January 17th, 2015

Dana called yesterday and asked if I was dead. I know a hint when I hear one. Time to answer emails.

M: Regarding the harbor photo, I don’t think it is Jamie Wyeth, though the boat is his Dreadnaught. The Mr. Clean posture looks wrong, and I’ve never seen him wearing neon yellow, though Scott recalled that the Tenants Harbor General Store had some neon yellow beauties in it’s t-shirt close-out sale a couple of years ago, so maybe. And other kayak paparazzi have noted his genial wave as they paddled by the open-ocean side of Southern Island, which I trust after last year’s tip-over, you will think twice about before checking . Clearly, the harbor needs kayak-high investigating when the winds are still and most boats are out, though boaters are rarely a worry now that the rum-running days and druggies are long gone and the jet-skis are still few.


The fog is in, the angle's different, and no one is on board; but hey!

 Traci: The best way to get a feel for a Tenants Harbor past and your Bickmore ancestor is to visit the area and spend quality time checking whatever they have at the Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum, followed by sitting on the Lighthouse lawn overlooking the ocean and thinking about it. You might want to check the Jackson Memorial Library and the [St. George] Town Offices, too, as they both probably have useful information and practically border Bickmore Creek, the only Tenants Harbor Bickmore that I know.

Before you come, you might want to look at Albert Smalley’s History of St. George, Maine (currently out-of-print), Roy Meservey’s Coaster Days (self-published, only available locally) and James Balano’s Log of the Skipper’s Wife (currently out of print). Materials this local are hard to get from away, but you might try interlibbrary loan from your ever useful local public library. For a quick, more accessible look, you might enjoy “The Seafarers,” part of Maine’s Masonic History;but nothing beats a visit. Road Trip?


St. George slays dragons and secures Town Offices for you when you come.

 Jim: What I know about the Hart/Meservey murder in Tenants Harbor (1878) is little, always questionable, and more than thirty years old, but none of that stops me from opining. Three things I recall:

A) A summer-people couple said they had tried to buy one of the few copies of a self-published book which argued that the real murderer was wealthy, from Camden, and maybe a politician. I have never again heard of this book. They were sure the ABCD Bookstore in Camden had a copy, but the then-owner Lilian Berliawski, wife of Nathan Berliawski who was a key part of Rockland’s Main Street and who was the brother of sculptor, Louise Nevelson, all of whom are now dead but always important in a world of connections) saved the copy in the store’s “inner sanctum” for a “better-dressed” buyer.

B) Probably in either an old Down East Magazine or Rockland Courier Gazette (newspaper), I read that the handwriting expert witness changed his testimony which had been important evidence in Captain Hart’s conviction and which would support a wrongfully-convicted rumor. I used the Rockland Public Library and the Maine State Library and Archives in Augusta, but I never used the Maine Historical Society in Portland.

C) The old-timers I knew to ask about alternative villains have all died, and I don’t recall a summer meeting of the St. George Historical Society devoted to the murder, though maybe one ought to be. (I am only there in the summer.) Friend, Scott ( says there were lots of theories, but I don’t think he favors any particular culprit. He is young, but born in St. George and a trustworthy collector and curator of local lore. I didn’t know (or remember?) that Albion Meservey was a possibility, but I’ll bet he was Roy Meservey’s uncle and Roy Meservey built Roseledge, cottage of my perfect summers, therefore the opportunities for front porch speculation are going to be legend. Thanks for the tidbit.


From Roseledge turn right to third house beyond church where the murder took place.

 M., M., and D.: Nothing beats back winter woes better than an IDEA BOOK, a book that provokes conversation, checking further, dreams if you are abed, speculation if you are between necessity and invention, quirkiness if platitudes hover, good nature when Debby Downer calls, or quiet in the face of heartlessly loving more the new, replacement appliances the scary storm has wrought. Maira Kalman’s My Favorite Things is just such a treasure. I also loved her Principles of Uncertainty, a memoir of “an inner psyche with an idiosyncratic world view.”


A book is always good, but sometimes The Water is even better.

 That I am at war with my legs should not affect my typing, but apparently it does. The exciting news is that I am learning to use voice-activating Dragon because, though my knees buckle and my body strains, there is nothing wrong with my tongue. Get ready for stream-of-consciousness diatribes (see above) and weirder, but probably more regular posts. And just hear my diction improve next summer! No longer will “Roy Meservey” sound like “wind the survey.” The other very good news is that Charlie is here, I’m better by the day, though pivoting’s a trial, and my 12th floor cloud array is especially fine when murders of crows fly by.


