Strong for Potatoes, by Cynthia Thayer
When weaving baskets, what is more important, strength or beauty? In Cynthia Thayer's startling debut novel, baskets become an evocative metaphor of the self. Beauty is important, certainly, but if a basket isn't strong enough to hold potatoes, it is worthless. Meet Blue Willoughby, a brave and creative girl in the midst of a difficult journey into adulthood. Blue's whole life has been scarred by two events from her childhood: an accident that left her with a limp and a glass eye, and the tragic death of her twin sister just after their birth. The events, though, seem to have destroyed her parents more than they damaged Blue herself. Her mom and dad have all but disappeared from her life. Only Blue's grandfather, a Passamaquoddy Indian, sees her as she really is--strong, vibrant, and lovely in spite of her scars. With his encouragement, Blue learns to weave traditional baskets. The ash and sweet grass cut her hands, making them bleed, but Blue perseveres through the pain and learns to weave tight, strong, beautiful baskets. As she refines her craft, Blue finds the grace that heals her inner pain, setting her free into the richness of her own future. Strong for Potatoes is a complex, deeply moving story that will encourage mature teens and adults to pay more attention to the ways they weave experiences and people into their lives. 248 pages. Hardcover.


North Woods Walkabout, by Nan Turner Waldron
A book about life in the north woods of Maine. 109 pages. Paperback.


Northern Farm: A Glorious Year on a Small Maine Farm , by Henry Beston
In the setting of a story of a year spent on a farm in Maine, this book is filled with wonderful, arftul, inciteful, descriptive glimpses into this world and humanity. 246 pages. Paperback.



A Year in the Maine Woods, by Bernd Heinrich
The journal is the form of choice for the neophyte would-be Thoreau. Heinrich is anything but a neophyte, but his journal is far more satisfying. It is what was once called natural history; scientific observation by a talented amateur with the capacity to wonder, and who can spend hours per day wondering about useless things, like the tri-partite feather vane on an arrow (rather than one blade for a wing), like how a samara twirls in the wind. Effusions like that arrive after pages of meticulous, lyrical, tough-minded description. Heinrich's accounts of, say, climax forest equilibrium or building an outhouse are clinically scientific or pragmatic as an instruction manual, yet they rouse in us a sense of wonder and a desire to be there, alone in the woods, experiencing what he does, and believing that we could. Some chapters are essays with morals, some reveal Heinrich's personal life, and those about his relationship with a young raven he names Jack deserve to be anthologized widely. 250 pages. Paperback.


A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod, by Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau wrote four full-length works, collected here for the first time in a single volume. Subtly interweaving natural observation, personal experience, and historical lore, they reveal his brilliance not only as a writer, but as a naturalist, scholar, historian, poet, and philosopher. "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers" is based on a boat trip taken with his brother from Concord, Massachusetts to Concord, New Hampshire. "Walden," one of America's great books, is at once a personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, manual of self-reliance, and masterpiece of style. "The Maine Woods" and "Cape Cod" portray landscapes changing irreversibly even as he wrote. The first combines close observation of the unexplored Maine wilderness with a far-sighted plea for conservation; the second is a brilliant and unsentimental account of survival on a barren peninsula in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay.


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