Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lawrence Gooley: The Abysmal Notion of Banning Books

BBW14_CoverArt_op1 CRBanned Books Week, which ended a few days ago, is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association and a number of other organizations representing authors, publishers, journalists, teachers, and anti-censorship sentiments. While pondering the mindset that would limit what others can read, it occurred to me that some of my own books, and many others tied to the Adirondack region, have the potential to be challenged by those who do such things. Seems ludicrous, but it’s true.

The tendency is to dismiss book-banners as nutjobs or fanatics, but here’s the truth: for school libraries and public libraries, topping the list of ban seekers are parents, patrons, administrators, board members, teachers, and pressure groups, in that order. » Continue Reading.


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: New Edition Of ‘Adirondack Rock’ Superb

slipcase with booksThe second edition of Adirondack Rock is out. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal, you must not be a climber.

Local climbers have been eagerly awaiting the second edition, and it’s now evident that their eagerness was justified: although the first edition, published in 2008, is an excellent guidebook, the new one is a major improvement.

Most important, it contains 1,240 new climbing routes and adds a number of cliffs not found in the first edition, including Sugarloaf Mountain (acquired by the state this year), Shelving Rock on the east side of Lake George (72 routes), and Silver Lake and Potter mountains (a combined 150 routes). In addition, the new guidebook documents more than 200 new routes at Crane Mountain, largely the work of Jay Harrison and his cohorts.

All told, Adirondack Rock describes about 3,100 routes (with more than 4,000 pitches) on 320 cliffs scattered around the Adirondack Park. As Tad Welch, one of the region’s most prolific climbers, notes in the foreword: “That’s over 65 miles of climbing, in case you’re wondering.”

» Continue Reading.


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Historical Biographies and William West Durant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat follows is a guest essay by Sheila Myers, who is working on a historical novel based on the life of William West Durant.

In science there is an expression that theories can never be proved, only disproved. I teach science, and that may be why a comment I read while researching William West Durant for my novel about his life provoked me to find out where this famous builder of Great Camps in the Adirondacks drew his inspiration. This then led me to uncover some fallacies in his biography.

It started with the dissertation by Mary Ellen Domblewski (Cornell University, 1974). In it she conjectures that Durant, having no formal training in architecture, may have visited the Bernese Oberland during his time abroad. It would be there, she believed, he would have observed the Swiss cottage style that he emulated at great camps Pine Knot and Sagamore.

» Continue Reading.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Adirondack Authors Night Celebrating 30 Years

Authors Night PR Photo 1On Tuesday August 12th Hoss’s Country Corner in Long Lake will be hosting the 30th Annual Authors Night from 7 to 9 pm, the largest book event in the Adirondacks.

This is an opportunity to meet and greet more than 60 Adirondack authors, musicians and storytellers under the big red tent located behind the store at 1142 Main Street. This event is free and open to everyone of all ages. Hoss’s Country Corner is an Adirondack landmark, a family operated business for over 40 years. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 9, 2014

President of Plattsburgh: The Story of Smith Weed

Smith Weed BiographyRouses Point businessman Mark L. Barie has written the first biography of North Country politician Smith Weed. In The President of Plattsburgh, The Story of Smith Weed (Crossborder Publishing, 2014), Barie paints a portrait of Weed – six feet tall, with piercing black eyes – a man who was said to smoke nine cigars a day.

Smith Weed was instrumental in the establishment of the Champlain Valley Hospital, the YMCA, the Plattsburgh Library, and the Hotel Champlain, but was perhaps best known nationally for his central role in “The Cipher Dispatches” voter fraud controversy during the fiercely disputed presidential election of 1876.

