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Curiosity Forum: The History of the Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness to the Civil War (10/24/14)

10/24/2014 7:00 pm

Join us for a Curiosity Forum event: an author talk with Vernon Benjamin on his new book, The History of the Hudson Rivery Valley: From Wilderness to the Civil War

From The New York Times online:

 

Mr. Benjamin’s “History of the Hudson River Valley From Wilderness to the Civil War” (Overlook Press) is a model for how to enliven geography, anthropology and biography and weave them into a microcosmic account of America, from the “Paleo Prelude” to “Custer’s First Stand.”

He amplifies the profiles of familiar characters like Benedict Arnold and introduces new ones (“Sebal Luddington, a mere girl who surpassed Paul Revere in her perilous midnight ride”), illuminates the dependency of New York’s economy on African-American workers, and reveals the secessionist tilt of tiny Pine Bush in Orange County and its possible link to John Wilkes Booth, whose penultimate performance was in Albany.

 

Coupled with the Erie Canal, the Hudson was the avenue of commerce that exported the material harvest of the industrial revolution and helped bind the nation by spreading the culture and politics of America’s pre-eminent city.

-Sam Roberts, www.nytimes.com, August 8, 2014

 

Sailing down the river that would later bear his captain's name, explorer Robert Juet described the Hudson River Valley in 1609 as a "drowned land" submerged by a "great lake of water." Over the next two centuries, this drowned landscape would be the site of a truly historic flowering of art, literature, architecture, innovation, and revolutionary fervor--drawing comparisons to another fertile cultural haven built around a might mighty river in Western Europe.

As historian Vernon Benjamin chronicles, the Hudson River Valley has been a place of contradictions since its first settlement by Europeans. Discovered by an Englishman who claimed it for the Dutch, the region soon became home to the most vibrant trading outpost for the New World colonies--the Island of Manhattan--even as the rest of the valley retained the native beauty that would inspire artists from James Fenimore Cooper to Thomas Cole. Because of its unique geography and proximity to Canada, the Hudson Valley became the major theater for the battle between empires in the French and Indian War. When the colonists united in rebellion against the British several decades later, conflict came to the region once again, with decisive military engagements from Saratoga to West Point to the occupied New York Harbor. In the aftermath, New York emerged as the capital of a new nation, and wealth from the city flowed north to the burgeoning Valley, leading to a renaissance of culture and commerce that is still evident today.

Richly illustrated and scrupulously researched, Vernon Benjamin's magisterial new history will be the definitive text for years to come.

Vernon Benjamin has lectured on the history of the Hudson Valley at Marist College and Bard College since 2003. He holds a Masters in Literature from Long Island University and a Bachelors in Sociology from Siena College. A former editor of the New Saugerties Times, he has written extensively on the Hudson Valley for various publications and has appeared on C-SPAN. He lives in Saugerties, New York.

The Curiosity Forum is a partnership of Battenkill Books, Hubbard Hall, and Leslie Parke Studio. In addition, this event in co-sponsored by the Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA).  

 

 

Book List
$45.00
ISBN-13: 9781590200797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Overlook Press, 6/2014

Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Author Event/Curiosity Forum: Jon Katz with new book, Saving Simon

10/07/2014 7:00 pm

Please join us for the official book launch of Jon Katz's new book Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion. 

In this heartfelt, thoughtful, and inspiring memoir, "New York Times" bestselling author Jon Katz tells the story of his beloved rescue donkey, Simon, and the wondrous ways that animals make us wiser and kinder people. 


In the spring of 2011, Jon Katz received a phone call that would challenge every idea he ever had about mercy and compassion. An animal control officer had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York, and she hoped that Jon and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him. Jon wasn't planning to add another animal to his home on Bedlam Farm, certainly not a very sick donkey. But the moment he saw the wrenching sight of Simon, he felt a powerful connection. Simon touched something very deep inside of him. Jon and Maria decided to take him in. 


