Archive for July, 2010

GOOD NEWS AND GOOD TIMES

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Nearby newbies found Roseledge Books through this blog (RBb) which is such good news and a little bit magical.  The coast is so fraught with in’s and out’s, that finding anything as subtly advertised as RB seems like magic.  Remember last year when someone in a boat found RBb and recognized the East Wind Inn from the webcam, so knew just how to get here?  This matters because the walk from a dinghy tied up at the public landing has to take a jog right on 131 past  the Tenants Harbor General Store,  then join up with Sea Street by hypotenuse through the General Store driveway or by right angle right turn on Mechanic Street at the Post Office then 20 steps later, a right angle left turn onto Sea Street immediately in front of RB’s only sign, hanging on the corner maple tree.  Just so there can be no confusion, the sign has an arrow pointing up the hill to the left.  Surely finding RB without instruction is a kind of magic, but nifty newbies did.  And when they left, RB had its first best seller of the year, Bernd Heinrich’s The Snoring Bird.

Fig. #89.  This old sign has been replaced by a handsome new sign which still says "Roseledge Books" and "open 2-6 p.m." with an arrow pointing left.  But the tree is the same, across the road from the Sea Street street sign.

Fig. #89. This old sign has been replaced by a handsome new sign which still says "Roseledge Books" and "open 2-6 p.m." with an arrow pointing left. But the tree is the same, across the road from the Sea Street street sign.

Then a former student (never an old student) commented, and now RB has another newbie to anticipate.  In a general answer to her specific question,  last I noticed, Noble Clay was still in Martinsville on the right on 131, about 4 miles beyond Tenants Harbor (and RB) on the road to Port Clyde.  Mars Hall Gallery, just a bit further on 131 on the right, typically has some pottery, too.  Beyond that, I’ll wait to talk of food and books and other things until you are here.  I’m (still) always good at having opinions.

Reading update: I liked Ian Rankin’s A Question of Blood and await Millie’s return with Steig Larsson’s third, Girl Who Kicked the Hornet‘s Nest, a treasure a friend picked up in paperback (British edition) while traveling through Zurich. RB won’t have it in paperback until the U.S. edition is printed, (probably) next year.  RB does have his first two: Girl With the Dragon Tatoo and Girl Who Played With Fire.  Meanwhile I’m reading and liking a lot Harry Dolan’s Bad Things Happen.  He was a philosophy major (as opposed to a philosopher).  So he knows how to parse a sentence, ask big question, cover all bases, and get to the point, says this one-time long ago philosophy major.  More when Ive read more.

Nothing beats the four o’clock off-shore breeze when the day is hot and sunny and sometimes humid.  I am presently sitting in its path, relishing the relief, and knowing this is absolutely the best place in the world to be.  Why aren’t you here?

READING AND SUMMER UPDATE

Monday, July 26th, 2010

The ending of David Grann’s The Lost City of Z was satisfactory, much like Nicholas Clapp’s The Road to Ubar, but I wanted a book with more search detail, like Ubar. I hate reviewers who review the book they wish the author had written rather than the one the author did write, but hey. Daniel Silva’s latest, The Defector, is one of the harshest of the Gabriel Allon series. Back-of-the-book disclaimer or not, author Silva crafts a contemporary Russia with a Putin-like President that reads like a newspaper report. Maybe I should read Martin Cruz Smith’s Stalin’s Ghost just to clarify.

Yrsa Sdigurdardottir’s Icelandic mystery, Last Rituals, is a little bumpy which may reflect translation troubles or first novel awkwardness, but it builds support for my contention that the Irish were there (and here) before the Vikings. I’ve just ordered Frans Bengtsson’s The Long Ships which, according to alert RBR, includes Vikings and Irish in the same medieval saga. Could be good.

Fig. #89. High tide in the cove with "the wrecks" in front of Roseledge Books and on p.7 of Coaster Days by Roy Meservey who built and lived in Roseledge until 1961.

Fig. #89. High tide in the cove with "the wrecks" to the right of the tree with the ever larger overhang across the road in front of Roseledge Books and on p.7 of Coaster Days by Roy Meservey who built and lived in Roseledge until 1961.

