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.


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.


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.



June 10th, 2014


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.



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


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.


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



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


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.


March 4th, 2014

Wary is the word of the day.  Front and center but below the bend of pages A1 and B1 in the paper NYT were two warnings to the naive reader, if such still exists.

First wary warning is John Lefevre’s Straight to Hell:  True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking a book-to-be based on his purported employment at Goldman Sachs and the tweets he sent from the elevator there then.  Neither happened, but he writes well says the publisher, who still intends to publish the book.


What is this? Snow from/afar? Rocks up close? Vari/gated yarn waiting?

Second wary warning is a National Enquirer article (“the first pebble of an [Internet] landslide of malignant fiction”)about Philip Seymour Hoffman based on an interview with his friend, David Katz, who had neither been interviewed nor ever talked to anyone at the paper.  Within hours, Mr. Katz filed a libel suit, and shortly thereafter received an apology, a retraction, and a full-page ad of explanation in the NYT — none of which stopped the continuing “web” of lies.


But getting rid of something wrong on the Internet is not easy.  Granted that by definition the Wikipedia demonstrates that truth is a work-in-progress, it also demonstrates that errors are difficult to correct and the incorrections may remain  and take on a life of their own as part of that work-in-progress.

Getting  an entry (a page?) into Wikipedia isn’t always easy either.  In the almost-news of the NYT Syle Section last week. Judith Neuman wrote a very funny column about trying to become an entry in Wikipedia. This is a great how-to for those whose Facebook time and spread are too little and who wonder if the ninth runner-up to something can be in Wikipedia, why not I?


Is this Wikipe/dia-worthy? Is it re/al? Does it matter?


So what’s a curious person to do?  Well, for starters, always wonder what’s not being said and why. For instance, read two books about the same person and compare.  If Theodore  Roosevelt is your current person of interest, Roseledge Books will be ready with Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire hat Saved America, Theodore Roosevelt’s The Rough Riders, Edmund Morris’ The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, etc.  This is a variation on the journalist’s always finding two sources or the researcher’s citing dissenters, too.  Dream on, I suppose.

My brother-in-law reads both WSJ and NYT which makes him fun to argue with, even if he’s often wrong.  Charlie is the best (usually online)  follow-up or follow-through reader I know, which is good because I am not.  This may be a definition of teamwork or maybe family.


After a lifetime of wariness — thank you, dad — I mostly read anything always remembering that  no source, “webbed” or not, is ever 1) neutral or 2) original (but it may be primary), 3) dead or 4) enough. And Wikipedia is worth rules of its own.  Beyond that, play to your audience.  (For those not sufficiently wary, Farhad Manjoo’s True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society is useful.)

Brutally cold winter gave in to above zero temps today, but Mpls is still 30+ degrees colder than usual.  You know you are crazed — or have  character — when this makes you smile.


February 22nd, 2014

Krista Tippett interviewed Anne Hamilton (2/13/14), who calls herself a maker, rather than an artist (interesting), and thinks the big question is “How can we be together?” Oh yes!


These rocks work well to/gether though maybe / not as a natural fit.

As not getting along is the subject matter of most books (maybe most art, too), people who read clearly know more ways to avoid the pitfalls, advance getting along which is the essence of better being together, and thereby make the world a little bit better.  So it is that readers matter and RB serves a social purpose, even as I have great fun choosing the books and schmoozing with you all.

Aside:  Anne Hamilton’s makings were part of a Minneapolis Institute of Arts exhibition titled “Sacred.”  Does this sort-of-link to things holy suggest she could be the patron saint of Roseledge Books?


Olivia Judson went through her father’s files. He had, like most of us, kept lots of things in lots of drawers apparently for a lifetime.  They fueled memories, true,  but mostly they reflect the particulars of another’s life which will remain elusive.  Is remaining unknown what you want either from storing or from clearing out the drawers or closets of a lifetime?


Clutter or the stuff / of life? As grouped by color, /form, size, or function?

(I can hear the shouts of “No! No!”)