Simon's recovery was far from easy. Weak and malnourished, he needed near constant care, but Jon was determined to help him heal. As Simon's health improved, Jon would feed him by hand, read to him, take him on walks, even confide in him like an old and trusted friend. Then, miraculously, as if in reciprocation, Simon began to reveal to Jon the true meaning of compassion, the ways in which it can transform our lives and inspire us to take great risks. 


This radically different perspective on kindness and empathy led Jon to a troubled border collie from Ireland in need of a home, a blind pony who had lived outside in a pasture for fifteen years, and a new farm for him and Maria. In the great tradition of heroes--from Don Quixote to Shrek--who faced the world in the company of their donkeys, Jon came to understand compassion and mercy in a new light, learning to open up "not just to [Simon], not just to animals, but to the human experience. To love, to risk, to friendship." 
With grace, warmth, and keen emotional insight, "Saving Simon" plumbs the depths of bonds we form with our animals, and the rewards of "living a more compassionate, considered, and meaningful life." 


Praise for Jon Katz 

 


"With wisdom and grace, Katz unlocks the canine soul and the complicated wonders that lie within and offers powerful insights to anyone who has ever struggled with, and loved, a troubled animal."--John Grogan, author of "Marley & Me" 


"Katz's world--of animals and humans and their combined generosity of spirit--is a place you're glad you've been."--"The Boston Globe" 


"From Toto to Marley, our canine friends are a sure bet in the literary biz. But no one seems to speak their language like Jon Katz."--"San Antonio Express-News" 


"Katz proves himself a Thoreau for modern times as he ponders the relationships between man and animals, humanity and nature."--"Fort Worth Star-Telegram" 

"I toss a lifetime award of three liver snaps to Jon Katz."--Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" 

To order a signed copy of Jon's new book, see below.

And for a complete list of Jon's signed book available for purchase, click here.  

Book List
Order Saving Simon by Jon Katz - AUTOGRAPHED
$25.00
Model: KatzSimon

Please enter what you would like the author to inscribe in your book. Occasionally requests may be edited for clarity or space.


Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Fiction Book Club: The Leftovers (10/2/14)

10/02/2014 6:30 pm
10/02/2014 7:30 pm

Join us for a selection of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers

"What if your life was upended in an instant? What if your spouse or your child disappeared right in front of your eyes? Was it the Rapture or something even more difficult to explain? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event? These are the questions confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to move forward, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbors, even as his own family disintegrates. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the town's streets as "living reminders" of God's judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a crooked "prophet" who calls himself Holy Wayne. Only his teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she's definitely not the sweet "A" student she used to be.

Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. "The Leftovers "is a powerful and deeply moving book about regular people struggling to hold onto a belief in their futures.

Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Author Event/Curiosity Forum: James Howard Kunstler with new book The History of the Future (9/12/14)

09/12/2014 7:00 pm

Please join us for a reading, talk, and signing with author James Howard Kunstler, who will be sharing his new book, The History of the Future: A World Made by Hand Novel

"A History of the Future" is the third thrilling novel in Kunstler's "World Made By Hand" series, an exploration of family and morality as played out in the small town of Union Grove. 

Following the catastrophes of the twenty-first century--the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos--people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are preparing for Christmas. Without the consumerist shopping frenzy that dogged the holidays of the previous age, the season has become a time to focus on family and loved ones. It is a stormy Christmas Eve when Robert Earle's son Daniel arrives back from his two years of sojourning throughout what is left of the United States. He collapses from exhaustion and illness, but as he recovers tells the story of the break-up of the nation into three uneasy independent regions and his journey into the dark heart of the New Foxfire Republic centered in Tennesee and led by the female evangelical despot, Loving Morrow. In the background, Union Grove has been shocked by the Christmas Eve double murder by a young mother, in the throes of illness, of her husband and infant son. Town magistrate Stephen Bullock is in a hanging mood. 

