After a lifetime of New Year’s resolutions … and often failing to keep them, these last years I’ve steered away from making any.
However, one aspect of blogging weighs heavily upon me, my failure to review as many books as I would like, particularly indie-published ones. If my TBR pile was a real heap of books they would fill a room, I fear; luckily many are kept safe on my Kindle, hidden from immediate sight but never forgotten. I’m determined to share these books with you on my blog, a couple every month and I am happy to start with the two below.
Ironically, these are paperbacks, one a poetry book kindly gifted to me by Bette A. Stevens. The other by Mary Smith caught my interest as an unusual factual book about her local town.
“My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons” by Bette A. Stevens
‘My Maine’ is a gem of a poetry book celebrating the state of Maine through 150 haikus. Bette A. Stevens captures the essence and heart of Maine with wonderful and evocative poetry that flows easily from one to the next.
Divided into four seasons each page is accompanied by a photograph taken by the poet, all stunning, reflecting the brimming beauty of her words. I am in awe how the poet has not only managed to bring alive the grandeur of the landscape, its mountains, pine trees and lakes but also writes with skill and a sense of humour about the minutiae of life in the state!
The writer’s keen observation of life is evident throughout and her passion for nature and the wildlife is extraordinary and she conveys this to the reader with exemplary skill.
This is a book I treasure and which I’ve read many times. I’m absolutely captivated by the ‘story’ of Maine, a state I feel I can now rightly call, every so slightly, ‘My Maine’!
Whilst reviewing the book I jotted down many of my favourite haikus. Here are just a couple to tempt you!
“Firewoods heaped highBette A. Stevens
Mesmerizing hearth aglow
Cozy reading nook.”
“Silently – SnowfallsBette A. Stevens
Reign over field and forest
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher: DBS PUBLISHING
Read more about Bette at Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author
“A-Z of Dumfries: Place-People-History” by Mary Smith & Keith Kirk
In her latest book Mary Smith, along with fellow writer Keith Kirk, takes the reader on a fascinating and absorbing alphabetical tour of her local town, Dumfries. Situated in the South West of Scotland, people have lived in the area for at least 3,000 years and it has been the home to many including the famous poet Robert Burns. Through the 26 letters of the alphabet, the book explores the places, people and history of Dumfries and it offers incredible insight to a town that I fear is often overlooked.
Some of the entries depict traumatic events as the reader learns about Robert Burns’ wife Jean Armour, who had nine children but only three survived her. Superb details and plenty of colour photographs ensured that I was hooked by the various entries and I immediately felt as if I had myself visited amongst other places Robert Burns museum and the world’s oldest working Camera Obscura.
I am astounded by the level of research and the momentous task of collecting all the information, collating and writing the book. It is presented in a skilled yet easily accessible and entertaining manner. The reader is captivated by both the larger historical events and people as well as ordinary objects such as fountains and parks, all with their own unique story.
As I finished the book I felt as if I’d travelled around Dumfries and seen its gems for myself … and I hope to do so in the future. I will be a highly informed visitor as a result of this book! Meanwhile, it has made me intrigued about my town, which I know I take for granted and I am now eager to learn more about it!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Read more about Mary at Mary Smith’s Place
I hope you’ve enjoy reading these reviews which I intend to become a regular monthly feature. Have you read any of these? Are you tempted by the reviews to look at any closer. As always, I look forward to your comments & discussion.