Weed was President (Mayor) of Plattsburgh in the mid-19th century and served six terms in the New York State Assembly. The Plattsburgh attorney was also a successful businessman and philanthropist. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adirondack Memories and Campfire Stories

Layout 1If you’ve spent any time rambling New York’s north country roads, you may have wondered how Eagle Lake got its name, or how little towns like Schroon Lake and Chateaugay and Redford came to be before the north became a tourist haven. Where is that Cold River hermit that your grandfather told you about? What about the weird beliefs of early Adirondack days?   Maybe you’re still holding out for the possibility of a sea serpent in Lake Champlain, or hoping you’ll chance upon a legendary lost silver mine while you’re out enjoying a hike in the balsam wood.

This is the sort of interesting and sometimes unusual information that readers of Adirondack Memories and Campfire Stories (2014) will find fascinating. William J. “Jay” O’Hern has compiled first-hand stories from a series of little quarterly magazines that native Adirondack archivist, historian, and folklorist George Glyndon Cole published from 1946-1974. Few complete collections now exist, in less than a handful of North Country libraries, but back then readers eagerly anticipated each new issue. Some readers will remember reading North Country Life, later called York State Tradition, from cover to cover. It was exciting indeed to read about one’s own rural region, especially when the articles came straight from the pens and hearts of one’s neighbors. » Continue Reading.


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Northern Forest Atlas Project Planned

Blue Mountain Lake from Castle Rock (9)The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) recently received a grant from the International Paper Foundation to help publish the Northern Forest Atlas​, which will be released in a series of books, charts, digital applications, and posters documenting the habitats and ecosystems of the Northern Forest (forested areas located in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine).

Jerry Jenkins, WCS ecologist and Atlas project director, is consolidating the enormous body of his ecological research from the past 45 years into a natural history interpretive collection to be released over the next five years. The project is expected to include professionally-designed graphic representations of the natural world to complement existing environmental education programs in the region and be a resource for field studies. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Barbara McMartin’s Guidebook Series Marks 40 Years

Discover SeriesIn 2014, the Discover the Adirondacks series of guidebooks has reached an important milestone: its fortieth birthday. The series began in 1974 under a different name, with a single book that covered just one part of the Adirondacks.  It was intended by its author to illustrate that there was more to the Adirondack Park than just the High Peaks, where the majority of the non-motorized trail building had occurred. When philosophical differences led to a split with her original publisher, she found a new one and proceeded to accomplish the unprecedented: a detailed, eleven-volume guidebook series that covered every region in the six-million-acre park. To mark the occasion, I have taken the liberty of writing this short history of how the Discover series came to be—with hints of where it might be going.

In 1974, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) published a compact volume called Walks and Waterways: An Introduction to Adventure by Barbara McMartin Patterson. It was a guidebook that suggested ninety-eight walks and paddle trips in the space of about 170 pages, covering an area that ranged from Stratford to Speculator in the southern Adirondacks. The book featured five small pullout trail maps that had been drawn by a cartography student at Briarcliff College, and it was adorned by dozens of pencil sketches drawn by the author. It was intended to be “an encyclopedic list of all the paths and water routes,” as well as “a guide for the amateur explorer, in order that he can better enjoy the forest paths, canoe trips, and automobile routes.” It was, in fact, the first guidebook that McMartin would publish, and the nucleus of what would grow to become the future series.

» Continue Reading.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Adirondack: Life And Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East

Ed Kanze Adirondack BookWhen Ed Kanze moved to the Adirondacks in 2000, he was moving to an area his ancestors had been connected to since 1797. It was like coming home, even though he had grown up in New York’s Westchester County and had traveled and worked all over the country and abroad.

In his new memoir, Adirondack: Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East (SUNY Press, 2014), Kanze brings the unique history of this area to life by sharing stories about many of his ancestors, including an aunt treated for tuberculosis and a great-great-grandfather who owned tanneries, a lumber business and a hotel, and who also served as a judge and assemblyman.

