Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tupper Lake History for the People

Two important sources of local history in Tupper Lake are becoming easier to find.

Louis Simmons’s Mostly Spruce and Hemlock, the classic history of the village of Tupper Lake and town of Altamont (also called Tupper Lake since 2004), will be reissued soon. Hungry Bear Publishing is working with Tupper Lake’s Goff-Nelson Memorial Library to produce a new edition of the 1976 book.

“In more than 30 years since it was published, Louis’s book has achieved cult status in Tupper Lake,” Hungry Bear publisher Andy Flynn said in a press release.“I’ve always said that, next to the Bible, Mostly Spruce and Hemlock is the most-read book in Tupper Lake.”

Because only 2,000 copies were printed, Spruce and Hemlock has become collectible and costly. The new edition will be paperback and an index will be added. Proceeds will benefit the library.

Louis Simmons was editor of the Tupper Lake Free Press 1932-1979. He continued to write for the paper and served as Tupper Lake historian until his death in 1995. William C. Frenette, Simmons’s nephew and another Tupper native deeply fascinated by his home region, took over as historian. He also wrote an entertaining column on local life and history for the Free Press.

Frenette died in 2007 but now his “Transitions” columns can be read again at a new Web site, tltransitions.com.

Here are a few words from Bill Frenette, for the season:

“There is an old saying: ‘Spring is the reward for those who live through the winter.’ How do we know that spring has arrived? Let’s count the ways: my neighbors, Jackie and Al Smith, are back from Florida looking trim and healthy; Charlcie Delehanty has reported seeing two immature and one mature bald eagles as the river opens near the sorting gap; Jessie’s Bait Shop has stored their ice augers and hung out their “Maple Syrup For Sale” sign in front of their newly updated fishing equipment; and geese can be seen feeding happily on Mary Burns’ front lawn along the the Raquette River, recently freed of ice.”

Photograph of L.C. Maid, Charles Knox, Howard Brown and unidentified man on a boat ride. Courtesy of Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, Tupper Lake.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A New Blog and Book About Hulett’s Landing

Hulett’s Landing on the east side of Lake George is the subject of a new Adirondack blog, The Huletts Current, and a new book by George Kapusinski whose family operates Huletts-On-Lake-George. It turns out I’m connected by marriage to the Hulett family that established Hulett’s Landing. So I thought I’d offer a little history – one that ties eastern timber rattlesnakes with an early noted librarian and explorer (now that’s a combination!) and at the same time adds a new steamship to the history of Lake George. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Books: Why The Adks Looks The Way It Does

If you want to consider yourself knowledgeable about the Adirondacks you must own and have read Mike Storey’s Why The Adirondacks Look The Way They Do. That’s not hyperbole – that’s a simple fact.

Storey self-published this guide to Adirondack natural history in 2006 and sold out the first printing in the first year. The reason, no doubt, is that it’s readable and relevant. Storey was the former Chief Naturalist at the Adirondack Park Agency (24 years at the APA!) and he wrote the book we all need to keep in our car, backpack, and back pocket. In fact, my only complaint is the book’s format doesn’t make it easy to pack – it could have been a lot smaller, even with all the info and images packed in there!

This book is more than a guide to our local flora and fauna, more than a wildlife guide, it covers geology, geography, forestry, history, cultural anthropology, environmental politics, from the life cycle of the black fly to the problems of upland development. The diagrams, illustrations, photographs, are illustrative beyond comparison. From “Grenville Continent Rifting and the Lake George Rift Valley” to the illustration of a 50-years of a hemlock and yellow birch growing on a rotting log resting on a glacial erratic rock, this book shows you the basics and backs it up with detailed explanations. The tracks of common animals, identifying common birds, leaves, trees, fish, soils, insects, eskers, kettle holes – its all there and more.

This book will do what it says it will – explain, in vivid and easy-going detail, why the Adirondacks look the way they do. I’ve been thinking about doing a “Ten Books Every Adirondacker Should Own,” and when I do, this book will be on that list.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Books: The Adirondacks (Postcard History Series)

Arcadia Publishing has been making a name for itself as a publisher of small local history books since the company was founded in 1993; they have now more then 5,000 books in print. Most folks are familiar with their Images of America, that uses the photo collections of local historical societies, collectors, and others to good effect. More recently they’ve expanded to a Postcard History Series.

This year, Arcadia published Scherelene Schatz’s The Adirondacks, a Postcard History Series look at the whole park. About 127 pages of postcard images are organized in chapters on the Eastern, Central, and Western Adirondacks, the High Peaks, Lake Placid and Ray Brook, and Saranac Lake. Schatz drew on local library and her own large collection of vintage postcards to present a fairly varied collection. There are plenty of scenes of local hotels, roadways, and natural places; the book is more limited when it comes to people, town and streetscapes, and wildlife. Unfortunately the lack of color hurts some of the cards, notably the first card in the book, originally a colorfully modern “Greetings from Lake George” that falls flat in black and white.

