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1. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of
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2. Another Bullshit Night in Suck
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3. Remains: Non-Viewable : A Memoir
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4. All Souls : A Family Story from
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5. Good Morning Midnight: Life and
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6. The Maine Woods (Writings of Henry
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7. Sightlines: The View of a Valley
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8. Remembering Denny
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20. Happy The Land

1. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman
by JOAN ANDERSON
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0767905938
Catlog: Book (2000-08-15)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 5771
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now available in paperback, the entrancing story of how one woman's journey of self-discovery gave her the courage to persevere in re-creating her life.

Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod.
At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take plea-sure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn't realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an "unfinished woman" was full of possibilities. Out of that magical, difficult, transformative year came A Year by the Sea, a record of her experiences and a treasury of wisdom for readers.
This year of self-discovery brought about extraordinary changes in the author's life. The steps that Joan took to revitalize herself and rediscover her potential have helped thousands of woman reveal and release untapped resources within themselves.
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Reviews (84)

3-0 out of 5 stars Thoughts of an Unfinished Man
A female friend suggested I read a new book by Joan Anderson if I wanted to get a notion of the female psyche going through a sort of mid-life crisis. Admittedly, there may be a general con- sensus that only males, and then only some of us, experience this life phenomenon, that women some- how don't or, worse, shouldn't. They, in fact, have their own rite of passage...menopause. So, without a lot of enthusiasm, I got my hands on a copy of this autobiographical book and began reading. A Year by the Sea is another in the long line of twentienth century self-help books which present themselves with modern answers to modern dilemmas. The problem with Anderson's book, like so many of its type, is that it presupposes a problem, in fact, creates a problem so that it has something to solve. Anderson makes no sound case in describing a married life that demanded rescuing. She alludes to one or two instances of insensitivity on her husband's part, but even these are not of a magnitude to justify in most people's minds the compelling need to abandon the nest and strike out on one's own. If anything, her marriage may have become stale, or predictable, at least as she briefly describes it. It would seem then that her motivation was questionable, even if her intentions were sincere. The conclusion in the twelve month chronicle comes quickly and is more than a bit unsatisfying. Whether the newly reborn couple will live happily ever after we will never know, at least not based on the 195th page. Anderson's solution to her marital dissatisfaction is to escape to the sea...a primal drive to return to one's roots. What she fails to acknowledge, however, is that in seeking to uncover herself, she cannot bury her past.

5-0 out of 5 stars A YEAR BY THE SEA
This book spoke to my very being! It touched my soul and heart, and made me realize the importance of getting in touch with who I really am and always have been. Joan Anderson had the courage to find her true self, and the graciousness to share that journey with her readers. She has moments of self doubt,but carries on despite the circumstances. It appears she dug deep within her soul and unlocked resources that had been trapped within for years. There is something about the sea - its ever changing forms - its constant ebb and flow, and its ability to soothe. Ms. Anderson seems to seek answers about life while by the sea. In her writing, the inhabitants of that seaside area - both human and animal - are so well characterized and developed, the reader actually comes away with a feeling of "being there". Her well described relationship with seals,for example, presents the reader with a sense of fulfillment and spiritual awakening. I shall read the book a second time(and perhaps more). I am already sharing it with friends. Joan Anderson, through this book, has made me realize how very important it is to "get away" - take time for yourself - so you can share with others the "REAL YOU". It also confirms my belief in the healing qualities the sea holds for the human race. It soothes the soul, and truly gets us in touch with ourselves and nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proud to be an "unfinished woman"
This is the best book I've read in a long time. I was feeling a little lost the week that I happened to find this book and it totally changed my attitude. So many pages had at least one sentence if not more, that echoed exactly how I felt. I no longer feel alone in my thoughts and I am now proud to be an "unfinished woman." Thank you to the author for sharing her experiences!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
How many of us have wished for a year of solitude with Nature in order to reflect, learn and grow. By reading this little book, we can at least share Anderson's experiences. So many of her thoughts and emotions reflect what many of us feel, especially at that age and point in life. Kids are grown and have become independent, our traditional role in life is over and we're not quite sure where we belong anymore. Excellent read!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Women to Enjoy and Relish Each Chapter!
I loved this book. It is so "real". I wish I could go away for a year to "find myself". Swimming with sea lions, working in a fish market to earn $ to fix her hot water heater, I could only dream about this adventure!

After reading this book - I rushed out in search of her second book - An Unfinished Marriage. I cannot wait to read all 3 of her books! I own all of them and will begin the second book as soon as I have some free time. I wish we could have a book discussion at *Bucks on these books! ... Read more


2. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir
by Nick Flynn
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
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Asin: 0393051390
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 1463
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Book Description

"Devastating....Ranks with Frank Conroy's Stop-Time."—Michael Cunningham

"Sometimes I'd see my father, walking past my building on his way to another nowhere. I could have given him a key, offered a piece of my floor. But if I let him inside the line between us would blur, my own slow-motion car wreck would speed up."

Nick Flynn met his father for the third time when he was twenty-seven years old, working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. As a teenager he'd received letters from this stranger, a self-proclaimed poet and con man doing time in federal prison for bank robbery. Nick, his own life precariously unsettled, was living alternately in a ramshackle boat and in a warehouse that was once a strip joint. In bold, dazzling prose, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (a phrase Flynn senior uses to describe his life on the streets) tells the story of two lives and the trajectory that led Nick and his father into that homeless shelter, onto those streets, and finally to each other. ... Read more


3. Remains: Non-Viewable : A Memoir
by John Sacret Young
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 0374249032
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 33832
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Book Description

When John Sacret Young's cousin, Doug was killed in Vietnam, Young learned that the remains of every Vietnam casualty fell into one of two official categories: Viewable or Non-Viewable. He also discovered that such categories applied to how his New England family faced its own history.

This compelling narrative is the haunting story of a man coming to terms with himself, with his family's past, with what he knows and will never know, and with his own future.

Remains: Non-Viewable traces the close-knit lives of four men in Young's family: his uncle George, his cousin Doug, his father, and the author himself. In lyrical yet pungent prose, it illustrates how their seemingly tranquil existence on the Massachusetts shore is affected over the years by war, alcoholism, fading friendships and shifting memories of events gone by.

Beautifully written and profoundly moving, Remains: Non-Viewable, a powerful and persuasive examination of fathers and sons, of war and remembrance, and of family and self.
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4. All Souls : A Family Story from Southie (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by MICHAEL PATRICK MACDONALD
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034544177X
Catlog: Book (2000-10-03)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 15037
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Michael Patrick MacDonald grew up in "the best place in the world"--the Old Colony projects of South Boston--where 85% of the residents collect welfare in an area with the highest concentration of impoverished whites in the U.S. In All Souls, MacDonald takes us deep into the secret heart of Southie. With radiant insight, he opens up a contradictory world, where residents are besieged by gangs and crime but refuse to admit any problems, remaining fiercely loyal to their community. MacDonald also introduces us to the unforgettable people who inhabit this proud neighborhood. We meet his mother, Ma MacDonald, an accordion-playing, spiked-heel-wearing, indomitable mother to all; Whitey Bulger, the lord of Southie, gangster and father figure, protector and punisher; and Michael's beloved siblings, nearly half of whom were lost forever to drugs, murder, or suicide. By turns explosive and touching, All Souls ultimately shares a powerful message of hope, renewal, and redemption. ... Read more

Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars All Souls
My reactions relate not only to the reading "All Souls" but to other reviews of the work. I should state with clarity that I am familiar neither with the individuals in the book nor with the history of Southie. Yet MacDonald's book is vital to both the story of urban centers such as Boston but also to the untold story of white poverty in the United States. Books such as "All Souls" and more militant pieces such as "The Redneck Manifesto" (Jim Goad's brash and irreverent book) are important accounts of white poverty. MacDonald never portrayed his work as "a socio-cultural study of white poverty in an Urban Center in the Northeastern United States," but a personal account of his family's experiences. "All Souls" presents a good picture of the complexities of the real world - a family that was a picture of both dysfunction and resiliency, a community "code" that served both as its' strength and its' Achilles heal, and a person who journeyed through life trying to come to terms with these issues.

