JULY: THE BLUEST BLUES, THE BEST BOOK EVER AND MORE PERFECT DAYS

July 27th, 2014

Aarrghhh! Plagiarism makes me crazy and again, it is in the news.  Now it’s a Montana senator whose major contribution to his War College Master’s paper apparently was to re-arrange whole ideas from a few worthy papers written by others, mostly available  on the Internet. He didn’t even defend his choice of people to steal from or explain why he chose those particular papers.  He just copied from them, word-for-word with no or inadequate citations.   What is wrong with these people? At least crediting someone else makes you look as if you are one of the band. Not crediting people, especially with ubiquitous Internet access, is just dumb, really dumb, and dishonorable.  Maybe he bought the paper and didn’t know.  Still dumb.

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Plagiarism and dark clouds hover and it's raining at the moment.

The much more important and very good news is that Roseledge Books’ first two bestsellers have arrived: Food Rules by Michael Pollan, with illustrations by wonderful Maira Kalman and Coaster Days by Roy Meservey.  Each is a great gift book.  Roy Meservey’s journal with pictures of Tenants Harbor during its coaster-building heyday is great for orienting people to the village from the harbor.  Hark! A reason to row the dinghy.   AND Roy Meservey built Roseledge.  Michael Pollan’s three principles in seven words — Eat food; / Not too much; / Mostly plants. — are expanded through useful rules and complimented by Maira Kalman’s colorful pictures of the unexpected.

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Bestsellers, bug-free wind, and blueberries do much to make days brighter.

When does a breeze turn into wind?  For  the answer, visit Tenants Harbor this summer.  Whew!  As far as umbrellas staying upright and unbroken, the score is wind 1; umbrella 0.  New, VERY blue umbrella goes up tomorrow, if a storm is not blowing through.  With the bats away and dying of white fungus the wind keeps the bugs away and porch wine events much more pleasant.  I tried to push “Tenants Harbor tapas” with artisan crackers topped by whatever the Produce Lady has, including the just-available native blueberries with RediWhip to hold them on the cracker.  Only the skunk (white cheddar) cheese was a go.  Big wusses.  And wind or no, we had lunch and a very good time on  Miller’s Lobster Wharf which is off 73 and OPEN DAILY.   This Miller’s wharf which is on Wheeler’s Bay  is not to be confused with Cod End which is on a wharf in Tenants Harbor and CLOSED, and currently for sale by a different Miller family.

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Nothing's as fine as a golden day with a best ever book in hand.

I am reading and loving  Errol Morris’ Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography and it is absolutely the best book ever, well at least until the next best book.  I am only half way through the first essay which addresses Susan Sontag’s mention of two pictures Roger Fenton took  during the Crimean War of 1855.   They are both of a stretch of road called The Valley of the Shadow of Death; one has cannonballs in the road, the other does not.  Filmmaker Morris’ question is which came first and then, why do you think so? The book blurb calls it part detective story and part philosophical meditation; with the what and the why, I call it a search book.  This would be a great gift book for the  curious, for those who want to keep the conversation going, especially those who think they know the truth of a picture.  The tactics, the sources, the dialogue, the observations are all part of it, and what you do with all of it makes the whole.  It is so much fun to like a book this much.

This post has run the gamut from least to most interesting of minds.  Always good to end on a high note.

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HARBOR WATCH IS BETTER WITH MORE WATCHERS

July 13th, 2014

The wind blows and blows and blows, and it’s not just Arthur, but I don’t know what it is.  The water ripples and glistens, the days stay cool enough to mow the lawn  with only one beer break, and the bugs are thwarted, but for a lesser child of the wind, sitting or talking outdoors is daunting.  I, however, am a North Dakotan, born and raised in Wahpeton, 50 miles south of Fargo which typically out-blows Chicago for the title of windiest city.  I’ll bet the sailors love the wind and though more sailboats are sailing (apparently) and mooring in the harbor, they are moored at Tenants Harbor Boat Yard,  behind the trees to the left and just out of view of the webcam.

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St. George Sailing School has started across the harbor.  (Webcam alert.) Yesterday they practiced tipping over, then getting back in the boat.  Today they had fun puffing the sails in the wind.  Younger kids and newer sailors take to the water in the morning, so coffee on the porch means sometimes overseeing the counselor in the dinghy motoring out to draw the fearless newbie back in the fold.  No kayakers today, but two canoes with two people each added to the bustle of high summer in the harbor.

