Book Reviews

George and Linda review books and other publications, many of which are referenced in the blogs.

Children’s Christmas books can brighten Black Friday

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 Children’s Christmas books can brighten Black Friday

Lighting up a child’s Christmas with a wonderful book is a great experience. As one of my favorite Maine authors, Monica Wood, said recently, “When you receive a book, more than any other gift you feel chosen. If it’s a gift to a child, the children’s book becomes a continuum between lives and generations.”

I have just finished reading a bunch of Christmas story books for kids, some of which will be found under the Christmas tree for our grandchildren. Here are the books I can recommend to you. Not only are the stories wonderful in each of these books, but the illustrations are awesome. And yes, they will help establish that continuum between lives and generations.



Wouldn't you love to live closer to the ground?

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                 Here’s what Thomas McGuane says about the Tomine family: They share the challenge and fulfillment offered by the natural world because they find, gather, and catch so much of it… These are buoyant people, and it’s remarkable how absorbed the children are in foraging and how proud they are to eat and share the results.

                Dylan Tomine’s book, Closer to the Ground, published by Patagonia, is well written and engaging, a book I will reread because I learned so much and enjoyed the book so much. Tomine, his wife Stacy and kids Skyla and Weston, define the term “Outdoor Family.” They escaped from the city of Seattle to a house in the woods on an island in Puget Sound, to live “a life more connected to the earth.”

Great stories about Vacationland - from a guy from away!

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 A special thank you goes to Down East Books for republishing David Morine’s book, Vacationland: A Half Century of Summering in Maine. I absolutely loved this book and have to say that David Morine has qualified himself as a real Mainer in these very entertaining stories. Most of the stories were published in an earlier edition, but David did write a few new ones for this edition.

David first arrived here in 1946, at the age of 3, when his parents rented a lakeside cabin in Fryeburg. He later purchased shore frontage and built camps on Horseshoe Pond and Kezar Lake, spending as much time here as he possibly could. David’s been recognized as an international conservationist and served for fifteen years as the head of land conservation for The Nature Conservancy in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Heart of Stone by Cheryl Blaydon

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                 Prudence Stone comes to Maine reluctantly, from her Caribbean home, after inheriting her grandmother’s  house on the Maine coast. She’s not comfortable here, had recently been left at the alter by her fiancé, and was anxious to get back to the Caribbean. But she never did.

                Author Cheryl Blaydon of East Boothbay , in her novel Heart of Stone published by North Country Press, gives us a look at this state we love, through the eyes of a main character from away, that is convincing and real. While it was the beauty of our state that grabbed Prudence initially, it was the people who kept her here.

Unpaved Surfaces by Joseph Souza

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                 When he autographed his newest novel, Unpaved Surfaces, for me, Joseph Souza wrote, “I hope you like it, George!” Well, Joe, I am sorry to report that I didn’t like it. I loved it!

                Boy, it is always a treat to discover a new favorite novelist, and Joe has made the list. And I’m particularly excited because he wrote another novel, The Reawakening, that I haven’t read yet. That novel won the 2013 Maine Literary Award for Speculative Fiction.

                Yes, Joe is a Maine writer who lives in Portland with his wife and kids. He’s been writing award winning short stories for quite a while. You can read more about him at

Tall Tales from the Tall Pines by Christian P. Potholm

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 Chris Potholm’s tall tales may be more truth than fiction. Tall Tales from the Tall Pines is a book of hunting and other outdoor stories that will be read, re-read, and put up on the shelves with outdoor books that are handed down from generation to generation. And not just because some of the stories are based on true amazing experiences that happened to author Christian Potholm – some of them with me.

Owls Head Revisited by Jim Krosschell

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 You may have visited the Owls Head lighthouse, or Lucia Beach, or even eaten one of those famous burgers at the Owls Head store, but you’ve never seen Owls Head as Jim Krosschell has seen it. Jim’s book, Owls Head Revisited, published by North Country Press in Unity, is both interesting and provocative.

Jim has lots of opinions about Maine, politics, the environment, and most especially everything in Owls Head from the airport (doesn’t like it) to the mansions of summer people (doesn’t like them) to the hard-working Mainers (likes them) to the ocean and forests and wildlife (loves them), to the very relaxing and reformative state of our State (that’s why he’s here).

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