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December 11, 2008 - 11:56am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, Richmond Memorial Library, education, books.

From the Richmond Memorial Library:

Date: December 10, 2008

Re: Nearly New Year’s Party

Why should adults have all the fun on New Year’s Eve? This year children can help ring in the New Year at the Richmond Memorial Library. Families are invited to the Children’s Room on December 31 from 11am –12 (noon of course) to celebrate at a “Nearly New Year’s Party”. Festive games, foods, and crafts are planned for this special occasion. So don’t let 2009 come without some fanfare. Call the library at 585-343-9550 ext. 4 and make your reservation today.

December 11, 2008 - 11:51am

From the Richmond Memorial Library:

Sponsor:  Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia

Event:  Adult Book Discussion

Place:  Richmond Memorial Library

Date & Time:  Wednesday, January 14 7:45 a.m.*

Other Information:  The Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, January 14 at 7:45 a.m. to discuss THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Books are available at the front desk. Refreshments served.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or log onto www.batavialibrary.org.

*a.m. is correct—we meet early!

November 21, 2008 - 9:56am
posted by Philip Anselmo in books, local, bill kauffman.

Author Bill Kauffman was recently invited to Emory University in Atlanta by a fledgling student group known as the Young Americans for Liberty. The group had organized an event on the theme of "the importance of traditional American values in the 21st century."

Kauffman, it turned out, fit that bill quite well.

From an article in the Emory Wheel:

“I always felt an intense homesickness no matter where I was,” Kauffman said. “I knew that where I was from mattered.”

Kauffman said that those who are immobile and choose to remain in a specific region are overlooked in modern society.

“Love’s truest, greatest expression as I’ve come to believe is immobility,” he said.

Kauffman gives vent to the rootlessness of American politicians, such as President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, and he speaks of the divide between "televised America" and the rest of us. But all is not lost, he says.

Despite the problems that have arisen due to the lack of connection between Americans and their hometowns, Kauffman said he believes the situation can be fixed.

“Our country is lost, adrift, but there are sign posts pointing us home,” he said. “We have to rediscover the places in which we live. It is our task to find the sacred in the everyday.”

There's an especially poignant bell struck here... for me, at least. With little seeming compunction, Kauffman digs trenches—between the nomadic and the sedentary, "the televised" and "the rest of us" (which latter are also equated with the sedentary), and the various subdivisions of the rooted and the rootless—and he takes sides. At least since Cain and Abel, and especially during the Exodus, the nomadic and the sedentary have been set at odds with one another. Be it divine or secular, judgment pronounced on the nomad is often fueled by the prejudice and derision of the sedentary—witness the gypsies of Europe. A person or people are exiled as a means of protecting the homeland, as a preservation of the sanctity of the species, as it were. Yet the nomad is no such simple fiend. The Wandering Jew is both cast out and yet forever among us: at home in his homelessness. Nomadism, itself, is both a curse and the mark of blessedness in the Old Testament.

It's fascinating to hear Kauffman take up this ancient dialectic, which for sure is a prominent theme in his writings, if I'm allowed to comment on the little that I have so far read. Yet, it's also unsettling that the author is so decisive on adopting the directives of one to the exclusion of the other. I'm all for the shades of grey, myself. I see the extremes and opposites more as determiners of one another than exclusive entities. If I were to adopt Kauffman's language, I would have to call myself "rooted-rootless"—home is a plural: I have the one made by my family, several made by friends, even a few I notched out myself on the headboard of my own lonesome living in distant geographies...

But back to what's poignant here... despite Kauffman's own trench-digging, he is an incurable champion of the particular. Listen to what he says: "It is our task to find the sacred in the everyday." While I shy away from the language of the sacrosanct, I follow the same sort of maxim. It's why I call myself "a voracious pursuer of the idiosyncratic," which amounts to the same thing: a belief that the individual things, if they can be found—like so much else in this world of ours, they, too, have become rare and endangered—will speak the most to us about ourselves and the general things we only purport to understand.

So... really, all this to ask: Where do you fall? Are you an inveterate caster of deep and permanent roots? Are you a nomad? Do you feel like me: a "rooted-rootless" believer in the pluralism of home? Do you distrust one side or the other? What of the everyday? Is it sacred or does it just get in the way?