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Here we are by the sea again, with the wind and the boats and good books.

Now to the books:  Thanks to sailor-browsers who suggested I get 1) Geoffrey Wolff’;s The Hard Way Around: the Passages of Joshua Slocum to  keep the autobiographer honest  in his account, Sailing Alone Around the World, which RB also has, and 2) William Bligh and Edward Christian’s The Bounty Mutiny, which has the relevant texts and documents from the Bounty and complements Caroline Alexander’s The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, which RB also has.

The search for attractive new (to Rosele3dge Books) series continues.  Peter Temple’s Jack Irish is my favorite (and the only one read, so far) new series of the summer.  This is dialogue to sing with, even if the Australian street talk takes a minute, and people to have in your life.  RB is also trying Susan MacNeal’s Maggie Hope, a WWII spy and cryptographer of BBC-TV’s Foyle’s War and  Bletchley Girls ilk.  Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police is a novel of the French countryside written by someone who has spent part of each year there these last thirty-some years.  An interesting place seen from an interesting perspective, I thought.

And trying to remain timely with earlier winners, RB has Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway in her latest paperback, A Dying Fall, but will have to wait until next summer for newest paperback adventures of Harry Dolan’s David Loogan, Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Ferguson and Russ Van Alstyne, Cara Black’s Aimee Leduc, and Diana Gabaldon’s  Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser.

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Dinghies at the public landing mean boaters walking to Roseledge Books.

Bobby, nifty neighbor down the road, brought by the Produce Lady’s latest miracle:  surely the world’s best-ever blueberry pie.  It has a mountain of uncooked blueberries held sort-of together with something.  Pam and I yummed through an immediate piece.  Then Scott came over to help fix a recliner that quit reclining, saw the pie, bemoaned the need for high bush blueberries from New Jersey (native berries are low-bush, small, wild, the best in the world and not in yet), then wolfed down a giant piece, yumming under his breath.  Bobby became hero of the day and the Produce Lady remains a treasure.  And we still have half a pie.

See what you are missing?

 

 

HIGH SUMMER IS NIGH

July 2nd, 2014

UPDATE regarding Cod End:  Cod End has not been sold, but negotiations continue.  Summer plans remain a guess.  Once again I am reminded that truth is in the sources, and sources who are “pretty sure” are not sure enough.  This time I am VERY sure because,  though not a principal, relative or realtor, my latest source is hugely attuned to local nuance which, of course, I and others from away can never be.  All the Deed Transfers, Court Happenings, and Obituaries in the Courier Gazette are just after-the-facts news.  Good to know, but already old.  Sigh.

Another tent event played out on the lawn of the East Wind Inn last weekend, this time a four-point (2 tents, 2 points each) party in the afternoon with no music that carried.  EWI lawn parties are always good news because then people come within daylight sight of RB!  Eleven cars in a row (11!) drove up Sea Street to Roseledge — I got all hopeful — and turned around in the driveway to park out of my sight and nearer the EWI at the Sea Street/Mechanic Street convergence.  Apparently no one noticed the RB sign — with hours from 2-6 — on the tree at the corner.  Check the webcam for EWI updates.

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I wish lobster boats and sailboats shared the inner harbor moorings.

But-- good news — boaters moored at the TH Boatyard (further up the Sea Street hill, behind the trees to the left on the webcam) did come and reminded me that I need a RB sign that grabs them on their way DOWN the hill.  Maybe a giant hook that reaches out or a flashing neon rose.  I thought about having BOOKS shingled into the lower roof, but the roof audience is the dozen or so moorings in front of RB — check webcam — which are now filled with lobster boats instead of visiting sailboats with readers.  Cod End’s sale –if and when– may change that back to the moored sailboats of a few years ago.   Boat people who read and are on vacation may be my favorite RB visitors.  They have time off the water to walk by, then in, to browse thoroughly with questions, reactions, suggestions, and always to find something — sometimes about the North Atlantic or sailing, voyages, e.g.

Farley Mowat’s,  Otherwise
Lawrence Bergreen’s.  Over the Edge of the World (Magellan)
Robert Finch’s, Iambics of Newfoundland                
Robert Whitaker’s, The Mapmaker’s Wife  (South America)            
James Acheson’s,   Lobster Gangs of Maine                         
Arnold Skolnick’s and Carl Little’s  Paintings of Maine.  

