Archive for September, 2011


Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Last post I mentioned the struggle of finding just-right-reads for a noteworthy reader soon to have a knee replaced. Then today’s browse through NYTBR’s brought before my very eyes FOUR possibilities:

Great House by Nicole Kraus
“The characters…are intricately connected, across continents and decades, by a 19- drawer wooden desk….” Paperback Row, NYTBR, 9/25/2011

The Fall of the House of Walworth by Geoffrey O’Brien

“…the gaudy, multigenerational story of an upper-crust family in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. brought down by corruption, insanity and parricide.” Paperback Row, NYTBR, 9/25/2011


Life, like a good book, has assorted pieces that somehow make a whole.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (First of a 20th Century Trilogy)
“Five interrelated families from five countries are caught in the upheavals of WWI and the Russian Revolution.” Trade Paperback Best Sellers, NYTBR, 9/25/2011

The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal

“A family memoir written with a grace and modesty that almost belie the sweep of its contents:…during the Second World War.” (NYer) “An extraordinary history…. A wonderful book, as lustrous and exquisitely crafted as the netsuke at its heart.” (Christian Science Monitor) Both from an ad for the paperback edition, NYTBR, 9/25/2011, p.33

Multigenerational sagas, art at the heart of the story, worldly adventures, fiction, non-fiction, and more to come. Time will pass, the knee will heal, and the mind grows.

Then, next summer, Roseledge Books will be open and part of whatever is next.


Monday, September 19th, 2011

Minnesotans who know ask, “Was 2011 a good summer?”
It was, I say; let me count the ways.

The annual summer leftovers dinner went well.  My smoked salmon, miraculously packed, is good until 2014 (Thank you, North Carolina Regulars) and I used up all the stale crackers and generic Cheerios.  So not only was 2011’s last supper good, but 2012’s first supper sounds promising, too.

Roseledge Books’ final tally was a small plus for books sold over books ordered, WHEW.

Charlie pulled the dead Queen Anne’s Lace and the worst of the rogue bushes in the rosa rugosa hedge with only one sotto voce reference to Julie, who is in India and therefore not here for landscaping duty. (Please hurry back, Julie; I’m sure this is a one-time effort.)


Queen Anne's Lace blooms someplace else next year; goldenrod stays put and spreads. Sniff.

Moored yachts never filled the harbor after hurricane Irene which meant fewer RB visitors which is not good, but it was, therefore, an easier leave-taking.

I failed to think of the perfect book(s) for an RB Regular’s`six-week knee-replacement recovery reading in January, which is not good, but I’ll have to keep thinking and posting suggestions which is good.  Think other times and places, multi-generational, detail, art, maybe European. So far, Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra is a “no ancient Egypt;”; Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, which Millie read, is an “already read it;” James Clavell’s Shogun is a “maybe re-read;” Bernd Heinrich’s The Snoring Bird is an “too recently read, but really liked;“ Elizabeth Kostkova’s The Historian is a “no vampires or Vlad the Impaler” though her Swan Thieves was “really good;” and I don’t think Kate Morton’s Distant Hours is going to be sufficiently engrossing though it is fat and it was a “yes.” More suggestions anyone? I’ll send them on.


A long last look at moored lobster boats and ribs of "the wrecks" at low tide.

First frosts in the Maine valleys signaled Fall, which matters in an uninsulated cottage, so leaving was necessary and therefore easier.  Minnesota’s homecoming weekend of 90 degree days was TOO HOT even with insulation, but record-setting frosts followed which just demonstrates how unappealing it is to live an average life, which, with RB and you all, mine is not.

I tried another thriller and, yes again, Maine figured in. (First Paul Garrison’s The Sea Hunter which I liked and John Case’s The Syndrome which I liked, but not nearly as much as his The Genesis Code, which also has Maine in it.) Clearly Maine is thrilling and will continue to be so in books and movies until next summer.

Here‘s to then, through a winter of Minnesota postings.


Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Hurricane Irene blew down (or sogged up, if rain was the beast) trees, and some of the trees fell on wires that cut electricity to homes. A Maine friend had one such tree. Her neighbor said, “Your tree fell and now I cannot make my dress for my sister’s wedding next weekend.” Friend answered, “I’ve been telling you for two months to get going on the dress.” Pure Maine.

