Maine: Vacation Reading Wrap-up

I am very happy I decided to eschew the Internet for the two weeks we were in Maine. If I hadn’t made that decision prior to the trip I think I would have checked in from time to time which would have led to commenting on other blogs, returning emails, and the urge to post something on My Porch. And then all of that would have snowballed as I felt the need to keep up with everything.

The downside to not using the Internet for two weeks is that I didn’t review any of the books I read during that time. I took notes so I could write reviews later, but now that I am home I don’t really feel like trying to turn those notes into full reviews.

So a recap is all ye shall receive.


The Road to Lichfield by Penelope Lively
Quite enjoyed this easy read. It is Lively’s first novel and has all the hallmarks of many of her later works. A main character interested in both personal and public history in both real and pedagogical terms. Another character dealing with memory loss at the end of life. Family drama. Sex. It’s all there.

The Birth of a Grandfather by May SartonI really enjoyed reading this as the majority of the action took place on an island in Maine and it is typically and delightfully Sartonian. In some ways I felt like this one was shades of The Magnificent Spinster but for some reason Sarton decided to focus the title (if not the action itself) on the male lead. As I said I really enjoyed it, but if you are looking for a Sarton novel (and I highly recommend that you do) choose The Magnificent Spinster first.

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery
I can see why this one gets mixed reviews. There were moments I enjoyed it but many others where I found it kind of tedious and pretentious. The kind of book that makes an undergraduate feel deep.

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
My second time reading this one, but I found just as unengaging as I did the first time so I set it down. I hadn’t intended to go back to it, but given Frances’ recent review, I may have put it down too soon.

The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant
I really wanted to like this NYRB classic but halfway through it just wasn’t doing it for me. I might have persevered if I hadn’t been on vacation, but who knows. Oddball Norman Moonbloom serves as rent collector for his slumlord brother and interacts with even odder tenants. Just wasn’t in the mood for it.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I only made it through 600 of the 1200 or so pages but I fully intend to finish it.

8 thoughts on “Maine: Vacation Reading Wrap-up

  1. rhapsodyinbooks August 9, 2011 / 5:22 pm

    Your pictures are all wonderful; I love the ones of Lucy on the boat, and the pictures of all the beautiful plants. Looks like a paradise! Loved, too, your review of Barbery's book. That was exactly my response to her hedgehog book!


  2. olduvaireads August 9, 2011 / 6:37 pm

    What a lovely place to sit and read! Sounds like you had a wonderful Internet-less time. Thanks for sharing the photos!


  3. betsy August 9, 2011 / 6:44 pm

    Please give Jewett another chance. Her book is real New England Americana. By the way Thomas, have you read Hamlin Garland's “Son of the Middle Border”?


  4. agoodstoppingpoint August 9, 2011 / 7:46 pm

    I also enjoyed the pictures of Lucy on the boat, and with all her new little friends. Have to agree with rhapsody that your words on Barbery's book match how I felt about The Elegance of the Hedgehog.
    Surprised that you found The Country of Pointed Firs to be unengaging – I think it's such a lovely book, especially the part where they go to the island and also the part where they go to the family reunion.

    – Christy


  5. Susan in TX August 9, 2011 / 9:05 pm

    Gorgeous view. I would love to be ANYwhere that required me to wear a jacket right now. This looks like a slice of heaven! John did a fabulous job with all the pictures. So glad you are enjoying The Count of Monte Cristo.


  6. JoAnn August 10, 2011 / 7:49 am

    What an inviting porch view! Just downloaded The Country of Pointed Firs for my ipad – have been curious for some time. We'll see…
    Glad you are enjoying The Count.


  7. pagesofjulia August 10, 2011 / 10:39 am

    Love ALL the pictures from your vacation but especially the ones with Lucy, and most especially the one in this post here. Thanks for sharing. Give her a kiss for me. (By the way Ritchey and Hops both had birthdays yesterday and are now 9 and 3! Important days for doggies. Lucy's first encounter with the ocean made me laugh and also makes me think of my own boys, of course; Ritchey is the water dog and Hops would rather DIE than get wet. Aren't they funny, unique little creatures?)


  8. Thomas at My Porch August 12, 2011 / 11:24 am

    Rhapsody: I am still going to give the Hedgehog book a go, but I don't hold out much hope.

    Olduvai: It was wonderful.

    Betsty: I am going to give her another chance. I have never heard of Garland. I will have to look into it.

    Christy: Jewett will get another chance. Too many of you believe in her.

    Susan: The cool weather was amazing.

    JoAnn: Will be interested to see what you think about Firs.

    Julia: No two are alike that is for sure.


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