June 24th, 2017


I’ll see you on the Roseledge front porch after July 15, barring a Russian-provoked Delta computer glitch or a short-people travel ban. I’ll have the good coffee ready — Dark Star beans from Rock City Roasters — if Scott clears the mouse nest from the very excellent drip coffee maker.

Hope — plus profound stubbornness, very good friends and a ton of arrangements — works.

I can hardly wait.


June 12th, 2017

No Tenants Harbor arrival date set yet, but I remain hopeful.  I asked Scott Hodgkins to post a HELP WANTED notice on the bulletin boards in both the Town Office and the Post Office. Scott tonied it up a bit, but I think it mostly reads:

Usually good-natured person in a wheelchair needs about an hour of home help two times a day at about noon and 5 o’clock this summer from July 15 – August 15. The pay is $20.00 per hour for a total of $1120.00. I know coming to Roseledge cottage on Sea Street twice a day is inconvenient, so how about finding several friends to divvy up the days or times? Or interested students visiting or on vacation? Or stay-at-home moms? Or part-timers going to or from another job? Or a group of goodhearts who need a project with the roughly $1,000.00 going toward a worthy cause?

If four weeks is too long, how many days can you do?

interested persons can call me, Colleen Coghlan, in Minneapolis, MN at 612-331-7643 or Scott who lives nearby at 207-577-6017.

And therein lies the problem: I am wheelchair bound and need more help than I did two summers ago.  These arrangements are hard to make long distance but Scott and Brian are godsends.  And please don’t worry; my body misbehaves, but my tongue? Never!

Please keep me in mind when next you wonder how you can best use your summertime near the sea.  And  when Scott cleans the mouse-doo from the coffeemaker, I can almost promise a cup of Darkstar blend with blueberries from the bushes, if you will pick them.

Fingers crossed.


January 30th, 2017

Rosleedge Books’ world looks promising.
Trumpdom’s not so much.
Worry, worry.

Think of rebutting things,
uplifting things,
Things that go “YES!” in the night.

I can’t decide if, to a reader, living and reading are an interaction, symbiosis, or mind-meld, but I do know they mix and matter as surely as any other substance we ingest to stay alive. I saw some of what I mean in Jim Webb’s memoir, I Heard My Country Calling, and I hoped — and still hope — that I might find it in Peter Orner’s Am I Alone Here? Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live,which one reviewer described as neither literary criticism nor a memoir. So far, and I am only on Chapter 2, the book is wanting. It is organized by key books rather than key events. Life follows, it does not lead.  I understand that books can and do matter after reading, but the joy is the promise that a book might matter when choosing it. The good news is that it usually does. For me, reading isn’t a hobby; it’s a way of life, and I was looking for a think-aliker who so far isn’t there. AARRGGHH.

But then I read the transcript of (NYTimes Book Reviewer) Michiko Kakutani’s interview with President Obama and I knew, thank heavens, that real readers do still exist. He talks of books he put on Malia’s Kindle, books from which he gained perspective, understanding (Iowans, among others), and a sense of identity, sci-fi and thriller books that offered, as books always do to real readers, escape plus the unexpected.


And though President Obama didn’t mention what I’m sure is his affection for and use of libraries when choosing his books, I wasn’t — and am not — wrong to believe that people of mind with questions (the real readers) thrive in libraries, all kinds of libraries for’ all kinds of information at any time the need to know more strikes. My latest best example of this meta-user living the library life is Ada Calhoun, a New Yorker who “cherishes each library experience.” Enjoy her adventures being shushed out of NYPL while co-looking up with Tim Gunn things about denim,, or managing at the library with a “kids only” bathroom, or enjoying most the Mid-Manhattan Branch where falling asleep is not an option. She is a library user, a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a person of mind, able to shred fake news or alternate facts with a single thought. She is Trump’s worst nightmare, and I will work to make sure, she is one among legions.

I can breathe again.

The new day is better — filled with protests and people reading 1984.

It’s time to plan.