A naturalist and licensed guide, Kanze got his love of the outdoors from his grandfather, who took him on long fishing trips when he was a kid. In addition to the history in Adirondack, he also provides a crash course in Adirondack geology, climate, flora, and fauna. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Book: Journey with the Loon

Journey with the LoonThe Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) has announced the publication of Journey with the Loon. Authors David Evers and Kate Taylor detail the story of the Common Loon, told from the perspective of first-hand, in-depth study.

Images by nature photographers Ginger and Daniel Poleschook capture the loon’s cycle of life through the seasons. In his Foreword, award-winning author and field biologist Jeff Fair recounts tales of “the simple joy in understanding such a wild spirit.” Published by Willow Creek Press, the 144-page hardcover book includes a companion DVD. » Continue Reading.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Lawrence Gooley On Self Publishing, Book Giveaways

Books Image JW01The Adirondack Center for Writing recently shared a link on their Facebook page to a Bookbaby blog entry titled, “From book to book launch: how to successfully self-publish your book.” There are 17 steps posted, each with links, most of which lead to something you need to do and describing how Bookbaby can provide each service. It’s an effective practice, offering free information of varying value and linking it to paid services.

As general guidelines go, the Bookbaby list is OK, but it’s important for aspiring authors to know that while some of the items apply to most books, the formula in its entirety applies to only certain genres. If you’re not writing for certain audiences, some of it is bad advice. » Continue Reading.


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Lawrence Gooley: Print and E-book News

Books Image JW01The world of books, including both print and digital formats, is still struggling to find the way forward. Translation: publishing companies everywhere are seeking ways to monetize the process in sustainable fashion. Oh, sure … many have made their fortune on what are basically get-rich-quick schemes (in most cases, get richer quick), selling overpriced services to authors while filling their heads with dreams of a world anxiously awaiting their best-seller.

A typical teaser: “Your book will be available to stores everywhere, and to millions (if not billions) of readers around the globe.” True, it will be available to stores and to readers, but without someone marketing, advertising, and promoting it to give those stores and people a reason to buy your book, they won’t. They won’t even know it exists. » Continue Reading.


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Saturday, February 15, 2014

A New History of Warrensburg Published

Book cover frontFollowing five years of planning, research, writing and design, the Warrensburgh Historical Society has released Warrensburg, New York: 200 Years of People, Places and Events (2014) in honor of the town’s Bicentennial Celebration.

Spearheaded by Town Historian Sandi Parisi, the effort involved more than 20 volunteers. The 184-page soft-cover book, laid out as an encyclopedia of Warrensburg history, contains more than 300 photographs and a 19-page index with over 2,300 listings.

Topics range from the town’s earliest settlers in the late 18th century to more recent notables of the 20th century, plus industries, businesses, and events that contributed to a thriving and prosperous community which influenced the local, state and national scenes. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

New Guide: The Trans Adirondack Route

Logo transparentWith six million acres of valleys, lakes, peaks, and passes, the Adirondack Park of is a big place ripe for big adventures, and no adventure could be bigger than hiking across the entire park, from top to bottom.  This 235-mile opportunity to traverse the Adirondacks is being dubbed by former Adirondack Park backcountry ranger Erik Schlimmer the “Trans Adirondack Route”.

Schlimmer’s Trans Adirondack Route pieces together hiking trails, abandoned pathways, snowmobile trails, and dirt and paved roads to travel from Ellenburg Center near the Canadian border to southern Fulton County near Gloversville.  During its course the route crosses five wilderness areas, visits fifty bodies of water, climbs three summits, and runs through three settlements.  Highlights of the route include Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks, the Cold River, and Long Lake. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Call for Submissions For Adirondack Literary Awards

unnamed(4)The Adirondack Center for Writing Literary Awards are a way to honor the writers and publishers who live and work (even part time) in the North Country. Submissions don’t have to be Adirondack-themed, though they can be. If you live here and published this past year, send two copies for submission.