"A History of the Future" is attention-grabbing and provocative, but also lyrical, tender, and comic--a vision of a future of America that is becoming more and more convincing and perhaps even desirable with each passing day. 

James Howard Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestseller "The Long Emergency". After college he worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers and finally as a staff writer for "Rolling Stone". In 1975 he began writing books and lecturing full time. 

To pre-order Jim's book (and receive an autographed copy), see below: 

Book List
Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Fiction Book Club (9/4/14)

09/04/2014 6:30 pm
09/04/2014 7:30 pm

Date correction: Book Club will take place 9/4, not on 9/11 as previously published here.  

Please join us for a discussion of Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things. 

In "The Signature of All Things, " Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction--into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist--but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

 
Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, "The Signature of All Things" soars across the globe--from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who--born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution--bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.

 

Book List
$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780143125846
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 6/2014

Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Author Event: Harry Bliss and Nora Krug (7/31/14)

07/31/2014 7:00 pm
07/31/2014 9:00 pm

Join us for a very special evening with this year's recipients of the Sendak Fellowship: illustrators Harry Bliss and Nora Krug. In partnership with WAMC's The Book Show, this event will include a live taping of The Book Show with host Joe Donahue

Harry Bliss is an internationally syndicated cartoonist and cover artist for The New Yorker magazine. His self-titled single panel gag cartoon, ‘BLISS’ appears in major newspapers across the United States and Japan. Growing up in upstate New York amidst a family of successful painters and illustrators, Bliss went on to study painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Illustration at The University of the Arts (BFA) and Syracuse University (MA). Bliss also illustrates books for children. Bliss's first children's book, A Fine, Fine School by Newbery-award-winning author, Sharon Creech, was a New York Times bestseller. Bliss went on to illustrate Which Would You Rather Be? by William Steig, Countdown To Kindergarten and Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth both by Alison McGhee. Bliss has also created the pictures for Diary of a WormDiary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin, all New York Times bestsellers. Other bestsellers include Don't Forget To Come Back by Robie H. Harris and A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee andLouise: The Adventure of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo.

Bliss’s first cartoon collection, Death By Laughter, with an introduction by Christopher Guest was published by Abrams in the Spring of 2008. Luke On the Loose, Bliss’ debut award-winning comic book for early readers (edited by Francoise Mouly) was published by Toon Books in the Spring 2009. Recentlly published by Harper Collins is Invisible Inkling by Emily Jenkins with pictures by Harry Bliss.Bailey (A Parent’s Magazine award-winner) was published by Scholastic in September 2011 followed by Bailey at the Museum 2012.Bliss’s next picture book,Anna and Solomon by Elaine Dillof will be published by Farrar Straus and Giroux in September 2013. Harry Bliss lives in Vermont.  

Nora Krug is a writer and artist whose drawings and visual narratives have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, le Monde Diplomatique and A Public Space, and in anthologies published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Chronicle Books. She is the creator of the graphic novel, Red Riding Hood Redux, and of Shadow Atlas, an encyclopedia of ghosts and spirits, and the illustrator of the children’s book, My Cold Went On Vacation, published by Penguin/Putnam. Krug is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright, DAAD, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Her work is included in the Library of Congress and has been recognized by American Illustration. It received three gold medals from the Society of Illustrators and was awarded with merits and a silver cube by the Art 

Directors Club. Krug’s story, Kamikaze, about a surviving Japanese WWII pilot, was included in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics and Best Non-Required Reading. Krug's work has been exhibited internationally, and her animated guide to Japanese business etiquette, How To Bow, was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. She is an associate professor in the Illustration Program at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.  

About the Sendak Fellowship

The Sendak Fellowship was established in 2010 as a residency program for artists who tell stories with illustration. The Fellowship offers the time for artist to explore their craft outside the limitations of everyday life and in the relative isolation of a rural setting.