For those of you mourning a summer without a new Julia Spencer-Fleming adventure with Reverend Clare and Chief Russ, I have two words: DIANA GABALDON. The reasons are many: a) she writes a series (the Outlander series is, so far, seven behemoths); b) the main characters are a couple, Clare (note) and Jamie Fraser; and c) Henry Knox, who lived nearby in Thomaston after the Revolutionary War, makes an appearance in this latest volume, An Echo in the Bone. (You may remember Henry Knox from David McCullough’s 1776.) I’ve just finished this latest Claire and Jamie Fraser adventure, an 800-page fatty, which I managed to read with one hand by whirring my feet up  and my back way back in my new recliner which also has heat and massage buttons. Roseledge Books, of course, has the series, but only one copy of most of the volumes, so hurry.

You may recall the wine tasting late last summer when RB decided that Le Poule Blanc (with suitable label) would be our wine of this summer.  So far, so good.  We serve it and friends drink it, even after the wine seller referred to it as the chicken wine, albeit the POPULAR chicken wine.  Low humidity and northwest breeze today, maybe a nip in the air. Perfect. The webcam seems to interfere with the modem, so until cleverer friends come next week, no webcam. If you want to see the harbor, you’ll just have to visit in person

ROGUE ROSES! OH BOY!

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Wonderful wild roses — flat, pink with a cream center — are sprouting from the cleared rocks of my roadside stone wall. Clearly they have found spots which suit them. The rosa rugosa hedge blossomed and spread and allowed wrong rogues like barbary and goldenrod to grow within, but Millie has cut and pulled and ignored the nattering chipmunk, so the hedge remains a thing of beauty waiting for its big, red-orange rose hips which fool walkers-by into thinking they are cherry tomatoes, just ripe for a pick and taste.  Pucker.

North Dakota’s state flower is the (wild) prairie rose which looks much like my rogues. This happy circumstance surely suggests that my memory of wild rose fences keeping cows from roaming deserves further consideration. My 96-year-old, nifty uncle John, who was raised on his settler grandfather’s ND farm, says that, to his (substantial) knowledge, the wild rose fences never happened. I only remember hearing about them, never seeing one, so maybe the fences are another example of my dad’s “Irish truth”: if it could happen, it probably did.  For my dad, probably was as good as actually.

I may be becoming my father’s daughter.  When I used Tim Severin’s voyage to Iceland in a leather boat (recounted in The Brendan Voyage) to support my contention that the Irish were here before the Vikings, my brother-in-law pointed out it only meant that they could have been here, not that they were. Picky, picky. My brother-in-law is not Irish. Nifty, just not Irish.  Somewhere speculation meets documentation and makes maybe which is as much as most decisions are based on.

Figure #88.  Can you practically see the early boats in the mist?  The fun comes in deciding whose boats they are and when.

Figure #88. Can you practically see the early boats in the mist? Ignore the mowed lawn and the Esst Wind's Chandlery. Then the fun comes in deciding whose boats they are.

The Willow Street Bakery molasses doughnuts are as good as ever, especially with very hot, quite-dark-roast, coffee. The Bakery has changed owners at least three times and location once in my time here, but the recipe must go with the sales, thank heavens. When Garby and Tim were Hall’s Market, they had Willow Street molasses doughnuts twice a week which, with the beans on Friday, you had to reserve if you wanted any. The sights and smells were apparently too much for newbies to ignore. So the summer regulars met the challenge.

Heavy day today with high humidity, low clouds or dense fog, and intermittent rain. Some breeze, though. I’m about 2/3 way through David Grann’s Lost City of Z and though it is well-written, it is more about Percy Fawcett than about the author’s preparations to search for him and Z. Biographies of crazed Victorian explorers don’t interest me much. So I’ve taken a rainy day detour with Catherine Coulter’s Knock Out. If that ends too quickly, I have Daniel Silva’s The Defector waiting. If I need more Amazon adventure, I have Candice Millard’s River of Doubt or Teddy Roosevelt’s Through the Brazilian Wilderness, his own report of his Amazon adventures.

More boats were in the harbor today, some against their sailors’ wishes. Fog assures me some browsers, even if the idea of RB only occurs to them as they walk down Sea Street past the RB sign on the corner maple tree.  Yesterday, RB returnees mentioned that they could see the new, very  YELLOW chair on the porch from their boat.  Better than a flashing neon rose, I say.

Webcam problems at the moment. Trust me; it’s perfect.

HOT! TIME TO READ

Monday, July 5th, 2010

HOT!  HOT!  Too hot to move, but just right to settle in with a wanted book waiting to be read, with the fan on medium between open doors.  Fortunately, Roseledge Books meets all of those requirements.  I chose Ian Rankin’s Exit Music and am remembering how much I like Rebus.  I’ve ordered a batch more for RB on the off chance another too-hot day comes and you and I will need a good read.  It sure beats grumping at the world.