November 19, 2008 - 12:35pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, books, fire, bill kauffman, online.

Congratulations to the Daily News, which announced in the paper today that the publication will go online sometime "within the next few weeks." Keep an eye on the print version to find out when the site will be ready for viewing. Folks can log on at www.thedailynewsonline.com once the site is up and running.

In other news, reporter Joanne Beck wrote an article on the fire last night at an Oak Street home. That news was featured early this morning on WBTA and picked up a little while later by The Batavian.

Fire hydrants will be flushed starting at 9:30am, Tuesday, in the area of Pearl Street, Meadowcrest Drive, River Street and Ellicott Street.

Author Bill Kauffman was honored with the Andrew Eiseman Writers Award in nonfiction for his book Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals. The award is given out by the University of Rochester. For more on the award, visit the University of Rochester Web site.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 10, 2008 - 5:55pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, books, Masons, William Morgan.

A new electronic book on everybody's favorite Freemason, William Morgan, was recently published by Booklocker.com. The Bright Mason: An American Mystery is by Robert Berry, a freelance journalist.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that most folks know the story of William Morgan and not reiterate that here or quote from the book's site, which gives a teaser-length history of the man and the mystery. Instead, here are the first few lines from the book itself:

William Morgan had a habit of covering his baldhead by pulling hair over from the side with his fingers, especially when he was excited about something. About 5’6”, in his mid-40s, and muscular, Morgan had a barrel chest thickly matted with hair and tuffs of curly gray hair sprouting from his ears. Tattoos on his arms led some to believe he had traveled with pirates in the Caribbean. Much of the time his eyes were swollen; a condition for which he often received treatment while living in Rochester.

You can check out more sample chapters on the book's site if you're interested. As I haven't read any of this book—aside from these few lines here—I won't make any recommendations or condemnations. I'll leave it to you to judge.

November 7, 2008 - 3:34pm
posted by Holland Land O... in crime, Holland Land Office Museum, books, Bethany, murder, Linden.

Much to my surprise today, local author, William F. Brown, Jr. came into the Holland Land Office Museum with a box of his classic book, The Linden Murders: Unsolved!

The book, originally published in 1984 and in its eighth printing, tells the story of a series of murders that rocked the countryside around the hamlet of Linden in the early 1920s.

The price of the book is $12.95 and will not be available for long. Get your copy immediately at the Holland Land Office Museum; they will certainly sell out before Christmas.

The Holland Land Office Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information, call us at 343-4727 or check out our website at www.hollandlandoffice.com

November 6, 2008 - 11:03am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, Richmond Memorial Library, education, books.

From the Richmond Memorial Library:

*Boys and Books:* The GRO program of the Richmond Memorial Library will offer a parent workshop that addresses the gender literacy gap and offers suggestions to parents of boys for fostering reading. This program will be held at 7:00 on Thursday, November 6, in the Gallery Room at the library. To register, call 343-9550 extension 4. Limited child care is available.

October 29, 2008 - 8:36am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, books, Present Tense, Holidays.

Local bookstore Present Tense has planned a fun and festive event to kick-off the holiday season this year! Three authors will sign books as part of the store’s two-day Holiday Open House, scheduled for Friday, November 14 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday, November 15 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The weekend event features authors Christopher Norment, Jennifer Ford Berry, and Peggy Thomas, who will appear at 1:00 pm on Saturday, the 15th.

Christopher Norment is the author of Return to Warden’s Grove: Science, Desire, and the Lives of Sparrows. A perfect book for outdoors enthusiasts, it chronicles three seasons of field research studying Harris’s Sparrows in the Northwest Territories. In a series of essays that explore the wild splendor of a harsh landscape, the often hilarious antics of a man alone in the bush, and the importance of nature in human lives, Norment gives readers a glimpse of the beauty of biological fieldwork as a vital way to pay attention to the world and be connected with something outside the self.

Dr. Norment is a professor of environmental science and biology at SUNY College at Brockport. Return to Warden’s Grove has just been nominated for the John Burroughs Award, which recognizes well-written and illustrated natural history publications.

