Today I'm writing a post about a series of books that is quite near and dear to my heart. I don't recommend books lightly, that's for sure. There are so many books out there that one could waste her time reading, so I always make a point to research for gems before I invest my limited time (I am not unique here...we all have limited time!). One way that BJ and I have had assistance with finding 'book gems' is via Nancy Pearl, whom I have written about on a previous post. A librarian with connections to Tulsa, Pearl has read thousands of books and has compiled the best ones, in organized lists with summaries, into Book Lust, More Book Lust, and Book Lust To Go, all three of which I own.
But on to the point of this: Pearl recommended a relatively little-known series of five books by Maine-native Van Reid. The series is entitled The Moosepath League, and consists of the stories of Cordelia Underwood, Mollie Peer, Daniel Plainway, Mrs. Roberto, and Fiddler's Green. Honest to God, never have I fallen in love with books like I have fallen in love with these stories. I own all five of them, two of which have been autographed by Van Reid himself! Reid's stories are connected through the characters and chronicle four upstanding and likable gentlemen, the members of the Moosepath League, as well as a number of beloved characters that they encounter (many of whom make appearances throughout two or more of the novels) as they happen upon trouble. Unbeknownst to the gentlemen, they thwart the schemes of naughty characters all throughout the books, often with hilarious endings. The books take place in 1890's Portland, Maine, and the reader is introduced to a different time and place in which the railroads and maritime industry were kings, and people were interested in verbal story-telling rather as opposed to receiving stories through the television or radio as we often do in present-day. One of my favorite aspects of these books are the stories that take place within the stories, such as when a fellow passenger on a train, for instance, tells of the time that such-and-such happened to him. The stories in some way remind me of Seinfeld episodes, because each little piece ravels itself into a masterpiece that culminates in a way that the reader (or viewer, in the case of Seinfeld episodes) witnesses all pieces coming together in harmonious fashion. The books are family-friendly, clean, hilarious, witty, and leave you wanting more. My personal favorites are Daniel Plainway and Mollie Peer. Sadly, I believe that the books may be out-of-print, but they can still be purchased on Amazon, or as I have found, at library book sales for absolute steals. Each time I find these hardbacks at the Friends of the Oklahoma City Public Library sale for a dollar apiece, I snatch them up and give them away to people, simply because I can't bear to think of what will happen to the books if I don't buy them.
Okay, I'll get off my Van Reid soapbox now. But let it be known that to librarian Nancy Pearl: I'll always be grateful to your recommendation of the Moosepath League. Thank you, thank you, thank you.