But a sea breeze just kicked in and now is wafting through the window to my right as I sit at my computer.  So it is I was reading and found the Vanishing New York blog guy’s enlightened search for the diner in Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”. Reference librarian and  search lover that I am, I tried to think of any other “avenues” he might have checked but couldn’t think of any, didn’t know many that he tried, and had a very good time overall.  So being nearly finished with Exit Music, I sort of darted over to the shelves and nabbed David Grann’s Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession. I’m sure this is a search book, but I’m not sure if the search is for El Dorado, the legendary city of gold, or Percy Fawcett’s search  for it or both, but I love to travel with those who try to find out.  Hello, David Grann.

An aside: Obsession usually turns me off (Tracy Kidder’s Soul of a New Machine and John Casey’s Spartina come to mind) but when a search to find out is on, I think of it as focus.

Fig. #87. Think sea breeze and room for your dinghy at the public landing.  Just a note: the port-a-pots are not intended for boaters.

Fig. #87. Think sea breeze and room for your dinghy at the public landing. Just a note: the port-a-pot up the hill is not intended for boaters, my friends who live close-by tell me.

Summer starts now, say those who count on tourists, and all the signs suggest it will be a good one.  Strawberries came so early they’re almost done, raspberries are here and first blueberries are being raked.  Good weather will do that.  Friends have been stopping by, one with a RB t-shirt from the henley days.  I’m still waiting for a RB t-shirt wearer to be accosted by another RB t-shirt wearer and have each end up with a good book to think about and a plan to return to RB.  Before t-shirts, one boating group came with my business card/bookmark given to them by another boating group  in the Caribbean.  That was fun and so will it be to see you.

Another aside: to capture the sea breeze from afar, check the webcam, refresh it four or five times, and watch the cut-leaf maple wave.  (I just tried this and the blueberry bush might be a surer mover.)

ROSELEDGE: ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

It’s really raining at the moment. (See webcam.)  Cozy indoors with no leaks, a change from years past. Millie and I will spend the afternoon artfully arranging books for your appreciation, but you have to come to fully appreciate the attraction of a good cover, well placed among other “like” books. But why are they “like” and are the covers good for you? Those are the questions and that is the fun.

Joe Queenan argues for the importance of a book’s cover in choosing what to read,  but I can’t remember whether our reasons for display support his reasons for choosing.   Cover reactions may be too personal to generalize.  Only when you get here and look or don’t look at a title will we know if we hit it.  A bookseller’s life is never humdrum.

Fig. #86.  Morning sun is the best for morning coffee on the porch and to remind walkers that exercised bodies need excercised minds. Roseledge Books: gym of the mind, open from 2-6 p.m.

Fig. #86. Morning sun is the best for coffee on the porch and to remind walkers that exercised bodies need exercised minds. Roseledge Books: gym for the mind, open from 2-6 p.m.

A friend is organizing a conference for caregivers in danger of burning out, which probably covers all caregivers.  Surely a roster of Roseledge Books that might “take them away” from whatever is the burden of the moment is just the thing.  I’ve been thinking about categories.  How about real-life adventures?  Or multigenerational sagas?  Or fat biographies with lots of detail?  Or books about other times and/or places? Your suggestions?

Categories need examples.  Would you include and where would you put the following?

David Michaelis’ N.C. Wyeth (local tie)

Roy Hoxham’s The Great Hedge of India (not even a remote local tie, but great read)

Louise Erdrich’s Plague of Doves ( strong, very indirect local tie)

Douglas Brinkley’s Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (maybe local tie)

Cokie Roberts’ Founding Mothers (local tie)

Barbara Kingsolver and family’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life (local tie in spirit of Produce Lady)

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (no tie, but fat and first of series)

Suggestions welcome, but hurry.

So far the book about books that mattered to Oscar Wilde has less pith than David Brooks’ column about books that mattered to Christopher Hitchens, but the comparison may be unfair as both DB and CH are still alive.  The real point of all of this may be that I have neglected Oscar for a second adventure with Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. (Thomas Wright’s Built of Books;  Stieg Larsson’s Girl Who Walked Through Fire)  I loved it and hate to make you envious, but I have a paperback copy of the third book which a friend brought from Switzerland.  It may be a British publication, but it is translated and I can’t remember the title which may be different from the U.S. hardcover.  Oscar may have to  wait a little longer.