November 6th, 2014

I have been remiss.

Sometimes transitions are hard, necessary maybe, but hard.

Fortunately, cooler days, more agreeable legs, and shame have all set in.

Onto whatever is next.


Maybe it is leaving Maine or living two places or changing neighborhoods or old friends dying or a lifetime of working many places and doing many things , but for whatever reasons, I have been thinking a lot about outsider/insider perspectives.  Who is in and who is out or maybe out and looking in?     Telling about a train trip across Siberia and his resulting book ,Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia, author David Greene of NPR’s Morning Edition  (10-20-14) noted that as an outsider, he does not understand Russians who not only use, but embrace, the hardships of life — and there are many – to become really Russian, even as they accept the resulting limited opportunities.   But as an outsider, why should he?

As a 30+ year summer person, I am an outsider in Maine with summer friends I enjoy re-meeting each year, and though I’m not sure who the insiders are any more, I  would not presume to understand the why’s  of any of these others with whom I have shared too little.  Like Jim Sterba in Frankie’s Place and Nicholas Kilmer writing about A Place in Normandy, I am somewhere between being a stranger and being a somewhat-familiar, happy with the summers that then happen.


When did it happen / that this became familiar? / Only to see, though.

 Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books are being made into a television series on Starz, and though only the first episode was free to non-subscribers, I liked it for its adherence to the books’ overall perspective of an outsider from the 20th C. (Claire) coming to grips  with an insider (Jamie Fraser) and living in the 18th C. (The first book in the series that backs up the first season is titled Outlander; the latest book in the series and still only available in hardcover is Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.)  John Grisham’s novel, The Broker, makes much the same point, as do Ryszard  Kapuscinkski’s essays, Travels With Herodotus.  Clearly, or maybe ominously, one could get carried away with insider/outsider/happy-on-the-threshold issues  and then re-classify a bookstore’s shelves or, worse, one’s life.  So it’s on to apples.

Yes, it’s honey crisp apple time, when I make my annual decision to forego a secure retirement to buy just one more bag of medium-sized treasures at the Farmer’s Market.  Expensive, yes, but, oh my, they are good. Timothy Egan described biting into a honey crisp as having a bit of sunshine in your mouth.  Perfect.  So maybe it is not surprising that I loved the NYT article about the guy who spent 30+ years of his spare time searching out , recording, and now publishing in seven volumes, anything he could find out about the history of apples in North America!  Only the taste is missing; but not to worry, offered John Bunker, an apple grower in Maine, who noted he has the taste, but always wondered where his apples came from (See: Dan Bussey’s Illustrated History of Apples in North America.)  Now I wish someone (preferably the author) would write a book about his thirty-year search for the soul of the apple, so Roseledge Books could put it right next to other search classics like Nicholas Clapp’s The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands, Roy Moxham’s The Great Hedge of India: The Search for the Living Barrier that Divided a People, or Roger Mitchell’s Clear Pond: The Reconstruction of a Life.  How someone comes to know something is much more interesting than what that someone decides he or she knows, said the arguer evermore.


Is an apple tree / in the field across the road? / Once, I thought there was.

 I am reading, and liking a lot,  Lewis May’s The Blackhouse, set in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides and volume one of his Lewis Trilogy..  I have loved the Hebrides since reading Lilian Beckwith’s memoirs/novels of her 20 years as a crofter after World War II, none of which is currently available in paperback.  Sigh.  When they are RB will have them.  But I digress.  Lewis May, though a Scot,  has also written trilogies set in China and France with different detectives, and I like him well enough  to redefine series to include multiple lead characters in the books of one author. Hard to blame authors for wanting a break from writing forever about one lead character, but rest assured that  RB remains committed to finding authors of series by some definition who will bring you back year after year.

Roseledge Books has planted three more blueberry bushes which, if as lavishly filled with berries as the two now flourishing, would provide gnoshing oppotunities for those of you so inclined to pick and eat.  And with thanks to North Carolina Regulars, RB can report that the new rock wall comfortably accommodates bottoms of many heights.

The ever lovely, but over-spreading, rosa rugosa hedge has been cut back to try and gain some control over it, only to discover that the rocks and mixed flora now visible are a new, but fleeting, joy. Pehaps you should plan two trips, the first to see the rocks through the cut back, but handsome, mix of  errant ferns, barbary, goldenrod, and even a rogue maple tree or two, and the second to see, as the landscaper assures me will happen, the rogsa rugsa takeover and reign virtually — or visually — alone.  I heard that Maine wants to declare the rosa rugosa an invasive species.  Oh, no!