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Books need time only real readers have. To think, too, add a big view.

I love Peter Temple!  His Jack Irish mystery, Bad Debt, was good and I’ll read the other three, but his Truth is terrific.  The dialogue is worth the book, even if I’m not at home with the slang and nuance of Melbourne, Australia, but then there is Villanni acting head of Homicide, so much a man worth tagging along with for a time.  I finished and liked Douglas Preston’s and Lincoln Child’s Fever Dreams and yes, Rockland, ME was mentioned and may be mentioned again in the two additional books that will continue the mystery, so now I will read the second, Cold Vengeance.  Makes me look up Audubon.

This summer’s book for all reasons and seasons is the second edition of Michael Pollen’s Food Rules, as illustrated by Maira Kalman.  I love Maira Kalman, and I know I keep saying that, but she simply makes anything she chooses to address better than it was without her.  And Michael Pollen is really good, but now he’s really, really good.  So far, I’ve given it with a foraging book to a newly married couple who don’t need pots and pans and to my nephew-in-law who, sometimes inventively,  always cooks the  perfect Thanksgiving turkey.  I mean, who isn’t interested in food? and pictures?

Stiff breeze yesterday and today, but breezes keep it cooler and bug free-er.  Hurricane Arthur is being mentioned.  Thunderstorms possible tonight.  If the lights go out, I have small batteries for at best one lift in my recliner.  Fortunately my Verizon cellphone connection works to call the non-emergency paramedic number or Scott, so I will not be forever trapped.  Latest good ideas from RB’ers: if you call long distance and refresh the RB webcam as you talk, you can almost smell the salt spray.  And if that doesn’t work, check out the loafing puffins.  Then hurry up and come.  High summer is nigh.

WALKERS BY, COMERS IN

June 22nd, 2014

NEWS UPDATE: Cod End has been sold to Linda Bean (I’m pretty sure) and may re-open for dockside eating (not as sure) sometime, under some name.  No sailboats  have sailed into the harbor yet, so I don’t know about other services.

But FOR SURE, Roseledge Books is open, alive and well.  I know this because I have hung the OPEN 2-6 sign from the porch bench and some of you have walked by and bought books.  Treasures, every one.  (Tricky grammar.)

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Lively harbor. Lovely summer. All that's missing is a book to read.

Walkers-By remain the most likely customers, especially Boater-Walkers-By.  They have dinghies to get to shore, but no car to get anywhere else.  The RB sign on the tree at the corner is key, but boaters have to get to  Sea Street to see it. ( I’m checking into a “postcard sign” in the glass-fronted case at the public landing.)  So it was that the summer’s first group of moored boaters found RB and came in, happy to test and rest wobbley legs after sailing into the breeze-challenged harbor.  They browsed through past, present and possible book club choices to get a feel for the bookstore or bookseller, asked for directions to the nearest ice cream cones, and were VERY pleased with paperbacks only. Lightness of being can be a plus.

Some books sold with the reason RB has them which may not — is probably not — the reason the buyer bought them:  Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (set in Maine);  Sixth Man by David Baldacci (set partly in Maine, as told by people from away);  Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew Crawford (reminds me of Mainers);  And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman (a mind and hand that sees, makes sense and enjoys a raveled world; I love Maira Kalman — and it’s my bookstore.)

Renter-Walkers-By are the other group of potential buyers, especially those who come to Maine to get away from cars and most people.  They stroll by and I sit on the porch and shout greetings.  With any encouragement at all, I give numerous shout-outs to books they may not be able to do without.  I have no shame.  Sometimes it works.  I think I “had” one couple after a great back-and-forth about “happy” books, but they were on their way away as soon as they made it back up the hill.  “Next time,” I’m sure they said.

And RB will be ready with thoughtful suggestions, e.g.  The Tree by John Fowles ;  A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr;  Coaster Days: Shipping in the Town of St. George by Roy Meservey; and So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson.

In addition to the harbor-moored boaters and Barters-Point-Road-cottage renters,  there are the Ladies Who Walk, neighbors who gather numbers as they enjoy a daily constitutional, the dog tenders who dawdle with their (one hopes) non-doodling dogs on the grass across the road, and the post office and General Store frequenters who come by without, then with, their mail, coffee, morning paper.  There is no place in the world I would rather be.

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Lupine, lovely lupine, and the harbor looks good. Better with you.