Still, the book has a number of interesting views and those interested in local history will find The Adirondacks worthwhile.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Ten Adirondack Books

I have a number of books that publishers have sent me for reviews and those will be on the way, but in the meantime, I thought I would take a look at what folks interested in the Adirondacks are reading. So here is what I discovered, the top ten Adirondack related books on Amazon:

#1 – Peter Bronski, At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks

#2 – Anne LaBastille, Woodswoman: Living Alone in the Adirondack Wilderness

#3 – Bill McKibben, Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America’s Most Hopeful Landscape:Vermont’s Champlain Valley and New York’s Adirondacks (Crown Journeys)

#4 – Barbara McMartin, 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks Throughout the Park, Fourth Edition

#5 – Tony Goodwin, Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region (Forest Preserve Series, V. 1)

#6 – Jerry C. Jenkins, The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park

#7 – Carl Heilman, The Adirondacks

#8 – Ralph Kylloe, Adirondack Home

#9 – Paul Schneider, The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness

#10 – Philip G. Terrie, Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks (A New Edition)


Friday, October 10, 2008

James Howard Kunstler’s New Book Set Locally

Mark Frauenfelder over at BoingBoing has a review of James Howard Kunstler’s new, World Made by Hand. A futuristic novel set in an an upstate New York town (somewhere in the Washington or Saratoga counties?), Kunstler’s book looks at what the world could be like in a future laid low by energy shortages and global warming. According to Frauenfelder’s review:

The story is told by Robert Earle, who used to be a software executive. Now he’s a hand-tool using carpenter living in a town in upstate New York without Internet, TV, or newspapers. The electricity comes on every couple of weeks for a few minutes at a time. When that happens, nothing’s on the radio but hysterical religious talk. Rumors of goings-on in the rest of the world are vague…

The story kicks off when Earle (who lost his wife and daughter in the plague and hasn’t seen his 19-year-old son since the boy took off a couple of years earlier to find out what’s happened in the rest of the country) is elected mayor and joins a search party to look for a freight boat and its crew, which disappeared on its way to Albany. Their horse-mounted odyssey takes them on a tour through a post-apocalyptic world of insanity, greed, kindness, corruption, and ingenuity.

While life in Kunstler’s world is lawless and harsh and populated with opportunistic characters that make Boss Tweed look like Glinda the Good, it’s not without charms. Local communities are active and productive. Neighbors all know each other and look after one another. People grow and trade their own produce and livestock, and meals are tasty — lots of buttery corn bread, eggs, chicken, vegetables, streaks, fish. They get together and play music a lot, and because people aren’t stuck in their living rooms watching TV, they actually attend live performances.

Kunstler has been a frequently discussed here at the Almanack; at Amazon you can buy World Made by Hand.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Edition of Eastern Region Trail Guide Published

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has published a new edition of Adirondack Trails: Eastern Region, and the book is now available for purchase from ADK and from bookstores and outdoor retailers throughout the Northeast.

The latest edition in ADK’s comprehensive Forest Preserve Series of guides includes completely updated trail descriptions for the region extending from Lake Champlain on the east; to the High Peaks, Hoffman Notch Wilderness and Schroon Lake in the west; and Lake George and the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness in the south.

Each Forest Preserve Series guide covers all New York state trails in its region, and they include complete information on lean-to shelters, campsites, water access, distances, elevations and road access. Detailed driving directions make it easy to find each trail.

This 3rd edition was edited by Neal S. Burdick and David Thomas-Train, and produced by ADK Publications staff Ann Hough of Keene, Andrea Masters of Ballston Spa and John Kettlewell of Saratoga Springs.

Purchase of this and other publications helps support ADK’s programs in conservation, education, and recreation. Also available are hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing, and cross-country skiing guides; natural history guides; and cultural and literary histories of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

To place an order contact ADK, 814 Goggins Road, Lake George, NY 12845, (518) 668-4447, (800) 395-8080 (orders only), or visit ADK’s Web site at www.adk.org.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Andy Flynn’s New Blog ‘Adirondack Writer’

Adirondack Almanack gets a lot of requests to link to new blogs and nearly all of them we turn down because they don’t have anything to do with the Adirondacks. By the way, our criteria for inclusion as an Adirondack blog is simple – it should be written in or about the Adirondacks. A new blog from Andy Flynn promises both.

Flynn, from Saranac Lake, reports that he:

Writes the newspaper column, ‘Adirondack Attic,’ which runs weekly in five northern New York newspapers. It features stories about artifacts from the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. Andy is the author of the book series, New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, with volumes 1-5 in stores now. He owns/operates Hungry Bear Publishing and lives in Saranac Lake, N.Y. During the day, he is the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths.

A recent post covered his so far unsuccessful attempts to save a historic one-room schoolhouse in Ellenburg Center (Clinton County):

In this case, I contacted the Adirondack Museum to see if they were interested in saving this schoolhouse, No. 11, in Clinton County. Not really. You see, they already have a one-room schoolhouse, the Reising Schoolhouse, built in 1907 in the Herkimer County town of Ohio. The Reising Schoolhouse was located in the extreme southern part of the Adirondack Park. The Ellenburg Center schoolhouse is located in the extreme northern part of the Adirondack Park.