Jennifer Ford Berry is the owner of Mothertime Marketplace, a semi-annual event for children and moms in Western New York and former owner of Berry Patch Kids, which was an upscale consignment store in Batavia, NY. Her new book, Organize Now!: A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life provides simple and effective tools to organize every aspect of life. The book is not only easy-to-use but covers a wide variety of topics from paperwork, time management, mental clutter, pets and specific rooms to special events such as moving or vacation planning. The advice is proactive, straightforward and presented in checklists so that readers can see immediate results as they work.

Jennifer, a resident of Attica, NY, founded her professional organizing business in 2002.

Peggy Thomas is a well-known children’s author who lives in Middleport, NY. Her books for children include Snow Dance, Joshua the Giant Frog, Farmer George Plants a Nation, and New York: The Empire State. In addition to writing, Peggy is also an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and a frequent speaker in schools and libraries.

Along with the visiting authors, Santa himself will visit the store from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm on Saturday.

Present Tense, a locally-owned, independent bookstore, is located at 101 Washington Avenue, Batavia, NY.  For more information call (585) 815-7640, or visit www.presenttensebooks.com.

October 27, 2008 - 9:43am
posted by Bea McManis in books, nation and world, hillerman, navajo, mystery novels.

Tony Hillerman Dead at 83

Every once in a while I will discover an author that intrigues me. Tony Hillerman is one of those people. Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. 18 of his 30+ books were the Navajo series.

It was Mr. Hillerman's books that led me to New Mexico to trace the steps of Leaphorn and Chee. There, I discovered Mr. Hillerman's acute eye for detail. When he wrote of roads leading to or from Window Rock and when he mentioned a particular landmark, you could be sure that it was exactly where he said it was.

The cases of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee have given readers an insight into the cultural milieu of the Indian peoples of the Southwest, particularly the Navajo. Hillerman has always been extremely careful, making no claims for insider knowledge (he is a white man who grew up with Indians in Oklahoma) and maintaining respect and courtesy toward the privacy of the tribes his books focus on.

Hillerman's Indians are wonderfully humanized and individualized, and his knowledge of current Indian issues is always impressive.

The Navajo Mysteries by Tony Hillerman

The Shape Shifters. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

Skeleton Man. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.

The Sinister Pig. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

The Wailing Wind . New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Hunting Badger. New York: Harper, 1999

The First Eagle . New York: Harper,1998.

The Fallen Man . New York: Harper,1997.

Sacred Clowns. New York: Harper,1993.

Coyote Waits. New York: Harper,1990.

Talking God. New York: Harper,1989.

A Thief of Time. New York: Harper,1988.

Skinwalkers. New York: Harper,1986. Reprinted 1987.Bestseller List, 1986. This book won the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 1986.

The Ghost Way. New York: Harper, 1984. Reprinted 1986.

The Dark Wind. New York: Harper, 1982. Reprinted 1983.

People of the Darkness. New York: Harper, 1980. Reprinted 1982.

Listening Woman,New York: Harper, 1978. Reprinted 1979.

Dance Hall of the Dead. New York: Harper, 1973.Reprinted in 1975. MWA Edgar Allen Poe Award for the Best Mystery Novel of the West, 1973.

The Blessing Way. New York: Harper, 1970. Reprinted in 1978. This book was a finalist for the Best First Novel Edgar Allen Poe Award.

October 21, 2008 - 8:33pm
posted by Darrick Coleman in Pok-A-Dot, books, bill kauffman, John Gardner.

On Saturday October 18, 2008, Genesee County residents gathered to remember John Gardner, a well-known novelist and university professor who was born in Batavia, NY. He wrote more than twenty works of fiction, children's stories, poetry, and literary criticism. Among his most popular novels are Grendel (1971), The Sunlight Dialogues (1972),  Nickel Mountain (1973), and October Light (1976). Gardner died in a motorcycle crash near Susquehanna, PA, in 1982. He is buried in Batavia's Grandview Cemetery.

