The winter holidays are upon us, and it’s time to wrack our brains for gift ideas. This year, as we navigate a world with COVID-19, books may be a more welcome and appropriate gift than ever.
Books are small, so they’re easy to ship by mail. They can be selected from afar, and picked up curbside at your local bookstore. Plus, reading is one form of entertainment you can enjoy alone and doesn’t require you to leave your home — perfect for a pandemic.
If you need help finding a book for that outdoorsy person on your list, here are a few ideas, all by Maine authors.
“Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument” by Eric Hendrickson
Released earlier this year, this photo-filled book delves into the history and natural features of Maine’s new national monument. The author grew up in the Katahdin area and has spent countless hours exploring the Katahdin Woods and Waters to uncover what makes the land special.
“The Bog Walker’s Companion: A Guide to the Orono Bog Boardwalk,” edited by Jerry R. Longcore, James E. Bird and Robert Klose
For those who miss visiting the popular Orono Bog Boardwalk (which has been closed during the pandemic), this book is a way to experience it through the eyes of others. Plus, when it does open up, you’ll be armed with more knowledge about it when you visit. Published in January 2020 by the University of Maine Press, it’s a hardcover book with 166 pages and 20 color plates.
“Evergreens: A Collection of Maine Outdoor Stories” by John Holyoke
Written by the Bangor Daily News’ very own Outdoors editor, this collection of essays will make you smile, laugh and perhaps even shed a tear or two. Through humor-filled stories, Holyoke explores the Maine outdoors and runs into some truly entertaining characters along the way. This book was published by Maine-based Islandport Press just last fall.
“A Year in the Maine Woods” by Bernd Heinrich
A celebrated naturalist and author, Heinrich has published many books, but “A Year in the Maine Woods,” originally published in 1994, is a great introduction into his writing. Bernd’s most recent book, “White Feathers: The Nesting Lives of Tree Swallows,” published earlier this year, also takes place at his cabin in the western Maine woods.
“We Took to the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich
If looking for a Maine classic, this’ll do the trick. First published in 1942, “We Took to the Woods” is a true story about Rich living in the remote backcountry settlement of Middle Dam, in the Rangeley area, with her husband. This book graces many Maine bookshelves.
“Nine Mile Bridge: Three Years in the Maine Woods” by Helen Hamlin
Another Maine classic, “Nine Mile Bridge” is a memoir about living deep in the Maine wilderness in the 1930s — first as a teacher at a lumber camp, then as the wife of a game warden posted in a remote location. Born and raised in Aroostook County, Hamlin had a deep love and understanding of the culture and beauty of Maine’s North Woods.
“Mountains of Maine: Intriguing Stories Being Their Names” by Steve Pinkham
A great resource for anyone who likes to hike or is interested in local history, this book lists mountains by region and alphabetically, making it easy to look up a specific landmark and learn more about the origin of its name. Pinkham grew up in western Maine and has also written the books “Old Tales of the Maine Woods” and “More Old Tales of the Maine Woods.”
“Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” by Aislinn Sarnacki
Of course I have to add my own book, which was published last year by Down East Books. A hiking guidebook that caters specifically to canine hiking companions, it includes detailed descriptions of trails scattered throughout the state, as well as information about nearby dog-friendly restaurants and lodging. My other two guidebooks, “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine” (2017) and “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path” (2018) are also good options for anyone interested in Maine hiking trails.
“A Monarch Butterfly Story,” written by Melissa Kim and illustrated by Jada Fitch
This book is a part of the Wildlife on the Move series of four children’s board books, published by Islandport Press in partnership with the Maine Audubon. The series, written for a pre-K audience, highlights four Maine animals and how they move across the landscape, interacting with people along the way. A snowy owl, brown bat and Blanding’s turtle are the other animals featured in this educational series.
“Maine Birding Trail: The Official Guide to More than 260 Accessible Sites” by Bob Duchesne
Written by a birding trip guide and BDN columnist, this is a wonderful resource for anyone who’s interested in wildlife watching in Maine. The book includes detailed information about dozens of birding sites throughout the state, as well as what birds you might find there in different seasons.
“Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide” by Derek Lovitch
Another great book for birders, “Birdwatching in Maine” offers descriptions of 201 birding sites throughout the state. Lovitch, who owns Freeport Wild Bird Supply and guides birding trips throughout Maine, edited and wrote this guide with 11 other birders that he handpicked throughout the state.
“A Backyard Book of Spiders in Maine” by Dana Wilde
Released by Maine-based North Country Press earlier this year, this book is an excellent pick for nature lovers. A naturalist from Troy, Wilde has written a number of other books, including “The Other End of the Driveway: An Amateur Naturalist’s Observations in the Maine Woods.”
“Cooper & Packrat: Mystery on Pine Lake” written by Tamra Wight and illustrated by Carl DiRocco
The first of the Cooper & Packrat series, “Mystery on Pine Lake” is a chapter book written for children grades four through seven. The series follows the adventures of a young boy who lives at a Maine campground and loves learning about nature with his friends. An educator and nature photographer, Wight has published four Cooper & Packrat mysteries to date.
“Fly Rod Crosby: The Woman Who Marketed Maine,” by Julia A. Hunter and Earle G. Shettleworth Jr.
For those interested in Maine’s outdoor sporting heritage, this biography is an excellent read. An accomplished fisherman and hunter, Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby holds the distinction of the first licensed Maine guide and the last person to legally shoot a caribou in the state. Both Hunter and Shettleworth are historians. In fact, Shettleworth is Maine’s sixth State Historian.
“Wild Plants of Maine: A Useful Guide (Third Edition)” by Tom Seymour
Filled with color illustrations, this book is ideal for anyone who’s new to plant identification in Maine. Seymour, an expert forager who lives in Waldo, goes into detail about each plant, including its historic and modern uses. Seymour has written several other books, including “Wild Critters of Maine: Everyday Encounters,” which was published just last year.
To find these books and more Maine titles, call local bookstores to see what they have in stock and what they can order for you. Many offer over-the-phone purchasing and curbside pickup.