July 20th, 2016

High Summer 2016 is there which is a very good thing and Roseledge Books is hopping — okay, on Thursdays. Scott called yesterday to say that four people — almost a crowd — were there at once taking full advantage of the first-time ever summer sale, to wit:

The Roseledge Books Big Markdown.

Mass market fiction — $1.00 each.
Trade fiction — $2.00 each.
Non-fiction — most are $5.00 each,  

 except art or art-ish books — still full price.

Just think about the deals with the series RB was building. With Cara Black in hand, you’ll be one with the neighborhoods of Paris — and safe while reading — for only 2.00 each. And Diana Gabaldon’s Claire and Jamie Frasier saga is yours for just 1.00 or 2.00 per book, each of which is a behemoth at nearly 1,000 pages each. Cheaper than a STARZ subscription for sure. Catch up on Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Claire and Russ, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Peter Temple’s Jack Irish, C.J, Box’s Joe Pickett family (“They could be Mainers,” one Mainer extolled.”) and the list could go on, were my memory better and I knew what Scott had sold.

No book has no there – there.  Think about it.  Read books, vote, and save the world. 

Had the books sold at full-price, last Thursday might have been almost the biggest day ever, except for the days when the North Carolina Regulars come and keep Roseledge Books alive for another year, and they will be there soon. I will sit here by the fan and be one with the remains of the glorious Roseledge-evoking flowers they sent me to celebrate first steps and the promise of next year — among other things — and I don’t know how to comment on facebook to thank them. So this is a major thank you through a flower-mind meld, if all goes well.  Charlie is coming next week to show me how to comment and how to play Pokemon Go, among other duties HE might find more pressing.  One doesn’t want to be totally out of it, and I already have trouble with NYTimes crossword clues related to Harry Potter and #1 album of any year.


Know that I’m working on being there next year and the signs are aligning.

I walked 11 ft. 6 in. with harness and hemi-walker and much awkwardness. Oh to have a permanent, invisible harness holding me up. Standing, pivoting and transferring is very necessary and going to require much exercise of the apparently nearly dormant abs and glutes, but I have hope, will and a miracle named Becky, which sum to a real possibility that I will be in Tenants Harbor next summer!

And I haven’t forgotten my bookseller duty to find the aptest books for the legions of readers who will keep the world free of, ot at least safe from, Trumpty -Dumpty. Just when I most needed an apt book, Marilyn Stasio (NYTBR) reviewed John Farrow’s The Storm Murders which takes place on an island off the Atlantic Coast. I was homesick enough for TH to order it with a click of my dreaded Kindle, and glory be, I found a must-have for Roseledge Books! It is set on Grand Manan, technically part of New Brunswick but “closer” to Lubec, ME, and described as looking like a Wyeth painting (At 25%, as Kindle has no pages. Drat.) The story has detailed island trails and local knowledge, summer people trying to learn and natives who might or might not help. Could be Tenants Harbor with great trails (Go to Town Office for maps.) Wyeths all around, literally, and lots of nifty natives and summer people.

Signs are aligning.  Books are worth mining.  All will be good — if you VOTE.

Mostly, I am a summer stranger in Minnesota, trying to survive 90-90 days (my aunt Darleen’s term for days with 90 degrees heat and 90 percent humidity), and wishing I were there on the porch as the 4 o’clock breeze comes up from the harbor.

Don’t forget the book sale.  Christmas, summer school graduation, beach days, birthdays, and, most recently, rehab reads for my friends whose bodies keep breaking — every event has a reading purpose and a reason to visit Roseledge Books.


June 6th, 2016

Quite exciting news, but only the beginning, I know.

With the help of a harness, I took my first steps since December 2, 2014! Okay, I only took four steps and maybe I did do better going backwards, but a step is a step for all that. Here’s to standing and pivoting and– crossed fingers — being in Maine in 2017!

This is a little exciting, okay, it is a lot exciting.  I just have to learn how to get my core to engage when told or willed.  The right hip is especially recalcitrant.  I tell Becky, the ultimate PT,  that if she’s got the way, I’ve got the will.

