A good book is not unlike a vacation; they give readers the means to escape, explore, and experience new destinations. For as long as can be recalled, books and travel have existed as a complementary pair. They enrich your understanding of a destination, keep you company on a long flight, and bring a state or country’s history to life through enthralling narratives.
With its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, it’s no wonder that New England is a common backdrop for many acclaimed historical novels and fact-based fiction. If you’re preparing to visit Maine’s rocky coastlines and iconic candy-striped lighthouses or explore its verdant forests on the famous Appalachian Trail, you’ll enjoy reading both the true and fictional accounts of the state’s history, culture, and people.
Before hopping on the plane, here’s a quick reading list to enrich your upcoming adventure in Maine.
Thousands of hikers set out to complete the mammoth-sized Appalachian Trail each year. Only around 10 percent are successfully able to finish it and arrive at the trail’s final destination: Maine. All in all, it takes a thru-hiker between 5 and 7 months to hike the trail in its entirety.
Of course, you don’t have to trudge all 2,190 miles of the path to enjoy the parts of the Appalachian Trail located in Maine. Whether you plan to endure the whole thing or not, you’ll delight in Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.
The novel is a fast-paced and witty autobiographical book that follows Bryson as he attempts to complete the trail with a friend. With an engaging tone and the iconic voice Bryson has come to be known for, the book serves as a humorous and educational account of the trail’s history, ecology, and legacy.
In the first half of the century, Maine’s orchards and farms drew impoverished and struggling migrant workers from around the county. The Cider House Rules, which tells the coming-of-age story of a young man named Homer Wells, is set in one of Maine’s stereotypical coastal towns.
The book is a classic American novel, and a vibrant example of pre and post-World War II era historical fiction. In the course of the book’s rich narrative, it raises poignant questions about love, life, and the nature of morality.
Maine’s wilderness has long inspired writers and artists from all walks of life; Henry David Thoreau was no different. Taken by the region’s rich beauty, he penned “The Maine Woods” in 1850.
The book embodies Thoreau’s relevance for Maine’s great outdoors and celebrates the beauty and spirit of nature itself. Nature lovers will delight in Thoreau’s honest and organic descriptions as well as the account of his experiences in its wilderness.
In Maine, fishing is more than a peaceful passtime: it also plays a historically vital role in the state’s culture and economy. As a historical peak into Maine’s history, fishing economy, and cultural characteristics, The Lobster Coast is a rich and informative study that paints an educated portrait of the state. Though it is dense with information on the politics and economy of the area, it also proves an engaging read written from a journalistic standpoint.
If you’re looking for an engaging way to educate yourself on Maine’s history (from pre-English settlement to the modern day) before your visit, there’s no better book.