Ten people volunteered to read excerpts of Gardner's works for the evening's program including author Bill Kauffman and his daughter Gretel, a student at Elba High School; Tracy Ford, Associate Professor of English at Genesee Community College; Batavia Muckdogs President Brian Paris; and Erica Caldwell, owner of Present Tense bookstore. This was the 12th annual "Batavia Reads John Gardner" event at the Pok-a-Dot.


September 30, 2008 - 9:14am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Richmond Memorial Library, education, books.

Rainy days and chilly mornings don't make for garden walk weather. That's fine. Richmond Memorial Library has got you covered. Wednesday is a bit of a double feature at the library on Ross Street.

Author E. Robert Fussell will be stopping by in the afternoon for the next session of Books Sandiwched In, the library's literary lunchtime book chat. Fussell is the editor of Unbridled Cowboy, which is based on his grandfather's memoirs.

Anyone interested in hearing more about that book can stop by the library's Gallery Room at 12:10pm. The session runs until 1:00pm, and folks are encouraged to bring their lunch. Coffee, tea and cookies will be provided. This event is free, and all are welcome. Call (585) 343-9550 for more information.

Then, in the evening, the library will host its 100th Anniversary Celebration of Anne of Green Gables, from 6:00 to 8:00pm in the Gallery Room.

Activities for this event include a cookie baking contest, an old-time spelling bee starting at 6:00 p.m. and an intergenerational book discussion at 7:00 p.m.  Copies of the book are available at the front desk.  For information on the cookie contest and the spelling bee, please stop by the library or call (585) 343-9550, ext. 4.

Visit the library's Web site to find out more about these and other upcoming events.

September 24, 2008 - 9:00am
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Richmond Memorial Library, books, bill kauffman.

Richmond Memorial Library will host a book lunch today in the library's Gallery Room at 19 Ross Street in Batavia. Folks are encouraged to come by to hear Bill Kauffman talk about his new book (that's it here to the right) while they eat lunch. They call it "Books Sandwiched In," and it starts at 12:10pm and runs to about 1:00pm, long enough to get a healthy dose of culture, but not too long that you can't make it on your lunch break from work.

From the press release:

Bill Kauffman will talk about his new book, Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin. The Friends of the Library co-sponsor this free program. Bring your lunch; coffee, tea and cookies are provided.  All welcome. For more information, call the library at (585) 343-9550, ext. 8 or log on to www.batavialibrary.org.

September 10, 2008 - 4:37pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in GCC, video, library, books.

Betty Lane recently retired from her post as archivist at Genesee Community College, where she worked as a librarian for more than 40 years. In fact, Betty started work the very day the college opened its doors in August of 1967.

Officially, Betty was the assistant dean of the library at GCC up until 1990 when she (sort of) retired only to return to work part-time as the archivist until her recent (really this time) retirement. She initially came back on staff to compile the history of the college.

"As a brand new institution, you don't necessarily think about those things," she said, "but I had been saving materials from 'day one' and other departments within the college had their own records as well."

We caught up with Betty in of all places the archive room at the library—"bursting at the seams," she told me—to talk about that first day on the job at a college that was so young, they barely had books to fill the shelves, which they didn't have yet anyway!

You can visit the college site for a brief bio of Betty. Here's some of what is included there:

Aside from her part-time work at Genesee, Betty is an avid reader, she enjoys sewing and knitting, and with 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren she keeps very busy. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Woodward Memorial Library in LeRoy since 1991, and she is a long term member of the Batavia-Genesee County Zonta Club. Betty and her husband reside in LeRoy.

September 10, 2008 - 1:06pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Richmond Memorial Library, education, books, computer.

Richmond Memorial Library will offer several free classes this fall to help folks get the most out of their computer, whether they're looking to bone up onthe family history, spruce up their photography or turn their junk into cash. There are some real worthwhile opportunities here, so be sure to take advatage.

There is no cost to attend the classes. They will be held at the library at 19 Ross St. in Batavia. Call the library at (585) 343-9550, and dial 3 to register for the classes.


Genealogy and Family History on the Internet - See some of the sources available online to assist you with your genealogical researach. Find access to census records, military records, passenger  and immigration lists, and even charts to record your infomation.  This is a three-part series. Taught by Kathleen Facer.
Tuesdays, September 30, October 7 & October 14 at 6 PM.

