What NE book have you bought or are you reading now?

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What NE book have you bought or are you reading now?

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Mar 11, 2008, 9:48 am

Here's a thread to note any books you are reading which are set in New England or about New England OR a book that you may have run across in the bookstore and just had to have. Fiction or nonfiction, being the voyeurs that we are, it will all be interesting!

I'm doing a little research so I'm reading a few New England-related books:
The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835 by Nancy F. Cott. (captures the years between the Revolutionary War and the heyday of the Industrial Revolution).
Farm to Factory: Women's Letters, 1830-1860 by Thomas Dublin.

But, browsing the bookstore yesterday, I came across They Change Their Sky: The Irish in Maine edited by Michael C. Connolly. A collection of ten essays. While most of my ancestry predates the Irish immigration of the 19th century, I am interested in the Scot-Irish immigration of the 18th century so I had to have the book, of course.

Mar 11, 2008, 10:48 pm

I'm not reading any New England books right now, but I did recently buy an old Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide of Rand McNally which has some nice maps in it of New England, so maybe that can count for now.

Mar 18, 2008, 6:48 pm

Just finished The Lowell Offering: Writings by New England Mill Women 1840-1845, edited by Benita Eisler

This book is an interesting collection of writings (stories, letters, essays, and poetry) by the native NE women who worked in the mills here in New England in the middle of the 19th century (just prior to the changeover to immigrant labor). The original editor/s of the literary magazine seemed to favor mostly upbeat and positive viewpoints of millwork, and avoid any sensitive issues such as hours and wages. There was some criticism around this (and accusations of being subsidized by the mill owners). Beyond this, and bearing in mind what it doesn't include, it's an enlightening window into the lives of women who left their family farms and flocked to the mills to support themselves.

Mar 23, 2008, 8:41 am

I'm up to my eyeballs in the Alcotts now. I'm interested in Abba May, the mother or 'Marmee' in Little Women, but one has to pour through biographies of Bronson and Louisa May to find her.

Mar 23, 2008, 12:04 pm

I read a biography of Bronson and Louisa once - can't remember the name - and one of the things I remember from it is lots of Alcott babies dying, other than the four characterized in Little Women. Mrs. Alcott can't have led an easy life.

Mar 24, 2008, 9:48 am

I'm still reading about their courtship. Bronson gave several pages of his journal to Abba to read in order to make his feelings clear. She was 27 at the time and was smitten with this dreamer who would be such a poor provider for his family. I think she is the one who kept at least one of his feet nailed to the earth!

Mar 30, 2008, 12:29 pm

Two Alcott-related books I would recommend:

Alcotts: A Biography of a Family by Madelon Bedell
Louisa May Alcott: A Modern Biography by Martha Saxton.

Both are family biographies and the story of this odd, dysfunctional family is every bit as interesting as Little Women might have been when one was young.

Abr 2, 2008, 9:03 am

Now reading A New England Tale by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, published originally in 1822 . . .

Abr 10, 2008, 7:51 am

Have picked up Olive Kitteridge, a new collection of stories by Elizabeth Strout. The stories, set in small town Maine, are related and center around the central character who is a retired schoolteacher. It got a great review from Publishers Weekly a few months back - which is where I first saw it.

Abr 21, 2008, 8:20 am

I'm currently reading Hello, I Must Be Going by Christie Hodgen which takes place in an as yet unnamed old mill town in Western, MA

Abr 27, 2008, 9:01 pm

I thought I might read the forthcoming Dennis Lehane set in Boston but since dukedom has started reading The Handmaid's Tale, I thought I would join him. It's set mostly in Cambridge (aka the Republic of Gilead).

Abr 29, 2008, 8:10 pm

The Handmaid's Tale is a scarily good read.

Maio 6, 2008, 9:10 pm

Yes, still scary the 4th or 5th time around! Can we say we had an LT meetup on the grounds of the Republic of Gilead?

Editado: Maio 26, 2008, 2:12 pm

I'm reading The Given Day by Dorchester native Dennis Lehane. Set during WWI, it beings with baseball . . .

