Nestled in the Northeastern United States, Maine is the perfect mix of older American culture and natural beauty. From the mountaintops to the small fishing villages, its history and landscape have equally contributed to plenty of literature over the years. If you’re interested in visiting the state, consider brushing up on a little bit of history or delving into a novel set there to get a feel for the unique place. You’ll find everything from poetry to short stories and children's books to novels and non-fictional accounts.
Most Maine natives (and indeed many people of a certain age across the nation) know the story of Donn Fendler. At the age of 12 in 1939, he managed to become separated from his family and had to survive on his own in the woods of Maine for nine days. Though hundreds of volunteers failed to locate him, this Boy Scout managed to find his way out by following a telephone wire. Until his death, he would tell his story to schoolchildren across the state. The book is a full account of his harrowing experience and a testament to his perseverance.
You’ve likely come across John Irving’s work before, either through his books or film adaptations. A New England native, Irving sets many of his writings in these small hamlets. The Cider House Rules has a raw tale to tell in a fictional Maine coastal town. Though the story itself comes from his own imagination, the themes represent an important time in Maine’s history.
Henry David Thoreau is perhaps best known for Walden, though his writings on his travels to the woods of Maine certainly deserve their own acclaim. His love of nature and a minimalist life can be felt on every page. If you’re interested in reading a bit more on his Transcendentalism, simple living or civil disobedience, this one's for you.
You could really pick up nearly any famous Stephen King novel to immerse yourself in a little slice of Maine. Carrie is perhaps his most well-known work, though Pet Sematary, Salem's Lot, Cujo and It are other top contenders for that spot. The small, quiet Maine towns make the perfect backdrop for the horror and suspense of his writings. Born in Portland, Maine himself, the author certainly brought a bit more attention to this state. Just make sure you don’t read one of his books before bed!
Another Portlander, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the most famous American poets of the 19th century. Known best for Paul Revere's Ride and The Song of Hiawatha, his collected poems showcase the strength of the American spirit. He was known as one of the Fireside Poets of New England and was quite popular in households both in the US and Europe. Though his popularity faded somewhat after his death, most American schoolchildren have come across his work in some fashion.