Digital Photography - "Everything you wanted to know about digital photography - because you asked." Bring your own camera and ask questions. Find out how to save, preserve, and arrange digital photos on your computer as well as looking at various options for viewing, including printing and slide shows. Taught by Jim DeLooze.
Monday, October 27 at 6:30 PM.

Buying and Selling on Ebay - Learn the ins and outs of buying and selling on Ebay.  Taught by Veronica Frost of Genesee County Job Development Bureau.
Tuesday, October 28 at 6 PM.

Upgrade vs. Repair - Should you buy a new computer or just update/repair the one you have? Learn the things to consider when making this potentially costly decision. Learn some of the software issues to consider, and don't forget the impact of antivirus and firewall software. Taught by Paul McCullough.
Monday, November 17 at 6 PM.

All class information provided by Richmond Memorial Library.

August 21, 2008 - 10:42am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Richmond Memorial Library, education, books, home school.

Gensee County home schoolers can look to their local library as a central resource in their education this coming school year. Richmond Memorial Library has countless books and magazines for teachers that any parent, any patron, can check out and incorporate into their routine. This fall, the library will show itself ever more valuable as it kicks of a series of weekly home school programs hosted on site. Children ages 8-14 can participate in the hour-long classes that range in topic from United States geography to recycling and enivironmental awareness. Students interested in participating in the courses must register by September 26. Classes begin October 2.

Schedule of programs:

  • October 2: Getting to know your library resources.
  • October 9: Ecology. Read and discuss, The World that Jack Built, by Ruth Brown. Learn how to recycle envelopes.
  • October 16: Ecology. Read and discuss, The Great Trash Bash, by Loreen Leedy.
  • October 23: Ecology. Environmental Awareness Project: Write a classified ad inviting Community members to participate in a cleaner environment.
  • October 30: Ecology. Design and make an Earth Friendly bag.
  • November 6: Fifty Nifty United States. Part One: Music activity & research a state.
  • November 13: Fifty Nifty United States Part Two: Complete state report.
  • November 20: Just for fun. Learn the history and nutritional value of peanut butter. Make Homemade Peanut butter to take home!
  • December 4: Measurement. Part One: Read and discuss, How Big is a Foot?, by Rolf Myller. Decorate a ruler and measure away!
  • December 11: Measurement. Part Two: Using graph paper we will make a scale plan based on your measurements!
  • December 18: Holiday Craft and Party.

Contact Children's Librarian Sandra Gillard at (585) 345-9550 for more information. And, as always, be sure to check out the library's Children's Room blog and Web site for more fun facts and stories than you'll know what to do with.

July 24, 2008 - 12:22pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in books, children, Present Tense, poetry.

Present Tense bookshop on Washington Avenue will be hosting two very special events this summer.

Poet Sally Bittner Bonn will be coming down from Rochester to lead the World of Poetry half-day workshop "designed to help children explore the poetry in everyday life, from the cracks in the sidewalk to the sound of a whirring engine."

World of Poetry will run from 1:00 to 4:00pm on August 13 at the shop, 101 Washington Ave. Children 8 to 12 years old may attend. A registration fee of $25 is due by August 2 to reserve a spot in the workship. Children will read published works for inspiration and engage in writing exercises to "fine-tune their own writing."

Bonn is a poet and a performer in Rochester.

She teaches creative writing workshops throughout Western New York and has published a book of her own poetry, Walking Woman. Sally participated in the 2001 Poetry Slam competition in Seattle and is the curator for the 25 & Under poetry series at Writers & Books in Rochester, which spotlights young poets under the age of 25.

Just a few days after the workshop, Present Tense will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables at an all-ages event August 16 at 1:00pm.

The celebration will include refreshments featured in the book, such as raspberry cordial. Selections from the book will be read and participants will be invited to share their favorite part of the book or a remembrance of their first time reading it. Costumes are encouraged; those who come with red wigs or puffy sleeves will be eligible for prizes. The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP to Present Tense by August 9 if you plan to attend.

Call (585) 815-7640 to register for the workshop or find out more information about either event. You can also visit Present Tense online at PresentTenseBooks.com.