Maio 15, 2008, 7:32 am

I'm about 70 pages into the new Lehane now (out of 700!) and is set in Boston just as the war is ending, just about 100 years ago. It is a wonderfully detailed and evocative historical setting. The main character is a Boston policeman whose beat is the North End. Ultimately, I think it is to be about the policemen's strike, but I'm not there yet.

Maio 21, 2008, 7:02 pm

I just finished the Lehane. Great book. Here's my blurb:

Dennis Lehane's new novel is a brawny historical fiction that recreates 1918/19 Boston in rich, vivid detail. He lured me into this 700 page novel slowly --- at a 100 pages I was hooked; at 300 pages it was evident I had sold my soul to it. Tightly plotted, his story includes plenty of action, suspense and blood-letting. His characters are wonderfully rendered, real people, some likable, some not so much. His heroes, Danny Coughlin and Luther Lawrence, both young men coming into their own during turbulent times, and stumbling along the way. Ultimately the book dramatizes the Boston Policemen's Strike, but beyond that it is a story of family, love, corruption, unrest, terror, fear, race, class, and power, power, power. I never realized how much was going on the United States during those two years and how much of today can be seen in it --and it's all in there, and then some! Fans of Lehane will find everything they have come to expect from him and more---this isn't a departure for him, it's an evolution.

Now, don't laugh, but as I finished the novel, it began to rain outside and somehow I found it a most fitting afterward to this exceptional tale.

Maio 21, 2008, 7:08 pm

The link in 14 doesn't work. Try this: The Given Day.


Maio 26, 2008, 2:16 pm

thanks, rdurick. Don't know why the touchstone didn't work, but I went in to edit it (the brackets were there), resubmitted and it worked fine.

re: further on the Lehane novel. I keep thinking that the book is some cross between a war novel and some of the sagas I read decades ago (Winds of War, East of Eden...etc). I can't quite put my finger on it. . .

Maio 27, 2008, 11:29 am

I think many many work older Touchstones aren't working at this point. None of our Work Touchstonea from March or April show up on the Touchstones Work List on the upper right, and the blue "Touchstone Link" in our messages don't link.

Jul 26, 2008, 5:25 pm

I recently bought The Encyclopedia of New England from the sale table at Gulf of Maine Books. Couldn't resist, as it was down to $16.98 from a much much higher initial price. I'm looking forward to dipping into it whenever I need some information, or just for fun.

Jul 26, 2008, 5:40 pm

Oh, no! I paid close to full price for that (like retail minus 20%). I had great pride of ownership that has now evaporated.


Editado: Ago 27, 2008, 2:35 am

I read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout on the way to Australia earlier this month. It's a terrific book but I could not help but be a little disappointed. I suppose I was looking for a bit of "home' in the book and didn't find it.

eta, it's set in a somewhat fictitious 'mid-coast' Maine. She does use some real places names but uses them rather randomly.

Set 17, 2008, 8:51 pm

Read Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work a collection of short stories by Jason Brown. The stories are connected around the fictional town of Vaughn, Maine. I thought them excellent.

Set 17, 2008, 10:45 pm

Earlier this week I finished Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman. It's set in Cape Cod, MA on a farm that's been named Blackbird House. The book tells the stories of the people that lived on the farm throughout the last couple of hundred years - the tales of their love for each other and the sorrows that life brings. I really enjoyed it!

Set 22, 2008, 7:25 pm

Reading through Everyday Life in Early America by David Freeman Hawke. It's for some research, so it's a light reading.

BTW, it's a very readable story about everyday life in 17th century America, both in New England and Maryland/Virginia and parts between:-) I've enjoyed it.

Nov 6, 2008, 3:23 pm

Now reading Loom and Spindle: or, Life among the early mill girls, a memoir by Harriet H. Robinson. Robinson started working in the mill at Lowell at the age of 10 (around 1837).

Nov 6, 2008, 3:33 pm

I just recently finished reading The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. The book takes place in Salem...where the author lives...and it was an amazing story. I highly recommend it.

Also recently finished was The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell which is a non-fiction book that discusses the puritans in Massachussets from around 1630 to 1692. It was a humorous writing with lots of info about the early days of MA that I wasn't aware of before now.

