“One of my favorite summer joys is to be at the ocean. My senses compile the smell of crisp air, the sound of crashing waves, the squawking of gulls, the sensation of warm and textured sand, and of course, the beautiful scenery. It brings joy to explore our wonderful state. While sheltering in place last summer, it was necessary for me to find an alternative way to travel around Maine.

“I visited Rockport, but not by driving. I pulled ‘A Seal Called Andre,’ by Harry Goodridge and Lew Dietz, from my bookshelf and blew off the dust. I settled in and truly enjoyed this story. I’ve had the book for years but had never read it.

“I often have difficulty finding a book that grabs and keeps my attention. With the book about Andre, I could not wait to find out what new humorous antics he was up to in each chapter that unfolded. I also love the fact that this is a true story. It took me back to my childhood in Hampden. I fondly recall hearing my parents say year after year, ‘Andre’s home,’ when they learned he had once again returned to his beloved Maine after his ocean swim from far away. I look forward to returning to Rockport sometime to see the wonderful statue of Andre by the harbor.

“When I was finished reading about Andre, I realized ‘The Edge of the Sea’ by Rachel Carson was also gathering dust. With the

beautiful illustrations by Bob Hines, this book is a true joy. Rachel discusses the life forms at the shore and what they do. I was always thinking barnacles did nothing but cut my feet when stepped on, but Rachel’s notations inspired me to learn more about them. Did you know their larvae actually glue their heads to rocks before creating their shelled adult forms? Fascinating! Someday I plan to return to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells.

“While always grateful to be a Mainer, I am also grateful for the Mainers who shared their stories of Maine’s seashore and gave me a new perspective to enjoy while reaching for my bookshelf. These books endure and teach. They provide the imagination’s journey to the ocean when a visit to the shore isn’t feasible.

Happily, I’m traveling around Maine again this summer. I explored Belfast for the first time. After a visit to the shore of Passagassawakeag River/Belfast Bay, I discovered the delightful shop, Heavenly Yarns (I love collecting yarn almost as much as books) and then noticed a sign for Bellabooks, a short walk away on Pendleton Street. As I entered, I was delighted to see ‘A Seal Called Andre’ on prominent display at this charming bookstore. I immediately struck up a conversation with owner Kim (Zahares) to express my joy about this great story.” — PEGGY FAYE BROWN, Gray

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. With the path of the pandemic again uncertain, we want to hear what you are reading in these unsettled times and why. Send your selection to [email protected], and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.


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