Summer Reading

By Sandra Sylvester | Jun 30, 2014

Knox County — Sometimes a TV show will spark an interest in reading the book that it was based upon. Such is the case with “Under the Dome,” a show which enters its second summer season tonight on CBS at 10/9c. Written by our own Maine author, Stephen King, it is one of my very favorite summer shows.

I’d like to talk about that book and TV show a little bit here as well as introduce you to some summer reading by Maine authors or authors who write about Maine. I’ll also have some comments about my own reading this summer. Warning. I have not read any of these books. I only mention them here in case you are looking for summer reading matter and would like to enjoy some “Maine” fare. If you have a review on any of these books, I’d be happy to post them here.

Under the Dome, the book, is a partial review of a novel King attempted to write first in 1972 under the same title and then a second time in 1982 as The Cannibals. As King says about the two works, they “were two very different attempts to utilize the same idea, which concerns itself with how people behave when they are cut off from the society they’ve always belonged to.”

If you’ve followed the story on TV with me you know that the small town of Chester’s Mill is abruptly and brutally separated from the rest of the world by an invisible barrier which suddenly covers the whole town. What happens to the townspeople from then on can only be imagined as unbearable.

King is writing the first episode of the new season. I saw a picture of him in TV Guide typing on a typewriter that is enclosed in a suitcase affair that must be at least 50 years old. I had one just like it at one time. I wonder with all his millions if he still writes this way and does he in fact have a computer at all.

King says in the TV Guide preview about the new season that it is “an entirely different direction from the book.” He relishes the idea of extending the creepy tale. “It was a tremendous opportunity to dig deeper into the characters and see where they came from.” Such is the workings of the mind of our dear Stephen King.

The Latest Book from Stephen King

If you’d like to read the latest book by our man, pick up this book, Mr. Mercedes.

Like Father, Like Son

It seems that Stephen’s son, Owen, is also a writer. If you’d like to see if the apple doesn’t indeed fall far from the tree, pick up this book about a mass murderer.

Maine Writers and books placed in Maine

Sarah Graves writes the “Home Repair is Homicide” mysteries. She lives in Eastport with her husband and dog, Evelyn. Her latest book in this series is A Bat in the Belfry. The blurb online reads: “The storm of the century blows an ill wind into Eastport, and with it comes murder most foul. But a mystery woman whose motives are suspect arrives too; is she the help Jake needs or the final nail in her coffin?”

Vicki Doudera’s, latest book in the Darby Farr Mysteries, is Deal Killer. Her books are realty-inspired. In this book: “Murder comes to Manhattan when Realtor-turned sleuth, Darby Farr, arrives in the Big Apple and finds big trouble: her boyfriend Miles Porter’s a suspect in the brutal stabbing of a Russian businessman.”

Doudera moved to Maine with her husband in 1986. They renovated and opened a Victorian inn. As she was studying for her real estate license, she was inspired to write the Darby series. If you are thinking of moving to Maine you might want to check out her popular books: Moving to Maine and Where to Retire in Maine.

Karen Macinerney, an Austin author, writes the Gray Whale Inn mystery series. Her sixth book, Mother’s Day Out, is the first in the Margie Peterson mystery series which features Margie as a “stay-at-home-mom-turned-PI.”

She is herself a stay-at-home-mom who very often writes in her favorite coffeehouse. She is married, with two children, who all live with a house rabbit named Bunny.

Paul Doiron writes a mystery series featuring the character of Mike Bowditch, a Maine Warden. In the Bone Orchard, which won’t be available until July 15, “Mike Bowditch has left the Maine Warden Service and is working as a fishing guide in the North Woods. But when his mentor Sgt. Kathy Frost is forced to kill a troubled war veteran in an apparent case of ‘”suicide by cop,’” he begins having second thoughts about his decision.” Of course you know that Mike will become fully involved in that situation.

Doiron is an award-winning author. He is Editor Emeritus of Down East: The Magazine of Maine. He stepped down in 2013 to write full-time. A native of Maine, he has a degree in English from Yale as well an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is a former member of the Maine Arts Commission and a current member of the Maine Humanities Council. He is also a registered Maine Guide, specializing in fly fishing, and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine.

A Midwife’s Tale

Thanks to my favorite Maine magazine, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, for introducing me to this intriguing book in the latest issue of the magazine.

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990.

“Drawing on the diaries of a midwife and healer in eighteenth-century Maine, this intimate history illuminates the medical practices, household economies, religious rivalries, and sexual mores of the New England frontier.”

You can read parts of the book at I found the read fascinating. Ulrich deserves high praise for her translation of this handwritten diary. There are also several videos on YouTube about Martha and her diary.

Visit the Reading Corner

If you love history, the Reading Corner on Main Street in Rockland has several suggestions for your summer reading about the founding of our country. Check out their website.

Jenifer LeClair Book Signing

Minnesota author, Jenifer LeClair, will be signing copies of her Windjammer Mystery series books at the Reading Corner on August 19 from 2:00-3:30 pm. Drop by if you are up that way.

My Summer Reading

I always have two or three books and several magazines going at one time. I go back and forth in a desperate attempt to catch up on everything. I do a lot of my reading while I eat or when I’m at one of my many doctors’ offices while I’m waiting.

I’ve been about a year trying to finish two paper backs by one of my favorite mystery writers, Sue Grafton. I just finished Top Secret, Twenty One, the 21st book in the Janet Evanovich mystery series featuring Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter. I may have to bypass Sue Grafton once again to read the book just out called The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith, a/k/a J.K. Rowling. In between all this I try to keep up with my magazines, TV Guide, the AARP magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and Maine, Boats, Homes & Harbor. I just finished reading MBHH and enjoyed it as usual. I read every page in that magazine including the ads, especially the ones for those beautiful yachts. I’m not currently reading any Maine-oriented materials except for MBHH.

I hope you have found some avenues to explore for your summer reading enjoyment. As always I will suggest my own book, The South End, which is available online and at the Reading Corner and Hello Hello Books. Happy reading and thanks for listening to this author.









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