The organizers are looking for submissions of fiction, non-fiction, children’s literature, memoir, edited collections and poetry. ACW  judges will choose a winner from each category, and popular vote decides a People’s Choice Award at the ceremony in June at the Blue Mountain Center, which donates space and resources for the event. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

General Nicholas Herkimer And The Battle of Oriskany

image001(7)During the critical Battle of Oriskany in August 1777, Continental forces led by General Nicholas Herkimer defeated the British army under St. Leger in the heart of New York’s Mohawk Valley. It was a hard-won victory, but he and his troops prevented the British from splitting the colonies in two.

In The Battle of Oriskany and General Nicholas Herkimer: Revolution in the Mohawk Valley (History Press, 2013), Paul Boehlert presents a gripping account of the events before, during and after this critical battle.

Although they did not succeed in relieving the British siege of Fort Stanwix, Herkimer’s citizen-soldiers turned back the British and protected America’s northern flank from attack. Herkimer was mortally wounded, but his heroism and leadership firmly placed him in the pantheon of Revolutionary War heroes. » Continue Reading.



Monday, January 13, 2014

Local Publishing And Some Surprising E-book News

Books Image JW01The most recent news on e-book sales might be startling to some, particularly those who have commented or sent emails regarding pieces I’ve previously written on the subject. The gist of many of those missives: like it or not, print is dead, and within a few years (2015 was a popular choice), digital books will rule. For my taste, it was far too simplistic a view, based solely on one mathematical bit of information: since e-books had suddenly risen to comprise about 20% of all book sales, the pace of growth would continue, and even accelerate.

That viewpoint ignored the most important requirement for just about any ongoing, successful endeavor in this country: a sustainable economic engine must be in place. That hasn’t happened yet.

Yes, money is being made, but it’s important to know how it’s being made and who is making it. Dozens of companies have been trying to solve the future of e-books and harness them economically. That future is still bright with promise, but some unforeseen realities are now coming into play. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, January 11, 2014

America’s First Crisis: The War of 1812

americas first crisis - the war of 1812The War of 1812, sometimes called “America’s forgotten war,” was a curious affair. At the time, it was dismissed as “Mr. Madison’s War.” Later it was hailed by some as America’s “Second War for Independence” and ridiculed by others, such as President Harry Truman, as “the silliest damned war we ever had.” The conflict, which produced several great heroes and future presidents, was all this and more.

In America’s First Crisis: The War of 1812 (SUNY Press, 2014) Robert P. Watson tells the stories of the battles and leaders and shares the blunders and victories of the war. What started out as an effort to invade Canada, fueled by anger over the harassment of American merchant ships by the Royal Navy, soon turned into an all-out effort to fend off an invasion by Britain. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Up on a Hill: A New Memoir of Ticonderoga

Stubing Rist coverUp on a Hill and Thereabouts: An Adirondack Childhood (SUNY Press, 2013) by Gloria Stubing Rist is a memoir of growing up in Chilson near Ticonderoga during the Great Depression.  In the 1930s, life for kids tucked away in the quiet woodlands of the Adirondacks was rich with nature and filled with human characters.

This memoir contains the recollections of one woman who spent her childhood on the hillsides and in the woods near Ticonderoga. Rist served as Newcomb Central School’s school nurse for five years. Her father-in-law was Ernest Rist, a Newcomb politician in the 1920s through the 1950s. Following his death, New York State honored him by naming a previously unnamed peak after him, Rist Mountain in the southeast corner of the Marcy quadrangle. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Novel: The Center of the World

Center of the worldAlternating between nineteenth-century Europe and present-day New England, Thomas Van Essen’s novel The Center of the World (Other Press, 2013) follows the great British painter J. M. W. Turner and his circle of patrons and lovers; and Henry, a middle-aged family man whose otherwise mundane existence is disrupted by the discovery of The Center of the World, Turner’s mesmerizing and troubling painting of Helen of Troy that was thought to have been lost forever.

This painting had such devastating erotic power that it was hidden away and supposedly destroyed … until Henry happens to stumble upon it while vacationing at his summer home in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


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