Unaware of the accuracy of the "facts," the story of this family is an important addition to those who continually ignore the reality of the "white experience in America" - an experience, that for many, is not couched in race-based advantage. To dismiss an important piece of work such as this based on interpretation of facts or untold pieces of what is an enormously complex story misses the point. Mr. MacDonald, good job on starting an important discussion!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I couldn't put this book down, and I jsut finished reading it for a second time. Mike MacDonald brings the reader into his childhood and won't let him escape. His story of growing up poor in Southie, amidst the drugs and violence and busing crisis, yet still being able to call it "the best place in the world" allowed me to finish the story with a smile on my face. And I challenge the person who wrote that despite the drugs and crime, etc. that he grew up with, Mike was still able to "convince himself" that it was the best place in the world. After sitting down with him last week for an interview/conversation, I believe he would maintain his point of view; he wasn't convincing himself of anything. And that's what allowed me to stay positive through the book: yes, the MacDonalds had to deal with unfathomable pain and hardships, but Southie's tight-knit community made for a home that is hard to forget about. I also challenge the person who in his review said that MacDonald's book was an "indictment" of the gangsters in Southie and that he made "brave accusations" about them; the truth is obvious, and Whitey Bulger and his crew managed to bring unbelievable amounts of drugs and crime to Southie. Despite what the newspapers or anyone else wants to say. I now work in Southie and have seen first-hand the poverty and drugs, but it is still a great community. Mike MacDonald, in his book and in our conversations, erased stereotypes of Southie that existed in my mind and that exist across the country today. He also got through to me that writing can and will allow one's wounds to heal; he is a brave man, an excellent writer, and one of the nicest guys I've met since I began working in Southie three months ago. Y'all have to read this book if you want the truth on one of the most misunderstood neighborhoods in Boston.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone from Boston should read this book
Before the gentrification of Southie and Dot, these areas contained Boston's infamous white "underclass." This book is the story of a fascinating family that lived in Southie in the 70's and 80's, and witnessed and participated in some of the most important events to happen in Boston in the 20th century.

The book is really divided into two parts. The first part takes place when the author was a very young child, and is primarily about his older siblings. It is the 70's, when the bussing riots are threatening to destroy Boston and the Winter Hill gang was hanging around in a certain auto body shop. The author makes it clear that a lot of what he tells about these events is second hand, primarily from his siblings and his mother. However, since they were very active in so many events, and since this book concentrates on the whole family and not just the author, this does not detract from the veracity of the book at all. The second part takes place in the 1980's, when, in the aftermath of the Charles Stewart fiasco, the police are looking for a martyr to prove that they're not rascist. They settle on the author's younger brother.

The most fascinating thing about this book his how the author manages to chronicle how a family and a community can disintigrate while remaining as strong as ever. Not everyone in the family, or the community makes it through the book, and as Southie is quickly becoming hot real estate it is sad to think of the community that is being condo'd over.

Anyone who is interested in knowing why Boston is the way it is now should read this book. Boston is still living with the repurcussions of the period that this book covers, and this book offers a fascinating first (and sometimes second) hand account of the events that shaped our city.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Eye-Opening, and Tragically Irish
Ignore the attacks - All Souls is beautiful and timeless. It is at once a story of 20th century American turmoil and also a story with the Irish tone and Irish rhythm, calling to mind Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. But above all else it is, as described on the cover, a family story. A story written throughout a childhood, it tells the tale of a family torn violently apart by fate and circumstance, yet in some form still together, still beating and moving on with force. What many people, including some of my fellow Irish-American Boston residents, fail to grasp is that this story is not an analysis of a neighborhood; it is nothing historical but rather a vibrant story that drives straight into the core of what it means to be Irish and American simultaneously, and how the joy, loyalty, and fierce pride combine with hypocrisy and silence to produce a perplexing Irish-American identity. The story hits home for me, and it's truth is not necessarily in the trivial names of bars or individuals as some myopic readers contend. The truth comes in its message, in the power and emotion in Michael Patrick MacDonald's pride and disgust for the neighborhood that can be at the same time "the best place on earth" and a "hellhole." Do not fight the contradictions - it is contradictory and beautiful as a novel. It's American; it's Irish; it's human; and it's timeless. I urge anyone to read this phenomenal piece of work by MacDonald!

2-0 out of 5 stars 'ALL SOULS' very disappointing!
Highly anecdotal and unreferenced, the memoir: 'ALL SOULS: A Family Story from Southie' (c. 2000) by Mr. Michael Patrick MacDonald, simultaneously presented an unquestionable account of the author's tragic family life while presenting a dubious description of the neighborhood of South Boston.

Any life-long resident of South Boston who reads ALL SOULS will recognize the many errors in this memoir and the author's reliance on hyperbole for dramatic effect; such as referring to a fist fight as a 'riot' or an orderly protest as a 'mob'. The author further uses terminology not part of South Boston vocabulary, such as: Racist, Scapegoat, riots, molotov cocktails, and 'Lace Curtain Irish' (which is straight out of the book: 'Liberty's Chosen Home' p. 30 and not a Boston figure of speech).

ALL SOULS is further marred by the many suppositions, innuendos, and non-sequiturs used to describe residents and the neighborhood: such as the author's detailed descriptions of Whitey Bulger, a man the author admitted he never met; or the mentioning throughout ALL SOULS of the bar, the *Irish Rover*, which isn't even in South Boston but three miles away in Dorchester. In fact, the author seemed to have had most of his Southie experiences on the South Boston/Dorchester border, blurring those two distinct neighborhoods.

While the careful reader will not question the authenticity of the author's account of his family tragedies, some of which appear self-inflicted, the MacDonald family, as presented in ALL SOULS, had serious issues way before they moved to the Old Colony projects - therefore, 'ipse dixit', those tragedies 'happened' in South Boston, they were not 'caused' by South Boston, as implied in ALL SOULS! For the vast majority of South Boston's diverse & multi-cultural 32,000 residents, except for forced busing, Southie was a good place to grow up!

Neither autobiography nor diary, the memoir ALL SOULS is obviously valueless for serious historical research. The author mistook digressions for correlations, as Mr. Michael Patrick MacDonald presented a heart rendering account of his family's tragedies along with a dubious and mechanistic opinion of South Boston history and events. As a complement to ALL SOULS, please read: 'THAT OLD GANG OF MINE: A History of South Boston' (c. 1991) by Southie native Frank J. Loftus, which presented a less posit history of South Boston than the flawed ALL SOULS. ... Read more


5. Good Morning Midnight: Life and Death in the Wild
by Chip Brown
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573222364
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 105668
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Award-winning literary journalist Chip Brown tells the story of the life and death of a brilliant, complicated man-an outdoorsman with a troubled soul, a pioneer of the New England wilderness, who sought rebirth in nature only to end his own life on a snowy mountaintop in a gesture of chilling premeditation.

Guy Waterman checked out of his former life as a Capitol Hill speechwriter and father of three at midlife to pursue the passion that promised to deliver him from his demons: mountain climbing. Along with his second wife, he built a cabin nestled in the mountains of Vermont, without modern conveniences of any kind, in order to live purely on the land and for the land, and thereby to redefine himself in the extremes of frontier life. An accomplished jazz pianist who could recite hours of poetry, a genuine eccentric beloved by many, Waterman became the dean of the homesteading movement and the foremosthistorian of the mountains of the northeast. So when he methodically carried out his mountain suicide, those who loved him were left to wonder whether it was the action of a noble man, painfully aware of the encroachments of age and determined to die with dignity, or that of a tragic figure doomed by the code of the Hard Man-a man who could not find the strength to be weak and forgive his own limitations.