Native strawberries are in, and if ever you’ve eaten them, you know they are so good that no berries from away will ever again satisfy.  The rosa rugosa are stunning and wow! do they smell.  In this profusion their smell rivals that of lilies or lilacs and may be the reason for some very large sneezes.  First tent party of the season whooped it up on the East Wind Inn lawn, which is good news.  The tent-floor suggested dancing, as did the thumping beat, but the wind  was up and blowing away, so with the added tent-sides, the sound was muted.  Night music from tents and boats is good, usually ends early and carries on the air in mysterious ways.  Guitars and trumpets are the best and the bagpipes might have been okay with a better piper.  A neighbor boat shouted “Get the hook!” to some cheers, but no avail.

I love walkers-by,  harbor life, and Roseledge Books’ Visitors.  Here’s to a whole lot of each this summer.

 

 

 

 

SUNNY, WITH BREEZE AND RIPPLES

June 18th, 2014

“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days….” (Check webcam page to verify.)

The breezes are soft and frequent enough  to see if I can still tell the whispering of old oak leaves from rogue poplar leaves. This requires serious sitting with eyes closed and ready ears. The poplar is half-dead — well, aren’t we all some days? –which might weaken current whispers, but later this summer, we will replace it with a single-trunk tree with eventual canopy which  will require advanced sitting sessions. I don’t think the umbrellas will get in the way.The lilacs have blossomed and the rosa rugosa are gaining momentum by the day.  Scott tugged the giant-leaved rhubarb and has promised to share some of whatever he makes from it.  Sauce and jello are front-runners, but we disagree on how much sugar, if any, to add.

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See the trees. Some are bushes. Hear the leaves. Don't slip on seaweedy rocks.

 

Now Cod End has thanked us all for thirty good years and declared itself closed.  And Farmer’s has been For Sale these past several years, but it always opened at least for some hours.  No more.    The Happy Clam has added breakfast and lunch and has a tv set which is lucky, as Pam  needs a place to watch the Wimbledon tennis finals during whatever morning hours match the playing time in England, and the Quarry Pub, below the East Wind Inn dining room, is open, with food, four days a week.  But no more dockside eating in TH.  So many changes;  too many changes.

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Some things mostly don't change. The trees on the right up Sea Street are one such.

  

15o pages into George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and recognizing messages and characters in the spoiler alert of the final episode of Season Four on HBO, I have had enough.  People don’t change much; power reigns; information moves and explanations vary; but oh, the brutality!  I’m switching to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Fever Dreams (with a possible link to Rockland; see last post).  I’ll bet George R.R. Martin had a good time creating another world and language (and J.R.R. Tolkien with his Hobbits and Patrick O’Brian with his Aubrey-Maturin exploits and Diana Gabeldon with Jamie and Clare Fraser),  but so, I’ll also bet, did David Wiesner in Mr. Wuffles!, a hugely noteworthy children’s book with a cat who takes on the aliens in a world beneath the radiator.   I liked it a lot, then gave it to a cat-loving friend, who is also a fussy classicist and a knitter who dislikes green.

Oh good!  A group of women walking down Sea Street is coming into the bookstore.  This will be fun.  Wish you were here, too.  Details tomorrow.

 

WEBCAM, SETTLING IN, AND OTHER NEWS

June 10th, 2014

THE WEBCAM IS ON!

Walkers-by asked if I was the bookstore of the sign on the  tree at the corner.  This is early and exciting and I said I was,  so Charlie quickly hooked the BOOKS and OPEN 2-6 yard signs to the porch to make it official.  The first rosa rugosa has blossomed, the lilacs are promising a generous display, and the acer maple is taking over the world visible from inside  Roseledge.  The rhubarb is threatening the wild geraniums, but my money is on the geraniums biding their time until the giant rhubarb leaves and stalks are picked.

The last two days, sunny and perfect,  have called for this year’s effort to beat the sun on the porch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and we have found a winner — I think, I hope — in umbrellas.  (See new picture.)  Charlie has affixed the larger, striped beauty to the porch and the smaller, almost-striped one to my wheelchair, which brings to mind Mary Poppins, all of which was perfect until the big breeze blew and almost succeeded in pulling the bigger one up, up and away and bending the smaller one  to within inches of my head.  But with a little fixing, so far so good.  Definitely a seaside look and oh, so visible from the boats moored in the harbor.  Letters on the umbrellas  spelling ROSELEDGE BOOKS would be good, but the colors are evocative, especially if, with binoculars, you can read the BOOKS and OPEN signs beneath them.