Now I am reading The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen. This is a continuation of her Maura Isles/Jane Rizzolo mystery series. Book/series predominately takes place in Boston, MA. But the characters have been known to go into the 'burbs and other parts of New England.

Nov 7, 2008, 7:59 am

>27 Irisheyz77: I love Sarah Vowell, although I haven't read that one. I think I would be tempted to listen to it on audio.

>I thought about reading The Lace Reader as I heard it's historical setting was credible, but couldn't get past the totally made-up 'lace reading' thing. Besides, historical fiction, at this point, would mess with my nonfiction research (which was my answer to The Heretic's Daughter also).

Nov 7, 2008, 8:58 am

I don't think that I would classify Lace Reader as historical fiction. It is set in the earl 1990's which really wasn't all that long ago. and with the exception of lack of cell phone use...its not all that noticable that its in 'the past'

As for the lace reading. That comes more into play with little epigraphs before the start of each chapter. No one in the book actively sits down and reads lace. The lace reader of the title was Towners aunt, who dies and that is why she returns to Salem at the start of the novel. It was a really good story.

Nov 8, 2008, 11:27 pm

Interesting. Seems I saw a little video on the publisher's website before the book came out and I could've sworn it suggested it was an historical novel. Glad it was a good story!

Nov 9, 2008, 4:54 pm

The other day, I picked up a (remaindered) copy of The Encyclopedia of New England at Borders for $9.99.

Nov 10, 2008, 10:32 pm

Just finished "Run" by Anne Patchett and thought it was great. Set in Boston and Cambridge, it wrestles with politics, race, family and lots of other issues. Well written and fast paced. In paperback.

Nov 11, 2008, 3:42 pm

Reading The Early New England Cotton Manufacture by Caroline Ware (well, actually more or less skimming it), and The Golden Threads: New England's Mill Girls and Magnates by Hannah Josephson.

Dez 17, 2008, 4:19 pm

I recently finished There's a Porcupine in my Outhouse by Michael Tougias about a suburbanite from near Boston who buys a camp up in Northern Vermont. It was pretty amusing.

Jan 5, 2009, 7:26 am

I'm reading Tinkers by Paul Harding. A story of two lives, father and son, Howard and George, both tinkers in their own way (Howard, a peddlar, and George, a builder and fixer of antique clocks). Beautifully written, hard to describe.

Jan 17, 2009, 7:45 pm

"The New England Book" is Thoreau's Walden. I advised all of my former students to be sure to read it before they turned thirty. And then once they turned 60 to read it again. I read it again at 66.

Jan 22, 2009, 5:10 pm

While it is not all set in NE it is close (New Jersey). It also has parts in New York, which is why it could plausibly be entered here... At The Breakers: A Novel by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall.

Jan 23, 2009, 10:34 am

Dipped into Puritans and Yankees: the Winthrop Dynasty of New England, 1630 - 1717 by Richard Dunn. It's not what I'm looking for but I thought it interesting enough to take it up again in the future.

Now, I'm reading Rum, Slaves and Molasses; the Story of New England's Triangular Trade by Clifford Lindsey Alderman.

Jan 23, 2009, 7:56 pm

Mentioned once upon a time by vpfluke, Rail-Trails: New England came in today's mail. By and by I will look through it for nostalgia's sake, remembering my one time love of walking and my childhood in Massachusetts.


Mar 28, 2009, 4:07 pm

Since I last posted, I've read a dissertion titled "A Good Master Well-Served: A Social History of Servitude in Massachusetts, 1620-1750" by Lawrence Towner (1954). It's an excellent overview of of the subject, which covers apprenticeships, indentured servants, and slaves.

Nov 25, 2009, 9:21 pm

I just breezed through New England Weather New England Climate. It isn't a reference book but rather a very well organized primer on all forms of New England weather concepts, from air masses and pressure systems to events such as Nor'easters, hurricanes and ice storms.

Nov 26, 2009, 9:34 am

I'm presently reading Katherine Hall Page's latest book, The Body in the Sleigh, as a holiday title. This one is set on Sanpere Island in the Penobscot Bay.

