Credit: Kathleen Pierce | BDN

Every month, the Bangor Metro Obsessions: Arts & Culture column features what we can’t get enough of. From books to fitness, movies to podcasts, we cover a little of everything.

Outdoor Living

Surry Gardens, Surry

Why we love it: Since we moved into our new house last fall, my husband and I have been preoccupied with fixing up the place. This spring, the focus has turned to the overgrown backyard, which we’ve been busy transforming into our little “outdoor living room,” including reviving a long-dormant raised bed. What are we filling it with? Flowers, plants and other gorgeous flora from Surry Gardens, which, for my money, is the prettiest nursery and garden shop in eastern Maine. It’s been a beacon for Maine gardeners for more than 40 years, offering up the best selection of perennials, trees and shrubs in the state. It’s also a lovely place to just walk around in when the weather’s still not quite spring-like. It’s lovely to look at — and lovely to smell. A dose of floral medicine.

— Emily Burnham


The Theranos Scam

Why we love it: I can’t get enough of Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scam. For those of you who haven’t been following the drama of this multimillion-dollar medical fraud, Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19 to start Theranos, a company that purported to be able to run hundreds of blood tests with a single drop of blood. Holmes received millions of dollars in investments from big-name donors and even had medical centers set up in Walgreens across the country — but it was all fake. The technology she claimed to have invented didn’t exist, the blood tests that were conducted were completely inaccurate and she even put on a fake baritone voice to seem more enticing to investors (seriously). If you’re intrigued (and how could you not be), I highly recommend listening to the podcast “The Dropout” and watching the HBO documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.”

— Sam Schipani

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Dionis goat milk hand cream

Why we love it: During the winter and spring months my hands get insufferably dry. It’s hard to find a hand lotion that will not make my hands feel greasy or require multiple applications per day. One of my favorite hand creams is from Dionis Goat Milk Skincare. Founded in 1982 in Virginia, Dionis is a family owned company now based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is packed with multiple vitamins and triglycerides, which help prevent moisture loss (and the pesky reapplying). It also comes in wonderful scents, including lavender and water flowers and sea salt. Dionis also sells bath, body, foot and lip products. A 2-ounce bottle can be found for $6.99 at Ulta Beauty.

— Rosemary Lausier


So many books cross my desk at Bangor Metro, and I purchase even more. Every month, I select a few that catch my attention.

“The Missing Season” by Gillian French — Maine writer Gillian French has solidified her presence as a young adult suspense author over the past two years. Her latest book, “The Missing Season,” is a complex story filled with twists, turns and nuance. Clara is the new girl in town, but she makes fast friends with a group of teens who tell her about the Mumbler, the mythical creature that stalks teens every October, stealing one and killing them. She doesn’t believe it, but when a girl goes missing she begins to wonder if the legend is more than a tale kids tell. What I especially loved about this book was that it wove together stories of relationships, hardship and being the new kid with an undercurrent of suspense and wonder. A fun read. Young adult.

“Save Me the Plums” by Ruth Reichl — Ruth Reichl was a restaurant reviewer when she was tapped to lead the venerable Gourmet Magazine. “Save Me the Plums,” is a look back at that time in her career — from acceptance to when the magazine suddenly folded a decade later. For those of us who loved the beautiful stories of meals around the world and breathtaking photography, this is an ode to a magazine gone too soon. Memoir.

“The Lost Girls of Paris” by Pam Jenoff — This book is the proverbial slow-burn. It draws you in with vivid and intense character building for a story told with alternating viewpoints and across decades. As it unfolds, you find yourself wanting to know more and more about the women spies of World War II and what happened to them. Engaging, beautiful and heartbreaking, this is a novel to curl up with. Historical fiction.

— Sarah Walker Caron

This was originally published in Bangor Metro’s May 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.