Indian Summer
Musings on the Gift of Life
Sam Pickering
232 pages
6 x 9

Formats available:
Paperback   $30.00 SH
ISBN: 978-0-8262-1596-3

About the Book

Returning to Nova Scotia every summer contributes to the illusion of smooth continuance, each summer not the first thread in a new fabric but another button on a cardigan, perhaps looser than buttons below but still familiar and comfortable. Every summer the songs of white-throated sparrows bounce from scrub like novelty tunes from the fifties. Early in the morning ravens grind woodenly. . . . No matter how slowly I jog, on the headland butterflies spring from my feet in clumps, first azures and orange crescents, then wood nymphs, and finally over the lowlands near the Beaver River outlet cabbage whites spiraling, dizzy with mating.

Indian Summer is the newest collection of personal essays by Sam Pickering. In typical Pickering fashion, he seeks to capture the gift of living. He brings to the page again his family, students, and a wealth of country characters who live in places that exist only in his imagination and who wander through the stories he tells.

He describes how his life has been altered by his children leaving home for college, and he ponders the changes aging brings and the things that never change. The consummate teacher, he celebrates academic life and the pleasures of the classroom. Readers will roam familiar ground with Pickering as he explores the fields and small hills of eastern Connecticut and the bogs and woods on his farm in Nova Scotia.
Indian Summer celebrates hearing and seeing. Butterflies tumble across the pages, flowers bloom and wilt, and dragonflies glitter like stained glass in the sunlight. Pickering teaches us to value our words and to laugh at the world around us. His musings mirror his desire for his readers to appreciate life a little more after exploring this book.


Samuel F. Pickering is a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut. His unconventional teaching style was one of the inspirations for the character of Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society. Academically, Pickering specializes in the familiar essay, children's literature, nature writers, and 18th– and 19th–century English literature. He has published many collections of nonfiction personal essays as well as over 200 articles. Pickering and his wife, Vicki, live in a small house in Connecticut with three little rescue dogs and two imaginary grandchildren. “Well-behaved children,” he writes, “mannered and old-fashioned, kids whogenuflect to their elders and use bad language only at the dinner table at home.”


"These essays aren’t simply a collection of reportage. Rather, they are funny, painful, insightful, and sometimes surprising conclusions of a man who actually knows how to think—and who entices readers to join him. Part of what he thinks is that life is fascinating, if often absurd. Life, he lets us know in fresh ways, is messy and engaging, unpredictable and absolutely crawling with ambiguity and contingency. And even though it sometimes drives him nuts, he wouldn’t have it any other way.”—Bill Tammeus


Walkabout Year
Samuel F. Pickering, Jr.

Crossing the Blue Willow Bridge
Nancy McCabe

What the River Carries
Lisa Knopp

All My Days Are Saturdays
Sam Pickering

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