Monday, June 23, 2014

From My Shelf Books Vs The Evil Empire, and the Premise Behind the Show

Kevin Coolidge

I’m a natural storyteller. It is why I love books, how I met my wife, and why we started a bookstore together. Now we are continuing the narrative with our new project, a web series called From My Shelf Books Vs. The Evil Empire. The series is about a little bookstore in a rural area, and one man’s struggle to be both creative, and to keep the lights on.

Being creative is one of the underlying themes of the show. It’s said that everyone has at least one book in them, and we start the series with one of the main characters, Kevin, struggling to work through loss, write his book, and keep his bookstore going.

No man is an island, and Kevin is no exception. Kevin wishes that he could afford to hire someone to help the bookstore run smoother, and help appears. Art imitates life, because the show could never have happened without the creative efforts of a lot of local people.

One of the purposes of the show is to highlight Wellsboro and Tioga County, and one of our natural resources of the area is the people. There’s a lot of creative energy here, and it takes many forms. Some of those people tell stories, some make beautiful music, and some express their vision in a visual medium.

Every part of episodes one and two was contributed by local folks. Everything from the script writing to the music to the makeup, even the scoring was done by Galeton native, Monique Canniere, a sister of one of long-time employees of the bookstore. The actors are our customers, neighbors, and friends. The entire show is a community-driven project with a goal of promoting creativity, the area, and most importantly, fun.

This is currently a passion project; we can’t pay for much of anything. Our budget for the first two episodes was under twenty dollars. We spent about fifteen of that and four dollars of that fifteen was for black spray paint. We are using what we have in local materials and local talent to promote the area.

Just what is the Evil Empire? It’s the nickname that I use for Amazon. Now Amazon may not be inherently evil, but the way this online behemoth operates does affect the charm and economy of our town. Money spent here stays here and is invested in our community. Money sent away may never come back to us.

Isn’t it time we invested in our own story? Shouldn’t we build our narrative? Stories connect us, help us learn, and build relationships. I love a good story, and if you do too, then join us. We are premiering episodes one and two and the Deane Center in Wellsboro on Monday, June 30th at 7PM, before From My Shelf Books Vs. The Evil Empire debuts to the rest of humanity on the world wide web. I hope to see you there.

Here's the link to the event we created for the premier on Facebook. If you can confirm, it can help us figure how many chairs and refreshments we may need. The public, cast and crew are invited and we hope to see you there!

The show centers around a bookstore, and we love books. There will be plenty of references to books and authors including local writers, and in the first episode you will see me walking down Main St. with a book containing many voices, a book that really says Tioga County to me, that book is Flatlanders & Ridgerunners. Available at From My Shelf Books of course...

Crucible: Star Wars

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes—and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From My Shelf Books Vs. The Evil Empire: What is it about?

Kevin Coolidge

It’s said you can’t keep them on the farm after they’ve seen Hollywood—or maybe it’s Paris. Here’s the story of the local boy who came back home. “Tired of the attitude and the egos, I didn’t want to be in front or behind the camera anymore. I just wanted to tell stories,” says Bill Robertson.

Stories connect us, create understanding, and cement friendship. Kevin Coolidge, of From My Shelf Books, enjoys a good story, and when he found out his friend Bill was moving back to Tioga County, he let him know if he ever wanted to film in the bookstore, he was welcome.

The first rule of writing is write what you know. Bill wanted to write, and Kevin knows bookstores, so a script for a web series was born. A web series is released on the internet, generally in episodic form. Think television, but shorter; it’s a webisode.

Kevin had the experience of running a bookstore, and Bill has the experience of script writing. Together they created From My Shelf Books Vs. The Evil Empire. Running any small business has its challenges and its conflicts. There was no lack of material.

Both Bill and Kevin love movies, and stories, and it shows in the quirky characters and situations in this show. “It’s kind of a combination of Black’s Books, a British comedy, and The Big Bang Theory, but it’s more. It's about a small town bookstore's day-to-day struggles to survive in the shadow of a greedy colossus, while staying true to their creative natures.”

Both Bill and Kevin wanted to highlight Wellsboro. Any creative project tends to involve the talents of many people. “There’s a lot of talent here in Tioga County, and we wanted to show that. People think that just because it’s a rural area, there’s nothing here and that’s not true. Local people are involved from the writing to the photography, to the makeup, even the music.