Chip Brown writes with exhilarating clarity about the thrill of mountain climbing and with compassion and intelligence about the mystery that begins when a life ends. Good Morning Midnight is a gripping story of survival in nature, with an existential heart.
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Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing biography of a fascinating man
I had read an article about Guy Waterman some time ago and was anxious to know more about him. So, when I learned of Chip Brown's book, I was eager to read it. At the end, I was frustrated. I wanted to know how Waterman LIVED his life; Brown was intent on focusing entirely on why he chose to DIE. Brown makes clear that Waterman was enormously respected and loved by many people. But he fails to explore his relationships with anyone other than his family. Waterman was the legendary man of the mountains in New Hampshire, but Brown tells us very little of why that was true - other than telling us how many times he climbed all the 4,000'+ peaks and writing some books about them, books he describes only very cursorily.
Waterman and his second wife, Laura, chose to live, like Helen and Scott Nearing, a very basic, really primitive lifestyle back in the woods in Vermont, but again Brown describes their lives only minimally.
I love mountains and forests. I love hard physical effort (I was a serious, competitive long distance runner for more than 40 years until arthritis stopped me.) Like the Watermans, I hate the materialistic way of life favored by almost all Americans. And, like Guy Waterman, I completely believe that a person should have the choice of when to exit this world, if old age and decreptitude make life not worth living.
In short, this should have been a made-to-order book for me. But I became weary of Brown's endless psycho-analyzing of Waterman, and in time I skimmed the psycho-babble, looking for the occasional passages which provided information about how he - and Laura - actually lived.
Ironically, Brown failed in the one task he assigned himself - to give a clear explanation for Waterman's suicide. Yes, he couldn't do all he had once done, but he still was very fit, fit enough to climb to the top of that mountain in brutal winter cold to end his life. And he left behind - DESERTED - a woman he seemed clearly to love greatly. Why did so many love such a man?

5-0 out of 5 stars A well-penned epilogue
This very artfully told tale was truly page turner for me. Thick with literary references, Brown's story of Guy Waterman reflects the complexity of a multi-talented individual, appreciated by many, but omniouly least of all by himself.

I came away with a very strong feeling that Guy Waterman was truly a unique individual. His successes far outweighed his failures. But his ultimate failure was to recognize that hardmen mature into wisemen. Old Men of the Mountain types, who regale their friends and cohorts with lessons and values of challenging and living amongst the mountains. No matter how far flung the challenge, a mountaineer's ultimate objective is to return from his/her adventure to share the experience; the cold, the hard breathing, the colors, the wind and their intimate feelings of wonder or survival. Regretfully, Guy's inner-self, his demons, contested his own outwardly generous, steadfast and friendly personality.

For me, Brown's story reacquainted me with several names and places familiar in mountaineering circles. It also cleard my long held confusion between John Waterman the highly acclaimed, albeit daring alpinist, Guy's son and Jonathan Waterman the prolific author of Alaskan mountaineering.

HOWEVER, as an end note the publisher editorial and Author INCORRECTLY stated that Krakauer wrote about John Waterman. The book Into the Wild was the story of Chris McCandless, by J.Krakauer.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful glimmer of a man's interesting life
After just finishing the book I found myself wanting to write the author and thank him for letting the reader into another world, a very personal one, of a man who had experienced so much in the ways of life, love, and death. The book flows with it's constant references to Guy Waterman's own writings as well as great literary works. I felt a part of the waterman clan ,without intruding, after reading the book. It has been a long time since a book made anything so real with out being too heavy handed. The adventures are amazing, both in the outdoors and with the human emotions. A fantastically orchestrated work; Chip Brown has proved himself as an outdoorsman and writer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Total disappointment
I can only hope that Guy Waterman's final freezing hours atop Mt. Lafayette were less painful than trying to get through this book.

If there's a good story in here somewhere, it will take a search and rescue party to find it among Mr. Brown's endless rambling and superflous language. Here's an example, lifted randomly from the third chapter: "Although the Farm was only eight miles from downtown New Haven, where Professor Waterman taught physics at Yale, it seemed a world apart, a kind of Connecticut Shangri-la exempt from the privations of the Great Depression and far from the portents of the Second World War, and impossible, really, to separate from the enchantment of childhood itself, part place, part time, part the memory of that theater of spirits where Mother is forever calling you home from the woods with a silver whistle and Father is ushering you to bed with a lullaby on the grand piano."

Despite his impressive credentials, Brown writes like a novice who is more concerned with constructing elaborate sentences and displaying vocabulary than capturing the reader's interest and telling the subject's story. Shame on this book's editor for not hacking it to shreds.

4-0 out of 5 stars Deadly Silence?
Chip Brown's biography of Guy Waterman is a depressing read. It is also a fascinating, well written biography. Overall, I agree with the review posted here by Lawrence Hauser, which is excellent. In particular, I concur with Hauser's praise of the chapter on Waterman's son John.
What most captivated me about Guy Waterman's story was his refusal to seek help, his belief that somehow his life was uniquely different. He seemed to live with all kinds of denial, including his alcoholism, even though he did manage to stop drinking. His ultimate denial had to do with his reason's for killing himself -- the argument that impending old age would be unbearable. 67 and in perfectly good health? Of course, the only health Waterman had was physical. His deep depression and inability to communicate emotionally with his wife suggest a gravely ill man. But Waterman, an otherwise very intelligent person, refused to seek help. As Brown tells it, Waterman's life was truly tragic. ... Read more


6. The Maine Woods (Writings of Henry D. Thoreau)
by Henry David Thoreau
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691118779
Catlog: Book (2004-05-24)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 240699
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Book Description

Henry D. Thoreau traveled to the backwoods of Maine in 1846, 1853, and 1857. Originally published in 1864, and published now with a new introduction by Paul Theroux, this volume is a powerful telling of those journeys through a rugged and largely unspoiled land. It presents Thoreau's fullest account of the wilderness.

The Maine Woods is classic Thoreau: a personal story of exterior and interior discoveries in a natural setting--all conveyed in taut, masterly prose. Thoreau's evocative renderings of the life of the primitive forest--its mountains, waterways, fauna, flora, and inhabitants--are timeless and valuable on their own. But his impassioned protest against the despoilment of nature in the name of commerce and sport, which even by the 1850s threatened to deprive Americans of the "tonic of wildness," makes The Maine Woods an especially vital book for our own time.

... Read more


7. Sightlines: The View of a Valley Through the Voice of Depression (Middlebury Bicentennial Series in Environmental Studies)
by Terry Osborne
list price: $26.00
our price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584650834
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: University Press of New England
Sales Rank: 461094
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A powerful personal account of outer exploration and inner discovery. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Would love to see more from Terry Osborne!
Terry Osborne's coming-of-self narrative is brave, honest, and poignant. I have recently left New England after seven years, and Osborne's careful and tactile descriptions truly stirred me. But even for anyone who's unattached to a Vermont landscape, there's an important lesson here. Osborne shares with us his very personal journey to the discovery of how deeply our environment can inform our sense of self - in Osborne's case, how the complex "mosaic" of land, water, and air reflects the contours of his struggle with depression. Even now, living so far from all the swamp-and-peaks nature of Osborne's journeys (I'm a Paris resident), Sightlines has inspired me to explore my surroundings with a renewed energy and curiosity - to understand how much self-discovery can unfold through such an investigation. For that - and for his pure, graceful prose - I thank him!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good account of chronic mood disorder
This book is multifaceted and some facets are better than others. I found the author's descriptions of his experiences with chronic mood disturbance enlightening and interesting. His attention to the interpersonal impact of dysphoria was especially good. As a book about the natural world, I was less satisfied. Moreover, I didn't find myself drawn to the connections he was making between processes in the natural world and the internal processes of a mood disorder. His accounts of his homelands lack the vividness found in works by Rick Bass or Richard Nelson. I don't want to overstate these criticisms; the book is well written and this is exactly the "type" of book I like: it's about a person who loves the land that surrounds him. However, better reading of this sort is found with the above-mentioned authors, or I especially want to recommend a couple of works by lesser known authors, "Purple Flat Top" by Jack Nisbet, and "Teewinot" by Turner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lyrical & Hypnotic: a Beautiful & Stirring Tribute to Nature
Every so often a book reminds us of why we seek out the woods for solitude and comfort. "Sightlines" accomplishes that considerable feat with resounding success.

But it doesn't stop there. This elegant and deeply human narrative about the contours of landscapes (both inner and outer) lets us walk several paces behind the author and view his journey through years of depression even as we pause to lean against a nearby birch tree and admire the surrounding beauty of his rugged New England. The book is a remarkable achievement for combining these two storylines--and very often it is downright mesmerizing.