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Roseledge action shot of person reading in shade of new umbrellas

 

Today was book arranging day which is always fun.  Now I have to read Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs to see if a character lives in or is from Rockland, Maine, which I think my favorite nephew-in-law said was so, because if so,  the book goes on the Maine shelves.  And I think Henry Knox was Washington’s Secretary of War (Remember David McCullough’s 1776?), so Barbara Tuchman’s The First Salute should be placed next to 1776. Scott thinks John Paul Jones was the founder of the Navy which may or may not be separate from the Department of War, and he will work hard to make his wrongness right.  RB will have to restock Ian  Toll’s Six Frigates which would probably answer the questions.  So would a quick Google search, but  arguing from too little information is so much more fun .

Lonesome alert — I spotted a first kayaker of the season paddling with some energy against a big breeze, but  with the tide, enroute to the public landing.   It’s mean to mention kayaking to the landlocked, but maybe only fair given that one of Roseledge Books’ most regular sea-less kayakers  noted a great new — read: hardcover– book about a handmade house in Maine which sounds so good I may have to get it early to test-read it for Charlie’s birthday.   Trusting that you all will wait for the paperback, I’ll admit that it’s Henry Petroski’s and Catherine Petroski’s The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors.  Until then  Roseledge Books will be sure to have Henry Petroski’s The Pencil and The Book on the Bookshelf. RB also has Catherine Petroski’s A Bride’s Passage, the writing of which ultimately led them to their noteworthy house.

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The Roseledge wall has wild things in its verge and flat stones for the weary.

Some — okay, four — of you noted the lapse of several months between recent posts and wondered.  Part of the lapse was computer malfunction.  The other part was body malfunction from an allergic reaction to a sulfa antibiotic, but the body RALLIED and with two weeks tune-up in rehab and lots of Charlie’s help and good will, I have a new computer and, though ever more awkward, I am here in Maine.  It is SO-O-O-O good to be back.

Jack Reacher (in Lee Child’s Never Go Back) was satisfying as always; now I’ve decided to become one with the millions who are somehow involved in George Martin’s Game of Thrones. Good grief!  He has 5 mass market paperbacks, one trade paperback and one hardcover book on the NYT Bestseller Lists AT THE SAME TIME, not to mention the HBO hit.   Soon insider clues will be part of NYT crossword puzzles and I will be clueless, as I am with Harry Potter clues, and one doesn’t want to be totally out of it more than once — well, once that I know of.

The RB signs are up, the books mostly arranged, the umbrellas are (well, so far) stable, the new rock wall is waiting to be admired, and a giant delivery truck just pulled up, almost in front of Roseledge.  Will the mysteries never end?  ( WEBCAM alert.)

All that is missing is you.

THE HARBOR IS PERFECT!

June 5th, 2014

We made it! A long, tough winter and a long travel day are over and summer at Roseledge is here and going stupendously — well except for the rain and chill. But the recliner has heat and massage, the mist has left the harbor and the fanny-lift chair by the window still rises to see the mostly-moored lobster boats.  Charlie has finished the nine months of computer updates and I am finally doing my part to maybe hear back from you,  so life is good, very good.
Any antifreeze left in the pipes hardly shows pink or tastes strange in the drinking water and only the shower water is still frothy, but hot, body-warming hot. Hard to get better than that.  We’ve had the Schoolhouse Bakery’s everything bagel breakfast sandwich both days, yum, only to find out this may be the Bakery’s last summer.  Sigh.  A generational shift seems to be upon us.

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The way it was before the wall; your coming back will blend then and now.

About two weeks ago, Tim Holmes died suddenly and way too soon.  For this summer person, Tim, with Garby, was  a defining pillar of Tenants Harbor.  They made Hall’s Market the welcoming center of all that was happening in the community.  Maybe all memorable people are characters, but Tim certainly was one of the very best kind: a good-natured, ever-knowing and helpful participant in making  people smile one more time.   A couple of years ago during St. George Days, he was playing softball and the Courier Gazette included four pictures of Tim in action, bending over on the bases .  I pointed out that  surely no one had a more photographed fanny than he.   I don’t remember the words of his retort (probably something like, “and rightly so”), but I remember the glee.  It’s hard to imagine a better lived life than his.  First Tim Watts, now Tim Holmes.  Tenants Harbor is not and will never be the same.

