point. The first is Monhegan, the Artists’ Island, edited by Will and Jane Curtis. Greater St. George includes Monhegan because the ferry leaves from Port Clyde. Monhegan is an artists’ island because a lot of artists have and do live there. It is a wonderful place where people sit on the rocks and paint the water then move to the schoolhouse lawn and applaud the sunset. Monhegan, The Artists’ Island is a big, handsome book that tells the story of the Island with local art, usually paintings, used to make whatever points need making.

Figure #10. Marshall Point Rocks and Wildflowers, yes. But also a Shetland gray wool sweater with a spiky gold/green border and sea blue neck ribbing?

The other book with everyday art is publisher David Godine’s edition of The Country of the Pointed Firs, with black and white drawings by Douglas Alvord. I know a Mainer who is sure he knows the people in the drawings. Sometimes — rarely — he is more sure than right, but I like the idea too much to quibble.

Monhegan, the Artists’ Island. Edited by Will and Jane Curtis. Camden, ME: Down East Publications

Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of the Pointed Firs Drawings by Douglas Alvord. Jaffrey, NH: David R. Godine, Publisher