Nov 27, 2009, 10:47 am

#41 - Oh, that book is going on my Christmas list! Thank you!

Jan 21, 2010, 3:55 pm

I just read Burn the Town and Sack the Banks : Confederates Attack Vermont and really enjoyed it.

Not many people outside of Vermont know about the Confederate raid on St. Albans Vermont in October 1864

Jan 21, 2010, 8:45 pm

Oh, wow. St. Albans, huh? That seems like such an odd choice, from a practical - nevermind strategic - point of view. I'll have to put that on my wishlist!

I've been reading Weird Massachusetts and Weird New England, which are fun if not exactly great literature.

Jan 22, 2010, 4:25 pm

Well, since it's close to Canada the idea was to flee over the border. It's an interesting read

Check your public library!!!

Fev 21, 2010, 1:55 pm

ha ha, the closest I've gotten to New England in my reading lately, is upstate New York with various works by Joyce Carol Oates (hey, the character of Kasch in Childwold had been an academic in Boston...)

I did buy a new volume of poetry by Betsy Sholl, one of the founders of Alice James books in Farmington, Maine.

Fev 21, 2010, 5:20 pm

My current New England read is The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. It's a humorous take on the Puritans.

Fev 22, 2010, 5:34 pm

In both of Chelsea Handler's books, she spends time on Martha's Vineyard.


Fev 22, 2010, 6:35 pm

I am reading a fascinating book, Walking Tours of Boston's Made Land by Nancy S. Seasholes. Much of downtown Boston was created by extending land out into the harbor or by filling in Back Bay. Only a thin neck of land (along Washington St) connected the downtown (Boston proper) with the South End which butts up against Roxbury. There are some vry detailed maps along with old photographs. I checked this out of the library, and I almost think I should have it permanently in mycollection.

Mar 2, 2010, 8:19 am

>48 thornton37814: I listened to that on audio (unabridged) late last year. It's humorous but wonderfully researched.

Mar 2, 2010, 8:54 pm

I walk many of the same streets which are highlighted in The Given Day every working day and needless to say the historical fiction comes alive for me. I found the historical events of 1919 Boston come alive each time I turned a page. What a year 1919 was in Boston; the Spanish flu, the police strike, communists and the start of the worst curse that hit Boston...the curse of Babe Ruth.

Mar 3, 2010, 4:10 pm

>52 Gingersnap000: yeah, he stuffed a lot in that one book, but it was an eventful period also:-)

Mar 3, 2010, 4:22 pm

So where is my copy of The Given Day? I would like to pick it up after Bel Canto, a non-New England book.


Abr 5, 2010, 10:46 am

I finished Nicholson Baker's The Anthologist recently. I was not aware that he lived - or now lives - in Maine (South Berwick). I must check his earlier books on the shelf and see if that was always true. That may only make him technically a New Englander; however, his character of Paul Chowder seems indigenous enough;-)

Abr 9, 2010, 11:00 am

Avaland: I am embrassed to admit that 1919 Boston Police strike was unfamilar to me and prompted me to do more research on the strike. Funny, I did know a great on the subject of Babe Ruth. Glad you enjoyed the Given Day also.

Ago 9, 2010, 11:52 am

If you are looking for some fun fiction, the majority of Jeremy Robinson's reads have some NH tie to them. A character from his newest series is from NH (along with a mythical creature coming to life by Plymouth), the book before this series launches from Exeter and the one before that has a natural disaster happen to Portsmouth. It's fun to see landmarks that I know pop up in books that I read, and it doesn't hurt that the thrills, laughs and science keep it entertaining.

Ago 9, 2010, 12:59 pm

While on a recent trip to Maine, I bought a copy of Remember the Portland Maine Trolleys by Edwin Bill Robertson -- a small mostly pictorial publication in black and white. Trolleys lasted in Portland until 1940, but there is a trolley museum in Kennebunkport (actually Arundel), Seashore Trolley Museum, which is worth a trip. I think it has the largest collection of electrid powered public transport vehicles in the U.S. The trolleys run every day in the summer, weekends in the spring and fall, but the trackless trolleys run only on selected days. Of course, there are lots of static displays and a good gift shop (for rail buffs, that is). (The Illinois Railway Museum has an overall larger transport collection, but that includes steam and diesel powered vehicles.)

