Editor’s Note: Joyce Berk sent us her book selection in April, when most of us still weren’t getting out much. That’s changed, as the pandemic in Maine has waned, but a good book is a good book whenever you read it.

“The book I’m reading is ‘Riders of the Purple Sage,’ by Zane Grey. It’s a Western, set in Utah, that describes the land in great detail, then introduces two frontier romances. It had violence, which is to be expected from a Western. Zane Grey lived the land intimately, so we readers can trust that much of his writing is an accurate depiction of the place and time.

“It is partly escape that drew me to this book, but also curiosity; I’d never read a Zane Grey novel and this was reportedly his best work, and possibly the BEST Western ever written. I personally dispute this, since my favorite is ‘The Virginian.’ Mostly, though, having spent the winter of 2019-2020 out in Colorado with my son and his family, I am sure it’s the connection to them and the West.

“I have been trying to use the pandemic-time to catch up on my reading, some of which are those considered classic, whatever genre they hail from. This is a fun way to forget all the places I can’t go in real life, but instead travel in my mind with all these wonderful writers of old.”

—JOYCE BERK, Windham

Mainers, please email to tell us about the book on your bedside table right now. In a few sentences, describe the book and be sure to tell us what drew you to it. The pandemic in Maine is receding, but if you’re like us, you’re still reading and we want to hear what and why. Send your selection to [email protected], and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.


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