But there is still a long, harbor-less summer to weather. In the spirit of thus weathering, I watch SHETLAND. The PBS series based on Ann Cleeves’ mysteries, which I once started to read, but found too wordy. And I love it, especially the setting in the Shetland Islands and the photography, until it is all too much like Maine. Then I fall asleep, and when I wake, all is better. This was my mother’s remedy with the first sunburn of the season in my lifeguarding days.  It worked then, and it is working so far now. The PBS series makes me think I should give Ann Cleeves’ books another try.  With books, you can just stop reading if the longing is too much.  And then there is VERA, another PBS series based on Ann Cleeves’ mysteries set in Northumberland, which has a satisfying amount of water.  Dana said Vera was the dowdiest detective ever and she looked just like me.  Harsh, I thought.  Frumpy, mabe.  Frumpy is okay.

To further offset lonesomeness, I also ordered Maine poet Christian Barter’s latest book, In Someone Else’s House, for his use of Maine details to make the larger point. I like Billy Collins for the same stylistic reason, and they both have hope and good-nature.  I just don’t do angst or despair.  And just to be clear, I was not, absolutely not, influenced by his last name being Barter, as in Barter’s Point Road which continues Sea Street three houses up the hill from Roseledge. Surely a connection might lurk therein, though.


The pictures will come, I promise you that.  I just don’t know how or when.


Meanwhile, a little outrage is always good for the soul.

You may recall that I am convinced — irrationally, my b-i-l might argue — that the Irish were “here” before the Vikings.  Well, another bit of exciting news is that some  potentially relevant evidence to support my position has almost come to light.

Sarah Parcak, using new, satellite-based search techniques for which she received a MacArthur genius award. has found an old, “probably Viking,” ship buried beneath the growth and detritus of ages, off the coast of Newfoundland. Why “probably Viking” without considering “maybe Irish?” I ask.

From “Archeologists do not have much to go on when attempting to prove that a settlement was made by Norsemen, rather than Basque fisherman or Native Americans—the one true hallmark of Norse travelers was the use of iron nails to build their boats, thus the discovery of an iron-smelting oven would be strong evidence of Viking activity.”

From nytimes: “There’s no lock that it’s Norse, but there’s no alternative evidence,” said Douglas Bolender.                             

From bbc:  “Newfoundland historian Olaf Janzen was certain, no other groups of settlers roasted bog iron in Newfoundland.”

Bog iron aside, how about acknowledging that the Irish were also sailors and living in Iceland before the Vikings? Maybe they were even second hand users of bog iron.  Maybe they were hermits being crowded out by the Vikings.  The possibilities are many.

“The recorded history of Iceland began with the settlement by Viking explorers and their slaves from the east, particularly Norway and the British Isles, in the late 9th century. Iceland was still uninhabited long after the rest of western Europe had been settled. Recorded settlement has conventionally been dated back to 874 AD, although archaeological evidence indicates Gaelic monks had settled Iceland before that date.”

Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s mystery, Last Rituals, and Millie’s Guide Book mention the monks, too.  She, Dana and Nancy are going to be there for 48 hours, so I told them to read up and keep their “prepared” eyes ready.

Still I continue to look for evidence of the Irish contribution. Thus I am currently reading Nancy Marie Brown’s Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the World’s Most Famous Chessmen and the Woman Who Made Them, and though chess, the sagas, and a Norse perspective dominate, I am confident that Margaret the Adroit, the woman of the title, will, to the discerning eye, turn out to be Irish. But that is for a latter day rant.


Oh what a tangled web was woven early on by those a-rovin’.


Scott reports a quiet Memorial Day on Sea Street, no bustle of classic cars housed down the road getting ready for the parade or walkers from summer cottages meandering by with a pause to check out the harbor. He and Brian were on the porch, ostensibly planting grape tomato plants after mowing the jungle -lawn, but really just vegging out in case you all came by. It’s early days yet, I know.  And the sign at the corner remains R-less.

Back at the pt gym with unwilling abs, I (gasp) am (gasp) thinking of TH (gasp) and you all (gasp) and 2017 (gasp) and all is right with the world. (big gasp and flop on mat)  


May 3rd, 2016

Well, Maine is a no-go this summer. I haven’t given up on my legs, though others may have, so I have started a new round of physical therapy with someone who seems creative and good and who has not ruled out ME in ’17. Keep your fingers crossed. And get ready for tornado-strength blasts of ESP when you are anywhere near Roseledge. One never wants to be completely out of the picture.