Ago 11, 2010, 3:30 am

Essa mensagem foi considerada abusiva por vários usuários e não mais será mostrada. (mostrar)
I'd like to say thank you for allowing open acceptance into this group. Before I go any further I must state the following piece so you may know me a little better. And yes this book's setting is within CT and MA.

I'm M.D. Birmingham and to be honest I haven't been able to do much leisure reading since Feb 11th, 2007. The year of 2007 after awakening (emerging & merging) from my 63 day non-responsive coma reading wasn't an ability that I was easily capable to do. It's not because I couldn't read and comprehend (as with illiteracy), or my earlier stages of hand dexterity deficits (no gross motor skills). It wasn't because of shortened attention span due to stimuli overload; it was my double vision (best generally explained as a side effect from my coma and injury nature of DAI). Whether it was a large magazine page or typically sized book, whenever I looked at the words on the page it was like staring at a “wordsearch.” All the letters were jumbled on the page and it took much consistent effort to retrain my vision to follow the page line by line; along with my mind. Aside from books and pages with writing, typical exit signs and labels with writing (on doors, etc) that I encountered in my "world" (inpatient hospitalized stay) were seen either as a “wordsearch” or double. The double vision caused the same object to appear as you would see if you were to cross your eyes while reading this. One set of the writing is slightly off to the other side (left or right) and a bit lower than its "twin." I did overcome this challenge through the help of time and creating my own strategies to no longer see double but only one object (like 1year olds or younger, vision tests were obviously not possible). Needless to say, that was only one challenge I overcame to write my own autobiography titled Getting There... and yes I did type it entirely prior to submitting as a galley; along with this whole message. For other groups that I belong to I will cut and paste this information regarding the topic question of introducing myself as it is truth to who I am. During the final days to my book’s “being” before becoming "live" to the public I made the website www.getting-therebook.com which contains links to the web address (photos, etc) mentioned in the book. You are welcome to follow my trail of "crumbs" that will lead you to both desire more and satiation.
I look forward to gaining more info from and within this group.
With utmost gratitude,

Ago 16, 2010, 8:54 pm

>Bob, my father used to take us to the trolley museum often (well, it seemed an annual event, but it may not have been) since it was no more than a half hour or so away. At that time (early 60s) the trolley that you could ride was the white open air one with tiered seating, but my favorite was always the double-decker!

He used to ride the trolleys into Portland as a young man, so it was a sentimental thing for him.

Editado: Ago 17, 2010, 11:03 am

Hello, Vermont person here, I just thought of checking to see if there was a Vermont group (no) but I found a New England group which is even better!

I've read several Vermont or VT-related books this summer -- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (in Bennington many years) and a bio about her Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson and also have just finished Dorothy Canfield Fisher's supremely delightful book Vermont Tradition. If anyone is interested I reviewed it and you can find it here .

Oh oh -- I have just started reading the Handmaid's Tale and was wondering where it was set -- so thankyou wayyyyy up there near the beginning of this thread (avaland).

Ago 17, 2010, 12:29 pm


The open air trolley with tiered seating is from Montreal. The doulbe-decker may have been from England, where they were quite common. Only a few cities in the U.S. or Canada ever used them.

I remember reading about an articulated trolley that ran in the Boston area in the WWI era. It was dubbed "two rooms and a bath". It was two trolleys permanently joined together with a small section in the middle linking them. I think this middles section had no wheels supporting it, so it must have had a rough floating sensation when someone rode it.

Set 4, 2010, 8:51 pm

62> interesting. Admittedly, I don't remember much historical stuff from those visits.

>61 sibylline: Speaking of Vermont, I have a dear friend who is recommending Castle Freeman? Have you read him? The Vermont authors I've read who come to mind are Jeffey Lent and Elizabeth Inness-Brown.

