Book reviews


A list of Maine summer books from trivia to tall tales

By Aislinn Sarnacki on June 03, 2012, at 9:06 p.m.
Maine is home to 65 “Mud” Ponds, and only female black flies bite. These tidbits come from “John McDonald’s Maine Trivia: A Storyteller’s Useful Guide to Useless Information,” published in March by Yarmouth’s Islandport Press. This delightful mix of facts and amusing stories is an entertaining read for any location, …

An unwillingness to ride the herd: ‘The Right No: Poems’ by William Hathaway

By Dana Wilde on May 27, 2012, at 9:37 p.m.
THE RIGHT NO: POEMS by William Hathaway; Somondoco Press, Shepherdstown, W.Va., 2012; 104 pages, trade paperback, $15. William Hathaway’s house in Surry is empty and awaiting a buyer these days, since last year he fled Maine and its cramped winters for Pennsylvania. This move turned a commonly accepted wisdom on …

‘Flat Spin’ has riveting plot and fine prose

By BRUCE DeSILVA, The Associated Press on May 14, 2012, at 7:06 p.m.
“Flat Spin” by David Freed. The Permanent Press. “Flat Spin,” the title of this debut thriller, is the name of a complex and risky flight maneuver that only the most accomplished pilots should attempt, so it’s no surprise that the hero of the story, Cordell Logan, is a first-rate aviator. …

Self-portrait in a post-deconstructionist mirror: Ira Sadoff’s new collection of poems

By Dana Wilde on April 29, 2012, at 3:27 p.m.
“True Faith: Poems” by Ira Sadoff; BOA editions Ltd., Rochester, N.Y., 2012; 88 pages, trade paperback, $16. One of the above-ground strands of American poetry that bubbled out of the 1950s and turbulent ’60s was called “confessional.” It specialized in meditations (sometimes direct, sometimes oblique) on specific personal recollection, pain, …

Vatican and Oxford libraries announce joint digital conversion of some manuscripts, books

By Tish Wells, McClatchy Newspapers on April 22, 2012, at 4:55 p.m.
WASHINGTON — More world literature just got its door kicked open digitally. For the first time scholars will be able to compare material kept in the separate collections for centuries. The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have announced a 4-year project to convert …

Retired warden’s first book offers spicy Maine woods tales

By John Holyoke on April 13, 2012, at 5:50 p.m.
SUDDENLY THE CIDER DIDN’T TASTE SO GOOD: ADVENTURES OF A GAME WARDEN IN MAINE by John Ford, April 20, 2012, Islandport Press, 218 pages, $16.95 softcover. For years, outdoors enthusiasts around Maine have enjoyed the tales of John Ford, which were published as newspaper columns and in the Northwoods Sporting …

Acclaimed historian, author Goodwin to talk leadership at UMaine

By Aislinn Sarnacki on April 13, 2012, at 4:25 p.m.
World-renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is traveling to the University of Maine on April 18 as the keynote speaker of Leadership Week, a celebration for the inauguration of Paul W. Ferguson, the 19th president of the university. Her speech, free to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at …

When kids kill: 3 recent novels explore a parent’s worst nightmare

By Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune on April 08, 2012, at 4:35 p.m.
CHICAGO — There is a hierarchy of personal catastrophe, an informal but definitive ranking of all the terrible things that can happen, moving through categories that might be labeled “Worst Thing” to “Next-Worst Thing” to “Next-to-Next Worst Thing” and on down the line. At the upper end of that list, …

‘Big Nate’ books find a nostalgic following

By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times on April 08, 2012, at 4:34 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — If there’s a common thread among best-selling books for elementary school boys, it’s the merry mischief maker traipsing through a comics-laden landscape. It is now a common literary trajectory that boys begin their independent reading lives following Dav Pilkey’s prankster duo in the “Captain Underpants” series before …

Wilton poet offers essences of language and feeling

By Dana Wilde on April 01, 2012, at 4:41 p.m.
“Four-Alarm House: Poems” by Carolyn Gelland; Main Street Rag Publishing Co., Charlotte, N.C, 2012; 54 pages, trade paperback, $8. Carolyn Gelland’s new collection, “Four-Alarm House,” has a powerful sense of pith. Her approach to poetry is characterized by terseness of language, sharpness of imagery, and persistent hints of the metaphysical. …