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See the harbor. Be one watching the harbor. Come back to Roseledge Books.

But Tenants Harbor is and will remain a very special place of the heart for those of us lucky enough to have found it.  And where are the rest of you lucky ones?  Roseledge Books is open — well, the lights are on — and as soon as the rain stops, Charlie and I will fix as necessary the sign on the tree at the corner of Sea and Mechanic Streets.  You may recall that we added to the top of the sign two adirondack chairs, one with a  pillow.  I bet they’ll still be there.  The rain should help things grow, and though the grass was inadvertently mowed, wonderful wild things will surely grow in front of, on top of, and through the new rock wall.                                  Charlie has almost promised to do something about the garage shingles that have not weathered handsomely after the unprimed paint peeled off.  And we are trying three new shade inducing techniques to make the porch more welcoming in the direct sun of midday.  We planted a fast-growing (?) tree, Charlie found a bistro umbrella (and we can get another) to attach to porch poles, and we  are going to plant in pots two or three acer maples and hope they grow as lavishly as the one next to the steps now does.  Spread, density, portability and wind resistance are factors so far.

Settling in is always a joy, even with the inevitable  detritus of winter and absence.  I, of course, can only direct.  This makes Charlie crazy, so we are listening to Leonard Cohen’s London concert which apparently muffles my directions.  And I saved Lee Child’s latest paperback, Never Go Back, for these very days, as 512pages of Jack Reacher keeps me very quiet, maybe even muffled.  The only thing that would make all of this better is seeing you.  We are going into town tomorrow for a summer’s supply of Rock City Roasters’ Dark Star.  So maybe wait until then.

The webcam is coming.   Roseledge Books hopes you are, too.

GOOD NEWS FOR MORNING MULLS

March 31st, 2014

Some — too few — days the news is so-o-o good.  In today’s NYT, Disney Chairman Robert Iger said that one reason Bob Sherwood would be a good head of Disney is “his creativity and storytelling“!  When was the last time any corporate or other organizational leader was so described?  When did any recruiter or college program even mention creativity, imagination or even ideas?

Then, in the same day’s NYT were stories about Shigeru Ban, who designs wonderful — or maybe marvelous — “temporary” buildings made from paper tubes and  won this year’s Pritzker award, at least in part for so doing.  Humanity, art, engineering all in one — who’da thunk it (in the language of Greg Brown’s songs which exhibit some of the same characteristics).  Ban’s “temporariness” may be just what  we, people of perpetual change, need.  They would certainly make our struggles with adaptation and resilience easier. I love the ever-amended libraries, houses, workplaces, and schools that try, but maybe more temporary structures would make routine the changes required of generational shifts, creakier-knees, environmental surprises (see TCE note in prior post), gas prices, latest research findings, and, of course, the ubiquitous technology.  I love architect Ban’s curtain walls, paper tubes, metal shades, re-imagined containers, and the bamboo hat roof, too, even without the disasters he typically confronts before building.  Today the newspaper, hot coffee, and the windowed outdoors were just about perfect, despite the below zero wind chill on March 25 at 7:00a.m.

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Ten friends will know for / sure this picture was taken / ten different places.

If any of the six of you read my updated last post, you will already know that Scott, who has been part of RB  from the beginning (1985), smoothly pointed out that I was dead wrong  when I mentioned the good cinnamon rolls and oatmeal in Rockland at Good Home Cooking; the noteworthy breakfast+ destination is really named HOME KITCHEN CAFE.  Please note that I got HOME right, and now I have saved you all from distressing phone calls or emails to Rockland Chamber of Commerce and/or always harrassed telephone information operators.

While Scott is in my news, I will remind him that he is to read Eva Murray’s Well Out to Sea to see if mention of his grandmother or her lemon bar recipe are included, as this would give RB yet another reason to always have this oft-mentioned book about life on Matinicus which, with Jim Sterba’s Frankie’s Place, appeals to cottage-renters who wish they were at least summer people or — dream of dreams — year-rounders.

Another note about an earlier note: remember the false Wikipedia fact about someone being the President of PEN who had never so been and who couldn’t get Wikipedia people to remove it?  Howstarting a Wikipedia page of “zombie entries”, for those entries ” that should have been killed by evidence but refuse to die?  (Thank you, Paul Krugman.)

