Hot Summer Reads In Maine

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After I-95 peters out, US 1 is the only way to get to the jagged Maine coastline. Quaint local stores and the occasional tourist trap line those sections of the road. For the last installment of our series on vacation reading around the country, guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with Susan Porter, owner of Maine Coast Books about what her customers are reading this summer.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: U.S. Route One was once the preferred highway from Florida to Maine. Much of its traffic and many of the businesses that grew up along the picturesque coastal route waned with the construction of Interstate 95. But I-95 only goes so far. U.S. 1 is still the only way to get to the Florida Keys or the jagged Maine coastline. Quaint local stores and the occasional tourist trap still line those sections of the road. Susan Porter owns Maine Coast Book Shop, a popular mid-coast stop along Route 1. She joins us from her store in Damariscotta, Maine for the last installment of our series on vacation reading around the country. Welcome to the program.


WERTHEIMER: So, tell me who visits the Maine coast in the summer.

PORTER: A lot of people from New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New England in general, but, you know, a few from all over the world.

WERTHEIMER: And what do they want from their vacation in Maine?

PORTER: They want lobster and they want to see the ocean and see whales and seals and puffins and travel down the little back roads and see the old New England houses. And it's sort of stepping back in time.

WERTHEIMER: So, have you noticed anything that was particularly popular this summer, something that you were surprised to find you had to reorder?

PORTER: Actually, we have had a few things that we were surprised to reorder. Melissa Coleman's new book, "This Life is in Your Hands," which is about growing up in Maine on a farm. I didn't think it would be as popular as it has been because it's sort of a sad story. And there's one that was a real mystery to us. None of us had read it but a customer of ours called up from Pennsylvania and said, oh, you guys, you have to read this book, "The Lotus Eaters," it's fantastic. And taking her advice, we ordered several of them and we have just sold it like crazy.

WERTHEIMER: Who wrote it?

PORTER: Tatjana Soli. And it's a story about three photographers during the Vietnam War. And I haven't read it but the people who have keep coming into the store and buying copies to give to friends.

WERTHEIMER: So, do you have authors come up to talk about their books to...

PORTER: Oh, yeah. We've done that a lot this summer. And I don't know if you're familiar with Linda Greenlaw but she is on a show on television, on I think it's the Discovery Channel. She's a swordfisherman.

WERTHEIMER: She fishes for swordfish?

PORTER: Yes. Her big book came out, you know, "The Perfect Storm," and she wrote a book about her role in this because she...

WERTHEIMER: Oh right. The woman who was a boat captain.

PORTER: Yeah. This year, she came out with her second cookbook that she wrote with her mother. And we had an event at a place called the 1812 Farm. And there were dishes served that were made with recipes from the cookbook and Linda came and spoke. And we had a huge crowd and it was very successful.

WERTHEIMER: Susan Porter is the owner of Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta, Maine. She spoke to us from the store. Thank you for sharing your good advice.

PORTER: OK. You're welcome.

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