The web series will be posted to the bookstore's Facebook page and youtube channel, but Wellsboro audiences will be able to see it first. "Episode 1" and "Episode 2" will be premiered on the big screen before it's world wide release on the internet! Monday June 30, at 7pm, in Room 218 of the Deane Center! Public, cast & crew invited!

The lovely young lady on the right is Patricia Ritter, our dp(directory of photography, and Bubbly Ray in the show. The guy in the middle is Bill Robertson director, and the main writer, and Kevin is in blue. Kevin helps write, produce and really stretches as an actor. He plays Kevin in the show.

Rot & Ruin

Kevin Coolidge

It’s fifteen years since “First Night” and Benny needs to join the work force—or he’ll lose his food ration. He’s not really interested in taking on the family business, zombie hunting. He expects a boring job of destroying zombies for cash. What he discovers is a job that will teach him what it really means to be human. Rot & Ruin is about more than just the brains, but the heart as well. Benny’s brother Tom is a first class bounty hunter who prefers to be called a “closure specialist”. A zombie may be a shambling, rotting meat puppet, but it was once someone’s loved one, and would you want just anyone to mulch mom? Just because you’re a zombie doesn’t mean you are a monster, and sometimes the most terrible monsters of all are human.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A History of Ice

Kevin Coolidge

It’s time to hang my hammock. Soon, it’ll be summer, and people will be complaining about how hot it is. Not me, I’m breaking out my cooler, and filling it full of ice and my favorite carbonated beverage* and relaxing in the shade. Ice—it cools our drinks, keeps the potato salad fresh, and makes summer tolerable, but it didn’t always used to be that way.

We open the fridge, see the little light, and expect cold food and beverages any time of the day or night. Would you want to swap your modern refrigerator for a block of ice in an icebox?

Less than a hundred years ago, our ancestors had to rely on the iceman to deliver a block of ice every few days to do what a few kilowatts of electricity do today. Workers had to cut large blocks of ice from ponds, lakes and rivers, store them in gigantic icehouses, and transport them to cities. Icemen then would deliver the ice to houses with wagons.

Ice! The Amazing History of the Ice Business, written by Laurence Pringle, looks back at the ice industry, and at a fascinating time of America’s past. Before the early 1800s, most people never had a cold drink on a hot summer day. Some men wondered if people could chill food and drink year-round by using a simple substance, ice.

What if ice could be cut in the winter, and be kept from melting so it could be available in the warmer seasons? Maybe it could even be shipped long distances to southern cities, and even tropical climates, where ice never occurred naturally? Could selling ice become a business?

Yes, ordinary ice was soon a necessity. Harvesting, storing, and transporting ice became a huge business in the United States. This book tells the details of the “frozen water trade” by focusing on the lake that became famous as the “Icebox of New York City.”

Thirty miles north, and just a half mile west of the Hudson River, lays Rockland Lake. Its handy access to the river helped in transporting ice by barge to the city. Most of the lake’s water arises from springs beneath the surface, and for city people worried about pollution, pure ice from Rockland Lake was a treasure.

Most ice harvesting was done in January and February when lakes were usually deeply frozen. Ice had to be at least five inches thick to support the weight of horses and men. There was no shortage of workers, as winter was an idle time for farmers as well as many laborers.

Men guided horses pulling saws that cut a checkerboard pattern of grooves in the ice surface. Then another horse-drawn saw was used to cut deeper into the ice. Men broke off blocks by striking into the ice with long-handled chisels.
A narrow canal of open water was cut, and kept from freezing, and men or horses would push the ice blocks along this channel to shore. Before storage, big blocks were cut into smaller pieces for easier handling.

In the icehouse, workers would set down a layer of ice, then spread sawdust on top, then start a new layer. Block by block, the icehouse would fill; some icehouses could hold one hundred thousand tons of ice.

The United States ice business reached its peak in the late 1800s. Once a luxury, refrigeration became a necessity. Another kind of cooling was needed, and not just for reliability. Sewage and other pollution spoiled the quality of the quality of ice. Ice harvesting was banned from some sites. The need grew for a safer kind of refrigeration.

When artificial refrigeration machines were invented, the ice industry melted away. At first, these machines were expensive and bulky and couldn’t replace the common icebox, but after demonstrations of a small electric powered refrigerator, the modern refrigerator was born, and America could enjoy a nice, cold one anytime…

*It’s beer, which is a major reason we have the modern refrigerator. Lager beer could only be brewed at low temperatures. As year-round beer sales increased, breweries couldn’t afford to gamble on ice harvests; the needed reliable refrigeration throughout every season.