Goodheart Scott is going to keep Roseledge fit and has promised to people the front porch on occasion, mostly Tuesdays for Sea Street and Barters Point renters and others who come on Saturday, settle in on Sunday, visit favorite spots on Monday, and get ready to walk and read and re-become one with Tenants Harbor on Tuesday. Other times are at his discretion, but pre-pub sittings on Fridays are known to have occurred.

He will keep the wildflowers — okay, dandelions and creeping Charlie which some might wrongly call weeds — and growing grass at bay and fix the sign on the tree at the corner. ROSELEDGE BOOKS has lost its R and is now OSELEDGE BOOKS which is only fun with an explaining person at hand. So Scott has agreed — grudgingly, I thought — that he will not turn OSELEDGE into NOSELEDGE or, worse, O’SELEDGE which is so-o-o not Irish or funny.  Okay, it’s a little funny.

See the harbor, the sun’s glare, the perched gull, the un-inserted photo.

Know that many, maybe most, of the books will be marked way down, even as I read to choose new titles for the summer of ‘17. I’ve just started and am loving Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl. Fortunately, her current lab is at the U of Hawaii which is clearly one with water, sort of, and so will be a must for ROSELEDGE BOOKS next summer. Another probable is Catriona McPherson’s Quiet Neighbors, set in winter in a Scottish bookstore town with Lowell’s Bookshop filled with secrets and tales to tell or sell, all of which sum to a good read on a hot summer day from ROSELEDGE BOOKS whose next door neighbors across the road and down the hill are, yes, the Lowells!

I hope the physical therapist’s leg and stomach exercises are filled with enough hurt to out-ache a breaking heart.  Maybe she could make paper books readable again. Out, out damn Kindle.  But that is a rant for another post.

I remain optimistic.


February 7th, 2016

The browsers of the world have apparently — and however inadvertently — united and forced Amazon into the bricks and mortar bookstore business! Clearly, Amazon’s online search and presentation algorithms never captured what it is browsers are doing when they look up, down and all-around physical shelves and find an unexpected treasure in a most unlikely place.


Now Amazon has to put together an appealing array of worthy books, placed and presented to intrigue the person who puts things together differently.This is very tricky business.  Think, for instance, about Steven Johnson, who browsed, developed ideas, then wrote the unusually sourced book,The Ghost Map, or ElmoreLeonard’s researcher,  Gregg Sutter, who found, among other useful sources, picture books of Havana that helped with Cuba Libre.

Cathleen Schine’s novel, The Love Letter, is the only novel which addressed knowingly, if briefly, the arrangement of books in a bookstore.  As I recall, MILITARY HISTORY was shelved next to POETRY.

It is hard enough to work back to what an author might have browsed through, but it is even harder to capture a browser’s as-yet-unread pile of chosen books.  (I wish I had photographs of the summer book piles chosen by the Roseledge Book Regulars from North Carolina.)  Many thanks, then, to Mary Karr, who, in a NYTBR interview, let us “see” hers.

“Oh, it’s a wobbly and eccentric pile. A masterful new comic novel by Annie Liontas, “Let Me Explain You,” and a gorgeous epistolary work by Mary-Louise Parker, “Dear Mr. You.” Larissa MacFarquhar’s fascinating “Strangers Drowning,” about saintly types. Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Beautiful Struggle”  and St. Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castle. Brooks Haxton’s chronicle of his poker-genius son, “Fading Hearts on the River” — he’s one of my favorite poets, along with Terrance Hayes (“H,ow to Be Drawn”) and Dean Young (“Bender”). Dana Spiotta’s genius “Innocents and Others,” Claudia Rankine’s necessary “Citizen” Ed Frenkel’s “Love and Math,” David Berlinski’s “The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions”; also Lena Dunham’s hilarious and moving “Not That Kind of Girl.” “The Abbey,” by James Martin, S.J. Plus Phil Jackson’s inspiring “Sacred Hoops” got reread for the manuscript on memoir I just turned in. (Hope our Knicks read it!) I’m finding “Go Set a Watchman” way more dangerous than “Mockingbird” for rendering racism from inside an allegedly educated white household — seems truer to the Jim Crow South than the later book’s rose-colored tale of liberal white nobility.”