The Adirondack Museum’s chief curator suggested I call Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) in Keeseville, which I did. The director and I spoke about the situation and agreed it would be a good idea to see the structure first. If anyone can help with saving an historic building in the Adirondack Park, it is AARCH.

So, that’s where we are. If there is any way to help, we’ll try to make it happen. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find someone in the Adirondack region, hopefully in Clinton County, who can help preserve this one-room schoolhouse, an important part of our rich North Country heritage.

Give Andy’s new blog a read, and lend a hand in his latest effort if you can.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Center for Writing: Best Adirondack Books of 2006

Adirondack Center for Writing‘s 2nd Annual Adirondack Literary Awards were announced last week in Blue Mountain Lake. The honors were bestowed upon the best books published “in or about the Adirondacks” in 2006. There were 37 entries this year.

And the winners were:

Brian Mann’s Welcome to the Homeland: A Journey to the Rural Heart of America’s Conservative Revolution (Steerforth Press) won both the Best Nonfiction Book category and the People’s Choice Award, voted on by members of the Adirondack Center for Writing.

For the second year in a row, a trio of poets from the Saratoga region took the prize for Best Poetry Book was awarded for the second year in a row to Glacial Erratica: Three Poets on the Adirondacks, Part 2 (30-Acre Wood Publishing – apparently not available online) by Mary Sanders Shartle, Elaine Handley, and Marilyn McCabe.

Rick Henry’s book Lucy’s Eggs: Short Stories And a Novella (Syracuse University Press)won top prize in the fiction category.

Irene Uttendofsky won Best Children’s Book for Adirondack Mouse and the Perilous Journey (Spruce Gulch Press).

Lueza Thirkield Gelb from New York City received the Best Memoir Book award for her Schroon Lake (Pulpit Harbor Press).

Two books tied the Edited Collections category: Oswegatchie: A North Country River (North Country Books) and No Place I’d Rather Be: Wit and Wisdom from Adirondack Lean-to Journals (Adirondack Mountain Club).

Adirondack Waters: Spirit of the Mountains (North Country Books) by Mark Bowie won Best Photography Book.

Congratulations!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ten Great Adirondack Related Books for Xmas

This holiday season we’ve decided to offer a list of books that every Adirondack fan should have – remember that if you buy through the Adirondack Almanack a small portion of the sale supports the blog.

The War Against the Greens: The “Wise-Use” Movement, the New Right, and the Browning of America

David Haelvarg ($12.92)
Local Politics: Provides the first full accounting of the extremist right wing “property rights” movement in the Adirondacks. Implicated in a rash of arson, physical attacks, death threats, and more, and connected to organizations like the John Birch Society, organizations like the Citizens Council of the Adirondacks (CCA) and the Adirondack Solidarity Alliance (ASA) waged a battle against environmentalist, locals who supported zoning, and the APA.

Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks

Philip Terrie ($14.56)
Local Politics : We’re lucky to have Terrie as a regular reader of the Adirondack Almanack. This book on the politics of the park and the struggle over the land is a seminal piece of Adirondack scholarship and a great follow-up to Terrie’s Forever Wild: A Cultural History of Wilderness in the Adirondacks.

Building Adirondack Furniture: The Art, the History, and the How-To

John Wagner ($10.61)
How-To: Get out to the woodshed and produce some of< your own locally inspired furniture. Geared for beginners, this book include drawings, photos, and diagrams to help even the most amateur wood worker build classic Adirondack designs.

50 Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks Throughout the Park

Barbara McMartin ($12.74)
Local Guides: The late Adirondack historian’s perennial favorite – a great book for the Adirondack newbie, visitor, or that person who has been doing a lot of talking about finally doing some hiking.

Birds of the Adirondacks: A Field Guide

Alan Bessette, William Chapman ($16.95)
Local Guides: Over 200 species of birds are categorized into the eight basic groups. Also includes sections on feeding, attracting, and photographing along with a checklist and place for field notes.

Adirondack Waterfall Guide: New York’s Cool Cascades

Russell Dunn ($10.61)
Local Guides: An excellent guide to some of the Adirondacks most geologically interesting spots. Everyone loves waterfalls and this guide will get you to them.

The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness

Paul Schneider ($11.56)
History: Almost ten years old now, Schneider’s history of the Adirondacks still stands as the most recent well-written and engaging general history of the region.

The Adirondacks, 1830-1930 (Images of America)

Donald R. Williams ($15.59)
History: Part of the Images of America series, this Adirondack picture book is a must have that provides amazing photographs taken from all kinds of sources. A nice, affordable photo history of the Adirondacks.

The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park

Jerry Jenkins, Andy Keal ($24.12)
Local Gems: Now that the price has come down considerably, pick up this heavily researched atlas of life in the Adirondacks.

Adirondack Life 2007 Calendar

The Editors of Adirondack Life ($35.57)
Local Gems: Adirondack Life’s famous imagery in calendar form.


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