Ice cold? Or Hot to trot? Drop me a comment at and let me know. Miss a past column? You can chill and get your fill at for columns, commentary, extras, and more. This summer don’t cook, read a book. It’s the cool thing to do…

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic

To most Americans, mushrooms are the brown lumps in the soup one uses to make a tuna casserole, but to a select few, mushrooms are the abundant yet often well-hidden delicacies of the forests. In spite of their rather dismal reputation, most wild mushrooms are both edible and delicious, when prepared properly. From the morel to the chanterelle and the prolific and aptly named chicken of the woods, mushrooms can easily be harvested and enjoyed, if you know where to look and what to look for. Bill Russell's Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic helps the reader learn just that--specifically for the often-neglected East Coast mushrooms of the United States and Canada.

Suited to both the novice and the experienced mushroom hunter, this book helps the reader identify mushrooms with the use of illustrations, descriptions, and environmental observations. Russell's fifty years of experience in hunting, studying, and teaching about wild mushrooms have been carefully distilled into this easy-to-use and well-designed guide. The book is divided into the four seasons, each with its unique mushroom offerings. Each mushroom section includes a detailed description, information about the mushroom's biology, tips on where the mushroom is most likely to be found, and a short "nutshell" description for quick reference. The book also includes color photographs of each of the mushrooms described.

Russell's Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic shows the reader not only how to identify the most common mushrooms found in the region but also how to avoid common copycats--and what to do with the mushrooms once they're identified and harvested. With both color illustrations and insightful descriptions of one hundred of the area's most common mushrooms, Field Guide is an indispensable reference for the curious hiker, the amateur biologist, or the adventurous chef.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes, Ithaca was planned by surveyor Simeon DeWitt and incorporated in 1821 when steamboats signaled Cayuga Lake's heyday of commerce and recreation. Spectacular creeks and waterfalls powered grist, plaster, carding, and other mills.

From farms, merchants, and mills, Ithaca's industries grew to include the famous Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation and Morse Chain Works. By 1914, Wharton Studios was producing silent films in this "Hollywood of the East." Such notable residents as actress Irene Castle, the Tremans, and community leader James L. Gibbs called Ithaca home.

Ithacans became known for community involvement early on. St. James AME Zion Church served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and Elizabeth Beebe built a mission for needy Rhiners. Ezra Cornell and Andrew D. White realized their ideal of education when Cornell University opened in 1868, followed in 1892 by the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, which became Ithaca College in 1931. Students protested segregation in front of Woolworth's 30 years later, and echoes of this idealism can still be found here today.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Little League Baseball World Series

Little League Baseball is a microcosm of American history, filled with countless anecdotes, good fortune, adversity, and hope. In 1947, when the first Little League Baseball World Series was played, there were seventeen leagues in two states. Since then, Little League has achieved global recognition and has touched the lives of children and families in more than one hundred countries.

The World Series is the culmination of dedication and teamwork in more than sixteen thousand games ending in a sixteen-team tournament in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Little League Baseball World Series remembers the history of the tournament and its role in bringing together communities. More than two thousand five hundred spectators witnessed the first championship game in 1947, when the Maynard Midgets took home the trophy, and the results were printed in newspapers around the country.

Now, millions more tune in to ABC's Wide World of Sports and ESPN for live coverage of the final game. Little League Baseball has enriched the lives of more than thirty million boys and girls who have worn a Little League uniform. Well-known figures such as Derek Jeter, Kevin Costner, and Pres. George W. Bush were all Little League players. The Little League Baseball World Series celebrates this rich baseball history and the best teams the league has produced through the years.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Watkins Glen International

In 1948, Watkins Glen became the site of the first postwar road race in America on a 6.6-mile course through the village and surrounding highways; the present-day road course was built in 1956 and held its first race the same year. The circuit presented its first professional race in 1957 when NASCAR made its first appearance.