Editado: Set 7, 2010, 9:58 pm

I haven't read either of the three -- but another excellent Vermont story-teller is Howard Frank Mosher. His books are all quite compelling -- all set in the NE Kingdom, many of them back towards the early part of the century. Jay Craven, a Vermont director, has made a fine movie of one of them with Rip Torn in the lead Where the Rivers Flow North. I'll have to check out these others!

Set 13, 2010, 6:47 pm

I'm reading World and Town the forthcoming novel by Gish Jen. it's set in a small town in New England, haven't figured out which state yet....

Set 13, 2010, 8:22 pm

I seem to have acquired a small book by David Mamet called South of the Northeast Kingdom - described in the book jacket as an 'edgy meditation' on 'America itself' and it seems to have gotten in my bag for a trip to Boston where I expect to have a good deal of time for reading.

Set 21, 2010, 1:26 pm

I think the Gish Jen is set in Northern Vermont (clue=cows), but it's never specified. A very good novel, btw.

I also attempted to read Esther Forbes's O Genteel Lady! (1926) set in Boston in the mid 19th century. I made it to about page 100. Forbes is the author of Johnny Tremain which many of us had to read in junior high or middle school; and she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942 for her biography of Paul Revere. I found the young woman in O Genteel Lady! to be a bit boring, although the domestic detail and that of historic Boston was well done.

Editado: Set 21, 2010, 2:29 pm

The Mamet was terrific -- I highly recommend it to anyone who likes essays about local life in a rural area. I posted a review (I think?).

Now I've moved over one state to New Hampshire and am reading Donald Hall's Life Work which promises to be wonderful.

What an off-putting title! (The Forbes!) I'm sure it has merit but really!

Set 22, 2010, 8:14 am

I have Life Work but haven't read it.

Set 22, 2010, 9:46 am

Feel free to join us: here !

Abr 30, 2011, 2:39 pm

I recently finished Loop Year. I just wish there were more entries about nature. Or trails. Or nature trails.

Abr 30, 2011, 6:58 pm

Glad this thread popped up -- I am reading Harriet Beecher Stowe's Oldtown Friends -- a remarkable portrait of a Massachusetts townjust after the end of the Revolution.

Maio 13, 2011, 4:56 pm

>72 sibylline: That's good to know! I came across a Stowe among my books recently - The Pearl of Orr's Island, set in Maine (now I'm wondering why my other Stowe books do not come up when I search my library. Did I not enter them? ack!)

Maio 13, 2011, 5:05 pm

>73 avaland: You might love this book, I think. We've got a little group read going on it over on the 75, let me bring you the link..... here

Maio 15, 2011, 7:01 pm

>74 sibylline: I doubt I could join in, but thanks for the invite. I'll keep my eye out for the book though. I think she has been terribly under-appreciated. She wrote the single biggest bestseller of the 19th century; a book that influenced public opinion...

Maio 16, 2011, 12:06 pm

We're just finishing up -- but I thought you might be interested in knowing of the thread in case you ever read it.

Oldtown is modeled on Natick, apparently and Cloudland, the town where they are sent to Academy 'in the mountains' is Franklin.

Editado: Jul 5, 2011, 1:53 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Jul 5, 2011, 8:01 pm

Presently I'm reading another NE book -- White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple. It's a very very good book, truly excellent.

Jul 5, 2011, 9:01 pm

>78 sibylline: That does sound interesting.

I started an interesting novel set in early NE Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell. It got off to a good start but I'm still reading Middlemarch and I'm not able to read more than one serious book at a time. However, as soon as I'm done with Middlemarch and had a good cry at saying goodbye to the characters, I am starting Lois the Witch again. I think it might be a little bit like Tess of the D'urbervilles meets the Puritans.

Editado: Jul 5, 2011, 9:18 pm

That makes me chuckle for some reason. I'll have to look into that book -- had no idea Gaskell wrote something set over here.

And oh yes, it is hard to say goodbye to Middlemarch. My sympathies.

Jul 14, 2011, 1:16 pm

>79 enaid: I enjoyed Lois the Witch but it's nowhere near her best work.
>78 sibylline: I saw that in my connections (I must have you as an interesting library). I have the book but who knows when I'll get to it.

>76 sibylline: Interesting, thanks.

