Ready to read a good book by a mountain lake? That’s a pleasant thought after a troubling year, and the time for it is creeping up on us. Maybe this summer we’ll even feel safe to mingle in bookshops, or do our reading around others in coffee shops.
Remember those days?
With high hopes, we at the Adirondack Explorer are assembling a summer reading list and some reviews, for recent books with Adirondack themes or interests.
When the going gets tough, Colden MacIntyre, the main character in Iron Sharpens Iron, gets tougher, taking on the Lake Placid Ironman in an effort to overcome his demons.
Iron Sharpens Iron (Heavy Lift Books, 2020) is the first novel from upstate New York author Herb Terns. Though set mainly in Lake Placid, characters roam throughout the North Country, hiking High Peaks, trail running the Tongue Mountain Range, paddling Lake George and backpacking the Northville-Lake Placid Trail. But the heart of the book is Colden’s quest to win the Ironman, and the strength of the community that helps him through.
“We tend to remember the scars we get in life,” Terns says, “but we don’t always remember all the people who help us along the way. In some ways, the story is a metaphor for the way small towns pull together to help people who need it.”
Local bookstore owners establish Adirondack book wholesale and distribution business
The announcement in late October that North Country Books would close at the end of January 2021 sent dismay through the ranks of authors, publishers, and retail accounts who’d come to depend on the Utica-based company to distribute books and related products with an Adirondack focus.
The company, founded in 1965, had been a bridge between small specialty publishers and authors and their markets for Adirondack-themed books, maps, and sideline products and there was no other entity to fill the gap.
Enter Sarah and Marc Galvin, owners of The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid.
Set in 1925, Mountain Shadows (written by Lake Placid native Patti Brooks) tells the tale of a poor, young couple, Joe and Alice Devlin, who come to the Adirondacks seeking a cure for the wife’s tuberculosis. Alice is placed in a “cure cottage” in Saranac Lake. Joe, a wiz of an auto mechanic, lands a job in the Lake Placid Club’s garage. Finding that Alice’s treatment costs far more than the Club can pay him, Joe takes up with bootleggers who are running liquor from the Canadian border through the Adirondacks to the big cities farther south.
(Introduction to the excerpt: Joe Devlin has been accosted and left for dead on his walk from NYC to Saranac Lake in order to be with his wife who is taking the TB cure.)
If you must “shelter in place”, the North Country is a good place to do so. Those of us fortunate to live in New York’s great Adirondack Park are already accustomed to “social distancing”, and generally have ample space to get fresh air and exercise – thanks to the good work of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and regional land trusts in protecting millions of acres of wild lands and waters. We are also fortunate to have thousands of brave neighbors continuing to go to work to provide us essentials, like groceries, heating fuel, and health care.
Still, even we lucky Adirondackers – nearly as much as our fellow New Yorkers down-state wishing they could be up here – likely have more time alone now than we usually have. Quiet time affords us chances to read. Here is a quick list of books of regional interest and/or environmental bent that I’d suggest to neighbors sheltered at home through this upsetting pandemic.
Prolific Adirondack researcher and writer William J. O’Hern’s new book Adirondack Timber Cruising takes the reader on a journey through the development of timber cruising, logging, and forestry and our relationship to forests.
Forty-six years ago, seven women left behind the lives they knew and created a commune in the Adirondack Mountains which they called “A Woman’s Place.” According to award-winning author Lorraine Duvall, from 1974 to 1982 A Woman’s Place served as a refuge for self-discovery and changed the lives of hundreds of women. » Continue Reading.
A new book about Stillwater Fire Tower will soon be available in local stores. Stillwater Fire Tower, A Centennial History … and Earlier (2019, Self-Published) by James Fox, recounts how it came to life as a shiny steel tower in 1919 when fire observers and forest rangers helped protect our forests from the summit. The tower closed and was partially dismantled in 1988.
Rehab of the tower began in 2009. Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower completed an authentic restoration in 2016. The location offers views of the Adirondack High Peaks and the wind turbines on Tug Hill. » Continue Reading.
Alan Via’s new book Doghiker: Great Hikes With Dogs from the Adirondacks Through the Catskills (Excelsior Editions, 2020) is a comprehensive guidebook for dog owners that includes plenty of great hikes from the Adirondacks through the Catskills.
The Village Mercantile (formerly The Community Store) in Saranac Lake is set to host Adirondack Raptor proprietor Mark Manske for a book signing and a meet and greet with one of his owls on Saturday, December 21 from noon until 2 pm.
Mark Manske has written two mystery novels for youth centered around Marvin Stone, “Stoney,” and his buddy Bill Short as well as a mysterious owl, a modern-day treasure hunt, and a skunk. » Continue Reading.
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) is set to host a talk and book signing with Carl Heilman and Neal Burdick for their book, The Trails of the Adirondacks: Hiking America’s Original Wilderness with photography by Carl Heilman, foreword by Bill McKibben, and text by Neal Burdick, on Saturday, November 9th, from 1 to 3 pm.
This event will include a presentation and book signing by Carl Heilman and Neal Burdick, followed by a reception with light refreshments. » Continue Reading.
New York Times digital bestselling author Tim Rowland’s newest book confirms what many have suspected: politics is a weird business.
Rowland argues in his newest book Politics Weird-O-Pedia: The Ultimate Book of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts about Politics, that today’s political culture is no more unhinged than it has been at any point in world history.
In fact, he says, we may comfort ourselves knowing that at points in the past, politics has been much more bizarre than it is now. “Today, for example, at least we are no longer cementing thousands of live humans into our public works projects. That we know of,” he says. » Continue Reading.
Edward I. Pitts’ new book The History of the Rap-Shaw Club: 1896 until 1958 tells the story of the early days of the Rap-Shaw Club, one of region’s surviving nineteenth century Adirondack outdoors clubs.
Founded in 1896, Rap-Shaw has continuously existed in the Beaver River country of the west central Adirondacks for what is believed to be longer than any other institution in that region. It has had rustic camps at Witchhopple Lake, Beaver Dam Pond, and since 1940 on Williams Island in the Stillwater Reservoir. It has outlived all the earliest settlements of the area, outlived Webb’s great camp Nehasane, and the passenger railroad that originally brought its members to the wilderness. Pitts offers an epic tale of adventure, wilderness recreation and the work required to build and maintain a voluntary organization during changing times. » Continue Reading.
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