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5 Essential Contemporary Maine Books

From our 100 Maine Books package: The best of the last decade, as selected by Emily Russo and Josh Christie, of Portland’s Print: A Bookstore.

Books, Pexels: Dom J
Pexels: Dom J

One Goal | by Amy Bass

The true story of the 2015 championship season of Lewiston High’s soccer team, made up predominantly of East African immigrant students. Russo and Christie call it “a gripping underdog tale in the tradition of Friday Night Lights” that “reckons with the changes to Lewiston’s population and economy in the last decade, along with how the community has flourished as new Mainers have immigrated.

The Stranger in the Woods | by Michael Finkel

A detailed account of how Christopher Knight, central Maine’s North Pond Hermit, shunned civilization for 27 years — before being forced to return. “A humane and thoughtful story about solitude, civilization, and the natural world,” Russo and Christie say.

Vacationland | by John Hodgman

The Print team compares funnyman Hodgman’s dry, clever essays — on authenticity, leisure, and middle age — to E. B. White’s. “Hodgman captures the charm and eccentricities of Down East Maine. Squarely in the tradition of Maine humor, despite his protestations.”

The In-Betweens | by Mira Ptacin

Participant observation among psychic mediums and more in the country’s longest-running camp devoted to spiritualism. “Ptacin blends memoir and reportage in exploring this unique place,” Russo and Christie say, “as well as the hold that mysticism still has on the modern psyche.”

Maine | by J. Courtney Sullivan

Family tensions boil over when three generations of Kellehers arrive for a summer stay at their beachfront cottage in what Russo and Christie call “a sharp, funny alternative to the breezier ‘beach reads’ popularly set on the Maine coast.”

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June 2020 issue