Osborne's writing--understated and controlled, what you'd expect from a Vermonter--soars to its greatest heights when framing the smallest things: a seemingly uprooted tree, a dark swamp, a river sand bar. Those images, and many others, stay vibrant long after the book is done.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Magnificent Debut
Terry Osborne writes a fascinating, powerful and touching account of his travels through the Upper River Valley and the travails of his own battle with depression. Candid, personal and touching, we join the author as he explores the natural phenomena of the Vermont landscape, while at the same time he struggles courageously against his inner demons.

If you have suffered from depression, if someone dear to you suffers from depression, or if you merely wish to be inspired by the battle of one person to overcome depression, Terry Osborne's perceptive and insightful book will give you strength and solace. ... Read more


8. Remembering Denny
by Calvin Trillin
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374529744
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 132143
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A reissue of Calvin Trillin's memoir of his relationship with a brilliant but tragic Yale classmate that is also a rumination on social change in the 1950s and 1960s

Remembering Denny is perhaps Calvin Trillin's most inspired and powerful book: a memoir of a friendship, a work of investigative reporting, and an exploration of a country and a time that captures something essential about how America has changed since Trillin--and Denny Hansen--were graduated from Yale in 1957. Roger "Denny" Hansen had seemed then a college hero for the ages: a charmer with a dazzling smile, the subject of a feature in Life magazine, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a varsity swimmer, a Rhodes scholar...perhaps a future president, as his friends only half-joked. But after early jobs in government and journalism, Hansen's life increasingly took a downward turn and he gradually lost touch with family and old friends before eventually committing suicide--an obscure, embittered, pain-racked professor--in 1991. In contemplating his friend's life, Calvin Trillin considers questions both large and small--what part does the pressure of high expectations place on even the most gifted, how difficult might it have been to be a closeted homosexual in the unyielding world of the 1960s Foreign Service, how much responsibility does the individual bear for all that happens in his life--in a book that is also a meditation on our country's evolving sense of itself.
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Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars Leaves a bad taste
On the surface, this is a book about Roger Hansen. Below the surface, it's about how great Calvin Trillin is.That might not have been the author's intention, but the rather smug tone conveys that message.However unintentionally, Trillin's success is juxtaposed to what he sees as Hansen's failure. Despite some thoughtful reflections on the effect of expectations, Yale in the 50s etc., the whole thing leaves behind a bad taste.My advice: skip this and read one of Roger Hansen's books instead.

1-0 out of 5 stars Calvin Trillin's guilt trip, should have been kept private
I am of mixed feelings about this book.Part of me feels sympathetic towards the subject, Roger (Denny) Hansen.It is quite sad to read of his downward spiral which led to his suicide.Hansen seemed like a nice fellow.

But part of me wonders what all the fuss is all about.Hansen had a lot going for him and he was unable to find happiness despite all that.Many people feel that people are as happy as they want to be and Mr. Hansen simply chose to be in misery.

Admittedly, some of his problems were external.He had severe back problems much of his life.He also may have been a homosexual, at a pre-Stonewall time.

Still, other people with the same problems and fewer privileges make a good life for themselves.We all have hardships and Denny let his overcome him.

Trillin fights with the elitist ideas of an Ivy Leaguer in the 50s.He is one of the few, one of those guaranteed a lofty place in America.Yet I get the feeling that he is somewhat ashamed of it underneath.

And part of me feels no sympathy for the trials and tribulations of the snots who feel superior to anyone outside their circle.That snobbishness is evident throughout.

I also wonder why the book was written at all.This is obviously a guilt trip on the part of Trilling who probably (understandably) wonders if there was something he could have done to prevent this suicide.It is certainly no tribute to the man, Trilling confesses at the end of the book that he probably had no idea of what made his friend tick.

It also makes me wonder why Trillin wrote this book for public consumption.I can understand the voyage Trillin took to learn about his friend.But why release it to the public and why profit from the miseries of his friend.If Trillin gave his royalties from his efforts to some charity, perhaps.But some moral force within Trillin should have seen how crass this book is.Indeed, as I thought of this point, I decided to change my rating of this book from 2 stars to 1 star.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Big Chill" at Yale
The book is a whatdunit: what caused an Ivy League golden boy with a million dollar smile to commit suicide at age 55.

The boy was Denny Hansen. His family was lower middle class and lived in the San Francisco Bay area.At a public high school, he became all-everything. He attended Yale from 1953-57 where he became good friends with the author, Bud Trillin. There, he was a fifties hero: scholar-athlete, a student leader. and all-around good guy. He was a member of swim team, Deke fraternity and the Elizabethan Society. During his senior year, he was tapped by Scroll and Key. He graduated magna cum laude and was admitted to Phi Betta Kappa. Life Magazine published a photo essay about his graduation. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and studied two years at Magdalen College at Oxford. He received a master¹s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, Not bad for a young man with his background.

Denny Hansen became Roger D. Hansen. On the career level, he worked briefly in broadcasting, the State Department and at the National Security Council in the Carter administration. He wrote several books on foreign policy that were widely praised. But the Foreign Service rejected his application. Eventually, he was appointed to a chair at the Johns-Hopkins¹ School for Advanced International Studies in Washington. He was a member of the Cosmos Club and the Council on Foreign Relations. On a personal level, Roger never married. He became estranged from his family, his relationships with a few women soured, he gradually alienated his friends from Yale. He became a chronic complainer. He became very depressed. But he always defended right conduct. Near the end of his life, he lived a clandestine gay lifestyle. He bequeathed his pension to his former girl friend, and the remainder of his "huge" estate to Yale.

What caused Roger to commit suicide in 1991?. His friends and colleagues offer various explanations. During conversations after Roger¹s death, his Yale friends discovered that they did not know Roger and may have never really known Denny. Trillin¹sexplanation is that because of ³poisonous template of the fifties², Roger could not accept his sexual orientation. A reader can interpret his explanation as an attack on values of the Fifties. To me, the most persuasive explanation is an application of the backpack analogy. When a boy is born, he is wearing a backpack. Other people put their heroic expectations for him in the backpack. The more the boy succeeds, the more expectations are put in the backpack and the heavier it gets. Eventually, the loan becomes unbearable and the boy reaches a crisis. In Roger¹s case, instead of emptying the backpack, he chose to kill himself. He had a house, but not a home. Remember, the line from a Robert Frost poem, "Death of the Hired Man"., ³Home is the place where, when you have to go there,/ They have to take you in.² Neither Denny nor Roger had a place where they had to take him in.

The details of the book are fascinating. Trillin describes college life at Yale during the 1950s and the careers of many of Denny¹s classmates and friends.. Of course, Trillin¹s writing is excellent: clear, powerful and sometimes humorous.In a way, the book is a mid-20th Century sequel to Owen Johnson¹s Stover at Yale.

Trillin suggests that the ³poisonous template of the fifties² was the major cause of Roger¹s death in 1991. But change is not equivalent to progress. Sex does not explain everything. Each reader must decide for himself whether, based on the circumstantial evidence, the template of the Fifties enabled Roger to carry his backpack of expectations for more than 30 years, or whether it was the templates of later decades that poisoned the golden boy from California with the million dollar smile.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Cheeveresque rumination on unfulfilled potential
Calvin Trillin's "Remembering Denny" is a Cheeveresque rumination on the unfulfilled potential of Trillin's Yale classmate, Denny Hansen.While at Yale, Hansen was so highly thought of that he was profiled in LIFE magazine and his classmates used to kid each other about which cabinet position they'd fill once Hansen had been elected President.After Yale, however, Hansen failed to live up to the high expectations everyone--friends, family, teachers, coaches--had for him.Trillin's book is a delicate examination of what that meant, both for Denny and for his constellation of friends and well-wishers.

Denny doesn't come alive as vividly as might be hoped here, but Trillin does an outstanding job of sketching this young man's life in terms of a larger picture about America.In a country where success on every level is much prized, Trillin subtly but thoroughly plumbs the reasons why Denny didn't succeed--at least not to the extent everyone thought he would.This uncharacteristically somber book is absorbing and thought-provoking, even if it doesn't quite reach the goals Trillin seems to have set for himself in the beginning chapters.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing/dreary/dull
Yeesh!A whole book about a guy who had trouble living up to others' expectations is too much.Yes, Roger/Denny had it rough, he 'failed' when others expected great success, but so what?Isn't that what most of us go through to one degree or another?Thank goodness very few of us have author-friends who will bore the pants off the reading public by flaying our private lives for the whole world to ogle. ... Read more


9. The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island
by Linda Greenlaw
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786866772
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 53807
Average Customer Review: 3.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Declared a "triumph" by The New York Times Book Review, Linda Greenlaw's first book, The Hungry Ocean, was a fixture on bestseller lists across the country. Now she has written a book that does for lobstering what The Hungry Ocean did for swordfishing -- and which is every bit as honest, funny, scrappy, and authentic.

