I’ve enjoyed doing book reviews for Maine authors and publishers for years, and those columns are popular, and help authors sell their books. Here are my latest reviews.
J Wayne Pelletier’s book, “Memories from the Fisherman’s Bench,” has lots of great fishing stories, but he also shares lots of other great stories about his life, from when he was a kid to throughout his adult life, including his service in the military. While his fishing was mostly in Maine, wherever he was in the world, he managed to fish.
I especially liked this book because I had fishing experiences exactly like his, and often in the same places. For example, he fished in Long Pond, just 10 minutes from my house, and a place I fished a lot.
Wayne is a native of Clinton who lives now in Belgrade. He writes a popular fishing column in The Fisherman’s Bench. His fishing experiences as a boy were – well, they were my experiences. For example, on the first page, he writes:
“As a child, I was allowed to freely roam the woodlands and fields to my heart’s content – as long as I was home for supper. Sometimes, I brought supper home myself: a string of native Eastern brook trout caught on Twelve Mile Stream, which runs straight through town.”
Me too! As a young boy, I would walk up the hill to the end of High Street in Winthrop, and hike through the woods to a brook where I would catch lots of brook trout. No one worried about me as long as I was home for supper. Quite often I would bring home enough trout to feed my family.
A lot of the time, Wayne fished with family and friends. His wife Laverne loved to fish, and they fished a lot together. Much of the time, Laverne caught more fish than Wayne. That matches my experience with my wife Linda, who didn’t fish until we bought a camp on Nesowadnehunk Lake in the north woods. After we bought the camp, Linda learned to fly fish, and she often caught more fish than I did. But she was never a fanatic angler. Sometimes she’d catch a bunch of trout and then sit in the boat reading a book.
I also enjoyed Wayne’s encounters with bears while fishing. I had those too, especially on my three fishing trips to Alaska. Once on Nesowadnehunk Lake, I had a bear swim right up to my boat, so I pulled the anchor and sped away.
If you like to fish, you will love this book, but even if you don’t fish, you will enjoy Wayne’s stories.
“Chowder Rules!” is a wonderful children’s book, but also a story adults will enjoy and chuckle over. Anna Crowley Redding has written a very funny story of a Maine legislator who is offended when someone in New York City makes clam chowder tomato based instead of the familiar creamy base Mainers are accustomed to.
The legislator is so furious with the act that he proposes a bill to ban the addition of tomatoes to clam chowder, which he called a crime against cookery. The penalty for adding tomatoes would be having to dig a barrel of clams at high tide, an impossibility.
I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. I loved the funny illustrations by Vita Lane, especially the frowning face of the Maine legislator and the beautiful bowl of clam chowder, which made me hungry.
If you’ve got kids or grandkids, this book would be a great Christmas gift. Published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, this book is a keeper that you will read often. My wife Zooms twice a week with our 4- and 6-year-old granddaughters in Massachusetts, and she’ll be reading this book to them soon.
Correction: An earlier addition of this story misrepresented the state legislator and the story premise of “Chowder Rules!”. This has been corrected.