Minnesota friends were visiting Roseledge last week. They found and ate my stash of Willow Street Bakery molasses doughnuts which I had buried in a brown bag inside a plastic bag in my freezer. When I went to replace them, Willow Street Bakery was closed — I don’t know why — until six days after I return to Minnesota. I called my friend and said, “You ate all of the molasses doughnuts and now Willow Street Bakery is closed.” Without pause, she said, “We knew you’d be pleased at how much we enjoyed them.” Pure Minnesota.

So what makes something or someone “of Maine?”


Bunched lobster buoys, so much "of Maine," are not at all "of the Midwest."

The question arose when RB decided to have and continue to replace Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kittredge. I say “not of Maine” because Olive Kittredge is more a type than a Mainer. Certainly she, or her like, lives in Maine, but she lives in the North Dakota of my youth, too. And the lack of very specific place names, e.g. Harbor Woods, Barter Flats, Donut Point, Drift-in Beach, suggests the author has not been long enough in Maine. But I was the minority of one, so the question remains fun and will arise again next summer when J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine is out in paperback. So far the reviewed emphasis is on the four women and the hard cover has too much sand and too little clothing, brr-r-r.

So, if not these two books, then which ones ARE about people who, one way or another, become “of Maine?” Consider the following:

Siddon, Anne Rivers. Colony, a novel by a woman who married into a family who has long summered in Maine and who also writes of coastal mores in North Carolina, which might make her Maine observations especially perceptive.
McCullough, David. 1776, a Revolutionary War history which includes early days of Thomaston’s Henry Knox.
Sterba, Jim. Frankie’s Place, a contemporary love story/memoir of Mt. Desert rusticator and Michigan transplant.
Coatsworth, Elizabeth. Personal Geography, “almost an autobiography” of author who, with Henry Beston, lived life fully on Maine farm.
Heinrich, Bernd. Snoring Bird, “my family’s journey through 100 years of biology” told through the lives of mostly German father and mostly Mainer son and author.
Zimmerman, Elizabeth. Knit One, Knit All, a knitting book, yes, but does the last page make it “of Maine?”

Okay, Roseledge Book Regulars, what do you think? What would you add? See you next year when the porch view of the harbor, a glass of chicken wine, and regetting together happen. Until then, Minnesota looms, you bet. Next post from the Group Home, as my new digs have now become.


Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Two readers came by on their way to Monhegan and bought books to read while there. This suggests a worthy potential-client pool to tap because a lot of people catch the Monhegan ferry in Port Clyde (4 miles further than TH on Rte.131) and reading is a major post-hike activity on the Island. I forgot to ask how they found RB because, though we are only a three-lot-wide block off Rte. 131, potentially interested people have to make that turn to either see the RB sign on the corner of Sea St. and Mechanic St. or to drive by and look away from the water long enough to register BOOKS, yes!

On Monhegan or almost any place almost any book from RB is just right. But a few do come more readily to mind:
General books sometimes include Monhegan, for example Colin Woodard’s Lobster Coast of Maine and Arnold Skolnick’s Paintings of Maine.
Island living is special. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Stern Man and Elizabeth Ogilvie’s Tide Trilogy are novels set on islands. Eva Murray’s Well Out to Sea chronicles her life on an island, in this case Matinicus.
T.J. Stiles’ The First Tycoon is a fat biography about Commodore Vanderbilt, who, among things, sailed — maybe near Monhegan.  Fat is a lovely luxury when the time is right.
Elizabeth Kostkova’s The Swan Thieves is a fat novel about art (among other things) which (among other things) is a favorite pastime on Monhegan.
There are more possibilities waiting for you when you stop by.


Wildflowers, wild seas, perchable rocks and a fat book to read.

Twice this summer people returned to RB after big-time sailing adventures. One couple sailed around the world in five of the last ten years and the other circled the Atlantic coasts these past three years. I loved that they came back, but now I don‘t recall what kinds of books they chose, except to say that no one chose a sailing chronicle, though one did take a book about islands. I’m currently reading Paul Garrison’s The Sea Hunter because I know way too little about boats, boating, and big water. It’s a thriller, includes a killphin (you’ll have to read it to find out), and the heroes are sailing to Camden, ME from the Caribbean, which is exciting because that is virtually next door to Tenants Harbor, home of RB. (You may recall the ongoing game of trying to figure out how many steps between any book and TH.)

One more week in Paradise. Weather’s perfect: sunny days, breezy late afternoons, cool nights. There’s still time. A hornet nearly committed suicide in my glass of wine, but a goodheart tipped it out and the hornet rose and looked confused.