NASCAR returned to the Glen in 1964 and 1965 and found a permanent spot on the Watkins Glen calendar beginning in 1986. Today, the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in August ranks as the largest spectator event in the state of New York. In addition to NASCAR and Formula One, Watkins Glen race fans have enjoyed America's greatest race series, including Indy car, Can-Am, Trans-Am, six-hour endurance for prototypes, and amateur sports car racing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Williamsport's Millionaires' Row

Williamsport was once known as the lumber capital of the world, claiming to have more millionaires per capita living there than anywhere else in the world. Made fashionable by visionary Victorian-era entrepreneur Peter Herdic and his talented personal architect Eber Culver, Williamsport's West Fourth Street became the place to live and visit celebrities and socialites, including Annie Weightman Walker Penfield, the richest woman in the world in her day.

These vintage postcards feature scenes varying from the lavish Victorian homes the nouveau riche built from the spoils of the bustling lumbermills and offshoot industries to the resplendent houses of worship where the rich and the poor stood side by side. Williamsport's Millionaires' Row records the pinnacle of Williamsport's wealth and glory days, highlighting the homes of the Millionaires' Row National Register Historic District.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Confessions of the World's Best Father

A hilarious pictorial parody of a clueless father and his adorable daughter

In an attempt to create an image that his new daughter would one day appreciate, Dave Engledow took a photo in which he’s cradling eight-week-old Alice Bee like a football and doctored it to look like he’s squirting breast milk into a "World’s Best Father" mug. Friends and family clamored for more. After Dave’s humorous attempts to capture the sleep-deprived obliviousness of being a first-time dad went viral, he and Alice Bee found themselves bona fide Internet and television celebrities.

Merging a Norman Rockwell aesthetic with a darkly comic sensibility, Dave pairs each side-splittingly funny image with a log entry describing the awkward situation that the World’s Best Father has found himself in. Readers of Sh*t My Dad Says and Awkward Family Photos will devour the artful and hilarious Confessions of the World’s Best Father.

Painted Post

South of the Finger Lakes, where four rivers converge, the Lands of the Painted Post have served people as both a thoroughfare and a gathering place for millennia. This region's location within a passageway through the hills, its navigable water routes, and its tremendous potential for mill sites and agriculture rendered Painted Post a favored site for human settlement. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Painted Post experienced unprecedented cultural, social, and economic change. That history is vividly illustrated in Painted Post.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting boys to read

Finger Lakes

For more than a century, the natural scenic beauty of the Finger Lakes has drawn generations of tourists. The vineyards, glens, and steamers that made the region famous are displayed through the vintage images in this volume. These postcards capture the lively and dynamic atmosphere that has kept visitors flocking to the area for years, eager to mail a piece of their memories back home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The 10 minute play

Pennsylvania's Covered Bridges

Starting in the early 1800s, Pennsylvania's rich forests provided natural material for the construction of more than 1,500 covered bridges across the state. The first covered bridge was built in 1805. Pennsylvania's Covered Bridges looks at the earliest covered bridges as well as those that have survived modern progress.

Images also show rare railroad covered bridges that have been saved from destruction over the years. This book invites the reader to step back in time and imagine the days when ancestors traveled through wooden spans to reach their daily destinations.

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It

"Mr. Heavey takes us back to the joys--and occasional pitfalls--of the humble edibles around us, and his conclusions ring true."--"Wall Street Journal"

Longtime "Field & Stream" contributor Bill Heavey has become the magazine's most popular voice by writing for sportsmen with more enthusiasm than skill. In his first full-length book, Heavey chronicles his attempts to "eat wild," seeing how much of his own food he can hunt, fish, grow, and forage.

But Heavey is not your typical hunter-gatherer. Living inside the D.C. Beltway, and a single dad to a twelve-year-old daughter with an aversion to "nature food," he's almost completely ignorant of gardening and foraging. Incensed at the squirrels destroying his tomatoes, he is driven to rodent murder--by arrow.

Along the way, Heavey is guided by a number of unlikely teachers, from the eccentric Paula, who runs an under-the-table bait business, to Michelle, an attractive single mom unselfconsciously devoted to eating locally. To the delight of his readers and the embarrassment of his daughter, he suffers blood loss, humiliation, and learns, as he puts it, that "'edible' is not to be confused with 'tasty.'"

Pennsylvania Diners

Kevin Coolidge

I love to eat, and I appreciate a good diner. Pennsylvania is rich in diners. A restaurant might call itself a diner, but it doesn’t make it so. A diner is more than a place to get a hot cuppa joe and Adam and Eve on a raft*. A diner has a history, a personality, a place in the community, and a story.

