Short Takes: Short Book Reviews for November 2016 | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Short Takes: Short Book Reviews for November 2016 

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Michael Sullivan Smith

Arcadia Publishing & The History Press, 2016, $21.99

Local historian, artist, and author William Sullivan Smith's narrative forges together pieces of Saugerties's deeply industrial history. Smith traces the town's ebbs and flows from its Native American origins onward, exploring the bluestone quarries, paper mills, and IBM. Smith skillfully chronicles the stories of the people who make up Saugerties's history, like canal owner Henry Barclay and Opus 40 creator Harvey Fite. Smith captures a consistent pride in claiming local identity as a Saugertisian. Aerial photographs of the town by Morris Roseblum are spread throughout the text, giving the reader a bird's-eye view.


Wesley Gottlock, Barbara H. Gottlock

Gottlock Books, 2016, $9.99

Wes and Barbara Gottlock have released their sixth book about Hudson Valley history. This time, it's a historical-fiction adventure for the kids. Two youngsters visit Bannerman Island for a class project. When exploring the island's spooky ruins, they meet a woman named Eleanor, based on real-life Modena resident Eleanor Seeland, who grew up on the island. Bits of Eleanor's memoir combine with the children's adventures. Tatiana Rhinevault provides illustrations for this fun and eerie children's book. All proceeds benefit the Bannerman Castle Trust.


Ismael "Ish" Martinez Jr.

Arcadia Publishing, 2016, $21.99

Midcentury summer cabins in the Catskills have given the region its "Borscht Belt" nickname. Spanish, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic families also spent their summers upstate in resorts scattered along Route 32. Many visited "The Spanish Alps," also known as "Las Villas," in Ulster County, centered in Plattekill. A string of resorts and cabins popped up in the `40s and `50s, and thrived in the `60s and `70s. Author Ismael Martinez Jr. compares the summertime experience to a "Latin version of the movie Dirty Dancing." This nostalgic volume pairs Martinez's family photos with archival images.


A. G. Palmer

Epigraph Publishing, 2015, $10.19

A. G. Palmer creates a light collection of fish tales that will immerse readers in the world of angling. Palmer writes that "the pursuit of fish" is not fully captured in catching the trout. It's about the experiences along the way—rituals that constitute the angler's way, and the people he's encountered along the winding rivers and streams of the Catskills. Included is a trip to the backwoods of Maine to find the legendary trout "Big Fin," an early morning on a lake, a first catch on the Esopus Creek in May. This collection of whimsical short stories reveals the transcendental nature of simple moments.


Patrick Dollard, Cesare Casella

The Center for Discovery, 2015, $18.95

The Center for Discovery in Sullivan County helps children and adults with complex disabilities, and specializes in farm-fresh food. They refer to their practice as "seed to belly." This cookbook combines the expertise of Catskill's Center for Discovery president Patrick Dollard with the Center's Department of Nourishment Arts chief and award-winning chef Cesare Casella. Radish panzanella, maple-pecan baked apples, good-for-you bone broth, and gingersnap-kabocha cheesecake are some of the featured recipes. Nutritious and delicious food? Yes, please. Discover their take on the art of nourishing.


R. Robert Pollak

Red Stylo Media, 2016, $9.99

R. Robert Pollak's latest collection of comics features another series of adventures set at Shadowland Stages. Actress Ellen Allen has a close encounter with a member of the third kind. His name is Jim, and the pair become friends that explore time and space. The storyline includes gnomes, UFOs, time travel, and local history. If you like classic newspaper comic strips with a "Doctor Who"-infused plot, this is a must-read.

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