Holy cow! What a great array of knowns and unknowns! Wouldn’t it be fun to see what nine other books she looked at for each one she chose? (References: The 10 to one figure comes from some old U of Chicago Library research and I have a dimmer memory of someone trying, similarly, to quantify “looked at” vs. “saved” Internet sites, but the study or the studier got bogged down.) All together, this sounds like a tiny starter collection for a very interesting bookstore. Roseledge Books comes to mind.

Hurry up summer.


January 15th, 2016

C. J. Box had me at the first bike ride through North Dakota’s icy, rutted, snow-covered fields at dawn. And at the cold, the really, really cold. And with the kid on his bike in the cold, witnessing a car roll over. My ND childhood kicked in as I loved my way through C. J. Box’s new mystery, Badlands, though it is set in western ND and I am an easterner. He writes sparely and fairly about the oil boom and about the big-sky country with wind which are so like his and Joe Pickett’s Wyoming. The unexpected tug came as I relived good times long past and the spot-on decisions of the ten-year-old. It lingers still. Is that reason enough for me to recommend Badlands? Kathy with the broken ankle, torn ligaments, dislocated shin bone and hugely unexpected immobility — “I stepped on, instead of over, the pipe” — is test-reading Badlands to see what she thinks. She was raised partly in South Dakota, so hers may be a less-than-pure reaction.

I have the same recommendation problem with Leann Shapton’s Swimming Studies. She was a really good, much-trained swimmer, thinking about the Olympics, and I swam every day of every summer from first grade through college with stints as lifeguard, instructor, and enthusiast until 2005 when I could no longer get in and out of the pool by myself. I loved her memoir for the swimmer tales, yes, but I loved as much her art: swimming suits and swimming places with notes, underwater portraits of her teammates, and the colors of Switzerland. Her art I knew and liked from her earlier book, Native Trees of Canada — which Roseledge Books carries — and I pay some attention to the comments of NYT book critic, Dwight Garner, who liked Swimming Studies a lot. But is a book that stays with you for particular reasons right for a general recommendation? This will become a real quandary only if Swimming Studies is issued in paperback and Roseledge Books has to decide whether or not to buy it.

All of this fretting masks the real worry about my getting to Maine next summer and stocking Roseledge Books in time to convince some one — or ones — of you that a strange, if good, book might be the unexpectedly right choice .

I will be in Tenants Harbor next summer — I hope, I hope — but I will need Charlie with me and that will be tricky. I’m not walking and may not walk again. My knees buckle for reasons no one knows. I’m in a power wheelchair and Charlie adapted a standing frame on wheels to get me from one chair to another, but I can’t do it by myself. I trust December’s pulmonary embolism will be the last of my body’s surprises. My blood pressure stays good and Charlie stands ready.

And so does Roseledge. The electricity works, the roof is patched, the new tree is staked, and Scott, who is a dear, visits his mom in Wiley’s Corner and drives by to keep the yard clear of errant candy wrappers. All that is missing is friends on the porch, arguing about books with a glass of wine at hand and the harbor eagle flying overhead. Here’s hoping….


November 26th, 2015

Thanks for Thanksgiving, I say.

Thanks for Ellen Goodman, who once wrote — as I recall — that Thanksgiving was the best holiday: good food, no gifts, and family together — for about four hours. Surely there is research to support the family’s being able to hold it together for four hours. If not, widespread tradition surely attests to its truth. Thanks for family in all its forms and forums.

But what to do if the political gasbag or food Nazi gets going at the gathering?

Thanks for Roseledge Books, the mother of all problem-solvers, with tips.

