Regional Reads 2017
by Niki Kourofsky
Here’s a quick A to Z—or A to W, rather—of this year’s titles of local interest:
Architect Janet A. Null’s The Adirondack Architecture Guide: South-Central Region (SUNY Press, 2017)—a field guide to more than a dozen curated tours—is the first in a planned trio of volumes exploring the region’s built environment (344 pages, $29.95, softcover, color photographs and maps, www.sunypress.edu).
Barn Stories: Reflections from a Saratoga County Horse Farm (North Country Books, 2017) is a collection of essays by former Adirondack Life contributor Mary Cuffe Perez about the struggles and satisfactions of working in a 200-year-old stable (125 pages, $17.95, softcover, www.northcountrybooks.com).
Kathleen Larkin, co-owner of Indian Lake’s Abanakee Studios, explores the colorful history, hidden corners and unforgettable characters of two loves of her life—a seashore community off the coast of New Jersey and the wilderness wonderland of the Adirondacks—in her second book, Best of Both Worlds (Bloated Toe Publishing, 2017, 226 pages, $18.00, black-and-white photographs, www.books.bloatedtoe.com).
Sally E. Svenson compiles the stories of Blacks in the Adirondacks (Syracuse University Press, 2017) in a thoroughly researched and interesting read, enriched by a poignant afterword from activist Alice Paden Green, who grew up in a remote Adirondack mining town (334 pages, $34.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs, www.syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu).
In Bushwhacking Your Way to Great Landscape Photography (Amherst Media, 2017), photographer and wilderness guide Spencer Morrissey offers outings and shooting tips, inviting readers to “venture off the beaten path and capture images of untouched wilderness.” (127 pages, $24.95, softcover, color photographs, www.amherstmedia.com).
Local tween-lit star Kate Messner tackles homelessness in her latest sensitive and endearing tale, The Exact Location of Home (Bloomsbury, 2017, 250 pages, $16.99, softcover, www.bloomsbury.com).
An Extraordinary Ordinary Woman: The Journal of Phebe Orvis, 1820–30 (SUNY Press, 2017) combines a first person account of early-19th-century life in Vermont and northern New York with interpretive essays by history and American studies professor Susan M. Ouellette (380 pages, $29.95, softcover, www.sunypress.edu).
Freight Car & Other Stories (Ra Press, 2017) is a collection of eclectic short stories—from the agonizing debate over selling a family cabin to an escape from the Moriah Shock Correctional Facility—by Jeff Kelly, of Port Henry, author of Adirondack Heist, Tailings, and former editor of Adirondack Life (111 pages, $10, softcover, www.amazon.com).
The Fulton Chain: Early Settlement, Roads, Steamboats, Railroads and Hotels (HerrStory Publications, 2017) expands on Charles E. Herr’s fact-stuffed columns for the Weekly Adirondack and Adirondack Almanack, exploring a century of local characters, teeth-rattling travel and ill-fated schemes—spoiler alert: Thomas Edison Jr.’s bright idea to curb the black-fly population didn’t end well. (321 pages, $39.99, softcover, black-and-white photographs, www.facebook.com)
A Guide to Architecture of the Adirondacks (Adirondack Architectural Heritage, 2017), by historian Richard Longstreth, brings readers on a tour of 850 significant structures throughout the park, from opulent Great Camps to modest cottage colonies (448 pages, $34.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs and maps, www.adirondacklifestore.com).
In Heading Out: A History of American Camping (Cornell University Press, 2017), Terence Young traces our country’s passion for sleeping under the stars, a love affair that started right here in the Adirondacks (384 pages, $35.00, softcover, black-and-white photographs, www.cornellpress.cornell.edu).
The second edition of Hiking the Adirondacks: A Guide to the Best Hiking Adventures in New York’s Adirondack Park (Falcon Guides, 2017), by Lisa Densmore Ballard, adds more hikes as well as color photographs and topographical maps (340 pages, $24.95, softcover, www.falcon.com).
Ellen Apperson Brown shares pictures and stories of her pioneering environmental activist great-uncle in John Apperson’s Lake George (2017), an installment of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series (127 pages, $21.99, softcover, black-and-white photographs, www.arcadiapublishing.com).
The Night is Done (CreateSpace, 2017) is the third installment of Sheila Myers’s well-researched Durant Family Saga series, wrapping up William and Ella Durant’s life stories (260 pages, $11.49, softcover, www.wwdurantstory.com).
Relentless Pursuit: Inside the Escape from Dannemora, New York State’s Largest Manhunt (Dog Ear Publishing, 2017), written by New York State Police Major Charles Guess—the incident commander for the search operations—gives readers a play-by-play of the investigation and tactics that brought an end to the 23-day ordeal (301 pages, $19.95, softcover, www.relentlesspursuittrooper.com).
Seeing the Forest: Reviews, Musings, and Opinions from an Adirondack Historian (Adirondack Explorer, 2017) compiles 60 Adirondack Explorer articles by Philip Terrie, author of Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks. Terrie’s two decades of writings dig into the usual suspects of environmental debate—development schemes, land classification, constitutional conventions—but also reflect on the human landscape of this singular region (240 pages, $29.95, hardcover www.adirondackexplorer.org).
In their 17th adventure, Justin and Gary VanRiper’s Adirondack Kids take on Spies on Castle Rock and the Secrets of the Secret Code (Adirondack Kids Press, 2017), a geocaching mystery (88 pages, $9.95, softcover, black-and-white illustrations, www.adirondackkids.com).
Following up on A Taste of Upstate New York: The People and Stories Behind 40 Food Favorites, Chuck D’Imperio gives us Upstate Uncovered: 100 Unique, Unusual, and Overlooked Destinations in Upstate New York (SUNY Press, 2017), a field guide to places like Santa’s Workshop, in Wilmington; the Little Red cure cottage, in Saranac Lake; and Whitehall, the “birthplace of the American Navy” (450 pages, $24.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs, www.sunypress.edu).
David Leonard, of Lyon Mountain, records his father’s oral history over shared drinks in The Whiskey Bottle Conversation: A Father’s Legacy to His Son (Page Publishing, 2017, 417 pages, $22.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs, www.amazon.com).
Tags: Adirondack books