Editado: Jul 25, 2011, 8:24 pm

"WORDY SHIPMATES" by Sarah Vowell. I picked up this book because of a reference made to it on the LT New England Group. Although, today, I am 40 years an Angeleno (L.A. CA), I spent my first 16 years in North Attleboro MA and on occasion, I have a need to reconnect with my Yankee roots. Early on, my prejudices reared up and I almost didn't continue BUT Sarah Vowell 's intriguing writing style, unrestrained energy, very current and kicky prose, all American, obviously well researched and permeated with the allure that no author can manufacture - her passion about the subject. Me? I was not enamored by John Winthrop, but found that I could not put the book down. The reading is fast paced, the wind was blowing through the pages as I read 20, 30, 40 pages, zip. And, I LEARNED, good Lord, who ever expected to learn anything; books are just for fun and relaxation, after-all. So, here is my review: READ IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT, Hey Mikey! From many levels, Sarah Vowell is a complete and utter seductress of the American language, could maintain the interest of a two-year-old try THAT and she will buzz in every direction like whipping about on a roller coaster and as you are walking down the ramp from the ride, you're just so glad you did it. Review over. I realized as I was absorbing this book, that I do not read many books that I disagree with and as usual, by the end I found far more commonality - I guess humans just find a way to relate. Good job! Forgive me for the correction, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Jesus Christ speaking, Beatitudes, Matthew 5:14 - which does NOT make John Winthrop a plagiarist.

Editado: Jul 25, 2011, 8:57 pm

Sermons in Stone by Susan Allport is the enthralling story of all those stone walls that are everywhere in New England. Susan Allport is that fascinating teacher that you would follow right off a cliff. She weaves a story that involves a maze of players like Vikings, French, economics, naughty cows, glaciers, where are the trees - the list goes on and on and on. If you are from New England, have been to New England, no someone that lives in New England, for me, Sermons in Stone should be in every library and every self respecting Yankee will find this book to be one of the family treasures. I adored it and highly recommend the book - can you tell? And it is a very easy and enjoyable read. Born and raised in North Attleboro, MA and currently a 40 year 'native' of Los Angeles, CA.

Jul 26, 2011, 12:41 pm

Thanks for the recommend -- I think we have that one around somewhere. Another fantastic book about NE is called Changes in the Land by somebody William Cronon and there is another one too that is even more astonishingly good. It helps you identify how a piece of land has been used in the past by what is growing on it and various other signs..... A fun book on the neolithic stuff is called Manitou: The Sacred Landscape of New England's Native Civilization by James Mavor, Jr. It is.

I came here to report that sometime next week I'll be started the Carlos Baker Emerson Among the Eccentrics.

Jul 26, 2011, 4:00 pm

I'll be reading Berried to the Hilt by Karen MacInerney sometime later this week.

Jul 26, 2011, 4:03 pm

I remembered the other title it's called Reading the Forested Landscape -- it's a beautiful book as well as being fascinating and well written. Now I'm going to have to rummage around and find it!

Jul 29, 2011, 3:09 am

Recently took out a New England title I own called Cape Encounters: Contemporary Cape Cod Ghost Stories by Dan Gordon. My parent's house (the house I grew up in) is featured in this book. It has been long haunted by the sea captain who built the house in 1892 and raised his family there. (the chapter is entitled Ancient Spirit) I even saw this ghost once when I was 13 years old, though that particular story isn't mentioned in the book. The book is compiled of "true" ghostly experiences and hauntings from Cape Cod, MA.

Jul 29, 2011, 3:20 pm

87-- that is very very cool! I'll have to look for that book when I'm on the Cape (I figure I can find it at any public library there.)

Nov 8, 2011, 8:22 pm

I've read two Castle Freeman, Jr. (Vermont) novels recently and really enjoyed them. I read Go With Me and All That I Have.

Jan 28, 2014, 8:42 am

Just thought I'd mention that Paul Harding's Enon is excellent. There's a great sense of place. Though a fictional setting, Harding grew up in Wenham on the north shore of Boston. It could be any place near or on the NE coast from Portland down to the Cape (imo, of course).