5 Books to Cozy Up with in October | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Going for Broke

Edited by Alissa Quart and David Wallis
Haymarket Books, 2023, $19.95

Hudson Valley-based editors Alissa Quart and David Wallis, of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, have compiled an anthology of essays, documentary poems, and photographs offering political and social commentary from those on the bottom of the social ladder. In this collection, previously homeless veterans shed light on drug addiction and PTSD, while retail and assembly-line workers lay bare the struggles of unemployment and health care inequality. Whether it's false border detainment, COVID unemployment, or disability rights, this book doesn't hold back. By representing these stories, Going for Broke: Living on the Edge in the World's Richest Country employs individual voices to expose the punitive social systems sabotaging millions of Americans.

More Borscht from a Catskill Mountain Plumber

Allen J. Frishman
Independently published, 2023, $19.95

In this sequel to Tales of a Catskill Mountain Plumber, Allen J. Frishman again assembles a collection of anecdotes featuring the quirky–yet very real–characters of the Catskills. Written in a personal style, this book blends Borscht Belt humor, historical record, and nostalgia into a single charming mix. Learn about Shimmy the Pickle Man, the Bagelman sisters, the Lebed's drugstore heist, the art of plumbing, and catching fish in the Neversink River. Along with outlandish tales, More Borscht includes a glossary of translations for the Yiddish-impaired, as well as images of Catskills memorabilia drawn from Frishman's personal collection. 

Between Monsters and Marvels 

Alysa Wishingrad
HarperCollins Publishers, 2023, $19.99

This New Paltz-based author's fantastical stories invite young readers to tackle themes of equity, truth, and power. Wishingrad's debut novel, The Verdigris Pawn, was a 2021 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and her latest work lives up to the legacy. In this novel, middle-grade readers can follow the story of Dare Coates, a young girl seeking to uncover the mystery behind her father's death and the reality of the monsters he taught her about. On the island of Barrow's Bay, colorful characters lighten up the twists and turns of this invigorating fantasy-mystery hybrid, which asks us to interrogate everything around us.

Immigrant Prodigal Daughter

Lucia Cherciu
Kelsay Books, 2023, $23

Romanian-born poet Lucia Cherciu captures homesickness and loss in this collection of poems about the immigrant experience. Cherciu—a Dutchess Community College professor of English who served as the 2021-2022 Dutchess County Poet Laureate—is not shy about depicting the somber realities of feeling like a stranger in America, including all of her internal pressures. But along with melancholy, Cherciu also sprinkles in hope and optimism, enshrining tender moments and memories in bittersweet poems like "Ode to Romanian Old Women." Ultimately, Immigrant Prodigal Daughter offers a raw and intimate look at one woman's lived experience, including all its losses and victories.

The Mare

Seth C. Martel
Graphic Mundi/Penn State Press, 2023, $19.95

From writer and illustrator Seth Martel, a Poughkeepsie-raised SUNY New Paltz grad, this graphic novel tells the tale of troubled young Indigo, as she grapples with family and friendship during the day and the supernatural at night. Indy believes that the stress over the loss of her job and her father's divorce is causing her to suffer from sleep paralysis. It's not until she confides in her best friend that she learns about the Mare, a spirit that saps its victims' energy at night. Martel's art, mostly black and white with sparing use of color, acts as a powerful vehicle for the macabre.

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