After seventeen years at sea, Greenlaw decided it was time to take a break from being a swordboat captain, the career that would later earn her a prominent role in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and a portrayal in the subsequent film. She felt she needed to return home -- to a tiny island seven miles off the Maine coast with a population of 70 year-round residents, 30 of whom are her relatives. She would pursue a simpler life; move back in with her parents and get to know them again; become a professional lobsterman; and find a guy, build a house, have kids, and settle down.

But all doesn't go quite as planned. The lobsters resolutely refuse to crawl out from under their rocks and into the traps she and her sternman (AKA, her father) have painstakingly set. Her fellow Islanders, an extraordinary collection of characters, draw her into their bizarre Island intrigues. Eligible bachelors prove even more elusive than the lobsters. And as mainlanders increasingly fish waters that are supposed to be reserved for Islanders, she realizes that the Island might be heading for a "gear war," a series of attacks and retaliations that have been known to escalate from sabotage of equipment to extreme violence.

Then, just when she thinks things couldn't get too much worse, something happens that forces her to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about life, luck, and lobsters.

Greenlaw employs throughout her talent for fascinating nautical description and her eye for the dramas of small-town life as she tells a story that is both hilarious and moving. She also offers her take on everything from retrieving engines that have actually gone overboard, to the best way to cook and serve a lobster. The Lobster Chronicles is a must-read for everyone who loves boats and the ocean (and lobsters), everyone who has ever reached a crossroads in life, and everyone who has wondered what it would be like to live on a very small island. A celebration of family and community, this is a book that proves once again that fishermen are still the best story-tellers around. ... Read more

Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lovely, but incomplete
A wonderful read by the ever engaging Linda Greenlaw who delivers a bittersweet and loving snapshot of her remote home island. A fascinating look inside the traditional lobster trade, the book is really about Greenlaw's own struggles to find meaning in her work, her life, and to begin to accept the mortality of her parents.

My only regret is that the book stops quite abruptly, leaving several story lines incomplete, requiring a terse afterword to sketch in some missing pieces.

But any time spent with Greenlaw is quality time; her anecdotes manage to be both charming and sharp-eyed. She'll be getting lots of mail over the one jarring section in the book, her rant over dog ownership: Greenlaw derides anyone who stoops to the poop and scoop element. Interestingly, it is this passage which gives us the key to the real theme in this book, Greenlaw's longing for a home, husband and children. Enduring love, like lobster fishing and dog ownership, involves some nasty bits, like handling rancid bait, picking up dirty socks, or dog poop. She understands the connection between the hard, often punishing work of fishing and its rewards...but until she can see what inspires a person to clean up after their dog, she won't be ready for a human of her own.

But she'll make it there; this woman has a huge heart and wonderful stories. Buy her books, they are rare treats.

3-0 out of 5 stars Of warps, buoys and traps
You may remember Linda Greenlaw as a supporting character (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in George Clooney's THE PERFECT STORM. Following that film, the real-life Greenlaw described her experience as the captain of a North Atlantic swordfishing boat in the riveting best seller, THE HUNGRY OCEAN. Now, in THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES, Linda has returned to her home island, Isle au Haut, Maine, to run a lobster boat.

Fishing for lobster isn't as potentially dangerous or dramatic as chasing swordfish. And it's more of a 9 to 5 job where you get to sleep at night under a roof in your own bed. So, while Greenlaw shares enough knowledge about lobstering for the reader to get a feel for it, the bulk of the book is about related (or unrelated) people and events: the effort by a town committee to acquire the local lighthouse from the government, the state of emergency medicine on the isolated Isle au Haut, the prospect of a turf war with mainland lobstermen, her mother's battle with cancer, friends lost at sea, her father (who serves as sternman on her lobster boat), the scarcity of eligible bachelors, her culinary ineptitude, and her dislike of dogs.

THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES is a pleasant but lesser sequel to THE HUNGRY OCEAN. Linda's self-effacing humor is perhaps the volume's major strong point, as well as the book's charm as a description of contemporary Americana. Some of Linda's prose is striking, as her description of the waves parading north as seen from the window of her home:

"Some of the officers on horseback nodded shocks of white hair while masses of lower-rank sailors kept eyes forward and sternly marched in the most rehearsed fashion to the wind ... The trees lining the shore waved like spectators ..."

By the book's end, I was saddened by Linda's undertone of unhappiness. She doesn't seem to like lobstering much. And she's fretful of the fact that, at 40, she remains unmarried and without children. Her loneliness is uncomfortably evident. ("I have spent much time waiting for Mr. Right, who does not appear to be looking for me.")

Sail on Linda, and persevere. I wish you well.

3-0 out of 5 stars No Story
A fitting title, but no story here other than the quiet life of a tomboy and her father. Nothing really happens, at least not in a way that was interesting to me. I enjoyed the book, I was relaxed by the book and I learned from the book. But in the end Lobster Chronicles was a bit lite for me. I never really got to know or understand any of the characters, the author included. I did not read her 1st book about sword fishing, but must assume it was better written than this one.

Michael Duranko
www.bootism.com

5-0 out of 5 stars laughter among the lobsters
Our discussion on Linda Greenlaw's second memoir-type book, was full of laughs. This is in contrast to her first, very serious effort about the death defying Hungry Ocean and being captain of a swordfish boat. Returning home to live on an island of only 70 year-round residents, with 30 being related to Linda, would require humor. She provides daily events which entertain and reveal true Maine island characters. Lobstering is not easy either, but her family and island friends make the long, cold winter an intimate affair. Who wants to attend those community meetings, anyway? Same problem in crowded cities on shore...I am looking forward to Greenlaw's third book, fiction next, I believe?

3-0 out of 5 stars more about the people and less about the lobsters, please
Linda Greenlaw made a name for herself as a successful swordfish boat captain based out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Sebastian Junger wrote about her in "The Perfect Storm" and she subsequently wrote about herself in "The Hungry Ocean". (I haven't read either of those so no comments there.) Ready for a change, she returned to the small Maine island where she had grown up, Isle Au Haut. The island has only a few dozen residents, and many of them are her relatives. Like most locals, she set herself up as a lobster fisherman, with her father as her assistant. This book describes her life on the island and one lobster season.

She does tell some interesting stories about what it is like to live on an island, dealing with winter isolation, summer tourists and year-round local politics. However there were way too many passages like this one..."All traps are equipped with hard plastic escape vents that have oval openings large enough to allow 'short' or undersized lobsters to exit a trap at will. Each of my traps has two vents, one in the door and one in the parlor end. Maine State Law requires that one vent be secured with biodegradable hog rings, while the other may be set with stainless steel, requiring little or no maintenance. The idea behind the mandatory biodegradable vent is to ensure the liberty of all lobsters within a trap that may be lost or neglected. 'Ghost gear,' or lost traps, are not a threat to lobsters' lives because the biodegradable hog rings deteriorate within a season, allowing the plastic vent to flop open, leaving a large exit. All biodegradable rings or remains of rings must be replaced when overhauling traps if a fisherman expects to catch anything. Otherwise, lobsters will find open vents, and fishermen will haul up empty traps. I was clumsy with the hog-ring pliers at first, but found more ease and comfort as the morning progressed."...and on it goes, pages and pages of this stuff.

