December 7th, 2010

This Saturday, the 11th that is, DDG will be hosting a signing with local author John Hodgkins for his new book on small town Maine baseball, Our Game Was Baseball. John will be at the store between 1-3 to sign books and answer questions, so we figured he would need to get in shape by answering a few questions ahead of time. Before warming him up we had to give you quick updates on two items from last week. The In Store Book Fair for the Mt. Blue RSD School Libraries was a great success here last weekend. Many thanks to everyone who participated in supporting our school libraries. Also, a big thank you is due to author Kersten Hamilton. As you may have read last week, during our Tyger Tyger contest Margaux succeeded in entering Mag Mell, but suffered a frightful transformation in the process. Author Hamilton, recognizing the looming public safety concern, leapt into action sending a magnificient necklace talisman for Margaux which has fully restored her! "If I never taste tadpole pudding or salamander paste again it will be too soon," said a grateful Margaux referring to "the bad period". And now to our John Hodgkins interview!

Kenny: You argue that The Temple Townies brought not only townsfolk to their games, but also hope and identity to the town. If televised sports and better transportation replaced small town baseball in the 50's, did anything replace the source of town identity which The Townies had instilled? After all, as you point out, Richard Pierce's report of Temple's death was premature.
John:Before the fifteen years of depression and sacrifice, Temple, commercially, socially, and culturally, was alive with activity: a robust economy (logging and sawmills), churches, schools, stores, the Grange. Following the war much of that activity was depressed, or gone, or had been carried forward only by meager and tiring effort. The renewal of the town’s spirit brought on by the Townies, as I wrote in Our Game was Baseball, infused the community. Beginning in the late 1940s and the early 1950s, the townsfolk formed a fire department that strengthened their independence from surrounding towns. They created a Good Neighbor Club that provided a social network and raised money for community projects: scouts, the fire department, youth baseball, and charitable outreach. They built a new school, and a new store also came along. They built a new little-league sized baseball field and formed a team to replace the Townies—small ball. The immigrant Finns of the 1910s had mostly left or been assimilated by then, but in the 1960s Temple saw an influx of artists—writers, poets, and crafters—that added to its character and personality. And the coming of SAD 9 made Temple an attractive residence for families with school-age children, increased the population three-fold, and provided a “suburban” element in the town as well. And, of course, commercial logging has continued as before, except the timber is trucked to mills elsewhere. Though Temple’s growth and change for the past fifty years may be measured by these items I’ve mentioned, the short answer to the source of its identity is still baseball. For more than fifty years now, townsfolk have been gathering at Boyce Park on the intervale to cheer on its youth-league players. In the off-season, they raise money, improve the field, and plan the management of another baseball season in Temple. Pierce’s prediction is long forgotten.
Kenny: Did the presence of small town baseball change the way Maine towns relate to each other in ways that are still visible today?
John: Competitive baseball between small towns in the 1940s and 1950s, towns which had suffered through the Great Depression and World War II, was really a sociable game. Yes, they wanted to win, but not at the cost of having a good time. Their purpose (mostly war veterans) was to return their lives to normal and put new spirit back into their towns. (Temple was different only in that Pierce had predicted it would fail to revive itself.) Now more than fifty years and two generations later, that period is largely forgotten or unknown. Veteran ballplayers, like war veterans, when they meet at the post office, the general store, or at a social, will remember. But unlike the war veterans, the presence of the ballplayers then, I think, is essentially invisible.
Kenny: What were the best and worst small town team names?
John: Many names were not very imaginative: Town Team, Ms, VFW, CCA, All-stars, Townies. Some were a bit more animated: Clippers (likely the hayfield variety), Hard Cider Boys, Ramblers, Resorters. The best, I think, was Farmington Falls Flying Yankees, a name made to inspire. The worst (humdrum) and probably the most common: Townies. But Townies fit Temple perfectly. We were a team without nicknames. Boyce had a mission, to represent Temple and be as good as we could be for the town. No illusions for Boyce.
Kenny: Thanks John!
John: Sure. See you on the 11th!


Here they are! Our weekly picks for the two best: two hardcover, two paperback, and two children's books. The very best new arrivals to leap out of the box and onto our shelves this week. Call or email us if you want more information on any of these titles, or to have us hold you a copy. Or stop in and check them out in person. We'd love to see you. Thanks as always for sharing your reading with us!

 

Farmyard Alphabet

Farmyard Alphabet
By Ipcar, Dahlov
2010-12 - Islandport
9781934031438 - Hardcover
List Price $10.95 - Your Price: $8.76


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Ipcar fans rejoice! Islandport press has just produced a marvelous Board Book, A Farmyard ABC culled from eleven of Ipcar's timeless classics. Here's the publishers blurb.

"For the first time in more than 20 years, legendary Maine artist and author Dahlov Ipcar has a new book. Dahlov Ipcar's Farmyard Alphabet is her first board book, pairing her fresh, original verses with timeless illustrations from eleven of her books, many of which are out of print. From apples and barns to vegetables and wood stoves, both the unique text and bold, bright artwork celebrate farm life in Ipcar's inimitable style. Strong proud horses, fat happy pigs and playful kittens will charm toddlers, and Ipcar fans will be delighted to see illustrations from The Wild Whirlwind, Bright Barnyard and Black and White, as well as those from eight other books."
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Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive
By Clancy, Tom
2010-12 - Putnam Adult
9780399157233 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $28.95 - Your Price: $23.16


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This is the first Tom Clancy "Campus" novel in over a decade! Featuring Jack Ryan Jr, Dead or Alive will make a question from customers we've had to field creatively the last nine years, "I'm looking for something for my Grandfather, he loves Tom Clancy, any suggestions?" a whole lot easier. ...More

National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs



National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs
By Belt, Annie Griffiths
2010-10 - Focal Point
9781426206450 - Hardcover
List Price $35.00 - Your Price: $28.00


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If ever a book was aptly named it is Simply Beautiful Photographs. Stop by and have a look through this fabulous coffee table book. ...More

A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations

A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations
By Dickens, Charles
2010-12 - Penguin Books
9780142196588 - Paperback
List Price $20.00 - Your Price: $16.00


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Oprah is back on the classics wagon for her book group in a big way, having picked two Dicken's novels. The official edition is a new, really striking, single volume of Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations from Penguin. ...More

Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder

Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder
By Nesbo, Jo
2010-12 - Aladdin Paperbacks
9781416979739 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $5.99 - Your Price: $4.79


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Yes I too did a double take! Jo Nesbo, Norwegian author of the terrific Harry Hole crime novels, has indeed written a series of goofy and wonderful series of books for 7-11 year olds called Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder. These delightful adventures are the best of both worlds, as they are both very well written and very appealing to kids. ...More

The Lying Game

The Lying Game
By Shepard, Sara
2010-12 - Harper Teen
9780061869709 - Hardcover
List Price $16.99 - Your Price: $13.59


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Store favorite Sara Shepard, author of The Pretty Little Liars series is back with a new series featuring a scheming twin from beyond the grave! ...More

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