So how about grouping your adventures in categories that help others make the sense of your life that YOU choose?  (If this sounds like controlling from the grave, I learned it from a master, my mother, who left four pages of single-spaced, typed instructions of how to handle her funeral, e.g. “cookies and coffee are sufficient after the funeral.  You do not have to take everyone out to lunch.” Oh but I  did, mom.)

RB has a suggestion for organizing  the ever-expanding stuff of your life:  How about  choosing a most apt  book  that gives meaning to the WAY TOO MANY particulars of each category?  Think of the fun in thinking about memorable books.  And you can always rearrange things as the days of your life go on.   Jane Mount and Thessaly La Forge have conveniently compiled a book of examples in My Ideal Bookshelf.  What a wonderful life-puzzle to leave for others to decipher. I wonder what books Ms. Judson’s father would have chosen or what books she might chose for him after her time with his files.  I’ll bet they wouldn’t be the same list.  Maybe some overlap.


I love catalogers.  They are the pickiest people in the world.  They understand that a typo can change the world, and NOTHING stands in the way of their explaining in detail how and why that is so. (Memories of meetings with sheet music catalogers past.)  But if you are lucky enough to have any catalogers as friends, they also keep us at least respectable, if not honest.  So it is I know the author of The Yarn Whisperer is Clara Parkes, not Clara Peakes.  Thank you, thank you, M from NC.


The coffee may on/ly be in the mind's eye, but / that's enough for now.

I want to be the Intel anthropologist who looks carefully at users and non-users of their actual and potential products and  asks what do they do and why, then works with others to make Intel products matter more to more people.  Only I want to do this with libraries.  We have never needed more the good information that libraries make available, yet we fritter away days, money, media space fretting about the takeover of the latest technology.  Who cares?  Worry instead about– and look into — the sorry state of affairs that is ours because too many ninnies act on bad information and don’t know the difference.


With a satisfied ah-h-h, the list of mull-able topics grows and the items expand: Anne Hamilton, Olivia Judson’s father, catalogers, categories, anthropologists in organizations, good sources, learning and libraries, getting along, and world-bettering books and readers.  So many things to mull; so much cold and snow to avoid while mulling.  Surely Memorial Day and Maine will come.


February 14th, 2014

*Once-asked-questions have been flooding (okay, seeping) into my email. As you all know, I hope, I answer them in the blog. So…

Question: I’m going to Paris.  What’s a good mystery?

RB Suggestion: Cara Black’s series features a different Parisian neighborhood in each book.  One neighborhood sometimes linked to textiles is featured in Murder in LeSentier, but any Aimee LeDuc investigation is a treat.



Hard to find pretend/Paris in the summer life/ of a Maine cottage.


Question: Are there any books set in Tenants Harbor?

RB’s inadequate response is that Bert Whittier’s Alpha and Omega, labelled espionage fiction, is set in Tenants Harbor, but is not currently in print.  Ann Blair Kloman’s mysteries, the first of which is Swannsong, are based in Harts Neck (or Elmore Harbor) across the harbor from Tenants Harbor.

Oldies I almost remember with at least a bit of TH, but probably no longer in print: 1) a mystery, probably from the ’80′s,  featured a sailor who sailed into Tenants Harbor and was moored there for a time, but that’s all I remember.  No author or title.  I need help here.  2) J. S. Borthwick’s Down East Murders mentions TH twice, but mostly as people drove through it on their way to Port Clyde.  May have in it a geographical impossibility.  3) George Foy’s Asia Rip may have a trip down the St. George Penninsula, but I mostly recall Thomaston.  Who have I missed?

RB wishes Paul Doiron or Gerry Boyle, both of whom use movable settings in their series, would place one of their excellent adventures in or near TH.



Who could fail to find/ spooky stories in the fog/ of Tenants Harbor?


Question: My book club likes good books with a mystery, but not murder-mysteries.  Any suggestions?

RB Suggestion: How about starting the discussion with the following titles, then come summer, we can have fun sorting through possibilities on the RB shelves:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. “…Two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.”

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.
“Inspired by a true story this… work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggedah a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain.”