June 30, 2008 - 4:30pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Richmond Memorial Library, books, Present Tense.

So it begins... The Batavian would like to proudly announce the start of its Summer Book Club. What does that mean? That means we gather together some recommendations from local literati, put them into a neat and tidy package, present them to you and hope that some sort of discussion ensues.

There are no requirements to join our book club — though we may raffle off a bookish prize or two for a lucky reader among those who join up and help spark some conversation. Here's how we'll do it for now:

If you're interested in reading any of the books we recommend, let us know.


Start a blog. We'll see it.

Just make sure you're registered for the site, click on the link to create content and select 'Blog entry.' Then just say what you've got say. For example: "Hey, that book So Brave, Young, and Handsome sounds great. I think I'll pick up a copy from Present Tense (on Washington Avenue here in Batavia) and get started reading it." That's all we should need from folks to get started.

In the meantime, check out these three recommendations from Erica Caldwell of Present Tense bookstore and Leslie DeLooze from the Richmond Memorial Library. We'll have three more reviews Wednesday plus more announcements about the book club.

So Brave, Young, and Handsome
By Leif Enger

Enger again explores the often transparent line between good and bad, focusing his story on characters who fall in the gray in-between. Failed novelist Monte Becket accompanies his friend, Glendon Hale, a former outlaw, to Mexico to find Hale's estranged wife. Their adventures along the way, and the surprising end of their journey, make for an exciting and thought-provoking read. —Erica Caldwell

Book excerpt: "Not to disappoint you, but my troubles are nothing—not for an author, at least. Common blots aside, I have none of the usual Big Artillery: I am not penniless, brilliant or an orphan; have never been to war, suffered starvation or lashed myself to a mast."

Between, Georgia
By Joshilyn Jackson

This hilarious story set down South tells the story of the Crabtrees and the Fretts, two feuding families. Nonny, who was born a Crabtree but raised by the Fretts, is in between in many ways. A book group favorite that inspired spirited discussion about everything from deaf-mute individuals to dieting. — Erica Caldwell

Book excerpt: "The war began thirty years, nine months, and seven days ago, when I was deaf and blind, floating silent and serene inside Hazel Crabtree. I was secreted in Hazel’s womb, which was cloaked in her pale and freckled skin, which was in turn hidden by the baggy sweatsuits she adopted so she would look fat instead of pregnant. Which was ridiculous, because who ever heard of a fat Crabtree? They were all tall and weedy, slouching around like wilting stems, red hair blooming out the top."

I Shall Not Want
by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s sixth book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ VanAlstyne mystery series set in Millers Kill, NY won’t disappoint fans. Julia, who was the 2005 author for “A Tale for Three Counties” (the area-wide reading program), keeps the momentum going with this book. The first chapter is a cliff-hanger that sets the scene; the action then backs up to the months prior to these events.  As usual, she includes an interesting contemporary issue (this time, it’s illegal aliens and farm labor) as well as characters you come to know like friends. Great for summer reading, the author will be visiting Richmond Memorial Library on Friday, August 15. After the fifth book, readers wondered where the story could go. How well do you think the author succeeded in continuing the story of Millers Kill and the relationship between Clare and Russ? —Leslie DeLooze

June 16, 2008 - 2:09pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Richmond Memorial Library, books, reading, summer book club.

Bibliophiles of Batavia unite! Richmond Memorial Library is gearing up for its Summer Reading Program, so we thought why shouldn't The Batavian host its very own summer book club. I've been all over the city, made the calls, stared at my bookshelves and read the latest reviews. It's time.

Recommendations for our summer reading list will be coming in over the next couple weeks from local librarians, booksellers, reading profs from the college and yours truly. We're hoping to get the list together by the end of the month. In the meantime, feel free to make your own recommendations, but be sure to tell us why your pick is worthy of our collective attention.

If folks get interested, we'll get some discussion threads going about some of the books from the list, and I'm sure our recommenders will keep up, maybe ask questions and help keep the dialogue going. We'll see.

I'm thinking of maybe choosing Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities as my contribution. It's about an imaginary conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, and every chapter is the description of another fantastic city invented by Marco Polo to entertain the great ruler. It's a gem. But more about that later.