And summer person, Ellen, just sent a picture from her neighbor across 131 of Sunday’s snow falling heavily on Tenants Harbor to add to Scott’s mother’s report of 4″-8″ of bush flattening wet snow and power outrages which may last the week.  Here’s to hardy, if short, new blueberry bushes and supple, newly-planted trees designed to entertain the 50 mph wind gusts threatened for today.

Sometimes transitions get easier.


September 2nd, 2014

We’ve had the annual “Tenants Harbor Porch Event” with whatever tasties the Produce Lady has on hand, which this year were cherry tomatoes, pickling-cucumber slices with cracked pepper, skunk (white cheddar) cheese, tuna salad, herb popcorn, and brownies.  Charlie found excellent crackers which were expensive at the Good Tern coop but cheaper and virtually the same at Hannaford’s, and we featured the RB house wine which is usually white, dry, and crowd-sourced (think of last year’s “chicken wine”), but this year was beta tested with the NC crowd and, based on quantity consumed, was apparently acceptable, but not outstanding. I liked it, but I mostly like wine so dry, it is almost tasteless.  (When I remember what kind it was, I’ll let you know.  The label had a shade tree.) The kayak swampings and subsequent drinks of diet ginger ale may have distorted the quantity-drunk indicator, but such are the ways of lab-less research.


No lobster, but yum tasties in the very bowl and thoughts of what if...

We’ve had a potluck wine event — “We’ve got a bottle of wine and can be there at six.”  “I have excellent crackers and a new brick driveway path and will meet you on the porch.”   We’ve distributed the end-of-season perishable leftovers, and had the until-next-summer visits with friends who walk by.  Family and Minneapolis friends and fellow summer-people and  have come and gone, and Charlie is here to winterfit the house and me.   In theory, we’ve closed Roseledge Books — that is, we took down the OPEN signs –  but those Regulars who know we’re still here, come in anyhow, which is good.  And the webcam will be  on until morning.


When longing tugs and summer is next year, a picture speaks many words.

I’m trying to look at everything one last time, but today that means fog, big-time, thick fog.  It rolls in and out and always blocks the boats, but it can’t hide the smell of the sea. (A quick webcam check will confirm the fog.)  It’s not cold and so, far no bugs, so tonight we’ll have Tenants Harbor General Store pizza on the porch with the rest of the open wine and diet ginger ale.  The summer has been cool, but mostly sunny and dry.  Roseledge Books saw more Regulars and sold more books than last summer, which is GREAT!  Thank you very much.  Now I can start to curate my collection of choice books (or book choices) for you all to critique — yes, and sometimes buy — next year.  It makes cold winter in Minnesota pass more quickly.

Tomorrow night I will sleep in Minneapolis, choose my withdrawal reads with care, and let you know if they rate coveted RB shelf space next. summer.  Sigh.


August 24th, 2014

Yesterday,the brother 0f a big wind survivor told of how frightened she was, though the tornado left her untouched as it tore through her woods.  Good grief! This is the third person I know who has weathered natural turbulence this year, never without after effects.  What to do to re-establish equilibrium?  Some turn to Yoga; others do not.


Calming, but never clamming. Many rocks atop the mud at low tide.

Firmly believing that a good book makes any problem more tolerable, if not solvable, RB suggests the following:



A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr

Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

I’m currently checking out Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventures in Alaska by Rockwell Kent, as  noted by Jamie Wyeth.  (See last blog post.



The Meadow by Thomas Galvin

Native Trees of Canada by Leanne  Shapton

The Tree by John Fowles

The Outermost House by Henry Beston

Maybe Rockwell Kent’s Wilderness goes here.

The Good Rain by Timothy Egan is a possible.



The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison

The Innocent Anthropologist:Notes from a Mud Hut by Nigel Barley

Maybe Kate Braestrup’s Here If You Need Me should be here.


LEARNING:  Topics may vary, but learning more to understand the topic and to mellow unreasonableness does not.

From a keyword-in-title search of NEW BOOKS in the public library 43 years ago, I found Kinds of Love by May Sarton and Ways of Loving by Brendan Gill to be useful.

From a no-nonsense browse of a giant B. Dalton bookstore in snowy January 37 years ago, I found Selected Essays of Teilhard de Jardin, especially “Zest for Living.”


A little nap on the lighthouse lawn to dream of the far away. M-m-m-m.

TO BE CONTINUED, probably forever.  Other suggestions, anyone?


Lots of sun, little breeze, and RB’s most regular Regulars are here.  All’s right with the world.








