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Jack Rightmyer's "Local books for summer reading." Share yours!

Kudos to Jack Rightmyer for writing up a roundup of new books by local authors. His suggestions are just a tiny fraction from the community of local writers. We encourage all writers in their craft and offer our support for local booksellers. We hope you enjoy this collection published recently in the Times Union.

Are you digging into a new book from a local writer? Post a comment below and share your summer read with us.

Local books for summer reading

By Jack Rightmyer

First published in the Times Union Thursday, May 21, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

The flowers are blooming. Most trees are full of leaves, and the lawn furniture is outside and ready for me to sit and enjoy a new book. There are plenty of big-name authors to choose from, but I don’t want to forget our local authors who often write about our region. Here are some suggestions by a few of them, many of which can be found in our independent bookstores.

A Sense of Time: Forty Years of History Painting

Len Tantillo

Tantillo is one of my favorite artists, with a passion for history and meticulous research. This beautiful book is a companion piece to “The Historical Art of L.F. Tantillo,” which is on display through July 25 at the Albany Institute of History & Art. It includes more than 100 of his paintings portraying the early native people, the New Netherland and English Colony days, and contemporary ships and airplanes. I especially loved his paintings of the early days of Albany and Schenectady, and it was wonderful to read about his efforts at capturing what these locations looked like hundreds of years ago.

At the Albany Insitute of History & Art, the exhibition pairs some of Tantillo's works with preparatory sketches, models, and videos about the artist's process. A Sense of Time, features 97 works of art from fifty three institutions and collectors.

("The 1748 Arrival of Governor George Clinton," Len Tantillo, 2016, oil on canvas, Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Donald and Ann Eberle)

Italy to America: My Family’s Immigration Story

Michael DeMasi (Troy Book Makers) A big thank you to author DeMasi for reminding us what the lure of America was — and still is — to so many immigrants. This is a heartwarming story about his parents, Giovanni and Maria, who were among the 426,000 to 493,00 Italians who came to the United States between 1946 and 1975 in the hopes of finding a better life. His parents came from southern Italy in July 1963 with their two older children, Raffaele and Antonella. Shortly after arriving, they began working at Rodino’s Artistic Tailers in Troy, a short walk from their small rented house on 14th Street. DeMasi, a newspaper reporter since 1991, has done an excellent job telling his parents’ story while also capturing their struggles, their perseverance and, most importantly, their overwhelming love of family.

Purchase the book at:

Jevic and the Stone

Lisa Popp (Create Space) Popp may live in the town of Pittstown, but her creative imagination will take you on an exhilarating ride from contemporary Ireland back to the days of yore. She tells how the Sidhe, supernaturally gifted people, traveled on four sailing ships from four small islands to the north, with each ship carrying a treasure. Irish teenager Jevic O’Connor not only discovers the Sidhe, but learns, à la Harry Potter, that he has a quest to complete.

Popp’s story is filled with characters you will cheer for, and enough magic and danger to keep lovers of fantasy excited throughout the course of the four-book series.

Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man

George J. Marlin (St. Augustine's Press) With all the news today about his son Andrew Cuomo, it’s easy to forget what a significant and complicated politician Mario was — both in New York state and nationally.

Marlin, a significant figure in conservative New York political circles, knew Cuomo well, and in this book does an excellent job at outlining both the good and the bad wrought during Cuomo's three terms as governor. He covers Cuomo’s famous 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention and his controversial abortion stand. Marlin also weighs in on the ongoing debate as to whether Cuomo was more accomplished as a governor or a speech-giver.

The Quiet Genius of Eileen Fisher

Bruce Piasecki* (Shires Press) by Bruce Piasecki, a Saratoga Springs resident and president and founder of management consulting firm AHC Group, has written a dozen books, primarily about corporations and environmental concerns. His latest work is a departure: a series of chapbooks, each focused on a corporate individual whose accomplishments have astounded him. The first looks at clothing designer Eileen Fisher, going into intricate detail about her marketing strategy and her use of recycling to transform old materials into beautiful new garments.

A well-written book for anyone who owns a business, or aspires to do so someday.

High Peaks Trails: New 15th Edition

Tony Goodwin (Adirondack Mountain Club) Goodwin has been writing guidebooks for more than 30 years, and this backpack-sized 2021 edition includes the 47,000 acres that have been added to the High Peaks Wilderness since his last edition was published in 2012. You’ll find new trails, reroutes, restored and altered trailheads and recent parking regulations.

Proceeds support ADK’s programs in conservation, education, recreation, stewardship and advocacy.

Love in a Suitcase

Thomas Schwendler (Amazon Books) Schwendler, former Schenectady GE communications manager, came upon an old suitcase a few years ago, and inside he found hundreds of letters addressed to his uncle’s “big city girl” in Buffalo. He was touched by the love and compassion in their correspondence, which speaks to the importance of communication for building successful relationships. A valuable book for all couples.

* Philanthropist Bruce Piasecki has asked us to remind our audience ofTh The Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Annual Award on Business and Society Writing, celebrating young writers who aim to ignite positive social change fueled by their writing. The winner will receive a check for $5,000.


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