Friday, October 17, 2008

Smart (growth) reading list

As the fall begins to fade, and the darkness of winter encroaches, it is time to think about reading material to get us through that period that The Tragically Hip referred to as "rent-a-movie weather," in one of their songs.

While movies are good, books, IMHO, are great.

Thanks to the good folks at GrowSmart Maine, you now have a great list of books to add to that holiday shopping list for friends and significant others. Even better, there's a link to one of Maine's great independent book stores, Books Etc.

There are two books on the list that I highly recommend.

I'm a history kind of guy, so Changing Maine: 1960-2010, edited by the Muskie School's Richard Barringer will provide valuable context for anyone that cares about our great state.

I've referred to this book often in my research on Maine. It includes a great assortment of essays from Charles Colgan, Lisa Pohlmann, Chris Potholm, David Vail, and others. Well worth the $20 you'll pay. I guarantee you'll be pullling it down off your bookshelf frequently.

A new bit of information about the book; an index has been created for the book, which the lack of had apparently generated criticism. As a publisher of books of my own and others, I know what type of effort is required to produce an index (and why I don't have one of my own for my first book, which regularly gets mentioned). Well one has been developed and can be accessed here.

The second book I'd recommend if shopping on a shoestring would be Stacy Mitchell's Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses. If you need ammo to answer friends and family's disdain and doubt when you tell them you don't shop at your local big-box, this is the book you'll go back to time and time again.

Mitchell lays the facts out so clearly, and in a readable way that its impossible to read this and not think twice about not supporting your local downtown retailer.

I plan on scoring several books from this list sooner, rather than later. I urge you to do the same.

[Name the Tragically Hip tune I reference at the top and I'll send you a copy of my latest book, Moxietown--I'll even sign it, if you like.--JB]

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