August 15th, 2014

She came to RB to get another Maggie Hope by Susan MacNeal, RB’s new series success of the summer, and stayed to talk about other books she might like.   When the yacht club was in the harbor several weeks ago, we had established that we both liked Daniel Silva (spy, with adventures “practically taken from the newspapers’ front pages”) “Foyle’s War” and “Bletchley Girls” (hence, Susan MacNeal’s series), WW II, women spies or adventurers, and, she added, “the  Downtown Abbey sort of thing.”  So she found the next Maggie Hope adventure,  I started thinking aloud and she began looking.  She ruled out Phoebe Atwood Taylor’s Asey Mayo mysteries set on Cape Cod during WWII.  Talk of Germans near our eastern coast and the explosion at Halifax with Oppenheimer’s consequent visit suggested, but she ruled out, Samuel Eliot Morison‘s multi-volume, multi-editioned U.S. Naval History, Robert MacNeil’s Burden of Desire, and Denise Kiernan’s The Women of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win WWII.


The fog at dusk and half-tide must surely mean the spies are coming in.

RB was out of Alan Furst, but his spies are rarely — if ever — women, and Charles Cummings’ Trinity Six was also male spies.  I forgot Robert Galbraith, but “his” (J.K. Rowling by another name) spy is also a man.  I suggested Gertrude Bell in the Middle East  (Desert Queen by Janet Wallach), though she was there during during and after WWI.  I forgot Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs (Thank you, Kathy), but Chris Pavone’s Ex-Pats proved a subtle winner.  If I had remembered and had it in stock, I would have suggested  the Jack Reacher book in which he learns that his mother was a fighter in the French Resistance, then throws his silver star (maybe?) atop her coffin, as shovels-full of dirt fell.

The upstairs-downstairs books didn’t come to mind immediately, but when they did, bells rang.  She had already read and liked Daisy Goodwin’s American Heiress which was good because RB has to wait for next year’s paperback.  Edmund deWaal’s Hare with Amber Eyes was a winner with its  five generations of his family (the Ephrussis, “as rich and respected as Rothschilds”) , as long as there were no dreadful war atrocities detailed.  Rhys Bowen and his Royal Spyness series has since come to light, and RB will have it next summer.  But the big bell-ringer was Thornton Wilder’s Theophilus North (Thank you, Dana), 40years later, still the best place-based (Newport, RI) novel I know.       (Too any “I’s”; I hate that.)

This RBRegular left with four great reads, one more day of sailing before the weather goes amok, and a promise to be back next year to browse, perchance to dream, but always to continue life’s search for the next best read.

To the rest of you:  Note how useful suggestions were.  Hint.  HINT.

Mentioned :                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chris Pavone’s Ex Pats
Thornton Wilder’s Theophilus North
Daisy Goodwin’s American Heiress
Alan Furst                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs)
Phoebe Atwood Taylor (Asey Mayo)
Rhys Bowen (Royal Spyness)
Edmund DeWaal’s Hare With Amber Eyes
Janet Wallach’s Desert Queen (Gertrude Bell)
Charles Cummings’ Trinity Six
Robert MacNeil’s Burden of Desire
Daniel Silva (Gabriel Allon)
Susan MacNeal (Maggie Hope)


The rocky shore, the daytime sun and night time light surely work to keep the bad guys at bay.

Fourth tent event of the season on the East Wind Inn lawn.  No tent floor, so probably not a dance, but maybe music.  Maybe cars looking for parking will break the old record of 12 cars in a row driving into the RB driveway and raising hopes, only to  turn around and go back down Sea Street to find a parking place nearer the corner.  But a giant four-tent event is set to happen on the Cod End dock.  Has there been a sale?  A big crane on a barge did the heavy lifting, and that was a little exciting.  Commercial Street friends are readying a blocking effort to keep their driveway useable.  I have not been asked to be part of a human shield, but I’m ready.

Scott reports that only taller people (5’10″ +?) can even pretend to sit casually on the rock wall near the bush that is eating Sea Street, and once seated, your feet may dangle.  Clearly RB has an all-bum wall.


August 8th, 2014

Sea Street is mostly shady until ten o’clock in the morning.  After that, not so much.  The hill gets longer and surely steeper, and the post office and General Store no longer call as loudly.  Locals know this and walk early; visiting runners and bikers learn quickly and walk when winded.  But what of those who walk to enjoy and maybe live longer and who just need to rest a bit?  Clearly Tenants Harbor needs a bench, but it has always needed a bench and it hasn’t happened these past thirty years.  Well guess what? Walkers are starting to use RB’s new rock wall as a place to sit a bit in the midst of their Sea Street hill climb and to watch the comings and goings of the boats of Tenants Harbor.  However unintentionally, Roseledge Books is saving the day!