This book would be essential reading for any aspiring lobster fisherman. Not falling into that category myself, I found the level of detail excessive and there simply weren't enough good anecdotes to make up for it. I wish that her editor had been more aggressive. By the end I was glad to wave farewell to both Greenlaw and the island. ... Read more


10. Working the Sea: Misadventures, Ghost Stories, and Life Lessons from a Maine Lobster Fisherman
by Wendell Seavey
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556435223
Catlog: Book (2005-04-10)
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Sales Rank: 543545
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Book Description

In Working the Sea, Wendell Seavey paints a lively portrait of life both off and on the shores of Maine. Journeying from a two-room schoolhouse to the College of the Atlantic, from boatyards to back alleys, and from labor strikes to soul-searching road trips, he is accompanied by not just fisherman, but by professors, psychiatrists, and environmentalists. A man of humor and humility, open to both nature and the supernatural, Wendell Seavey is living proof that fishermen are indeed the best storytellers. ... Read more


11. A Barn in New England: Making a Home on Three Acres
by Joseph Monninger
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811840018
Catlog: Book (2003-04)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 64575
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Published to glowing reviews in hardcover and now in a handsome paperback edition, Joseph Monninger’s finely crafted memoir of moving with his family to a barn in rural New Hampshire is part dream come true, part unexpected adventure. "An utterly charming story, told with grace and insight" (Booklist starred review), A Barn in New England perfectly captures the beauty of the New England countryside, the tests of renovating a home, and the pleasures large and small of making a new place your own. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Establishing a common home
This book documents the first year of living as a family for Monninger, his partner, and his partner's son.The book begins with the first day Monninger and his partner went to look at the barn that would become their home together and follows them for one year as they establish their new life as one family in their home in the barn.Monninger describes how each person adapted to living in the 6000 square foot living area inside the barn, how they remodeled some rooms, added heating stoves, and rebuilt the kitchen.It tells how they melded their furniture together, choosing one person's or another's best pieces, and purchased some new items specifically for the new space.After a summer of settling in, the barn finally began to make the transition into feeling like a home when extended family came to visit for the holidays.

The title and cover photo of the book may be a little misleading- -this is definitely not a barn story.Although Monninger relates in passing some of the history of the barn, this isn't an ode to country traditions or barn lore.It is much more a story of a family, of taking unrelated individuals, each with prior lives involving other relationships, and constructing a new unity together.Monninger describes how he and his partner are quite satisfied to construct their family without a marriage ceremony.He also tells us how close he feels to his partner's son, and how much this relationship means to him.In reading Monninger's story however, I can't help but wonder if the young boy is as contented with his parents' unmarried state as they are.How secure can he feel in his relationship with his would-be stepfather if his mother and this man are unwilling to formalize their commitment?It may be perfectly acceptable for two adults to freely establish a home together without the benefit of marriage, but when children are involved, the story becomes much more complicated, and their interests should be seen to first.Monninger is a gifted writer and tells a magical story of intentional family creation in this book, but it's not clear from this tale that he has fully taken responsibility for all he has set in motion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Creating a Life
I just completed the relishing of Joseph Moninger's , A Barn. Agreeing with anothers veiwpoint of too much flowering descriptions I ignored a few choice lines and skipped to new paragraphs; yet with respect I know I would never have enjoyed the parts I did read if they had not been described with such love and experience. I am one of those "wanna be barn owners"; ever since I was eight years old and watched the people two streets over gut, renew and live in this massive building with huge windows and sturdy walls. I fell in love. Amongst all the eloquence this book offers; it is the underlying theme; the reason I did not read it, that leaves me speechless and in awe. It is in the storyline that Monninger weaves the secondary and yet primal thread of family and the fact, as he states, that he realized that he and Wendy were creating thier son's past. What a beautiful, thought provoking, loving and spiritually filled knowing. As they were focused on integrity during the ever present process of renewing this structure; they also were creating sustanance, substance and stablitiy for Pie. My son is twenty-three and if I ever get another opportunity to go around with him again; I pray that I rememeber that once we become parents; however that is gifted to us; that in our present we are creating our childs past.

If you read this, Joseph Monninger, Wendy and Pie; thank you.

2-0 out of 5 stars A New Yorker in a Barn
I grew up in New York City, but have lived for the past 10 years on seven acres in a semi-rural part of New Hampshire.I am also in the process of building a barn (next to the house the we actually live in).So when I saw this book, I had to buy it.

However, within a few chapters I was starting to have some concerns that Monninger was missing the point, and the more I read the more it was confirmed.What he has written is a New Yorker's view of life in New Hampshire.When I got to the point in the book where he describes how he used to live on Central Park West, I understood my concerns, but also really lost touch with the book.

He describes expansive fields with levels of gardens and myriad flora and fauna.In my mind's eye I was picturing a real expansive New Hampshire farm, but then I was drawn back to the fact that he is talking about three acres, abutting on the town school.Three acres is a lot of land in Manhattan, but if you live in New England for a while you will understand that it is just a back yard.Monninger catalogs every plant and every bird he finds, with the child-like glee of someone who has never seen nature before, but he is so lost in the details that he can't get beyond that fact that he is writing a New Yorker's view of New Hampshire for other New Yorkers.

I also found it annoying that he does not describe the impact of having on job on his ambitious renovation project.It would be great if I could have the amount of free time that he seems to have, both to spend with family and work around the house.It comes off as an idealized view of life, and does not describe the realities of what he has undertaken.He also makes a few attempts to add local color and local history, and I feel the book would have been better if he had had more of that.

From a literary standpoint, he really does overdo the metaphors and descriptions, but I can imagine how difficult it must be to accurately convey the feeling of spring in New England, or the size of a large structure.He would do better though with more description and less attempted poetry.

I can see how this book might be an interesting read for someone in a large city imagining life in the country, but it is not really an accurate or well written portrayal, and it left me, now a committed New Hampshirite, frustrated.

5-0 out of 5 stars A different way of life
This is a great book that offers to show us a different way of life than most of us live.Having grown up in the suburbs of California, the oldest house I lived in was 30 years old.I never had to worry about heating, or beams falling apart things that are very real concers to Joe and his family.
In addition to the general information about "barn" living, we see what it is like to integrate three lives into one new one.The stories of the deepening relationship between Joe and Pie are heartwarming and touching, as are the moments of closeness between Joe and Wendy.
Mr. Monninger gives us a wonderful insight to barns, New England, and creating a new life with people that you love.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Charmer
A charming story of three nice people becoming a family as they undertake the renovation of a gigantic barn.I was awed by the amount of work the author and his lady friend were able to accomplish in one year.One irritation, though: the author's misuse of "lay" as the past tense of "to lay," as when he notes that he "lay the planks across the bed of the truck."(It should be "laid" across the truck. "Lay" is the past tense of "to lie," not the past tense of "to lay." I notice this same error cropping up in lots of supposedly literary books.) It's a consistent mistake throughout an otherwise erudite and often memorable narrative. ... Read more


12. A Mug Up With Elisabeth: A Companion for Readers of Elisabeth Ogilvie
by Melissa Hayes, Marilyn Westervelt
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 089272532X
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Down East Books
Sales Rank: 440389
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13. Here and Nowhere Else : Late Seasons of a Farm and Its Family
by Jane Brox
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865476918
Catlog: Book (2004-09-15)
Publisher: North Point Press
Sales Rank: 26230
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In her first book, which won the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award, Jane Brox writes of going back to the farm where she grew up, to help her aging father and the troubled brother who works the land with him. She memorably captures the cadences of farm life and the people who sustain it, at a time when both are waning.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here and Nowhere Else
Here and Nowhere Else captures with its perfect language the timeless undulations of rural living. It is not so much like reading a book as it is like walking the land with someone who respects both the comfort and the pain it can give. A truthful recording of enormous loss and a lyric epitaph for a family farm. ... Read more


14. Handy to Home: A Lifetime in the Maine Outdoors
by Tom Hennessey
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892724935
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Silver Quill Press
Sales Rank: 823811
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For decades, writer and artist Tom Hennessey has fished, hunted, camped, canoed, and snowshoed in the woods of his native Maine. His marvelous essays about those experiences have delighted and moved the thousands who each week look for them in the Bangor Daily News. Readers marvel, too, at the extraordinary pen-and-ink and graphite pencil illustrations that accompany Tom's words and evoke the game birds, fish, gun dogs, and gear that are so much a part of an outdoorsman's life.