The story of the diner is the story of Middle America. America was changing. The rise of the automobile, industrialization, America was becoming more modern, but people still needed to eat. The diner became an important element in cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

The American diner is taken for granted in the Northeast, but it’s a bit of a novelty at the national level. Sure, you might find newly constructed stainless steel diners sporting neon lights and black-and-white-checked tiles in places that never had a diner before.

So, what is a diner? For the purposes of Diners of Pennsylvania, a diner is a factory-built restaurant transported to its site of operation. The authors weren’t making a value judgment. It’s just a way of distinguishing diners from other eateries.

Many diners remind me of a railroad dining car, but I learned that the American diner evolved from the lowly lunch wagon. In 1872, Walter Scott pioneered the “night lunch” business by loading up a horse-drawn wagon with sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, and pie.

He peddled his wares to the staff of the city’s newspapers who worked all night to get out the morning edition. The nighttime streets were filled with hungry, potential customers. In industrial New England, production ran 24 hours a day, and soon he needed to operate around the clock.

The concept spread and manufacturers started producing lunch wagons commercially. Two major developments transformed the fledgling lunch wagon business into the diner industry. Wagon owners began settling on permanent sites due to licensing requirements, and cities were changing from horse-drawn trolleys to electric cars.

Manufacturers began standardizing their models and expanding offerings—including indoor toilets and full-length, marble-topped counters. Railcar styles and dimensions were adopted to facilitate transportation by rail and to emulate railroad cars.

As America’s love of the automobile grew, the most profitable locations were now on the edges of town. Flashy neon signs vied for the attention of motorists. Styles changed to reflect this as dinermen sought to distance themselves from their growing competitors, fast food restaurants.

Times changes everything, the current situation may look bleak for diner lovers. There are fewer diners now than when the first edition of Diners of Pennsylvania came out, twenty-seven less. Some burned, some were bulldozed for progress. There has, however, been a trend toward preservation. A fair share have been moved and restored to their original condition.

Wellsboro is lucky to already have its own little green porcelain gem. The Famous Wellsboro Diner has been a fixture of the area since 1939. It is Pennsylvania’s only surviving example of a New England barrel roof diner. The diner was manufactured by Sterling in 1938.

The diner was established in 1939 by Louis Meier and his brother-in-law, Walter Schnaker. The sixty-eight seat diner was first called Schnaker's. In 1941, Walter ended up leaving for New York to open a new diner, and Louis put Wellsboro's diner up for sale in the early 50's. The name changed when the diner got new owners.

The diner remained unchanged until 1994 when an adjacent building was bought and converted into a dining room and gift shop. It's currently owned by Nelle Rounsaville, who keeps the diner in original peak condition.

The food is good and served in generous portions. It’s a great place for when you are hankering for a piping hot roast beef sandwich and a warm piece of apple pie with vanilla ice cream melting around the edges.

I love the Wellsboro Diner. I recently found out that I'm not the only one who appreciates its comforting food. The Wellsboro Diner was recently named one of top ten classic diners. If you haven’t eaten there, check it out, but leave room for dessert…

*Diner lingo for a hot cup of coffee and two poached eggs on toast.

Dine in? Or Carry out? Email me at and drop me a comment. Hungry for more? You can get your fill at There’s a full menu of past columns and delicious sides. Writers are supposed to stay hungry, but don’t let them starve. Save publishing and buy a book. Buy two, they’re small…

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Author profile - Wilson Rawls

Pennsylvania's Historic Bridges

Pennsylvania's Historic Bridges examines the development of different types of bridge structures across Pennsylvania through the world of postcards, many of which are from the early 1900s.

The structures featured are constructed from various materials and in a multitude of styles. Also found within these pages are several postcards of pedestrian bridges, canal bridges, trolley bridges, railroad bridges, and an aqueduct.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Old tractors and the men who love them


In the 1830s, when a feeder branch of the Erie Canal linked up with the Cheumung River, Corning first became connected to the rest of the world. By the 1880s, Corning had become a railroad town with trains going in all directions. Industrial growth in the 1890s led to the rise of businesses and factories, such as Corning Glass Works.