A murder mystery from small-town western Maine

By Dana Wilde on March 18, 2012, at 5:49 p.m.
“Return to Sender” by Robert M. Chute; Just Write Books, Topsham, Maine, 2011; 154 pages, perfect bound, $19.95. Over in Wyman Falls, Maine, circa 1950, things are normally pretty quiet. In the summer, people enjoy Long Pond, which stretches across the northwestern border with Quebec. In the winter they hunker …

New Maine reads, just in time for mud season

By Aislinn Sarnacki on March 11, 2012, at 8:09 p.m.
The first stage of a Maine spring includes dirty cars, cabin fever and unpredictable weather. It isn’t pretty. A white wonderland melts into slush, muck, salt residue and soggy lawns. So while you’re waiting for the nice part of spring — budding trees, wild strawberries and rainbows — try out …

Stephen King visits NH to review book at event

The Associated Press on March 04, 2012, at 3 p.m.
STRATHAM, N.H. — Author Stephen King is taking time from writing to do some reviewing. The Maine author visited New Hampshire on Saturday to interview New Jersey author Lauren Grodstein at the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham. The Portsmouth Herald said the event, hosted by Water Street Bookstore, was one …

Prostitute murders and witch trial rituals haunt Portland in new book

on Feb. 22, 2012, at 10:43 a.m.
Salem, Mass., gets most of the rap for the witch trials of 1692, a hysteria in which locals accused each other of using black magic, triggering slapdash court cases and torturous executions for folks “convicted” of witchcraft. After the emotions of the time died down a bit, judges and jurors …

The voices of a Camden naturalist

By Dana Wilde on Feb. 19, 2012, at 3:35 p.m.
TRANSPORTATION: POEMS by Kristen Lindquist; Megunticook Press, Camden, 2011; 60 pages, trade paperback, $12.95. Kristen Lindquist’s higher-profile persona is development director for the Coastal Mountains Land Trust in Camden, where she also lives, and then underneath that is her life as a seemingly ubiquitous midcoast birder and naturalist, which she …

The rock steady voice of a former Maine poet laureate

By Dana Wilde on Feb. 04, 2012, at 4:09 p.m.
“Impenitent Notes” by Baron Wormser; CavanKerry Press Ltd., Fort Lee, N.J., 2011; 96 pages, trade paperback, $16. Baron Wormser has been possibly the steadiest voice we’ve had over the last 30 years of poetry in Maine. He lives in Vermont now, but served as Maine poet laureate from 2000 to …

Waterville pastor’s book debunks ‘prosperity gospel’

By Judy Harrison on Feb. 03, 2012, at 12:12 p.m.
The Rev. William Cripe Sr. of Waterville has a bone to pick with the ministers he calls the “purveyors of prosperity.” The senior pastor of Faith Evangelical Free Church in Waterville felt so strongly that they were turning the almighty into a “vending machine God,” who dispenses wealth and good …

‘Knights of the Sea’ details Maine sea fight

By Brian Swartz on Jan. 29, 2012, at 5:10 p.m.
“Knights of the Sea” by David Hanna; New American Library, 2012; 288 pages, bibliography and index, $25.95 hardcover list price. A rollicking sea yarn that lives eternally in Pemaquid Point lore reaches the printed page in “Knights of the Sea,” written by David Hanna and released on Jan. 3, 2012 …

The truth about the nightclub music scene, in verse

By Dana Wilde on Jan. 22, 2012, at 8:28 p.m.
“Clubland, Second Edition: New and selected poems” by Dave Morrison; Fighting Cock Press/Lulu Press, 2011; 54 pages, trade paperback, $14.95. Dave Morrison’s poetic voice is unusual, at least for our corner of the world. His subject matter — recollections of the past, a favorite in creative writing programs for decades …

Bath native releases first mysterious tragedy set in New England

By Aislinn Sarnacki on Jan. 22, 2012, at 8:24 p.m.
“Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea” by Morgan Callan Rogers, Jan. 23, 2012, Viking, 320 pages, hardcover $26.95. A beautiful woman with locks of fiery red hair disappeared on the Maine coast in the early ’60s. She left behind her young daughter and loving husband, who, with the …
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