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Read in the Blue Line

Local history of disasters

This is not a book to be read cover to cover, too awful are the circumstances, the losses. But it is undeniably interesting to peek back in history to see what has befallen North Country communities and families, and how people rose together to help. Communities face a variety of ...

Solo Alaska paddling chronicle still inspires

I’m a fan of journey chronicles. Colin Fletcher’s classic first-person account of hiking the Grand Canyon, “The Man Who Walked Through Time,” is one of the pivotal books of my life. Jon Krakauer’s sensitive portrait of Christopher McCandless, and his sad death in Alaska, in “Into ...

A bold, startling book

As her jacket copy states, Shira Erlichman was “born in Israel, raised in Massachusetts, (and) now lives in Brooklyn.” She’s also been known to give readings in the North Country. Erlichman last visited the region in 2017, reading poems which now scaffold her debut collection “Odes to ...

A slavery tale with ties to the North Country

It took adaptation into a movie for the memoir “Twelve Years a Slave,” by Solomon Northup, to gain the audience it deserved. Northup, a free African-American, was kidnapped in Saratoga Springs, drugged and sold south as a slave to plantation owners in Mississippi. When he finally managed ...

Poems of wry gratitude

When I taste honey — as I sometimes do, as I have beekeeping friends who generously pass it on — it’s not necessarily the sweetness I taste first but the traces of the bees’ explorations, the spring flowers of Vermont hills, or the goldenrod of Adirondack roadsides. So do these poems ...

Author revisits feminist commune in Adirondacks

Lorraine M. Duvall’s cleverly titled “Finding a Woman’s Place” captures in miniature a movement that has, in a remarkably short time, changed how men and women in America see themselves and each other. “A woman’s place is in the home” was part of the post-World War II ...

Meet your local weeds and wildflowers

I can’t remember a book making me so eager for spring. Others may have given me the feel of that swift, sweet season, but none has given me so much to do when it arrives. Mind you, I love winter, but now I want things to sprout so I can go out in my yard — and into fields, bogs and ...

A fun read, set in Tupper Lake

For my first review in the Enterprise, I’ve chosen “Castle Games: a Rocky Romance” (CreateSpace 2016). The author is Jan Prestopnik, a retired English professor with long ties to the Adirondacks. Lucilla “Lucky” Wilta works as a waitress at a greasy spoon somewhere near Tupper ...

‘It’s Not Magic’ certainly is

Jon Sands, a regular performer in the Adirondack poetry scene, has been selected as a National Poetry Series winner. His book “It’s Not Magic” (Beacon Press) is an energetic investigation of youth and maturity, and a beautiful bridge between the worlds of spoken and written poetry. ...

Poems of atmosphere

Sackets Harbor native Natalli Amato has written a collection of poems, many of which harken back to childhood and adolescent times spent at play in the outside world in the Adirondack settings she called home. The poems are mostly descriptions of these experiences — rich in the sounds ...

Tale of urban crises, by an Adirondack author

Joe Connelly’s novel “Bringing Out the Dead” grew from his years as an emergency medical services medic in New York City. Connelly, who now lives in North Creek, tells his story through the eyes of Frank Pierce, whose narration includes documentary-style descriptions of the ...

The man who dared to dream

BOOK REVIEW: The Man Who Dared to Dream: The Story of Julian Reiss, Who Had the Faith to Make Things Happen, by Bob Welch Reviewed by Richard Frost During their car trip north in 1947, Julian Reiss (1899-1959) told his daughter Patti (now Patty Brooks) a story about a baby bear who visited ...

Poems exploring grief

This collection of poems explores loss, guilt and grief. In many of the poems the narrator reflects on the loss of an ex-girlfriend to suicide. Glimpses of the relationship, the woman, the struggles are interspersed with the awful fact of her death and its aftermath for the narrator. Pope ...

SUNY Plattsburgh professor tells a rich story 

Expect political pundits to mention Thomas More, who was executed in 1535 in London, as they comment on the impeachment hearings in Washington. As the famous and the obscure swear to tell the truth in our nation’s capital, the man who was beheaded for treason and canonized by the Roman ...

Young man’s 1826 travel journal is a good read

uebec native Alexander Stewart Scott had some time on his hands, and sufficient funds, so he wanted to travel before resuming school. Today he might hitchhike around Europe, bicycle across the country or join something akin to Americorps or the Peace Corps. But the year was 1826. He ...

Poems of wild imaginings

In an early poem in this volume, “Queer Fish,” Sarah Giragosian writes: “nothing can be drab so long / as objects hold allure as intimates.” These poems take all manner of creatures great and small as intimates. Giragosian dreams herself inside an anglerfish, gives voice to a spider, ...

Boats at the bottom of Lake George

The early military history of New York follows its waterways. The Hudson, Mohawk and St. Lawrence rivers, Lakes George and Champlain were the highways and the battlefields. Noted maritime explorer Joseph W. Zarzynski’s “Ghost Fleet Awakened: Lake George’s Sunken Bateaux of 1758” ...

Poems to have coffee with

Roger Mitchell’s poems are good company. Well-reasoned yet imaginative, approachable yet deep, the poems in his 2018 book “Reasons Dream” are a pleasure to spend time with. Just as conversation with an old friend over coffee can go from quotidian to cosmic and back, so these poems ...

Set in the future, this novel begins in 1858

Saratoga Springs author Jeff Bigelow’s “Emerson’s Adirondack Secret” is an expansive science-fiction novel set mostly in the Adirondacks, from Chazy Lake to Moriah. The novel begins in 2028 in a divided America. The ideological rancor we now see in Washington, D.C., and cable ...