In other local book news...

Richmond Memorial Library is about to wrap up its search for Richmond the Ant, who has been lost in Batavia over the past six weeks, trying to get back to the library in time for the Summer Reading Program that kicks off with an Ice Cream Social June 23. Each week he was in a new location and left a clue to help kids find out just where it was.

Here's this week's clue (the last): "I have found a store full of toys and bikes. Maybe I can borrow a bike to ride back to the library in time for the beginning of the Summer Reading Program."

Those who have tracked Richmond to all six locations can win a special prize. Check out the library's Children's Room Blog for more info about Richmond the Ant and the Summer Reading Program.

Don't forget, the Summer Reading Program isn't just for kids. Anyone can attend the free Ice Cream Social June 23 at 6:30pm at the library, 19 Ross St., and register for one of the many programs. Check out the library's Web site for more information.

June 2, 2008 - 2:58pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, books, Gas, fire, circus.

From the Daily News (Monday):

  • A memorial service has been scheduled Friday at 4:00pm at the Oakfield-Alabama High School for 17-year-old Erik Mooney who perished in a fire Friday at his Lewiston Road home. The Rev. Mark Perkins of Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church will officiate. Erik's obituary is in today's paper.
  • Reporter Paul Mrozek went from the pumps to the car dealerships to find out how some folks are coping with the escalating price of gas. No surprise, he found that quite a few commuters were trading in their big-rig trucks, trying to go from gas guzzler to fuel sipper. The Batavian sought your stories about how to handle the pinch at the pumps last week — and a few folks already started the dialogue. Now it's your turn. Log in and tell us how it has hit you and how you're planning to cope. And if anyone has any great ideas for a way out of the mess-turning-disaster, please, share.
  • Everybody loves a circus! Well, one will be in town on June 10, when the Batavia Kiwanis and Genesee County Agricultural Society welcome the Carson & Barnes Circus to town. Get your seat in the big top between 4:30 and 7:30pm for the show at the Genesee County Fairgrounds. People are invited to watch the big top go up for free starting at 8:00am. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Holland Land Office Museum, First Niagara Bank, the YWCA and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Once you've had your fill of acrobats and elephants, head out to the airport between July 2 and 6 for the Batavia Boogie, a skydiving extravaganza hosted by the Frontier Skydivers. For more information, visit Frontier's Web site — if for no other reason than to check out the great photos.
  • Intern Kristen Kotz wrote a fine piece about Batavian Joseph Langen's new book, The Pastor's Inferno, a "fictional account of a priest ... who seeks redemption after abusing a young, male parishioner at his parish." You can purchase the novel or download an ebook version at Book Locker.

Subscribe to the Daily News at BataviaNews.com, or pick up a copy at a local newsstand, such as Main Street Coffee.

May 13, 2008 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in writer, books, elba, bill kauffman.

Area author Bill Kauffman gets a favorable review of his new book, Look Homeward, America, in Reason Magazine.

Writer John McClaughry compares him to East Aurora's writer, thinker and quote machine, Elbert Hubbard.

In many respects—not including the creation of a 300-employee publishing house—Bill Kauffman of tiny Elba, New York, has become today’s Elbert Hubbard. But unlike Hubbard, whose essays glorified the lives and works of famous people, Kauffman’s literary journey seeks out “the America of holy fools and backyard radicals, the America whose eccentric voice is seldom heard anymore…the [voice of] third parties, of Greenbackers and Libertarians and village atheists and the ‘conservative Christian anarchist’ party whose founder and only member was Henry Adams.”

Kauffman’s earlier books mined interesting veins of localism and hostility to modernity. America First! celebrated America’s forgotten isolationist activists, from Hamlin Garland to Alice Roosevelt, plus other assorted individualists, including Edward Abbey, Gore Vidal, Sinclair Lewis, and this writer, included because he considered me, not altogether inaccurately, the last lonely true-believing Jeffersonian. His Dispatches From the Muckdog Gazette celebrated the lives of the common people of Kauffman’s Genesee County, home of the minor league Batavia Muckdogs baseball team.

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