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What's Up Magazine

Books By Local Authors

Nov 10, 2010 05:32PM ● By Anonymous

“Shop local. Buy local.” It’s become a daily mantra, often repeated but not always heeded. We may not be printing many books right here in Maryland but we certainly are blessed with scores of authors. When you purchase a book written by a local author, he or she receives a percentage of the sale. So, a little bit goes back into our local economy. Many local authors choose local settings, and it is fun to read about our hometown. And who knows—you may have the opportunity to actually meet the author at a book signing and discuss with him or her the contents of the book.

Throughout the year, we try to briefly review local books that are sent to our offices. Because of space limitations in the magazine we print many of these reviews on our website. For your convenience, our New Media editors have assembled all our reviews from throughout the year, and placed them together with a link so you can go on your computer and get to them easily. Read more about some of the wonderful books that have recently been published by local authors in our What's Up? Book Review section.

Are you a fan of mysteries? Just out in August, by Marcia Talley, is Without a Grave, featuring the sleuthing talents of Hannah Ives. While many of Talley’s mysteries are set in Annapolis, this one takes place in the Bahamas—a nice escape from the winter cold. If your taste runs closer to a traditional English mystery inspired by Jane Austen, locate a copy of Murder at Longbourn, by Severna Park resident Tracy Kiely. Eastern Shore writer Diane Marquette recently released Suitable for Framing, the third mystery in her Chesapeake Conference Center series. For fanciers of well-constructed short stories, Abraham’s Bay & Other Stories by Jack Greer, an Edgewater resident who is a senior writer on marine science and policy for the University of Maryland Sea Grant College, is set around the theme of sailing, but it focuses on people and how they resolve their conflicts with nature and each other. Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen was written by Christopher White, who spent his boyhood exploring the waters and wetlands of the Bay. To conduct his research he lived and worked among skipjack captains on Tilghman’s Island for two years.

Local history has become a popular topic and two publishers— Arcadia Press and History Press—have released books this past year that make great gifts to give to longtime residents and friends visiting the area for the first time. Images of America: Crofton by Janice Fuhrman Booth, a contributing writer to What’s Up?, fills you in on the history of Crofton. Chesapeake’s Western Shore: Vintage Vacationland, by Lara L. Lutz, documents the change of people and landscape on the banks of the Bay. Maritime Annapolis: A History of Watermen, Sails, and Midshipmen, written by Annapolis resident Rosemary F. Williams, provides an overview of the city’s love affair with the Bay and the Severn River. Remembering Kent Island: Stories from the Chesapeake, by Brent Lewis, also a frequent contributor to What’s Up?, captures the flavor of what it means to live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, specifically Kent Island, in this day and age.

One of the easiest ways to get a sense of a place is through historic photographs of it. Several fine illustrated history books of photography have been published this season. One book released in September documents the history of two famous beaches with antique postcards. It is Steamboat Days on the Chesapeake: Betterton and Tolchester Beach, by James Tigner Jr., who is originally from Annapolis. Chesapeake Ferries: A Waterborne Tradition, 1636–2000, relates stories of water travel on the Chesapeake and is illustrated with historic photographs and maps. The author, Clara Simmons, an Eastern Shore resident for more than 50 years, died before the book was published. Fine photography matched with prose makes an excellent gift. You can find that in The Nanticoke: Portrait of a Chesapeake River, by Eastern Shore residents and longtime collaborators David Harp and Tom Horton. Annapolis: Sailing Capital of Maryland, by Roger Miller puts the emphasis on sailboats. Also featuring captivating photography of boats and the water are Where Severn Joins the Tide— The United States Naval Academy, by Alison Harbaugh, and Annapolis Reflections, another book by James Tigner Jr.

Books for children are important items on your gift list. Here are a few favorites: Annapolis author Priscilla Cummings writes for both young children and young adults. She won the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for her novel Red Kayak, and her fans will be pleased to know that her book for readers ages nine and up, Autumn Journey, is back in print. The Pretty One, by Annapolis author Cheryl Klam, is popular with teenagers. Several lovely picture books focus on understanding the fragility of our local ecosystem: Osprey Adventure, by Jennifer Keats Curtis and illustrated by Marcy Dunn Ramsey, raises the issue of the effects of plastic and pesticides on our local bird population. Where Did All the Water Go? by Carolyn Stearns and illustrated with watercolors by David Aiken, explains the Bay’s tides. While a Tree Grew: The Story of Maryland’s Wye Oak, Elaine Race Bachman and illustrated by Kim Harrell, lets Maryland’s famous oak tell its story itself. A book released just in time for the holidays, by local author Dan Donovan and illustrated by Julie Picott, is A Christmas Tail! The main character is a friendly little skunk who rescues Santa from a dangerous situation and—spoiler alert!—saves Christmas. Many more books have been written during 2009 and the close of 2008 by local authors. Visit our website to learn about them—and remember to support our local scribes!