Read in the Blue Line

Tale of slavery is haunting

“Twelve Years a Slave,” by Solomon Northup --- A little over 30 years old, in the year 1841, Solomon Northup, born a freeman in Saratoga, New York, is kidnapnapped and sold into slavery in the south. Prior to being enslaved, he is a loving father and husband and son of a former ...

Visiting those who are buried here

“Graves Of Upstate New York” By Chuck D’imperio --- In my mind, cemeteries are among the great underappreciated sources of local heritage and pride. I frequently wander graveyards when I travel. They help me gain a sense of an area’s history, remind me of the tragic epidemics that ...

Unearthing history one shovelful at a time

Chestertown native David Starbuck traveled far afield in his archeology career — Mexico, Scotland, New England — only to circle back home again to become an expert in uncovering the material history of his own literal and figurative backyard. In this lively and fascinating book he ...

Dr. Trudeau, lantern bearer, part 2

Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau had found his lamp and lit it. To get his fire burning, the new, self-appointed research scientist with a cause bought books and equipment, cleared out a spare room in his house and started up his own laboratory. Failures were frequent, and he knew that was part of ...

Tony Holtzman’s novel describes the Red Scare in Saranac Lake

Tony Holtzman, who summers in the Adirondacks, continues to write compelling historical fiction about the area. His trilogy “Axton Landing,” “The Railroad” and “Forever Wild” is required reading for those who want to understand the 19th century industries and legislation that ...

Tissot details a turn to a new life in her memoir

‘Kicking Leaves,” by Caperton Tissot, a resident of Saranac Lake, is a time capsule presented to the reader in the shape of a memoir. The book details the life of Caperton, a young socialite destined for debutante balls and ivy league education until in an awakening similar to that of ...

Williams shares her ideas for small towns

“What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities,” by Dar Williams, may not be a specifically Adirondack book, but much of its content proves applicable to the region. One might quickly list Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake, Glens Falls and ...

Darkly comic and beautifully written stories

“The Business of Naming Things” by Michael Coffey --- This is not a new book to the world, published in 2015, but it is new to me and so delightful, in a darkly comic, smart, sometimes darkly poignant way, that I wanted to call some attention to it. Full disclosure: I am acquainted ...

Piecing together a property’s history

Fran Yardley, in her own quest to find belonging, has given a gift to the North Country. Her book, “Finding True North,” has captured the history of the property that she and her husband Jay owned. She has meticulously documented the history and published it in the form of a charming ...

Nonfiction contest offers good reading opportunities

Each spring, Bibi Wein and I judge general nonfiction and memoir entries in the Adirondack Center for Writing’s literary contest. This year’s general nonfiction entries, many of which have already been reviewed in the Enterprise, were especially strong, evidencing research, ...

French-Canadian influence detailed in new book

“Franco-Americans in the Champlain Valley” by Kimberly Lamay Licursi And Celine Racine Paquette --- There’s been a burgeoning interest recently in French-Canadian influence in our region. A new book from Arcadia Publishing, “Franco-Americans in the Champlain Valley,” furthers that ...

A rich architectural reference, and field guide

Architecture, the subject of George Washington University professor (and sometime Essex County resident) Richard Longstreth’s wonderful book, is not the most prominent feature of the Adirondacks for most of us. “The Adirondack region is best known for its incredible natural resources — ...

‘An American Tragedy’ is ‘detailed, epic’

“An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser --- For several years, “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser has been on my bucket list of books to read. But at almost 900 pages and with a beginning that depicts a family of intolerant religious mission workers, I started and stopped ...

Fresh, well-researched, readable — and important

When I first learned about publication of Sally Svenson’s book “Blacks in the Adirondacks” (Syracuse University Press), I found myself a bit surprised no one had tackled this important subject before. Now that I’ve read this extensively researched volume, I realize others will follow ...

Two new books of verse from Adirondack authors Fast and Tissot

Two new books of verse by area writers came to our attention recently: Yvona Fast’s “Different” and Caperton Tissot’s “The Beat Within.” Yvona Fast’s slim volume “Different” was published by FootHills Publishing, which has been since 1986 a resource for upstate New York ...

Frederick Busch’s writing resonates upstate

“What to know about pain is how little we do to deserve it, how simple it is to give, how hard to lose. I’m a plumber. I dig for what’s wrong. And what I think of now as I remember pain is the fat young man and his child, their staggering house, the basement filled with death and dark ...

A plea for co-existing in the wild

John Davis’ “Split Rock Wildway” is described by the author as being a “scout’s report” on wildlife he has encountered in a specific area of the Adirondacks. However, in describing the book as such, the author is not completely honest. Instead of being only a scout’s report, ...

Come along for the journey in hiking tales

“An Adirondack Portfolio-1902-1935: The Hiking Stories and Photographs of Francis Bayle” --- Many of us may be fortunate enough to own photos taken by earlier generations; a few might also have some old letters. Bob Bayle, a former teacher from Glens Falls, had his own collection of ...

Terrie’s passion for the outdoors is infectious

“Seeing the Forest: Reviews, Musings, and Opinions from an Adirondack Historian,” by Philip Terrie” ---Philip Terrie has been wandering the Adirondacks for 50 years and writing about it for more than 30. His books “Contested Terrain” and “Forever Wild” were instant classics when ...