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Tenants Harbor in / spring waiting to be filled with / the likes of you all.

Book club mea culpa: A million years ago, fresh from demanding Jesuit-college courses and teaching teenagers who were demanding in a very different way, I joined a Great Books book club which in 1962 I thought might be a way to keep my liberal arts learning honed.  This might have worked except for the jerk that came every time and dominated every “discussion” with harangues about Jesus.  Save me from the ninnies, O Lord!  So I went to Graduate Library School instead, learned about sources, flow, and choices and never looked back at book clubs which I hope is acceptable because I have ever since been in the midst of people who read and have lots of suggestions and Roseledge Books assures me that the good times will continue.  Having said all of that James Atlas’s essay about book clubs makes me know what I am missing.

Enough dawdling.  I read new-to-me author Karen Rose’s Watch Over Me which was mentioned in the NYTBR‘s “Short-list” some weeks ago. I am a sucker for a good romantic suspense page-turner, but this one had too much soul-searching dialogue for me and maybe too little suspense.  The mix in David Baldacchi’s Hour Game was more to my liking. I neither read the Harry Potter books nor saw the movies.  This has sharply curtailed my ability to solve smoothly the NYT crossword puzzle for almost any day of the week and makes me wonder if my definition of a classic book (long available, widely read, knowledgeable, well-written) should be amended to include puzzle-worthy, at least from Wednesday on.

SUMMER IS A-COMIN’ IN

March 25th, 2014

Is there better news than to hear that some of you have secured cottage reservations, cajoled friends into finding and saving cottage space nearby, may come if RB gets new t-shirts (Charlie is working on it), think that Paul Doiron’s second mystery, The Trespasser, includes a  Harpoon bar and should, therefore, be included in the greater-Tenants Harbor fiction list of several posts ago (which I am checking out by reading the book and being happily transported to Maine in March), and maybe best of all, that I have a new, left-leg brace which is covered with roses in the style of Paul Gaugain and handsomely supports my knee and ankle so that I am (ta da) walking again and will, therefore, be in Maine to see you all?  Big WHEW!

So it’s time to start going through your many good suggestions for books to add to RB shelves, even with another week of way below average temperatures and maybe another storm of many precipitants.  This is the annual puzzle of plenty I love.

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Summer is a-comin' in, on bobbing boats and forsythia blooms.

So which books do  or should matter most to RB readers who are trying to make sense of the world from the shore of God’s chosen ocean  in a perfect time and place?  A special thanks to those of you who cavalierly suggested the following INTRIGUING TITLES THAT ARE NOT YET, AND MAY NEVER BE IN PAPERBACK!  AARGHH!

Land of Dreams (Minnesota Trilogy) by Vidar Sundstal (Set on Minnesota shore of  Lake Superior which is big water connected to ocean, includes Norwegian lore which acknowledges half of Charlie and sme RB regulars.  UM press hopes it is next  big time Scandinavian mystery e.g. Stieg Larrson.)

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.J. Duffy (Partly set in Nova Scotia, which someone described as Maine only more so, includes lobstering or at least fishing, during WWI about which most of us know too little and Charles Todd is good, but not enough)

Transatlantic by Colum McCann (Ocean crossing is always good, George Mitchell is a Maine connection, Newfoundland-to-Ireland crossing offers a seque into always fun argument that Irish were here before Vikings)

Naturalists at Sea: Scientific Travelers from Dampier to Darwin by Glyn Williams (Complements Voyage of the Beagle and (I hope) maybe provokes a reprinting of Tim Severin’s Spice Island Voyage)

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around The World by Matthew Goodman (Can RB ever have enough of strong women and ocean crossings?)

Twelve Owls by Laura Erickson and Betsy Bower (RB birder reports that owls are everywhere there this winter as they are here in MN, and the art in the book is so-o-o fine.)

Latest mystery in series by Julia Spencer-Fleming, Cara Black, Elly Griffiths, Harry Dolan, Bruce DaSilva (Please recall the latest, and maybe best, RB marketing ploy of drawing RB Regulars back each summer to get the latest book in these excellent, harder-to-find series, which depends on the series’ latest being available!  Aarrghh, again.)

Water (photographs) by Edward Burtynsky (Beautiful, pertinent, interesting, very expensive)

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, UpdIII by Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman (with changes, it reads  like a conversation with readers and anything with Maira Kalman illustrations is better.)

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Come to see the bush / be gone, a rock wall come, and / friends with books await.

