Books galore

By: Linda Twichell

Volume 13, Issue 12, December 2018


At the same time, TI Life has 20+ books on our “Books Tab.” ( Listed under the name of the author, with those recently published being designated with *new.)

TI LIfe Books Tab 1

Linda and I thought you might like to have our list as a reference.   Several books are long out of print, but you may be lucky and find them  in a used bookshop, or on sale on the web.

We hope Linda's reviews and by exploring our Books Tab,  you will add to your bookshelf.

Over the year we encourage you to send your recommendations.  (Title, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication) also, provide an online link if possible.)

Enjoy   Susan W. Smith, Editor, TI Life.

Linda Twichell’s list:

* indicates it is not included on the TI Life page. Many are out of print.

DAY 1: ST. LAWRENCE ABC'S; 1000 ISLANDS, 26 LETTERS, 1 RIVER written  by Silvana Gargione and illustrated by Megan Gaffney. Great book for  River Rats of all ages... text full of interesting tidbits and  delightful illustrations. Love this one!

DAY 2: COMFORT ISLAND; One Family’s Generational Journey by  Tad this book as this family came to the River about the  same time as my family. Learning to conquer challenges of living in an  old house on an island, making a life here and discovering that River  friends will become the best friends of your life became true for his  family and for mine. This is a great read!

DAY 3. SAMANTHA AT CONEY ISLAND AND A THOUSAND OTHER ISLANDS by Josiah Allen's wife. Josiah Allen's wife was a nome de plume of  Marietta Holley, Jefferson County author. Holley was an early advocate  of women's rights and children's rights. An exhibit of her life was  featured at the Jefferson County Historical Museum, Watertown in 2017.  She was a frequent visitor to the 1000 Islands and she is reported to  have stayed at Westminster Park.

DAY 4: ONE IN A THOUSAND… This one is an e-book…..

by Ian Coristine with Donna Walsh Inglehart. More than a book... it's  a multimedia platform with text, photos, and sound. In the dead of  winter, no matter where you roam, you can hear river winds and the call  of the loon. This is a favorite!!

DAY 5: 100 BUTTERFLIES* by Robbie Fanning. Young Adults  FICTION!! dealing with coming of age at a time of parental loss. Based  on the summer of 1963 in Westminster Park as a group of teens frolic  through a magical summer together. When I flipped through my copy, I  found slips of paper written by my mother where she tried to guess which  character was which neighbor. Brings back special memories, such as a  mid-summer party Robbie held on her Grandmother's porch. In walked a  skinny boy from NJ who had a brown-paper grocery bag full of 45 rpm  records. Nine years later I married him. See how the river works?

TI Life Books Tab 2

DAY 7: THE ISLAND* by Robert Russell. Another  page-turner. Russell recounts his life as one who was "chosen by the  River" as we say. He buys an island off Gan, rehabs a house, dock,  boats, learns the ways of the water, the natural wonders of our area.  Remarkable? Truly! For Mr. Russell was blind. How does a person without  sight set out alone in a small boat to go fishing? How does he teach us  to "see" the river in new ways? This book is full of the Old Wisdom of  the River. It's a fascinating story and a remarkable study of the human  spirit!

DAY 8: LEGENDARY WIT AND HUMOR OF AN ERA...IN THE AREA OF THE 1000 ISLANDS* by William C. Hartman. Confession: when my aunt passed this book to me  for my River library, I thought it was corny. Fast forward 25 years... I  love this book! Mr. Hartman recounts the stories of his grandfather,  William Kepler. Many tales of the river and Wellesley Island are  included along with the information we all seek: why is Densmore Church  round, how did they get that ferry across the channel, how to catch a  sturgeon.... If you see this book in a sale someplace, grab it! You'll  like these tales!

DAY 9.... ESTHER AT THE THOUSAND ISLANDS* by Flora  Longfellow Turknett. Stories of visits to the Thousand Islands were  popular even in 1901. This book, written for young readers, tells tales  of familiar places like TI Park, Lake of the Isles, Eel Bay, Round  Island, etc. The characters share the excitement of steamers passing  by... The Toronto, The Ramona.... well, lots of local flavor. Lovely  half-tone photos of early river days.

DAY 10: GRINDSTONE by Donna Walsh Inglehart. Cover  notes read, "Set in the wild beauty of the Thousand Islands, GRINDSTONE  is ambitious, moving, and artfully imagined. ...brings... a deep  sympathy for the Irish immigrant experience and the impact of the Civil  War, creating a haunting narrative that is uniquely expressive of the  American spirit." I enjoyed every page! Plus, the author is a family  member of my neighbors. Have you read this? Weigh in!