Assembled in Handy to Home is the very best of Tom's work—his essays, his black-and-white drawings, and, for the first time ever in book form, twelve of his stunning watercolors, all produced specifically for this book. Acclaimed by collectors and galleries throughout the United States, Tom's paintings bring to life the traditions of the Maine outdoors, whether trolling for landlocked salmon on a blustery day in a Grand Laker canoe, or poling a sculling boat through a duck marsh at dawn. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read!
For all of you out there who have a special place in your heart for Maine hunting and fishing memories, I believe that you'd really like this book.I grew up in the Maine outdoors and Tom brings back many memories of "old timers" and trips from years gone by.Maine, named appropriately as God's country, is a very unique and special state that has left its mark in many of those who were born here.Tom really brings this out in a profound way through his stories and remarkable drawings! ... Read more


15. Five Thousand Days Like This One: An American Family History
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807021075
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 48043
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wnen her father dies and leaves her to decide the fate of the family farm, Jane Brox wonders how family identity--language, food, a grandfather's wish for "five thousand days like this one"--can endure when so few traces of former lives are left.With a poet's eye and a historian's hunger, she is driven to search out her family's past in the fascinating and quintessentially American history of the Merrimack Valley, its farmers, and the immigrant workers caught up in the industrial textile age. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Uneven, but interesting account
I vascillated between really loving parts of this book, and being annoyed at others. The book discusses the history of the Merrimack Valley in northeastern Massachusetts, weaving in stories about the author's parents' lives there as immigrants from Italy and Lebanon. It also compares descriptions of the area written by Thoreau, and others, in the 19th century.

While most of it was fascinating, some aspects of the book bothered me. First, as the book progresses, it becomes evident that it is a collection of prior essays; some portions are repetitive, almost down to the exact language. Second, I felt that the author was trying too hard to be "lyrical." Some of the writing seemed "forced," convoluted, and grammatically awkward, to the point that I had to reread sentences to figure out what she wanted to say.

Despite these criticisms, it is an interesting read about an area that has changed so much over the last 150 years.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an incredibly powerful and exquisitely written book.
Jane Brox's second book is masterful: a cross between social history and memoir, a book that is devastatingly clear about the future of the family farm and yet without a trace of rancor. Even if, like me, you're a city person, you should READ THIS BOOK for its pervasive, gentle wisdom; for its stunning prose; for everything a book should offer to its reader--access to a beloved world. ... Read more


16. Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees
by Rosanne Daryl Thomas
list price: $22.95
our price: $16.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585747319
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: The Lyons Press
Sales Rank: 390196
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Post-husband, pre-rest-of-life, Rosanne Daryl Thomas and her seven-year-old daughter move to a small New England town. When, on a whim, she decides to take up beekeeping, her daughter is so proud of her that she can't back out-no matter how bumbling and unprepared she is. Thomas learns much from the Bee Master and other locals intrigued by a novice woman beekeeper who needs their help-at first. As she finds her courage, Thomas also finds herself embracing a life she never dreamed of. Entering the mysterious world of bees, she begins a relationship with nature that mingles science with mythology, wonder with humility, and motherly devotion with a search for new ways of seeing and untried possibilities. She learns that beekeeping, like life, can never be mastered. There is always room to make another mistake, and with each mistake comes an opportunity. Along the way, she gets her share of stings, some honey-and, perhaps, a little bit wiser. With a novelist's eye for detail, and prose that intimately engages the reader, Rosanne Daryl Thomas opens the mysterious and seductive world of beekeeping to a whole new audience. (6 1/4 x 9 1/4, 240 pages)

Rosanne Daryl Thomas is the author of Awaiting Grace and The Angel Carver, which was a New York Times Notable Book. This is her first full-length work of non-fiction. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bees and life
I love reading books about someone passionately engaged in something new, and this book is exactly that. Author Rosanne Daryl Thomas tells a tale of becoming a beekeeper almost on a whim, but it goes deeper than that. Clearly, there was something that drew her to the bees. It simply took circumstance to bring it forward. More importantly, she triumphs over the setbacks that occur with an honesty that seems missing in many books today. Reading this story was like listening to her tell it over coffee in her honey-covered kitchen.

Thomas' tales of learning the beekeeping trade from the bottom up are humorous, enlightening and presented in a conversational tone that kept me turning the pages. So much so that I finished the book in 1 day! She also throws in a few lessons about life and love, without being heavy handed or bogging down the story.

Even as someone who knew a little bit about beekeeping, I learned new stuff about the processes involved. For the gardener in me, it is great to learn a little more about how my garden helps bees to survive and thrive. My neighbor has a single hive on top of his garden shed and I can sit in my garden swing, watching their comings and goings. He makes sure we get some honey each year, too. Tasty! Even more so since part of it arose from my garden.

Several of my favorite books are based around the cycle of the year's passage. I think growing up on a farm certainly plays a part in this, but we all instinctively relate to the passing of the seasons in some way.

4-0 out of 5 stars A HONEY OF A BOOK
While most of us give a wide berth to stinging insects, memoirist Roseanne Daryl Thomas cozies up to bees, affectionately calling them "my girls." - quite an about face for one whose prior knowledge of apian life consisted of "They buzzed. They stung. They were yellow."

Following a divorce Ms. Thomas, her then 7-year-old daughter, August, and Ruffy, a geriatric cat, sought new life in a small New England community populated by 3,000 inquisitive souls.

There she met Farmer Tom; farmer being an unlikely sobriquet for a man with clean fingernails and a business card. Another unlikelihood was Ms. Thomas's out-of-nowhere comment that she might like to keep bees. At this, her daughter smiled, and Farmer Tom offered his land.

Smitten with the idea of having a mother who was a bee keeper, August "danced jubilantly about the house, composing beekeeping songs, drawing beekeeping pictures." Not wishing to disappoint her daughter, and just a little enthralled by the idea herself, Ms. Thomas began a task about which she knew "a teaspoonful more than absolutely nothing."

She visited a master beekeeper who introduced her to a hive body or deep super where bees live. Inside the deep super would be wax covered moveable frames where honey is made. . To her chagrin these did not come ready made, but had to be assembled - a daunting task for one who was not sure she owned a hammer. She bought three unassembled hives.

Another necessity was "The Outfit," first of all, gloves, elbow length cotton covered with yellow latex. Gloves did not come in a 7 ½; the smallest size in the white beesuit was a men's 42 regular. Finally, the hat. She was hoping for something in "a pale gold closely woven straw." Instead, she was handed "a hard white plastic pith helmet with ventilation grates at the temples."

There was no time for second thoughts as she had also ordered six living pounds of Italian honeybees. (According to the Bee Master Italian honeybees had the best dispositions). After many bruised fingers, considerable help from a friend, and countless visits to True Value, the hives were ready. Named Har, Jafenhar, and Thridi for the mythic trio who guard Valhalla, they were placed on Farmer Tom's land.

Weeks passed as Ms. Thomas tended her bees, sloshing through the field in Wellingtons bearing Ball jars of sugar water and toting other necessities in a lavender Bergdorf's shopping bag. With each visit she felt a deepening affinity for that spot of earth. Her respect for the natural world grew as she observed a blue heron seeking sustenance, and heavily laden black ants climbing ant mountains.

After a year the author had survived numerous stings and slings of fortune. She harvested her first crop with the observation that she had learned much but not enough.
Readers will find that they have learned much about bee keeping but not enough about Rosanne Daryl Thomas. "Beeing" is a memoir oddly lacking in emotional intimacy. Her marriage is dismissed with several lines, and there is scant reference to personal feelings. As "Motherhood" is found in the subtitle, one wonders what August's response was to the breakup of her home, and moving to a new community. Did Ms. Thomas ever address these issues with her daughter?

Practical matters also prove puzzling. With no apparent income how does one undertake a costly hobby that requires full time attention? Questions remain unanswered.

Nonetheless, "Being" is fluidly penned, at times lyric in descriptions of the changing seasons. And, there are lessons to be learned in this memoir, not the least of which is, "If you want to get honey, you have to be prepared to get stung."

There's no question at all about that.

