I hope summer gives you an opportunity to sit and relax in Maine’s beautiful places. And while you’re relaxing, perhaps you’d like to read a book by one of Maine’s great authors. Today I’ll give you some suggestions. Let’s start with novels.

Paul Doiron and Gerry Boyle are two of my favorite novelists, and both have new books out. Gerry’s is titled “Random Acts” and Paul’s is “Almost Midnight.” Paul’s main character is a game warden and Gerry’s is a newspaper reporter.

Christopher Lockwood of Hallowell was standing behind his van when a speeding car hit him, severing his left leg. His recovery took many years and now he has shared that experience in an important book called “Why The Cane?”

My wife Linda and I have been avid birders for about 20 years, and I wish we’d started way before that because birding adds a lot to all of your trips. We’ve enjoyed seeing new birds from Texas to Italy, and the exotic birds we saw in Costa Rica were amazing.

This is one reason I really enjoyed the book, “Two Birds In A Box,” by KT Valliere-Denis Ouilette. This is a great and true story about two baby birds the author’s family found on the floor of their garage. For a while they took care of these baby sparrows and eventually the baby’s parents showed up to take them away. The author lives in Skowhegan and is a dedicated member of her community.

I can only hope that Madeira Starling never runs out of stories of Mayo Mills. I thoroughly enjoyed her stories in her third book, “Legends Of Mayo Mills,” subtitled “The Adventures of Benny and Me,” just as I did the stories in her first two books. Mayo Mills might very well be my town of Mount Vernon, because all of the stories are about people in a small rural Maine town. Some of the characters even closely resemble people in my town.

Ed Rice has written a great book about Maine’s outstanding female runner, Robin Emery. Robin’s story is amazing.  She started running in 1967, and 50 years later, was still running. But her life’s story — while focused on her passion for running — is about a lot more than the races. She is really amazing.

“Thunder Snow” is a harrowing story that will keep you reading to find out if 28-year-old Brandon Chase lives or dies. This is Monmouth resident Thomas Torrington’s third novel, and it is a terrific tale. Chase snowshoes up the back side of Saddleback Mountain to tent out and ski down one of the trails the next day. Saddleback has been closed for years so no one else was there. And he gets caught in a disastrous snow storm.

I thought I knew a lot about Geraldine Largay and her death after she got lost hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine. But I learned so much more from Denis D. Dauphinee’s book, “When You Find My Body.”  Dauphinee tells us all about Gerry, who was a wonderful woman, including her lengthy preparation for hiking the Appalachian Trail. And she almost made it to Mount Katahdin. But she wandered off the trail in 2013, got hopelessly lost, and then settled into a spot where she could not be found. Her body was recovered two years later.

You don’t have to live in Waterville to enjoy Earl Smith’s wonderful history of that city. “Water Village” takes us through that fascinating history from 1498 to today. Boy, he must’ve done a lot of research. I found a lot of the stories to be fascinating, including the fact that in 1830, with a population of 2,200, Waterville had 34 places serving alcohol. I guess some folks consider that the good old days.

Sen. Angus King has a great eye for stunning photos, so I guess that’s why they titled his new book, “A Senator’s Eye.” Angus is well known for his Instagram photos, and this is a  wonderful book featuring great photos and interesting text.

And here are some for the kids. “The Teacup Café” is a very special children’s book with an important message for all of us: Beauty is what is inside each of us. Written by Patty Farrin, this is a book you are going to want to share with all the kids in your family and community. I’ve already passed my copy on to our town library, hoping that every kid in town gets a chance to read this wonderful book.

Melissa Kim has been writing wonderful children’s books in a partnership with Maine Audubon, in which 10 percent of the money goes to Audubon’s outreach programs for underserved preschools. Melissa’s book, “A Little Brown Bat Story,” was inspired by true stories of bats, and will both inform and inspire kids. The illustrations by Jada Fitch are really good too. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a smiling bat before.

I hope every Maine child gets to read some of Francine McEwen’s awesome books, focused on promoting kindness and acceptance in children. Francine lives in Manchester, Maine, and is part of the Read Across America program. She enjoys reading to middle school children at her local grange and conducts anti-bullying workshops for kids.

If you want more book suggestions, go to my website, www.georgesmithmaine.com, and select book reviews. For several years I’ve been writing book reviews for Maine publishers and authors. I especially love the children’s books and you’ll find a lot of reviews of them.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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