DAY 11: RIVER VIEWS; A HISTORY OF THE THOUSAND ISLANDS IN 3-D by  Tom French. If you love River history, this is a must-read. So much to  learn and so many photos to study. Of particular note to my neighbors  are the Westminster Park pages, including an Esson shot of my next-door  neighbor's cottage, Sunset. Many 1000 Islands areas are covered in  detail. And I recommend attending Tom French's lectures which pop up  periodically in NNY. Very informative. Great book! Great historian!

DAY 12: GLIMPSES OF ST. LAWRENCE SUMMER LIFE; THOUSAND ISLANDS SOUVENIRS from the Robert and Prudence Matthews Collection by the Antique Boat  Museum. Once on Facebook, Kris Pinkney posted a beautiful ruby flash  pitcher which reminded me of this River treasure. If you need  information about any of the many River collectibles, look here. This is  a treasure trove of info written by some of my favorite people.

DAY 13: SAINTS, SINNERS, & SAILORS OF THE GILDED AGE by Rex Ennis. You can tell from all the bookmarks that this is of  interest to me. It contains brief biographical sketches of the property  owners named on the 1898 Frank H. Taylor Map of the Thousand Islands:  Hotels, Parks, and Cottages which was found in Dean Thomas's cottage  wall. (Westminster Park) It is a great jumping-off point for those of us  who research River history and an interesting read for those who wonder  who came before us. I am in complete awe of the effort that went into  writing that book. And thank you, Mr. Ennis.... some of these people  were hard to find!

TI Life Books Tab 3


An “impulse buy” for me... paid way too much but never fail to enjoy  looking at the plates in this book about the flora and fauna of NYS.  Lots of interesting history as well... about the Saint Lawrence  Reservation, early conservation efforts, the formation of The Angler's  Association, etc. Worth a look.

DAY 15: A PINAFORE OF DREAMS* by Clover Boldt Baird,  granddaughter of George C. Boldt. A sweet book of poetry illustrated by  the author's daughter, Clover Ann Weller. This is a small volume with  simple poems some pertaining to life in general; some to the River. A  charming keepsake.

DAY 16:THE GREAT ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY* by Gail Gibbons. A  great one for the kids... this explains the history and development of  the Seaway in clear language with lovely watercolor illustrations.  Informative for all of us!

DAY 17: IMAGES OF THE THOUSAND ISLANDS*; a picture book  with illustrations by Hans Junga and story by Joan Walentuk. A  travelogue of the area with pencil sketches and watercolor  illustrations. We have seen so many changes since its publication in  1980, so it has become snapshots in time. I love Junga's work with a  subtle structure of line work and a tender color palette. Brings the  peace of the river to your armchair.

DAY 18: RIVER LIFE, THE THOUSAND ISLANDS, SAINT LAWRENCE RIVER by Michael Ringer. This is a good one. Vintage family photos and  collectible postcards mix with Ringer's art, words clipped from history  and Mr. Ringer's insights to the people, the places, and the life of the  river. Very well done.

DAY 19: RUTH FIELDING ON THE SAINT LAWRENCE* by  Alice B. Emerson. This novel from 1922, is one of a series of books  written with a message to parents: "You want to be sure of the character  of the books read by your boys and girls....reading material is clean,  interesting, inspiring, and educational." A quick skim reveals that  although there are geographical references we might relate to, there is more than a bit of  reference to ethnicity that would not stand up to 2017 values.  Interesting period piece. I would preview it before I gave it to those  of a tender mind.

DAY 20: THOUSAND ISLANDS YACHT CLUB/ WELCOME ISLAND/ A HISTORY by Robert Matthews; illustrated by Bev Farrell. A well-researched book  offering a peek at the origins, glory days, and demise of a great River  institution. A quick read that offers a peek at the activities of the  River Royals. Who would have guessed there were dog shows, elaborate  balls, casino events...and even an aero-nautical division? You'll like  this one written by one of my favorite River historians!

TI Life Books Tab 4


Have you noticed I'm a sucker for books about the history of the St.  Lawrence River, especially with tons of photos? This 1982 book was one  of the earlier books I found and I was excited to find a photo of a  naphtha launch at the Blandner's boathouse and also an entry about  Westminster Park. After doing so much research on our area, I find the  photos are even more entertaining. I recognize boats and places, etc.  and delight in seeing a photo I've never seen before. It's a book that  grows more enjoyable through the years.