Because Corning produced so much glass, it became known as the crystal city and grew into a tourist destination. A town with many accomplishments, Corning was once home to a minor-league baseball team and is the birthplace of Margaret Sanger, a birth control activist who founded the American Birth Control League, which became Planned Parenthood. From the 1890s until the 1960s, the growth of the community's businesses, parks, churches, and recreation were captured in postcards, many never published before.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Longest Day

Kasey Coolidge

70 years ago today, my maternal grandfather, Bart Davis, came ashore with the first wave of American soldiers at Omaha Beach, on D-Day. He was part of a unit of engineers, tasked with trying to clear the obstacles on the beach, to prepare the way for the troops & vehicles coming up just behind him. Wounded by flying shrapnel as the Nazis in the cliff bunkers targeted these engineers specifically, he lay on the beach until he went back to England on a hospital ship. He returned to his unit just in time for the Battle of the Bulge. Though he was only in his early twenties, other guys in his unit called him "old man", because he had a wife and a little boy.

My grandfather was interviewed for Cornelius Ryan's famous book on D-Day, "The Longest Day". If you've never read this amazing, detailed work

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. A stunning military accomplishment, it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, tricked the Nazis into believing that the Allied attacks would come in Calais and Norway rather than Normandy.

It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war. This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. Together they made up one of the oddest and most brilliant military units ever assembled.

Around Galeton and Coudersport

Potter County's abundance of forests in the late 1800s played a large part in making the town of Williamsport the lumber capital of the world. To the north, Galeton had one of the largest sawmills in the country and was the railroad hub of the county. Austin, Cross Fork, Germania, Shinglehouse, Harrison Valley, and other area towns also contributed a great deal during the logging era.

There were sawmills, kindling wood factories, hub factories, stave and heading mills, and tanneries in almost every town in the county. Around Galeton and Coudersport showcases a large collection of vintage postcards of Potter County, opening a window back through time and providing a glimpse of life during the formation of the county.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Put your money where your house is

Of a Predatory Heart

Kevin Coolidge

Joe Parry, a Vietnam vet and an outdoor writer, has written for the Pennsylvania Game News, Field and Stream, Fins and Feathers, Turkey Magazine, Sports Afield, Readers Digest, Northwest Outdoors, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and our very own Wellsboro Gazette.

These stories on hunting, fishing, and the outdoor lifestyle run from snort-milk-through-your nose funny, to bringing a tear to a seasoned woodsman’s eye. It’s a memoir of a lifelong outdoorsman, starting from his return from the Vietnam War, with tales ranging from archery hunting, fly-fishing, introducing children to woodcraft, and the bond that forms between generations through appreciation of the woodlands.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

You're Not from Around Here, Are You?: A Lesbian in Small-Town America

This is a funny, moving story about life in a small town, from the point of view of a pregnant lesbian. Louise A. Blum, author of the critically acclaimed novel Amnesty, now tells the story of her own life and her decision to be out, loud, and pregnant. Mixing humor with memorable prose, Blum recounts how a quiet, conservative town in an impoverished stretch of Appalachia reacts as she and a local woman, Connie, fall in love, move in together, and determine to live their life together openly and truthfully.

The town responds in radically different ways to the couple’s presence, from prayer vigils on the village green to a feature article in the family section of the local newspaper. This is a cautionary, wise, and celebratory tale about what it’s like to be different in America—both the good and the bad. A depiction of small town life with all its comforts and its terrors, this memoir speaks to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in America. Blum tells her story with a razor wit and deft precision, a story about two "girls with grit," and the child they decide to raise, right where they are, in small town America.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sony to Kobo

Kasey Cox

Readers may be surprised to know the first time I felt competition from ereaders, it wasn’t in the form of a Kindle. In the summer of 2008, a customer came to the bookstore to trade in some of her books. She had several long-running series by favorite authors, and had, over the months, enjoyed collecting these books a few at a time until she had the set. I asked her why she wanted to trade in all these books now. Her reply shocked me.

She didn’t have room in her small apartment for all the books she loved to read. So, she was replacing many of the series she’d collected in paperback with digital editions on her new ereader. I had, at that point, only heard a few rumors about Amazon’s new digital reading device, the Kindle. (The very first model had been released, but it wasn’t making a lot of waves yet, even in the techie world, and even less had been said about it in the publishing world.) I asked her if she was getting one of those new gizmos from Amazon – because it’s the only one I’d even heard mentioned. But, no, this customer said she found a much less expensive one at Walmart. She was very pleased with her new Sony ereader: it was easy to use, lightweight, and not glitchy.

