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November 29 , 2009

Man Bites Log: The Unlikely Adventures of a City Guy in the Woods


Five side-splitting years in the life of a big-city journalist who decided to pack it in and head for the simple life in rural Maine. But the simple life turned out to be a complicated business. While his wife homeschooled their two kids on a boulder-strewn farm, Alexander battled firewood poachers, guinea hens, corporate polluters and his own expectations—eventually running for local office.

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Alexander had been the executive editor of Variety and was a senior editor at People when he decided that the glitz of Tinseltown and the glamour of Manhattan didn’t quite hold the allure they once had. So, family in tow, he moved to a farm in rural Maine where he found himself forced to confront neighbors “who speak slowly but are hard to understand, and drive slower but are impossible to pass.” In the course of this sobering and hilarious how-not-to, Alexander covers the gamut from doing his best to avoid setting his woods on fire, and the occasional intrusions from his previous life (featuring cameos from Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks), to what E.B. White calls the “basic satisfaction of farming”—manure.

Approaching what passes for small-town life in rural New England with gusto and the nose for a scoop of a seasoned reporter, Alexander puts a new spin on a literary genre that began with Thoreau’s reportage from Walden. USA Today called Man Bites Log one of the best nature books of 2004. It’s essential reading for lovers of nature writing and back-to-the-land literature, or anyone who wonders if la dolce vita can be found in a pile of dung. This classic tale is back in a brand new e-edition with a beautiful new cover and other original artwork, plus two bonus chapters and 44 color photographs available only to e-book buyers.

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