Cover courtesy of Oxford University Press


“I have two books on my bedside table, and, no coincidence, both are about Maine. As a retired physician who spent my career on the West Coast I have returned back East and relocated from Portland (OR) to Portland (ME). Knowing little of the rich history of the District and then the State I have been drawn to books, both fiction and nonfiction, addressing the place I have loved since I first visited as a child and now call home.

“‘Diseases in the District of Maine 1772-1820‘ is a remarkable work consisting of the previously unpublished notebooks of Dr. Jeremiah Barker, a late 18th-century physician in Gorham, which is introduced and indexed in meticulous detail by Dr. Richard Kahn. It portrays a detailed look at the understanding of disease and treatment and the awakening of the application of newly discovered scientific facts to the actual practice of medicine by curious medical minds. As a physician, I find it fascinating and as a historical reference to the era of the District of Maine, I find it very interesting. The rapid response of medical science to the pandemic with intensive care treatment and the early initiation of remarkable vaccines rests on the inquiring minds of the past.

Cover courtesy of PublicAffairs

“The other book is also remarkable, ‘Home Now,’ by Cynthia Anderson. I was not aware in any detail of the remarkable influx of asylum seekers to Maine until I moved here. The author was able to connect with a group of remarkable African immigrants in Lewiston and uses their stories to illuminate the myriad issues surrounding the influx of newcomers to an older, established community in this state. I feel like I actually know many of the people she profiles in the book through their engaging stories of kinship, community and accommodations to succeed in their new life, as well as the efforts and trials of the town in which they settled.

“Two other Maine authors I read this winter, when not out enjoying a real winter in the woods and on the shore, are Kenneth Roberts and Ruth Moore. ‘Arundel’ was written by Mr. Roberts in 1929 and is part of a historical series for which he won a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation and Award. It is a recounting of the military mission led by Benedict Arnold to capture Quebec City and was so absorbing, I plan a road trip up the Kennebec River, and to Quebec City when the border opens. I am glad to have several more books in his series of historical fiction ahead of me. Ms. Moore grew up on Gotts Island and had an interesting career in New York City but returned to Maine to live and write. I have read ‘The Weir’ and ‘Spoonhandle.’ These are accessible novels that delve into coastal communities during the 1930s at a time when big changes began to occur. Oceanfront property was becoming popular with those from away, and old established towns and fishing enclaves were changing.” — ALISON FULMER, Portland

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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