well read - The Empire State Book Festival

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If you can open the month of April in New York, head to the capital city of Albany and take advantage of a free literary event, presented by the New York Library Association.


April 2 marks the second Empire State Book Festival, celebrating the wonder of the written word in a variety of formats. Those involved or interested in the craft can take advantage of a slate of more than 40 workshops and panel discussions across all genres. There are also panels for illustrators, graphic novelists, and children’s book authors.

Wicked author Gregory Maguire spoke at last year’s event. This year, there is a pair of keynote speakers: singer/songwriter and author Rosanne Cash; and The Baby-Sitter's Club author Ann M. Martin.

The venue is child-friendly, featuring children’s book characters and meet-and-greets with several children’s authors and illustrators. For the teen scribe, a young writer’s panel – titled Spilling Ink – is worth checking out.

For more information, visit www.empirestatebookfestival.com.


New York City at Night
By Marcia Reiss (author), Evan Joseph (photographer)

Evan Joseph makes his career as a new-listing photographer for the Manhattan real-estate market, an interior and architectural photographer who has taken over a niche market. “My job is to take photographs that will help sell the apartment,” Joseph says of the craft. “That’s what I’m there to do.”

Yet he stepped away from that to compile this brilliant collection of night-time photographs of New York City that, through their vividness and sheer gravity, sell the metropolis to anyone who would consider a venture to the ‘city that never sleeps’.

With most photos taken aboard a helicopter atop the city, striking shots include panoramic Manhattan, the neon-ensconced Times Square, and a sunset-backed face-to-face with the famed Statue of Liberty. His architectural roots shine through once he grounds himself for images of Washington Square Park, Radio City Music Hall, and the unique Guggenheim museum.


Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York
By James Sanders (editor)

Hollywood may be California territory, but the heart of American filmmaking is New York City. James Sanders’ work here offers a rare introspective on the filmmaking world of New York City through a carefully thought-out selection of images over the last 40 years.

It’s been said often that New York serves as a character in and of itself in a film, and the photos used here present that in full effect, the city’s heartbeat audible with every turned page. Throughout, the social changes and issues that spurred so many of the films included are presented in a fashion that, as with the other books mentioned here, provides a secondary history lesson in conjunction with the book’s main focus.

Commentary from notable New York-bred filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen add on-site details and an extra touch of character that make this a must-have for a lover of New York or cinema.


The New York Times Complete Civil War, 1861–1865
By Harold Holzer & Craig Symonds

The beginning of journalism’s closeness to its political leadership in the USA can be traced to the Civil War, and The New York Times, in particular. That is where the paper’s founder and editor, Henry Jarvis Raymond, carved inroads to the White House and members of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, and also cultivated access to power brokers both statewide and nationally that modern journalists would froth at the mouth to attain.

The New York Times’ Complete Civil War serves as a chronological amassing of more than 600 articles and editorials from before, during, and after the war – events ranging from John Brown’s hanging to Lincoln’s funeral and the struggles of Reconstruction.

Dramatic first impressions are given vividly; and thankfully, through a modern layout (so don’t fear the tiny type of 19th century newsprint), serving as a true history lesson not just of the war itself, but of the birth of a journalistic giant.


Weird New York: Your Travel Guide to New York’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
By Chris Gethard

Obviously, New York City has its tourist hot spots. You won’t find those here. What you will find are items in the nooks and crannies of the city, fascinating and funny stories, and great ‘seek-out’ destinations when you’re looking to go off New York’s beaten path.

The book has 11 chapters, including ‘Local Legends and Lore’, ‘Unsolved Mysteries’, and ‘Unexplained Phenomena’; ‘Local Heroes and Villains’; ‘Roadside Oddities’, and ‘Cemetery Safari’.

However, it must be said that the book cannot be used as a travel guide by itself. You’ll need a map and a working knowledge of how to get around. But with that and this book, open at a random page and find out what new treasure of weirdness you can find. Then plan an adventure to some of the places mentioned for a fun day beyond the tourist checkpoints.

New York, USA
Distance: 10,792 km
Flight Time: 14 hours, 10 minutes
Frequency: Daily

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