What better way to wrap up 2022 than with an Adirondack-flavored tale or two from this year’s crop of regional reads? Read on for a sampling of the latest titles.
Explore a backcountry of yore from the comfort of a reading nook with Edward Pitts’s thoroughly researched Beaver River Country (Syracuse University Press), a romp through the history of the park’s still very wild western reaches (272 pages, $24.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs and maps, press.syr.edu).
In A Gem of the Adirondacks: Garnet Lake, Adirondack Life contributor Candace O’Connor turns her focus to her beautiful backyard. It’s a history of the lake and its residents—both human and wild—packed with photographs, clippings and ephemera, with an introduction by fellow Garnet Laker Bill McKibben (205 pages, $50, hardcover, black-and-white and color images, www.garnetlake.org).
Harry Groome’s latest tome combines two novellas: Giant of the Valley, a portrait of a widower struggling with grief and dementia that’s set in a tiny Adirondack community, and The Witness, which plays out a world away, in war-torn Sarajevo (The Connelly Press, 238 pages, $16, softcover, harrygroome.com).
Plan next summer’s off-the-beaten-path outings with Tim Rowland’s Happy Lonesomes: A Guide to 15 Eastern Adirondack Hikes that Are Long on Scenery and Short on Crowds (High Peaks Publishing). It offers half-day or less hikes that skip High Peaks darlings for more solitary—but just as worthy—outings (157 pages, $16.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs and maps, www.timrowlandbooks.com).
In Pairings: Like-minded People from the Adirondacks to the Atlantic (Bloated Toe Publishing), Kathleen Larkin profiles boatbuilder Peter Hornbeck, hotelier Pat Benton, storekeep Tim Pine and more of the colorful characters she’s met at both her Indian Lake hub, Abanakee Studios, and at her home on the Jersey Shore (248 pages, $22, softcover, black-and-white photographs, bloatedtoe.com).
Randall S. Beach, the great-great-grandson of early Adirondack promotor William Henry Harrison Murray, has written the first comprehensive biography of his complicated forebear, A Passionate Life: W. H. H. Murray, from Preacher to Progressive (SUNY Press, 189 pages, $95, hardcover, sunypress.edu).
Rescuing Remy, written by Rachel Janssen and illustrated by retired Saranac Lake art teacher Maria DeAngelo, is a sweet children’s book that follows the adventures of a kitten looking for his forever home. A portion of the proceeds from book sales is donated to animal rescues (32 pages, $13.99, softcover, color illustrations, store.bookbaby.com/book/rescuing-remy).
Rocks, Roots, and Muck (High Peaks Publishing) by Joseph D. Dumoulin, is both biography and love letter to the Adirondack landscape, along with the people and animals that make it their home (165 pages, $15.95, softcover, black-and-white photographs, highpeakspublishing.com).
Adirondack Mountain Club’s latest edition of Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks updates Tony Goodwin’s cold-weather classic, a collection of 50 winter outings for every taste and ability (160 pages, $18.95, softcover, color photographs and maps, adk.org).
Michael Loynd’s The Watermen: The Birth of American Swimming and One Young Man’s Fight to Capture Olympic Gold (Ballantine Books) traces Charles Daniels’s journey from Adirondack waters to the top tiers of international competition. Daniels, who invented the six-beat freestyle stroke, became the first American swimmer to win Olympic gold, in 1904 (416 pages, $30, hardcover, black-and-white photographs, www.penguinrandomhouse.com).
Without Shame: Learning to Be Me (Potowomut Press) is an anecdotal autobiography by retired teacher, guide and Adirondack Life contributor Connelly Akstens, who has spent the last two decades embracing a more fully authentic self (264 pages, $27.99, softcover, black-and-white and color photographs, www.connellyakstens.com).
A Year of Moons (Fulcrum Publishing) is a collection of essays by storyteller and Nulhegan Abenaki citizen Joseph Bruchac. In chapters from Alamikos (New Year’s Greeting Moon) to Pebonkas (Moon of Long Nights), Bruchac tramps through the rhythms of a year, exploring the links that bind us to the land and to our human and animal neighbors (224 pages, $18.95, softcover, www.fulcrumbooks.com).