Fast forward to spring 2014. We’ve all been through the conflagration of a variety of Kindles; the Google ebook; the Nook; and a storm of “apps” for iPads and Smart Phones. The digital revolution shook the music industry before it swept through the publishing industry, but it’s safe to say, even in this technology world with new developments arriving in the marketplace at an exponential rate, that the book world is quite different from what it was even five years ago.
Here’s a piece of news that a lot of book people don’t know: there are more choices than the Kindle and the Nook. You don’t have to have a Smart Phone to read digital books. You don’t even have to be all that tech-savvy. While Amazon has been trumpeting from the rooftops about how awesome their Kindle is, while trying to run down and run out competitors in every industry from books to diapers, a Canadian company called Kobo has steadily been making gains in the digital market. If you’ve heard of Kobo, you may recall they started as the small, digital division of a bookstore chain in Canada – just a few folks, nearly a decade ago, who realized they should focus on having a digital library available for their customers, the same way their bookstore already offered audio books, paperbacks, and hardcovers. Ebooks, just as one more choice.

Kobo never intended to sell ereaders – digital devices to use in order to read from the Kobo library. The Kobo library has always been designed in open format – these digital books can be read on any device, including your plain old computer. As the market advanced, and Amazon developed their proprietary devices, Kobo found out, along with the rest of us, that if a consumer buys a Kindle from Amazon, they can only ever buy Amazon’s Kindle books. A Kindle only downloads Kindle format. Kobo’s books, on the other hand, can be read on the Nook, your laptop, an iPad, a Sony ereader, a Smart Phone… but Amazon doesn’t want to play nice with others. And they don’t advertise that fact.
Kobo has since partnered with a Rakuten, a Japanese company, to make top-of-the-line, award-winning devices. Since then, Google has gone through several transitions and their ebook projects have fallen off. Just recently, Sony announced they would no longer be dealing in ereaders, and are transitioning all their ereading customers to the Kobo company, with its enormous digital library of over 4 million titles.

If you are interested in reading digitally, be certain to scrape beyond the surface of the superficial, loud advertisements from your television set, and update your horizons before plunking down your credit card info. Fifteen years ago, even twenty years ago, Amazon and Barnes & Noble made names for themselves in the book business because they were focused on being good stewards in the publishing industry. Now, Amazon wants to take over the world, and Barnes & Noble is really struggling. Am I a biased reporter on this situation? Certainly. Does it make these statements less true? Not in this case. Check out Kobo, both the devices and the digital library available. Pay less attention to the Great and Powerful Oz, and more attention to the man behind the curtain and what he’s really doing.

The 1972 Flood in New York's Southern Tier

In June 1972, Hurricane Agnes hit the East Coast with a monstrous and devastating force, bringing a deluge across multiple states and slamming four counties in the Southern Tier: Steuben, Chemung, Tioga, and Broome. Dozens died and property damage ran into the millions as Corning, Elmira, Owego, Binghamton, and other communities suddenly found themselves under water.

The flood destroyed the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, staggered the Penn Central, shut down Corning Glass Works for weeks, and devastated the Corning Museum of Glass--a major cultural resource. Lives and landscapes were forever changed when homes and businesses washed away in a matter of minutes.

Henceforth, the region's history became permanently divided into the times before and the times after the 1972 flood. Through stunning images, The 1972 Flood in New York's Southern Tier chronicles the extraordinary destruction of twisted rail lines, devastated streets, exhausted recovery workers, rivers bursting their banks, cars on houses, and houses on cars, all while capturing the communities' rebuilding efforts and recovery of the glass museum treasures.

Population: 485

Welcome to New Auburn, Wisconsin, where the local vigilante is a farmer's wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, the most senior member of the volunteer fire department is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), and the back roads are haunted by the ghosts of children and farmers. Against a backdrop of fires and tangled wrecks, bar fights and smelt feeds, Population: 485 is a comic and sometimes heartbreaking true tale leavened with quieter meditations on an overlooked America.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hiking Pennsylvania

A guide to fifty of Pennsylvania's top hiking destinations. Heavily illustrated with maps, elevation profiles, and photos, this book provides detailed directions, mile-by-mile trail descriptions, and quick-reference boxes for trail specifications and summary information. Each trail is graded by difficulty. Recommendations for accommodations and restaurants round out this exceptionally detailed guide book.