Thursday, March 06, 2008

An explosion of local books

If anything measures the growth in affluence during my lifetime, it must be the availability of Things of the Mind: music ... art ... education ... publications. The number, the variety, especially the quality of what I can enjoy today in a smallish Arizona city would absolutely astound the girl who began coming of age intellectually in the early 40s in a much larger Florida city which was not big enough to keep her.

Right now, I'm thinking about just the wealth of books focused on our little world in Central Arizona. I've pulled these books, pamphlets and monographs from my own shelves.

Geology, wild flowers, critters, history, railroads, archeology, trails -- each subject is covered in one or more of these publications. My most recent addition (a week ago) was Stories of Early Prescott. A chapter on major snow storms piqued my interest -- I wanted to know more about the famous Winter of 19-aught-67.

I realized, in staging the pictures, that there's a good reason the Prescott region in its many manifestations keeps my interest: the whole is not too big to wrap my mind around. Our history here does not have deep roots in time; the population is not large and the number of old families is limited. A good subject for amateur contemplation, in other words. (A side note here -- just for the helluvit, I popped a another local sort of publication, the guidebook to the DeAnza-Borrego area in the picture immediately above just for Gadget and Foolsewoode, who recently returned from a grand adventure over in the California desert; do read about it in their blogs & be sure to scroll down!)

The next three pictures, taken at the Sharlot Hall Museum gift shop, give an idea of the shelf space dedicated to local/Western topics. The Worm on Whiskey Row showcases Prescott and Arizona books at the front of the store. Periodically, the Book Nook will display one or two recently published local items; however, Marilyn also has an excellent section of used books on Indians, the West and its history.

BTW, the museum operates a small press with a handful of titles, all of local interest.

At times, you have to go to a very special event to locate a local book. Here, at a big signing sponsored by the Ash Fork AZ Historical Society, I bought both Marshall Trimble's new book and a previous publication prepared by members of the society. My Paulden Pioneers came from an outdoor event in that Big Chino Valley settlement last September. Of interest is Arcadia Publishing, which lists some 5000 local historic books, from Bangor, Maine, to Ash Fork and Prescott.

In previous years, the Annual Book Festival at the Sharlot Hall Museum grounds was a great place to buy books of the west, though the festival may not be held in 2008. This picture was taken at the Primrose Press display; the press is owned by the ladies Ruffner (Elisabeth and Melissa), who have most recently published Chris Hoy's The Elk in the Attic to benefit the ongoing renovation of the Elks Opera House. The Ruffners have been very active in Prescott historic activities, writing books as well as conducting tours.

Another author/publisher, Agnes Franz here at the Book Festival, also wrote a Prescott history.

At the annual barbecue of the Yavapai Cattle Growers Association, the Yavapai Cowbelles sell copies of their collected tales of ranch life, now grown into a 3-volume set. Other important venues for local books are the outfitter shops, where trail books, maps and even booklets detailing best climbs in the Dells are stocked. It is, indeed, a wealth of information -- and detail about Everybody's Home Town, as the Chamber of Commerce styles us.

14 comments:

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

That's a heap of books!!

Hermano

Gadget said...

Hey Granny J! Gadget here.....

Don't forget, I'm the author of the Digital RV, and I guess it's a local book now that I'm a resident. Shortly you'll be hearing about another tech book I'm authoring as well....but I can't spoil it yet. I'll wait until it's in print. :)

Anonymous said...

GJ, please do elaborate on why the annual book fair at Sharlot Hall may not be held this year. That's sad news indeed. What happened?
~Anon in AV.

sheoflittlebrain said...

So many books, so little time! Have I regaled you with my stories of being snowed in in Groom Creek in 1967-68?
Probably so.....

Granny J said...

Bro -- indeed it is; I haven't read all of them, either. BTW, glad to see you're linked up there. Other readers' note: that's my baby brother from OZ who's got his new blog going.

Gadget -- yr digital RV book is about as local as one of Georgene's Idiot's Guides or Agnes' Smirk or my foodservice directories! However, I'm always glad to give it a mention, nonetheless. Other Readers' Note: Gadget has this book which tells you everything you need to know about staying on-line while going off on the road for months or forever.

anon av -- first off, it's official. Second -- as I recall the article in the Courier, the festival was costing the museum more than it was taking in.

brain -- I recall interesting tales you have told me about local books you've read. As for what you did during the famous Snow of Aught-67, please post the full details!

David Kirk said...

It's great to read up on local history! Have a great day!

smilnsigh said...

Great entry on local history...

Granny J said...

tex -- local history I can to late in life, though I was always fascinated by the differing character of The Neighborhoods when I lived in Chicago. Perhaps a prelude to what I am doing with this blog...

SnS -- I wonder if this is a preoccupation of us as we get older?

Lucy said...

What you say about the increased availability of Things of the Mind, yes, it's true. When people complain of the waste and the greed of consumerism, and whether people are any happier now, I think they forget this, and how our lives have improved like that. I went to an expo of old photos of this area recently, and though some things were picturesque, the limitations and sheer boredom of those times for people was striking, like looking into a prison...
Then again, there are now just too many interesting things to take in!

Granny J said...

lucy -- I don't think I could bear to go back to that time, even though I'm far better equipped by my experience all these years...

DDD said...

And don't forget your local library!
In Prescott, just stroll on up the hill to Prescott Public Library (PPL) and check out the Southwest Collection. Or browse the holdings of any of the libraries in the Yavapai Library Network.

Granny J said...

ddd -- of course, you are right! I tend to overlook the library because I am a procrastinator & it is dangerous for me to borrow books! The library is wonderful for everybody else!!!

DDD said...

If they have your email address in your patron record they will send you a friendly reminder a few days before they are due. You can even renew them by clicking a link in the reminder email!

Granny J said...

ddd -- now that "click & renew" option is a good bet for me, but I'm sure that after a while, the computer will grow tired of my continuous updating.

 
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