 

Between 2010 and 2013, the Sendak Fellowship was run at a house on Maurice Sendak’s property in Ridgefield, Connecticut. There, four resident artists received instruction and support from Mr. Sendak as well as from visiting artists of note.

 

This summer the fellowship is moving to Scotch Hill Farm, formerly owned by Mr. Sendak, in upstate Cambridge, New York. Two fellows will be provided their own fully equipped cottage with kitchen and studio space and receive a fellow’s stipend. At the same time, the two resident fellows will receive occasional inspiration from visiting artists in the field. 

For many years Sendak wanted to create a formal program for what he’d been doing informally his whole career: helping promising illustrators As a young beginning illustrator himself, Sendak was nurtured in the Connecticut home of the artists Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. He saw the Sendak Fellowship as his “school”—a way to help others, and in 2009 enlisted the help of Caponera, as well as photographer and community activist, Dona Ann McAdams (now the fellowship’s director) to help realize his vision.

The goal of the Sendak Fellowship, in Maurice’s words, was for fellows to “create work that is not vapid, stupid, or sexy, butoriginal. Work that excites and incites. Illustration is like dance; it should move like—and to—music.”

Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Summer Story Hour

07/15/2014 10:00 am
07/15/2014 11:00 am

Join us each Tuesday morning at 10 am during July and August for story hour. We will have books to share, crafts, and various arts activities throughout the summer. 

 

Best for children 2-6. No snack provided - please bring your own.  

Location: 
Street:
15 East Main Street
Additional:
City:
Cambridge
,
Province:
New York
Postal Code:
12816
Country:
United States

Pre-School Bookworms - Free program

bookworm 2

Do you know a preschool age child and want to read to them more? The Cambridge Elementary School and Battenkill Books are happy to announce that they are continuing to offer the FREE Cambridge Bookworm Preschool Book Club.

 The Bookworm Club is a free book lending program available to families residing in the Cambridge School District with children ages 2-5. Many schools nationwide are involved in similar 1,000 Book Clubs to encourage family reading, early literacy, and to establish a lifelong love of reading.

The club “houses” 100 bags of 10 books each for young children and their families to borrow and read during their preschool years.  Children in the club have the opportunity to read 1000 books by the time they reach kindergarten! The club is made possible through community support and donations, Battenkill Books, Cambridge Schools PTP and a grant from Books in Kids’ Hands.

Registration forms and books can be picked up at the elementary school office or at Battenkill Books.  Once the registration is completed, the child can take home a bag. One bag may be borrowed per child at a time and can be kept for several weeks.  Borrowing hours are Monday–Friday 8:30-2:00 at the Elementary School office or at Battenkill Books during business hours (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm, Thursday 10 am – 8 pm, Saturday 10 am – 6 pm, or Sunday 10 am – 2 pm).

If you have questions, please contact Cambridge Elementary School at 677-8527, extension 1433 or Battenkill Books at 677-2515.

 

 

Books We Love

 

 

Connie's Top Picks:

Adult Books

Favorite Picture Books

 

Colleen's Top 10:  

Adult Books  

Young Adult Book Picks

 

Kate's Top 10:  

Children's Classics  

 

 

 

Newer Children's Books

Adult Book Choices  

 

Marilyn's Favorites:

Adult Fiction & One Memoir

Children's Classics 

Welcome!

We are very excited to present our new website! This has been a long time coming, and we hope you like the added functionality of the site as much as we do! 

Some of the new features that we are excited about:

 -You can shop for books online! Then you can either request to pick them up in the store, or have them shipped anywhere you like! 

-The new site will also indicate if we have a particular book in stock.  

-Our event calendar is actually in the form of a calendar, which lets you view the month as a whole and see what is going on. 

-Lots of lists!  Throughout the site you'll find lists of our favorite books, books Connie reviewed recently on WAMC, books that our book clubs have read, bestsellers, etc.  

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