Walk through any local bookstore and you’ll find a corner filled with volumes that deal exclusively with Maine.
Ghost stories from Maine. Trail maps from Maine. The history of the logging and shipbuilding and farming of Maine.
You might even find a few Maine calendars, if you’re lucky.
This holiday season, the folks at the Maine Department of Conservation are pitching four products they say would make ideal gifts for Mainers … or for those who wish they could spend more time here.
I’ve got to say the DOC’s marketers have made a pretty good point.
The DOC products — three books and a DVD — are educational, interesting and entertaining.
And if you find yourself in a gift-buying bind, any of the four could prove to be just what you’re looking for … even if you didn’t know exactly what you were looking for.
Here, then, are the choices:
ä “Forest Trees of Maine, Centennial Edition 1908-2008.”
This book is a gem that you’ll reach for time after time, whether you’re on a hike, or just trying to help your child with some homework.
The spiral-bound edition costs just $7, and is a full-color field guide complete with photographs and information that will make you a virtual tree expert in no time.
If you want to be able to identify any of the state’s tree species — winter or summer — this is the book for you.
ä “Maine’s Fossil Record: The Paleozoic,” by Lisa Churchill-Dickson, is a 500-page volume that strives to serve as a one-stop reference for professionals and amateurs alike.
According to the DOC, the book has been designed to make Maine paleontology accessible to all, and to allow the history of life in Maine to be more fully appreciated.
Stuffed with black-and-white illustrations, the book costs $40 for a hardcover edition, $30 for a paperback. Sales tax will be added.
ä Tom Hanrahan covers all the bases in his new book, “Your Maine Lands: Reflections of a Maine Guide.”
Hanrahan tackles the topic of Maine’s public lands with a series of essays that are enjoyable and informative.
I breezed through the book in just a few sittings, and enjoyed every page.
You can get your hands on the book for $12, which includes shipping and handling.
ä If you’re more in the mood for a night at the movies, you can check out “Northrunner: The Allagash Wilderness Waterway.”
The DVD was produced to commemorate the wild and scenic waterway, and takes viewers deep in the Maine woods.
Full of historical tidbits about the Allagash, the DVD also explores sporting camp life and trips along the Allagash.
The DVD is available for $16.50, which includes tax and shipping.
If you’re interested in any of the books or the DVD, you can find out more at the DOC’s Web site: www.state.me.us/doc.
You can also contact the DOC at 287-5266.
Fly tying classes scheduled
In the interest of passing along interesting holiday gift ideas, I’ll reiterate a yearly invitation from one of my favorite groups.
The Penobscot Fly Fishers will (again) teach you (or your loved one) how to tie beautiful (or at least passable) fishing flies.
For the 10th straight year, the PFF will offer the perfect beginner class for everyone who has ever wanted to give the activity a try.
As a proud graduate of their program (whether the PFF wants to admit it or not), I can tell you that anyone can tie flies, and have fun doing so.
Classes run for eight weeks on Thursdays beginning Jan. 8. The course fee is $30, which includes all materials and equipment (and more than a few tasty snacks).
For that matter, I think it’s entirely possible for fledgling tiers to consume more than $30 worth of coffee and cookies over the eight-week period.
Classes will take place at the Bangor Parks and Recreation building on Main Street, and run from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Don Corey of the PFF said everyone will get plenty of hands-on attention.
“We hope to have no more than two students to one instructor,” he said.
Spaces fill up quickly — three students have already signed up — and those hoping to take the class should make plans soon.
To get more information or sign up for the course, contact Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 843-5634.
I’ve found that there’s nothing like catching a fish on a fly you tied, and who knows? You might even meet a new group of fishing buddies at the class.