My new book, A Life Lived Outdoors is best read outdoors: on your deer stand, enjoying a cold brew on the patio, sitting in that favorite wicker chair on the porch, waiting for the kids’ or grandkids’ soccer game to start, anywhere, anytime, as long as it is outdoors.
That’s where many of us Mainers spend our lives, and that’s what my book is all about.
You can purchase the book at my publisher’s website, islandportpress.com or most any bookstore. I’ve even found them in hardware stores!
In Part One you will read columns about home, camp, and Maine life. “Making Do in Maine” is one of my favorites – written initially for DownEast magazine. You might enjoy the column on yard sales – even if you have never had one (and you probably never will if you read about mine). Battling wildlife in the home has been a popular column at my book reads.
In Part Two you will find columns about hunting, fishing, birding, and all kinds of outdoor fun. There are stories about hunting with my Dad and fishing with my kids and grandkids. You’ll also read a column about the time I took Linda fishing in Alaska, and another about my favorite place to fish for brook trout (alert: it is not in Maine).
In Part Three, titled “Family, Friends, and Faith,” you’ll find a pep talk for teachers, the column I wrote when my Mom died, some Christmas stories, Linda’s gardening obsession, and more. I’ve read “Letting Go of Josh” at some of my reading events and many parents have told me they’ve had similar experiences.
Publishing a book has been a great experience. The professional staff at Islandport Press are an exceptional team. And the response from the public has been wonderful. Many of those who have read the book tell me my stories triggered wonderful memories of their own. Published reviews have been very favorable, but it’s the messages received from folks who have read the book that have meant the most to me.
Two weeks ago I received the following letter from a lady in Florida. She and her husband attended my book talk at the Book Festival at Beyond the Sea in Lincolnville.
Dear Mr. Smith,
I’ve just finished reading A Life Lived Outdoors — I enjoyed it all…tell your publishers that it is a success, and that at least one reader will be watching for future volumes.
My husband and I were a part of your audience when you read a few excerpts at the Beyond the Sea Book Festival in Lincolnville Beach this summer–I’m sure you won’t remember, but we are the folks now living in Florida, working on relocating to Camden, permanently, next summer. I promise that we will start to explore the inland reaches of the state as soon as we are settled….and as we already spend most of our money at yard sales, Reny’s, and Farmer’s Markets, we hope that eventually we’ll fit in (even if we don’t quite *blend in*… we do know that we will *always* be “from away”)
Your stories of hunting and fishing, both alone and with members of your family, brought back wonderful memories of my father who came from a small town in southern Virginia and grew up hunting; he probably had his first gun by the time he was 10. With a series of Chessies that were both house dogs and gun dogs, he hunted ducks and geese around the Chesapeake Bay in the 60’s and 70’s, then fished every day of his retirement that he could well into his early 80’s.
He carried his guns with him even when he was deployed to the Far East in the early ’50s (he was in the Navy, and had some interesting tours of duty) and had the privilege of hunting upland birds in both Korea and Japan. While he was in the Far East he generally went out on his own, confident that he could find a guide once he was well into the countryside. Amazingly, it almost always worked, and he saw parts of both countries that few Americans would see for many more years.
He loved the outdoors and the ability to go out and spend time away from town, and though I didn’t hunt with him, I did fish with him about every chance I could…my favorite was surf fishing, though Dad usually had to cast for me, as I rarely could throw the lure out past the breakers.
Reading your stories makes me think that I should maybe, finally, try a fly fishing course….we’ll see.
Anyway, again, thank you for your book…It will be one of the things that we will bring with us when we move up to Maine, and it will be installed in our guestroom bookcase (I’m a librarian, so all of our rooms will have a bookcase) so that all of our guests will have the chance to see it and read it…it’s as fine an explanation of why we are moving to Maine as I’ve been able to come up with, and a whole lot more succinct.
Sincerely, Susan Fitzgerald