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. A suspicious drowning  (technically not a murder) off an island in Puget Sound leads to an investigation with shadows of current animosities and memories of Japanese -American ill-treatment during WWII.  Significant, gripping, award winner.

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber.  A maybe Shakespearean manuscript and intellectual property among other issues.

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Ian Pears. A murder in 17th C. Oxford propels the plot but not the larger purpose of this thoughtful  consideration of truth.  Sometimes compared to Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. May be the shortest of the suggestions and surprisingly timely is all I’ll say.



So close in mind, but/ so very far away/ until the end of May.


No question ever is fully asked or answered, and isn’t that the fun!  If you  keep asking or noting my incompletions, I’ll keep trying.

Record cold here, but others got the snow and ice.  We may hit average temps (low30′s) next week, northwest winds willing.  Time to enjoy pro golf settings and think of Maine.


January 10th, 2014

Well, Br-r-r.  It is very cold.

The flu has come and gone which means the ten days of no interest in coffee or reading and all-over miserableness are a thing of the past.  And now it’s cold.  But when the body finally said ENOUGH, you all were there for me with books to re-energize the good humours: William Cronon’s Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, Mainer Clara Peakes’ The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting, and Jenifer LeClair’s Maine Windjammer series.  So far I have ordered Peakes and LeClair’s first in her series, Rigged for Murder, and I am loving Cronon’s discussion of sources and their caveats (okay, it’s only Chapter 1) which for me  justifies the rest of the book and provokes the librarian’s snotty task of figuring out what records he overlooked.  (Thanks to RB Lifesavers: Dazzle, Andrew, Karen, and M from NC.  I miss you all.)


Windjammers, knitting, and changing landscape all come together in Maine.

Then a wonderful surprise from Ellen Zachos’ Backyard Foraging: the dreaded Japanese snotweed (okay, Japanese knotweed) is edible!  Eat enough of the young stems and maybe, finally, the undigupable roots will be defeated.   I offer the effulgent growth of my Maine backyard for the pilot effort to turn little snotweeds into the new broccoli or the newer kale.

Roseledge Book’ favorite New Year’s Resolution: Read a bit before you tweet and regret. With NYT’s Frank Bruni, think coolheadedness, maybe even open-mindedness, definitely deliberation.  Slacken the pace. Force] a pause.  This is not only Minnesota Nice talking; it’s your updated mother thinking, “Count to 10 before you say something you’ll regret.”

Remember the earlier post (Your Personal Bookseller 2, 11/29/13) and good idea (she said modestly) of giving a copy of Leanne Shapton’s faux auction catalog of a faux couple’s treasures and using it as a model album of memories to help people who are reluctantly downsizing? (See Leanne Shapton’s  Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry.)   Well, how about making the memory album even better by including a bit about the part each treasure played in building a lifetime together?  The Smithsonian offers just such an example in Richard Kurin’s The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects. Think of the fun you could have hearing (and taping or otherwise recording?) the stories. Oral history alert.! This could be a business apart from or attached to a more general clearing out and finding other places for the too many things we all collect.


I would have an adirondack chair among my momentos of Maine.

I love Sara Willis, the mind and ear behind “In Tune,” Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN)’s evening music hour.  Maybe having no summer television explains why this radio program is so enjoyable (like Terry Gross’s interviews), but how Sarah Willis puts a good program together so often and so well remains a mystery.  Then NPR aired a great segment on the making of Dan Kim ‘s annual musical compilation, called Pop Danthology, and I learned new things and appreciated Sarah Willis even more.

Why include this here?  Let me count the ways.  I love the Maine experience.  I love the why’s and how’s of compilations, anthologies, and all kinds of lists.  (RB is still waiting for Umberto Eco’s The Infinity of Lists to be issued in paperback.)  And, as I realized after a friend told me to read a book about seagulls to get over the dreadful Johnathan Livingston Seagull craze and it worked, learning more about something always makes it better.   So here’s to Roseledge Books ongoing effort to understand.  (I am a master of the contrived segue.)

More when coffee, the morning paper, and a good mull converge.