Maine. Recommended Reading

The House that Jacob Built (New York: William Morrow, 1947). Maine, as everywhere, is in transition but this gives a solid reading experience of the Maine way.

Some books I’ve enjoyed, not in order of preference:

The Walk Down Main Street; and also The Spoonhandle, by Ruth Moore.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo. I disagree completely with this Maine play on the Columbine shootings.  Schools in each situation are not comparable, nor does he get the socio-economic level right in regards to the shooter. I do not think it would happen so in Maine, even today (18-21 years later). But other than that he gets much right and this, as HBO production, is good, I think. I’m fairly sure I read the book, too, but the show images are much stronger in my memory. Take care in these kind of media passes.


Glaciers & Granite by David L. Kendall (nonfiction). Recommended by my undergrad geology professor, this book was a great help as reference to Maine Metaphor.

Northern Farm by Henry Beston (memoir). Evocative of the creative nonfiction I like.

We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich (memoir)

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler (nonfiction)

A Maine Hamlet by Lura Beam

Maine Humanities Council on A Maine Hamlet. The book is one of the most readable books on the sociology of 19th-20th rural Maine.

Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett, especially “A White Heron

Ernie’s Ark by Monica Wood.

I love this speculative fiction set in Maine. The Hour of Blue by Robert Froese.

I wrote recently about North Country Press putting out Dana Wilde’s book. Things I love: mythic cunning, the lively beauty of Maine, its familial undercurrent, and thoughtful engagement.

Now that my Maine fiction-writing seems complete, I hope to read Merry Men or another of Carolyn Chute’s novels. I did not read her work sooner because of the quality (strength) of her voice. I’d dipped into the Beans of Egypt Maine but put it aside because I thought it might be aurally influential. Also I did not want to be inhibited by inadvertent duplication of theme or element. One doesn’t always read to help one’s work, but may refrain to do so, as well. And I hope to read some of Kenneth Roberts and Ben Ames Williams.


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