The first stage of a Maine spring includes dirty cars, cabin fever and unpredictable weather. It isn’t pretty. A white wonderland melts into slush, muck, salt residue and soggy lawns. So while you’re waiting for the nice part of spring — budding trees, wild strawberries and rainbows — try out some new books about Maine, set in Maine or by Maine authors.
“Building a Viking Ship in Maine,” by Paul T. Cunningham, January 2012, Just Write Books, 158 pages, $18.95.
A photo essay of the making of the Snorri, a Viking ship built in the 20th century using centuries old techniques. Cunningham grew up in Freeport, Maine. He is now a freelance photographer and volunteers with the Freeport Fire and Rescue and the Freeport Historical Society.
“Hunting, Fishing and Camping: 100th Anniversary Edition,” by Leon Leonwood Bean with updates by Bill Gorman, February 2012, Down East Books, 144 pages, $19.95.
L.L. Bean has been a trusted outfitter and source for expert outdoor advice since 1912. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Maine-based company has updated “Hunting, Fishing and Camping,” Bean’s no-nonsense guide to enjoying the outdoors (originally published in 1942). The new edition pairs the original text and nostalgic photographs with the 21st century perspective of Bean’s great grandson and Outdoor Channel television host, Bill Gorman.
“Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea,” by Morgan Callan Rogers, January 2012, High Bridge Company, 550 pages, hardcover, $34.95.
This coming-of-age novel follows Florine Gilham, a girl growing up in a small town on the coast of Maine. When her mother disappears during a weekend trip, her idyllic childhood is turned upside down. This is a novel about love — romantic and familial — and finding strength and humor in the face of tragedy. Morgan Callan Rogers, a generations-back native Mainer, grew up in Bath. This is her first novel.
“Historic Iron and Steel Bridges in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont,” by Glenn A. Knoblock, January 2012, McFarland, 218 pages, $55.
This book chronicles the development of metal truss and related bridges in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont from the 1860s to 1940, and includes the names of their inventors, historical changes in the highway and railroad networks that caused these bridges to be built, the rise of state bridge-building agencies, developments in the field of civil engineering and the preservation of trends.
“Patriot on the Kennebec: Major Reuben Colburn, Benedict Arnold and the March to Quebec: 1775,” by Mark A. York, February 2012, The History Press, 160 pages, $19.99.
In late 1775, a few months after the first shorts of the American Revolution were fired, Benedict Arnold led more than 1,000 troops into Quebec to attack the British. Departing from Massachusetts, by the time they reached Pittston, Maine, they were in desperate need for supplies. Many patriotic Mainers contributed, including Major Reuben Colburn.
“Maine: an annotated bibliography,” by Christian P. Potholm, November 2011, Lexington Books, 144 pages, $55.
In this beautiful book, the author gives readers a useful and often-humorous overview of more than 400 books written about Maine, pointing out works from the nineteenth century and early twentieth century that are often overlooked. This is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Pine Tree State.
“Growing Up on an Island off the Coast of Maine,” by Carroll M. Haskell, October 2011, Polar Bear & Company, 296 pages, $16.95.
Born in 1927, Carroll M. Haskell (known as “Cabbage” to most islanders) grew up on Deer Isle, graduating from Stonington High School in 1945. This memoir is told in an islander’s authentic voice, telling of his adventures lobster fishing, working in a granite quarry, and getting into mischief in a small community. Haskell also tells of island living during the Great Depression and World War II.
“Dahlov Ipcar’s Wild Animal Alphabet,” by Dahlov Ipcar, December 2011, Islandport Press, 18 pages, $10.95.
Following on last year’s “Dahlov Ipcar’s Farmyard Alphabet, the second board book from Maine artist Dahlov Ipcar draws on illustrations from 10 of Ipcar’s previous children’s books, most of which are out of print, as well as some of her fine art paintings. Her original rhyming couplets take readers on a trip through the jungle, from “A” for antelopes to “Z” for zebra. Ipcar is a Maine artist with a career spanning more than three-quarters of a century. She lives on a farm in Georgetown Island, which she bought with her husband in 1923, and she continues to paint every day.
“Breakwater,” by Kevin Mills, December 2011, Maine Authors Publishing, 251 pages, $18.95.
“Breakwater” chronicles the lives of two members of the seafaring Miller family, Hal and his grandson Clark. Readers first met the Miller family in “Ocean” (2009), the first novel by award-winning journalist Kevin Mills. Hal is struggling to find purpose in life’s pain, and Clark is losing grasp on his dreams, then a lost love re-enters his life and everything changes. Mills is currently a sports writer for the Lewiston Sun Journal.
“Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm,” by Erin Byers Murray, October 2011, St. Martin’s Press, 368 pages, $25.99.
This memoir is a blend of personal narrative, food miscellany and history. In 2009, Erin Byer Murray left her city lifestyle behind and convinced a mostly male crew at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Mass., to let a food and lifestyle writer work for them for a year to learn the business of oysters. Murray is a Boston area journalist, specializing in food and wine.
“The Garbage Man” by Travis Smith, December 2011, Maine Authors Publishing, 182 pages, $15.95.
In this psychological thriller, high school student David Slate has just settled into a new home in a small town in Alabama when his already unstable life becomes even more hectic as he looks into the strange history of his new house and the neighborhood’s homicidal garbage man.
“In the Words of E. B. White,” edited by Martha White, November 2011, Cornell University Press, 232 pages, $22.95.
“I would rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else,” wrote E. B. White. This quote, among many others, is included in this new publication in his honor. Martha White is manager of White Literary LLC, the literary estate of E. B. White, and the editor of “Letters of E. B. White.” A freelance writer, she lives on the coast of Maine.