One of the perks of having a mother in charge of the features pages of a major daily newspaper in the good times was her book editor’s closet. Every Christmas, after the editor had read and reviewed the books received over the year, the staff and I were invited in to divvy up the loot.
Times have changed. Few papers even have book reviewers, and at the Idaho Mountain Express, we preview events without judgment. My book closet consists of any available space, and, as we do not accept gifts for coverage, they may or may not see their way into news print, and usually only when they have an upcoming related lecture or signing.
This year’s selection got evacuated during the Beaver Creek Fire and then made it back to my desk.
There was an extraordinary number of books published this year, and these found here are just an attempt at crowing about some of the Idaho authors who came across my desk and lingered, maybe didn’t get an earlier mention or came out late in the year.
I’m starting with the last book I received before deadline and am listing them in no particular order. Peruse the list—there is likely a topic for most any reader and budget here.
“Carol Glenn,” a photographic trip with the artist and ceramist, was published in a limited edition, in keeping with her one-of-a-kind life. Filled with photographs by Bellevue’s Kirsten Shultz, designed by Drew Furlong and edited by Karen Oswalt, the book exudes simplicity and the comfortable language speaks volumes about the subject, a decidedly un-celebrity celeb, a longtime Sun Valley Center for the Arts partner and wife of actor Scott Glenn. Like her work, Glenn’s story has striking elements, which are delivered with the subtlety of a soothing saxophone heard from a New Orleans shadow.
“Middle Fork Magic: 100 miles of river recipes,” by Gayle Selisch. Already in reprint, this popular
cookbook comes from the heart and hearths of Selisch and her husband, former owners of the Middle Fork River Tours. Selisch shares her secrets from the Dutch oven, inspired by her late daughter Brooke, a former rodeo queen, and benefits her pet causes such as Swiftsure Ranch and the Bald Mountain Rescue Fund. The book features notes, recipes, pictures and stories from 25-plus years of rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
“Miracles and Mayhem in the ER,” the unbelievable true stories from Wood River Medical Center emergency room doctor Dr. Brent Rock Russell. Before starting the MASSV music festival and playing DJ Alien and Doc Rock, he worked nights in a Portland hospital. Billed as a story of humanity, self-discovery, friendship and confidence, the book was published through Russell Media’s Elevate, run by Brent’s brother in Boise.
“Smart Power, Between Diplomacy and War,” by former Wood River Valley resident Christian Whiton, has a foreword by Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky. Whiton draws heavily on leaked classified government cables, revealing what went wrong in episodes such as the Arab Spring and the thwarted 2009 uprising in Iran. He uses personal accounts from his experience in the George W. Bush administration to show how China compromises U.S. security with the help of America. Published by Potomac Books.
“Ski the Great Potato, Idaho Ski Areas Past and Present,” by author Margaret Fuller, opens eyes to how much skiing there is in the state known nationally for spuds. The book was co-authored with her son Doug, a former ski coach, and Jerry Painter, who writes an outdoor column for the Post Register newspaper in Idaho Falls. Fuller has written five hiking books, including “Trails of the Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains,” which provides insider information on the central Idaho backcountry. In “Ski the Great Potato,” which includes a foreword by Olympic medalist skier Picabo Street, Fuller mines the histories of all the 21 ski areas operating today and provides the history of the 72 “lost ones.” Published by Trail Guide Books.
“The Dirty Side of Fashion,” by part-time resident Kim Castellano, is filled with ways of preserving your privates against the natural elements. This 60-page guide contains heaps more than your average book. It includes stickers, hanger cards, tear-out cards and charts, along with actual wardrobe-saving products.
“Anything Worth Doing, A true story of adventure, friendship and tragedy on the last of the West’s great rivers,” was written by former Wood River High School English teacher and whitewater enthusiast Jo Deurbrouck. “Anything Worth Doing” tells the unforgettable true story of larger-than-life whitewater raft guides Clancy Reece and Jon Barker, two men who share a love of wild rivers and an unbending will to live life on their terms, no matter the cost.
“Bright White, What Really Happened in Sun Valley,” was written by valley resident by Carl Massaro. At the turn of the last century, vast sums of resources were extracted from the Triumph Mine, just a few miles from what became the world’s first destination ski resort built by New York financiers. These same financiers traded stock in the parent company that owned the Triumph Mine and controlled a raw material that became more important than gold. This is the story of some miners, some skiers, and a few songwriters. It’s a story of some regular hard-working Americans caught up in a battle halfway around the globe, a battle that needed tetra-ethylene lead to begin. It’s a love story, set at a time when life was far simpler. Published by Westview.
“Rugged Mercy, A Country Doctor in Idaho’s Sun Valley,” was written by Robert Wright, who says in the preface of the book that while it was written in literary form, it is an attempt to capture what his grandfather experienced as a turn-of-the-century doctor. It was published by Washington State University Press.
“Hunger, an Adventurous Journey of Finding Peace Within,” was penned by Dr. Jody Stanislaw, a naturopath who addressed “The Four Pillars of Health … The Secret Formula for Increasing Your Energy and Enjoying Radiant Health” at this year’s Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Stanislaw received her naturopathic doctorate degree at Bastyr University and, as a diabetic, specializes in diabetes. She uses a whole-person approach, which includes working with the Four Essential Pillars of Health deemed necessary for achieving optimal well-being. Her book is an account of the amazing stories she encountered while working at a holistic health spa in Thailand. Printed by CreateSpace.
“The Snake River Discovered, Source to Confluence,” by Ketchum photographer Kirk Anderson, is a photographic exploration of the nearly 1,100-mile length of one of the American West’s most dramatic rivers. Anderson explored the Snake’s beauty along its banks, but also via plane, helicopter, raft and boat in his quest to discover unique angles of view and inaccessible areas. Anderson has been photographing the American West since 1974. Also inside are essays by Idaho outdoors writer Doug Copsey. Published by Kirk Anderson Photography.
“The Idaho Cowboy, 25th Anniversary,” was published by Ketchum photographer David Stoecklein. If you haven’t been a collector of his gorgeous photobooks, this latest edition is a great starting point. The most prolific documenter of all things cow-ish in the West, his images are emblematic, historical, fun and gorgeous. It all started with a Marlboro ad in the 1980s and keeps evolving, even though many of his original subjects are now gone. By Stoecklein Photography and Publishing.
“American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience,” by Margaret Supplee Smith, includes Sun Valley prominently in this hefty tome about destination ski resorts across the country. There are many early pictures of the Sun Valley Lodge, the Inn and the Village, that have not appeared in other books on the resort. There are also maps and plans for the resort over the years, including a 2005 map of Sun Valley Village by local artist Evelyn Phillips, which shows the condominiums built by owner Bill Janss in the early 1970s. Local architects and their contributions to the area are covered, including Frank Hayes and Darryl McMillen, Jack Smith and Jim Ruscitto, Nick Latham and Thadd Blanton, who designed all of Sun Valley’s big log lodges starting in the 1980s.
A number of the books here are going to be presented with their authors in lectures or signings this month. Check the calendar section for dates and times. Locations include Chapter One Bookstore, Iconoclast Books, and the Community Library, all in Ketchum.