Tip #1. When the gasbagger/Nazi pauses for air, jump in with a tangential topic, e.g. whatever book — especially with a RB tie — you are currently reading, and start a second conversation with links, however circuitous, to the diatriber. All the reasonable people will love you and you will have exercised your creative-reader powers.  Divide and conquer….something.

Thanks for RB Readers who have creative-reader powers.

Tip #2. If the family monologuer even thinks about asking a question, jump in and question his or her sources. RB guarantees this will be good for a million diversions.

Maybe start with “That’s interesting,” which my mother taught me to say in the face of nonsense, mystery meat, or a baby who looked like Winston Churchill or a radish, followed by “Why do you think so?” Wait out the bluster, then exercise your creative-reader powers and figure out how to find fault with whatever sources come up.

With his best R and D person look, my b-i-l asked if I found my theory about the Irish being here before the Vikings in a book or if I made it up. Some of each, I said, though I hesitated to say the first inkling might have come from a Sister Fidelma murder mystery which, I might add, is set in 7th Century Ireland when Brendan the Sailor probably sailed and written by Peter Tremayne, who, under his real name, is a respected historian of these times and matters Celtic. RB should definitely have Sister Fidelma mysteries.

Thanks for my brother-in-law.

Thanks for Roseledge Book Regulars who already know how to creatively use and fault book sources as you have, for years, linked any book you read and liked to RB, Tenants Harbor, or your Maine, especially if you wanted RB to carry it.  Thanks for Scott who is special master of fewest steps linkage.

And you have browsed, even wallowed, among the best search books RB finds currently available, some of which are The Road to Ubar by Nicholas Clapp, The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, The Great Hedge of India by Roy Moxham, and King of the Confessors by Thomas Hoving, though maybe The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal and Believing Is Seeing by Errol Morris should also be on the list. What is a search book, after all, but a book that uses sources and strategy to get from beginning to end and, in so doing, reminds us that outcomes depend on sources? Any suggestions?

RB believes search books are the best self-help books ever. Thanks for search books.

Thanks for winter coming. Last summer fades and next summer becomes possible, I hope.

Biggest thanks for Charlie who is never without options, though I do present a challenge. Well, many challenges, We WILL be in Maine next summer, come hell or highwater or more really weird surprises.

No thanks for my willful and capricious computer. I am still typing with the dead end of a pen. Millie suggested I try her stylus which she is bringing over. Thanks for Millie.


November 18th, 2015

I have always known the Irish beat the Vikings to North America, but convincing the doubters has been tricky.

My most reputable evidence is that Tim Severin had a replica of a Medieval leather boat built and sailed it across the stormy Atlantic to Iceland. He wrote about the adventure in The Brendan Voyage — which Roseledge Books carries — naming Brendan, a 6th Century monk, as sailor. Still today, St. Brendan the Sailor lives on in lore.  My b-i-l, an R and D kind of guy, pointed out that this only demonstrated that he could do it, not that he did do it.  Pshaw, I say, undeterred.

Then today, reading the NYT Travel section online, I joined Dean Nelson on a Literary Tour of Iceland and learned that Icelanders trace their storytelling prowess back to “the 1,000 year-old Icelandic sagas  that touch on the nation’s Norwegian and Irish roots and the mythic tales of elves and trolls.”  Did you catch that casual reference to the early Irish, which casualness just makes it an even more exciting bit of reputable evidence?

Okay, he listed the Norwegians first, a bit distressing, but a likely reversible lapse.  But then he named only elves and trolls, which seemed a more substantive problem, as neither is Irish.  Doldrums, alert.  It took a bit of rummaging, but I found out on the Internet that “a leprechaun is a sort of Irish troll, in the same way that a troll is a sort of Scandawegian leprechaun.”  Whew!

Maybe I can talk my b-i-l, a veteran Road Scholar, into a trip to Iceland to check this out.  He’s already been to Newfoundland and checked out the remains of a Viking settlement.  He noted, with some glee, that no one mentioned the Irish.  Clearly, another good reason to go to Iceland.

And I’ll get going on the Sagas, which Roseledge Books also will carry, as available translated and in paperback.


You may want pictures, probably no more than I.  Help me out, Santa?