- Gail Cooke

5-0 out of 5 stars Completely Charmed by BEEING
I love this book!!! It is sweet, funny, touching
and completely charming. (also inspiring: makes you
want to keep bees and appreciate them more.)
This is a "keeper" for the personal favorites library.
It is the gift I want to give my favorite friends and
relatives. The only thing possibly better than reading
this story would be to see Sandra Bullock make this into
a movie!
******Sandra Bullock please make this into a movie...
it is PERFECT for you!!!!!****************************

5-0 out of 5 stars Honey and Charm
What a great read! Thomas breezes us through a year in the life of an unstoppable single mom, as seen through the lens of a novice beekeeper. She braves the vicissitudes of her first year of beekeeping with pathos, humor, intelligence and grace. As she interweaves her care and tending of the bees and their hives with the care and tending of her daughter, herself and their memorable home, I turned page after page with an ever-widening smile. Many thanks to the author for granting me a glimpse into her personal and universal world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beeing
What a deeply satisfying book, rich in character, witty and warm, reflective without being ponderous, a marvellous read that holds your attention. Recounting her troubles and travails as a novice beekeeper and single mother in a quaint New England town, Rosanne Thomas creates a vivid collection of characters full of quirks yet helpful and kind as she struggles to juggle the challenges of three buzzing hives, a number of unsuitable suitors and the vagaries of nature with the needs of her sensitive, bright young daughter. In the process she paints a panorama of life and death, courage and perseverance with such intelligence, humor and charm and renders the beauty of nature with such deft but delicate strokes that I laughed, spilt a tear, and will never again spread honey on my toast without acknowledging the painstacking labor of love it takes to produce. Beeing offers us by example the gift of true being. ... Read more


17. The Widow Down by the Brook: A Memoir of a Time Gone By
by Mary Macneill
list price: $22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684859696
Catlog: Book (1999-05-06)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 653170
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The last words Wilmot MacNeill ever spoke, right before he died, were to his wife. He urged her to "keep a home of your own. Don't go live with the children. As long as you have your own home you will be independent."

That was almost fifty years ago; today, at ninety-three, Mary MacNeill still has her own home, and has finally decided to share her charming and inspirational memoir of Wilmot's last year, the house in the country he insists they build together before he dies and her surprisingly contemporary journey into an independent life along the way. Mary's long career as a librarian, editor and reader has resulted in a voice that is warm, wise, appealingly straightforward and infused with the same generous sense of humor and composure that has carried her through so many of life's difficult predicaments.

With their two children grown and away from home, Mary and Wilmot MacNeill led a simple life together in a tiny house in the center of Hartford, Connecticut. But When they learn that Wilmot's lingering cancer will soon take his life, everything changes, and so begins the transformation of a dilapidated barn on a scrambled thicket of Connecticut countryside into a beautiful, fruitful home, along with the metamorphosis of a proper librarian and wife into a strong, independent woman who's not only making the tea but also shoveling the manure and facing the elements. The inevitable happens -- Wilmot dies -- but the woman he leaves behind is forever changed. With the help of many friends and neighbors, Mary finishes the house, lives there for many years and becomes a vital and happy member of the rural community.

Written in 1952 and stowed away with Mary's private possessions for more than forty-five years, this memoir is an illustrious time capsule, complete with more than twenty-five original photos, depicting the simplicity of rural New England life in the 1950s and offering one woman's hands-on experience with the changing gender roles this century has witnessed. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Precious One that Got Away
Mary was delighted to hear your raving reviews of her book. I am sad to tell you that she passed away August 18, 2001 at the age of 96. She was in the process of completing a sequal to "The Widow Down By The Brook". Had her body not given out, believe me, her mind would have finished it. I was fortunate to have spent the past year trying to keep up with her. The immediate personal connection you feel reading the words in her book are the same feelings you had meeting her. She found humor in every day. She was a delightful woman, a precious one that got away. She will be truely missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read
To the reviewer from Modesto - please email me, I know Mary would love to hear from you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A time I remember from a place I also lived.
Mary's book read like a conversation between friends as she reminisced about the challenge of making a barn into a home and then adjusting to life as a single woman upon the death of her husband. Although for me it was reminiscent of similar experiences as I was her neighbor, living just over the hill, everyone will enjoy her style. In her telling of the love and support she found among neighbors, she reminds us all of a life and time many of us knew but now has been lost.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book full of Heart & Soul
This is one of the best reads I have expereinced. Must admit that I am partial because I live in CT and much of what she describes I have seen. It is a touching love story. A book about the value of women learing to be independent well before her time. It is richly written. Our book club will be reading this book next month. I'm looking forward to the second reading. A must read in my humble opinion!

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book.
I loved Mary's book. It is so good, it took me two nights to read it but that was because I had an accounting test to study for, or else I would have finished it in one night. As I read it I really felt like I knew her, like she was writing only to me and telling me what was going on in her life. When I did have to put the book down to study, my mind kept going back to her little town and I couldn't help but wonder how she was getting along. I wish people were as helpful and friendly now as in those days. My only complaint is that the book wasn't longer. I could have read about her and her neighbors for many more pages.I am not going to give my mom my book to read but I am going to get her a copy of her own. ... Read more


18. Where Does the Wild Goose Go?
by Willem Lange
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584651903
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: University Press of New England
Sales Rank: 877656
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Book Description

A third collection of stories by a master raconteur. ... Read more


19. Fly Rod Crosby: The Woman Who Marketed Maine
by Julia A. Hunter, Earle G., Jr Shettleworth
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884482200
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Sales Rank: 914974
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cornelia Thurza Crosby's remarkable life (1854-1946) gave riseto a certain amount of legend: she was the first woman to legally shoot acaribou in Maine, held the first Maine Guide license issued, caught (butprobably didn't release...) 200 trout in one day, and was rumored to haveshot against Annie Oakley in a sharpshooting competition. Julia Hunter'sinsightful biography separates fact from fiction while exploring the careerof a woman who worked tirelessly to promote the sporting life in Maine atthe turn of the century.

Miss Crosby was an articulate writer herself, and her column, "Fly Rod'sNote Book," was syndicated throughout the eastern United States. The MaineCentral Railroad employed her to travel to expositions and fairs, where inher outdoor dress of dark green doeskin with a scandalously short skirt, shestood in front of a small log camp decorated with the paraphenalia andtrophies of the sporting life, spoke with passersby about the delights ofMaine, and showed them her scrapbook of photographs—enticing them to travelthe rails to the woods.

Many of the photographs in her album were taken by E. R. Starbird, acommercial photographer specializing in Maine woods views. Nearly a hundredimages—of hunting and fishing, sporting camps, lakes and streams andrivers, are reproduced in the second half of this book, along with an essayon Starbird's work by Earle Shettleworth. Excerpts from Fly Rod's writingsadd to this fascinating picture of the Maine woods at the turn of thecentury and provide further insight on the unusual life of this remarkablewoman.

... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book's a great catch!
This is a very interesting book about a colorful woman who put Maine on the map with her tireless writings and promotions. The first part is about Cornelia's life, and the second part is from "Fly Rod's" letters and an album of vintage photos by Edwin Starbird. It all makes for a fascinating collection about this bold New Englander!

With an odd nickname like Fly Rod, Cornelia Crosby was bound to attract people's interest. Not only that, she was six feet tall and unusually athletic for nineteenth-century women. Ironically, she tended to be sickly as a child, so her doctor prescribed being in the outdoors as a cure. Cornelia discovered she loved to hunt and fish in the Maine woods. As a young woman, she began to write about her adventures in a popular newspaper column, using the pen name "Fly Rod." The name stuck. Sadly, a knee injury put an end to Fly Rod's active outdoor adventures, but she remained beloved by many for the rest of her long life.

5-0 out of 5 stars An unconventional look at an unconventional woman.
A carefully researched, entertainingly written biography of a woman who in many ways defied the conventions of her era - but who was in many other ways limited by them nevertheless. You do NOT have to be interested in hunting and fishing to find Cornelia Crosby's story inspiring and enjoyable.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of "Granite Island"

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasurable text & photos from the Old Maine...
This captivating, informative and fresh volume betrays an excellent working knowledge of the subject. From a lifelong Maine resident who published a tourist guide for about ten years (nearly three decades ago), please accept my sincere thanks. Such an evening of "pure joy" this account of Fly Rod (and those newly-revealed photographs) brought to me! Even 8 months after reading it, I remember with pleasure this account from "old Maine." The volume is still displayed, so guests also can "enjoy the read!" ... Read more


20. Happy The Land
by Louise Dickinson Rich
list price: $12.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892724528
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: Down East Books
Sales Rank: 493219
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