DAY 23:. BREAKING THE RING* by Donna Walsh Inglehart. A Young Adult mystery/adventure novel set in 1000 Islands. Have you read this one?

DAY 24: CLASSIC BOATS OF THE THOUSAND ISLANDS* by  Anthony Mollica, Jr.; photography by George Fischer: What a mix!  Gorgeous photos, wooden boats, boatbuilding history, shiny pages… makes  for a delightful book. Of special interest to Westminster Park readers  is the story of the Black and Tan…page 102-105. Don’t miss it! Did you  notice that all of the boat owners are smiling? Live vicariously with  this book and you will smile too.

DAY 25: BOLDT CASTLE; IN SEARCH OF THE LOST STORY, FOOL'S  PARADISE; REMEMBERING THE THOUSAND ISLANDS; A FLOATING WORLD; MORE  PEOPLE, PLACES, AND PASTIMES OF THE THOUSAND ISLANDS by Paul  Malo. What a distinguished career of a man who loved the 1000 islands.  Malo was an architect with a passion for historical preservation. We  remember his work as editor of,authoring these books, and generously sharing his love of our area with others.

DAY 26: ISLAND LIFE; ONE THOUSAND ISLANDS, ONE THOUSAND STORIES*;  editor Kim Lunman: Taking a small step away from books to include this  magazine because it is available up and down the River each Spring.  Don’t miss it. Also, news to me: Kim now has a website so you won't miss  out on past and present articles. It's For about seven years, Kim has treated us to gorgeous photos and  interesting stories about the place and people of the 1000 islands. This  year she hopped on a helicopter to gain a better vantage point. I look  forward to seeing this each year! Great job, Kim Lunman!

DAY 27: THE FIRST SUMMER PEOPLE; THE THOUSAND ISLANDS 1650- 1910 by Susan Weston Smith. What an incredible resource! History Detectives,  I recommend this for your bookshelf. Susie Smith's research goes well  beyond many River historians. On a trip to England she had to  opportunity to view the leather-bound chart records of the British  Hydrographic service and found the original chart of the Canadian Lakes,  1815-1818. Additional research in National Archives of Canada and US  Archives in Washington DC, as well as local resources, lead to a book  full of information on early River explorations and settlement. Susan  Smith has other writing credits, but is best known as the editor of Kudos, Susie, for promoting the love of the River and a fabulous resource.

DAY 28; A RIVER RAT’S GUIDE TO THE THOUSAND ISLANDS* by Shawn Thompson. Mr. Thompson has written a number of other River books: Soul of the River, River’s Edge,  are two. I always enjoy a book written by those who love our area. So  many interesting stories and perspectives… In today’s selection, the  author explains the derivation of the term River Rat. I always bristled  at being called a rat, but now I understand its legacy and may rethink  my ideas. Mr. Thompson’s books are available at the MacSherry Library in  Alexandria Bay.

DAY 29: THE THOUSAND ISLANDS, THE 1000 ISLANDS, AND WATER, WIND, AND SKY by Ian Coristine. Are we not fortunate to have a world-class  photographer with the ability to capture the bird's eye view and to  share his work with us all? If ever you are feeling down, a few minutes  with one of these books will remind you that we are blessed to live in a  place of ever-changing beauty and peace. Do you agree?

DAY 30: SECRET CASTLE* by Anne Colver. A 1969  mystery/adventure chapter book written for young readers. Although it is  a fictional story, it is set in Alexandria Bay and centers around Boldt  Castle, Devil's Oven and nearby islands, and the elements are pure  River Rat. One "true" character is the Librarian of the Holland Library,  Florence McDonell. Was Holland the former name of the MacSherry  Library? Thank you to the person who posted this on a Facebook group and  to my friend, Siobhan, who tracked down a copy and loaned it to me. It  is an entertaining read. Keep an eye out at garage sales in the area.  Great one to share with young family members.

A month of River books: DAY 31: Thanks to those who followed along.  As you know, there are many more River books than the ones I have  mentioned. For the last day of the list, let's hear your choice of a  favorite River book. Please comment and let us know your pick.

Text by Linda Twichell.  

Linda Lewis Twichell, a fifty-six-year resident of Westminster Park,  has collected historical information on the Westminster community since  the 1970’s. Presently, her research focuses on the lives of the people  who settled here in the last quarter of the 19th century, and the  cottages they built. A book of Westminster Park, its people, and their  stories is in the works. Be sure to check out Linda’s other historical research published in previous issues of TI Life.

Photos from the TI Life Books Tab. Once again, please keep us informed of new author’s works!  

Posted in: Volume 13, Issue 12, December 2018, Book review, News article

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