Sit a bit, watch the harbor, greet others on the way to Roseledge Books.

So RB asked RBFriends to sit upon the wall, see and be seen, and report. And it is very good news.  You will all be excited to know that the wall is bum-high, flat, and comfy, well, rock-comfy, if you are from 5’3″ to 5’6″ and choose to sit on different spots on the slope. For those of you who are taller, you can be “the thinker” with your chin on your knees and show how flexible you are or you can stretch out your legs. So far the wild roses have not taken over the verge, so ankle-prickles are unlikely. Then, when stiffness threatens, you can stretch your legs up the walk to RB and consider book treasures.  Full disclosure: Taller people were leaning against the higher rock wall next door, but that wall, though beautiful (See picture below.), does not have a sit-able top.


It's beautiful, but can you sit comfortably on top of it? No.

And today’s harbor was so worth watching.  Four double-canoes were  following the shoreline,  a very well-balanced person was straddling and paddling a water board, the five littlest sailboats were zig-zagging through a lesson, and the harbor master’s boat was apparently making it’s rounds.  The lobster boats were all out and the sailboats had not started to come in yet.  I watched complacently under the shelter of RB’s new blue umbrella, replacement for the jazzier striped model which was blown in half by Arthur.


I thoroughly enjoyed the “old friends” in Elly Griffiths’ latest Ruth Galloway mystery, A Dying Fall.  Cathbad, godfather to 18-month-old Kate and the baby-sitter every child should have, has taught her to answer the phone and say “Peace,” which she transforms into “Piss.”  Another old-bone mystery and campus murder bring Nelson and Ruth and all their baggage together again, which is good, but it takes her away from her front yard that is “not quite land, not quite sea” which is not.  Revisiting old friends may be the best reason to find a series to love.

On the strength of liking old friends Claire and Jamie Fraser in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, I tried her recommendation of one in Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series, The Fabric of Sin.  Merrily Watkins is  a  Church of England  deliverance consultant, that is, an exorcist, for the Diocese of Hereford which borders Wales.  Knights Templar, Welsh nationalism, Prince (Charles) of Wales all come into play because the Prince’s property purchase stirs worries.  Very contemporary, well-researched, lots of politics, great dialogue and likeable characters.  I like Julia Spencer-Fleming better, probably because I am not an Anglophile (“Of course not; you’re Irish,” a friend snarked.), but I’ll read another of his.  I hope Diana Gabaldon’s latest, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood, is out in paperback by next summer and Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Through the Evil Days, too.

My favorite of the summer is author Peter Temple, but I’ve already read the four Jack Irish mysteries that he’s going to write.  Fortunately, his equally Australian,  edgy, dialogue-rich out-of-series, Truth, was maybe even better.  And I have The Distant Shore, Shooting Star, and Iron Rose waiting.


The rock wall's sit-a-bit-view of the harbor makes any walk worthwhile.

Tonight I’ll start Dara Horn’s Guide For the Perplexed.  The blurb began:  “Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented an application that records everything its users do. When an Egyptian library invites her to visit as a consultant…”  and I was sold.  I’ll keep you posted.  Book Report: It’s a day and 52 pages later and I’m not going to read more.  Too little philosophy, especially about technology and memory, which was very interesting and recalled fears of story tellers when written records emerged, and too much dysfunctional family.  I do not understand the attraction of dysfunctional families ever, but especially during summer vacation.  And I know a bit about the Cairo Genizah, so the book held too little anticipation.

So tonight I’ll start Graeme Simison’s The  Rosie Project, which is about a socially inept genetics professor’s plan to find a wife and  by all accounts “a rom-com with heart and humor.”  I am so ready to  laugh-out- loud.


Lots of walkers-by enjoying the newly painted front of the garage.  After ten years, I finally recognized that the shingles with peeling red paint and no primer were never going to become part of a handsome, dappled look.  So Scott scraped, which took five minutes, and painted the part of the front that is not the door and then freshened the lemon-haze edge of the roof (the outer eave?).  “It’s becoming a Tenants Harbor attraction,” he gloats.  It DOES look good.

Good grief!  Another bird just dive-bombed the blueberry bush, immediately outside the window.  (See webcam.)  Fortunately, this one did not hit the window and knock itself out.  But no time to say good-bye; I need to pick the lot.  Wish you were on your way.







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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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?




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.


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.  


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.


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.)


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.


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.