Read in the Blue Line

The way we live … and a walk in the woods

A walk in the woods can be both exercise and metaphor. That was part of the conversation recently among a group of us hiking leisurely in Wilmington. Discussing whether to take the steeper and shorter trail or the gentler, longer one, one of us recited part of Robert Frost’s “The Road ...

More than just Coolidge’s summer getaway

Articles and books about White Pine Camp, near Paul Smiths, frequently cite its association with Calvin Coolidge, who used it as his Summer White House in 1926. The complete story is much richer. A new book by Howard Kirschenbaum, “White Pine Camp: The Saga of an Adirondack Great Camp and ...

The dark early days of a colorful life

“Angry Rain” by Maurice Kenny --- My path never crossed that of Maurice Kenny, although certainly I was aware of his extensive writings, knew him to be active in the Native American community, and knew that he was a North Country notable. I did notice that whenever his name came up ...

Former state police officer writes of cross-border terrorism

“Southbound Terror: A Marc LaRose Mystery,” by R. George Clark --- Most of “Southbound Terror” takes place in northern New York and Quebec. But it begins in Salem, Oregon. There a local farmer harvests a crop originating in China: “The seed, originally from the plant ricinus ...

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 ...