News from the Group Home: Cat loose on the seventh floor last week.  He or she will probably be everywhere welcomed, but as all the floors look alike, may never find home.  Treebirds abound, cardinal still visits and remains outstanding  on bare branches, and ploppy pigeons  try to balance on well-stocked birdfeeder ledge.  Word of tasty blueberry pancakes  traveled fast through the elevator  which apparently caused the biggest later-breakfast crowd ever.   “The blueberry pancakes were really good.  Our hearts will be strong,” I said to my neighbor Jim. “Finally,” he said.

Other news:  My house, and home for 40 years, sits atop a huge blob of TCE spilled by General Mills researchers during 1940′s-1970′s.  Can you hear the property values plummeting?  Testing, mitigation, more testing, and class action lawsuit are part of my days.  Charlie is overseeing mitigation efforts.  I am driving lawyers and PCA nuts with questions, and the PCA is driving me nuts with non-answers.  I like the lawyers better, probably because we are on the same side and (maybe thus) they answer my questions.   As is so often the case, thank heavens for Charlie.

Latest issue of Down East Magazine features FOG, a new Rockland restaurant. Could this just be additional evidence of Rockland’s niftiness?  Last Spring Down East featured the very good, new breakfast+ place,  HOME KITCHEN CAFE (not the previously, wrongly named Good Home Cooking, than you, Scott, though as you smoothly point out, not a bad name for a breakfast treat) which is an effort-of-the-heart of the nifty people who always “made” RB t-shirts which is the reason I am searching for new t-shirt makers — well, with Charlie’s help.  He draws the rose.  One saving grace of  RB’s former t-shirt makers new venture is their special attention to both cinnamon rolls and oatmeal.  You know you’re getting old when the breakfast restaurant survey switches from finding the best cinnamon roll to finding the best oatmeal, and nirvana may be finding both in one place.

Keep those book suggestions coming, folks.  RB is so much better for being a public display of a group mind.

MULLING 7: THE SCHEME OF THINGS

March 15th, 2014

Such riches for mulling, it’s hard to know where to begin.

President Obama’s team has started to think about his presidential library and the documenting of his life.   This is exciting, but oh my!  How one hopes the team thoughts  avoid the wretched excess of recent presidential efforts.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to  put together St. Augustine and Loraine Hansberry, the former because he gave shape to the early church by compiling and interpreting the scattered works and the latter because she (with her estate) made her very varied, compiled materials widely available through her web-based archive.

Then the team could oversee making a library place mostly for people to connect to and retrieve information  from all the other Obama-related elsewheres that an unusual staff finds and makes available. He has personal ties to so many places and presidential ties to so many more, he is truly a man of the world and when you add his lively mind and family,he is also a man for all ages.  A one-spot library won’t work, but a hugely flexible first-stop library would.  Then both droppers-in and  follow-uppers would know what to do next, how, where and why.  Cheers for the  presidential library that is a web of possibilities with chairs for all heights, good windows, changing exhibits and good coffee.   When it’s time, Roseledge Books will do its part to help distribute the “publications” that follow.

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Nothing beats a good / browse to keep a thinker's con / versation worthwhile.

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In the ever-mullable scheme of information moving and people knowing, add to the mix Boston Public Library’s renovations which, by the by, made the top-ten list of most-read NYT articles last Saturday!  Enjoy the good news and shrewd thinking behind the widely shared changes.   Can’t you just see the antsy of any age reading on the treadmill for a healthy body, healthy mind?  Or the older gamers keeping active the brain cells used to plot video game strategies?  I love when libraries keep up with users’ changing habits and the new ways and means they use (and provide) to keep information moving and the conversation lively.

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To mull: does reading keep conversation alive?  Is reading, then, the heartbeat of conversation?  In how many ways are browse-able bookstores  idea generators?

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Food, view and conver / sation, help the reader frame / the experience.

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To keep the mull alive, I’ve ordered Jeremy Black’s book The Power of Knowledge: How Information and Technology Made the Modern World. From the blurb, I think that he thinks that how a society understands and uses information is  key to understanding the development and character of the modern age.  This is my kind of perspective and, if all reads well, it will suggest room in the scheme for a presidential library that is other than an ego palace, a big and good public library that changes with the times, and a tiny bookstore that caters to characters of this and other ages.

Now that should keep the mull alive until the out of doors does more than beckon.