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Mountain Home Magazine

There's No Place Like Tomes for the Holiday

Dec 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Gayle Morrow

At Mountain Home we not only love to write, we also love to read. We know you do, too. An impressive number of our contributing writers have penned an impressive number of books, with topics ranging from race horses to angels to solving cold cases. Since both readers and writers love books under the Christmas tree, and ’tis the season to curl up with something warm in a cup, or cold in a glass, and wile away a few hours in somebody else’s world, check these authors out (they’re in no particular order) and check some gifts off your list. You may even be inspired to start, or finish, that book of your own.

Most of the titles are available at local and regional retail outlets and bookstores, via Amazon or other online sources, and through the authors’ websites.

Mike Capuzzo: Our own Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Mike is probably best known for his two New York Times best-selling works of creative nonfiction—The Murder Room and Close to Shore. The Murder Room is the story of the Vidocq Society—the “heirs of Sherlock Holmes” who serve as modern cold-case solvers. Close to Shore is an account of the 1916 great white shark attacks off the coast of New Jersey, which were the boilerplate for the book Jaws. Mike co-wrote with (also our own) Teresa Banik Capuzzo Cat Caught My Heart and Our Best Friends; he wrote Mutts: America’s Dogs with Brian Kilcommons. Wild Things is his collection of humor columns. Read more at

Carrie Hagen: Carrie’s we is got him is the true account of the 1874 kidnapping of little Charley Ross in Philadelphia’s Germantown. Carrie’s fiction debut, The Muralist of Matter Deep and Dangerous, also takes place in Philadelphia, where a serial killer is inspired by the city’s murals. Read more at

Mike Cutillo: Mike’s George Washing Machine, Portables, & Submarine Races: My Italian-American Life is a funny and loving homage to his father, (whose self-taught English led to mistaking George Washington for someone named George Washing Machine), to Mike’s own travels in Italy, to the friends and family he’s found there over the years, and to the amazing meals, wine, and adventures they’ve shared. Contact Mike at [email protected].

Lilace Mellin Guignard: Lilace is the author of a chapbook of poems, Young at the Time of Letting Go, that explores the confluence of nature and grief, and the creative nonfiction memoir When Everything Beyond the Walls Is Wild: Being a Woman Outdoors in America. “The exploration of risk assessment and how women are conditioned to fear certain things have been most impactful for many readers, but lots just love the stories of my imperfect outdoor adventures.” Watch the book trailer at

Jimmy Guignard: Jimmy’s book, Pedaling the Sacrifice Zone: Teaching, Writing, and Living above the Marcellus Shale, takes on a topic that’s especially relevant to those of us living here in the Twin Tiers—the altering of rural landscapes through resource extraction. “When I started writing my book, I had one view of things that changed as I learned more about how complex an extractive industry moving into a place can be.”

Peter Nye: In 2020, the prolific Peter Joffre Nye revised and updated his first book, the 1988 Hearts of Lions, for a second edition. It is an account of early twentieth-century America’s fascination with bike riders and bike racing, and began with his interest in Art Longsjo, a speed skater and cyclist who shared his own Massachusetts roots. Peter is also the author of The Fast Times of Albert Champion (the founder of Champion spark plugs, an amazing athlete, and quite the ladies’ man), and co-wrote, with ace fighter pilot Bill Driscoll, Peak Business Performance Under Pressure.

Judith Sornberger: Judith’s most recent book, Angel Chimes: Poems of Advent and Christmas (published by Shanti Arts), is a collection of Advent and Christmas poems four decades in the making. She is also the author of four other books of poetry, a spiritual memoir, The Accidental Pilgrim: Finding God and His Mother in Tuscany (also published by Shanti Arts), Practicing the World (CavanKerry Press), Open Heart (Calyx Books), I Call to You from Time (Wipf & Stock), and five chapbooks. Find them in local bookstores and online. Read samples at

Maggie Barnes: The Glory Hill Diaries is a collection of stories about a husband and wife who move to the country, buy an odd old house, and set about building a new life for themselves. Adventures include encounters with wildlife (think snake in the house), attempts at learning how to bake, and renovations that take on a life of their own. If you enjoy Maggie’s columns in Mountain Home, this compilation would make a great gift for yourself. Or, introduce Maggie to a friend.

Kerry Gyekis: Trophies takes place in Russia following the break-up of the Soviet Union, and details the activities of unprincipled international corporations as they collude to rob the Russian people and the natural world of their bounty. Throw in romance, philosophy, and Kerry’s insights into that part of the world, and you’ve got an exciting fiction read.

Bonus tracks: Of Woods and Wild Things, by Don Knaus, currently out of print, but you may find used copies online, second edition pending; Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year, by Brendan O’Meara; The Project-Driven Life: How to Figure Out What You Want to Be When You Grow Up, by Kathleen Thompson; The Pine Creek Rail Trail Guidebook: A Bicycle Ride through History, by Linda Stager; Begged, Borrowed, & Stolen, True Tales of Thievery from America’s Past, by Jan Bridgeford-Smith; One Bullet Beyond Justice, One Woman’s Vengeance, and More Than a Vintage Death, all three by Dennis R. Miller; The Workingman’s Game: Waverly, New York, the Twin Tiers, and the Making of Modern Baseball, 1887-1898 and That Lively Railroad Town: Waverly, New York and the Making of Modern Baseball, 1899-1901, both by William H. Brewster; What a River Says: Exploring the Blackwater River and Refuge, by Phillip Hesser, and Harriet Tubman’s Eastern Shore: The Old Home is Not There, by Phillip Hesser and Charlie Ewers; Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography, by Janet McCue.

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