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Satisfy your inner nerd 

The autumnal re-opening of school doors calls us back inside to the world of books. Summer paperbacks with sand trapped between the pages get shelved. The cooler season goes better with the sound of book spines cracking and of heavyweight paper turning; the squeak of highlighters against textbooks' lines; the smell of preserved paper trapped in library stacks; the well-appointed bookstore displays weighted with the literary harvest.

Local bookworms have made several very handsome books available to our thirsty eyes and minds. Why not strew one or more across your coffee table? Your guests will think you oh-so-smart.


You and Yours

Naomi Shihab Nye

BOA Editions, Ltd.

Rochester publishing house BOA Editions will publish its third volume of Naomi Shihab Nye's poems this fall. Nye has written over 20 volumes; You and Yours won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, and her 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a National Book Award finalist in 2002.

Nye, a Palestinian-American who lives in Texas, wields the simplest language to craft extremely accessible and effective poems, and though she writes conversationally, her reverence for words is clear and her writing has a deliberate and powerful gait. Her open "Letter to Any Would-Be Terrorists," available widely on the web, offers an example of her grounded eloquence; she grabs at you without any looks in a thesaurus' direction. Her latest volume continues her contemplation of the everyday sacred.

BOA is publishing four other volumes this fall: Consideration of the Guitar by Ray Gonzalez, Off-Season in the Promised Land by Peter Makuck, The Hoopoe's Crown by Jacqueline Osherow, and Willow, Wine, Mirror, Moon: Women's Poems from Tang China. All are (or will be as soon as they publish) available at local bookstores and at boaeditions.org.


C(a[e{I}o]u)P: Autobiography #5

Scott McCarney

VSW Press

The VSW Press at Visual Studies Workshop helps artists complete books of pretty stunning artistry. In addition to offering courses in bookmaking, VSW also takes on artists for month-long bookmaking residencies. There was once a working press at VSW's Prince Street campus, but now the actual printing is done off-site at a Rochester printer. Some of the books are intricate, some are simpler; some involve words as much as art, some let the imagery and the design do the talking.

Scott McCarney's C(a[e{I}o]u)P: Autobiography #5, one example of the 2005 crop, uses a dos-a-dos cover to combine two booklets (they share a back cover). It's all about memory, and he combines images from his and his parents' collections: teacups with baseball caps, VHS tapes with to-do lists, both sides of postcards he sent to his parents and they kept. Together, with very little literal narrative, the images and lists and tape labels tell a portion of his life's story.

All VSW Press books are available for purchase through Visual Studies Workshop, either on the website, www.vsw.org/press, or in the bookstore, 31 Prince Street, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m. 442-8676


Cobblestone Quest: Road Tours of New York's Historic Buildings

Rich and Sue Freeman

Footprint Press Inc.

They don't build 'em like they used to. In the pre-Civil War era Western New York masons built approximately 700 cobblestone buildings, constructed with the small stones found in the region's soil (it could take several years to gather enough for one building). And because they were built so well, many of them still stand. It is an architectural form unique to the Rochester area. Rich and Sue Freeman, a husband and wife team that writes prolifically about the Western New York landscape, now take the reading public on a tour of these buildings. As the Freemans do so well, they've divided the book into 17 driving or biking tours illustrated by maps and photos and balanced them with chapters on history and architecture. Available at www.footprintpress.com, local bookstores, or at www.landmarksociety.org


The Hands That Feed Us: 100 Years at the Rochester Public Market

Nancy Rosin and Karen Burns

Few places capture the spirit of Rochester better than the Public Market --- one of only a handful of public markets that have been in continual operation for the last 100 years. 2005 is our market's 100th year, and the city is rightfully celebrating. It's still the place for the cheapest, freshest food, and it's a vital link between city residents and their farmer neighbors. Do you want to meet the people who grow and harvest your food? Do you want a bag of tube socks for pocket change? Then to market you must go. Nancy Rosin and Karen Burns researched the market's history and collected more than 175 photos, images, drawings, and newspaper clippings to make this visual tribute. Available at www.landmarksociety.org


Treasures from Olana: Landscapes by Frederic Edwin Church

Kevin J. Avery

Cornell University Press

Treasure from Olana: Landscapes by Frederic Edwin Church is the title of a new book published by the Olana Partnership and Cornell University Press. It is also the title of an accompanying exhibition that was on display at Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown through September 19, and which will also travel to, among other venues, the National Academy Museum in New York City in February 2006.

For those of us living in Upstate New York, the names Olana and Frederic Edwin Church should have a vaguely familiar ring to them --- or, at the very least, we should become familiar with them.

Olana is the former home of Church, a member of the Hudson River School, a group of landscape painters that focused on, and even encouraged, cultural myths about the future of the new American nation and the primeval vastness of its wilderness. For Church, that included South America as well, as seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's breathtaking, "The Heart of the Andes," painted in 1859.

His home, the "castle on a hill" with a view of the mid-Hudson valley, is in Hudson, New York. Today, it is a living document of the world travels, the objects collected, and the art produced --- including notebooks, drawings, and both oil sketches and paintings --- by this acclaimed 19th-century artist. The book and the exhibition detail a selection of paintings from the collection at Olana and places the work not only within the context of the artist's life and travels but also considers Church's influence on others and the public's reception of him.

Of course, visiting Olana is a great weekend destination, especially in the fall when the surrounding foliage begins to turn. Or, try to catch one of the upcoming venues of the exhibition. If all else fails, get the book: There are lots of good color reproductions and an informative essay.

Available through Cornell University Press, www.cornellpress.cornell.edu.

--- Heidi Nickisher

In This Guide...

    Fall Guide 2005

    A big autumn embrace Jewel-bright leaves trapped between sheets of wax paper.

    Sounds good to me

    Here are music writer Frank De Blase's concert picks for the fall.
    Leon Redbone September 21

    What's so great about Mozart?

    Why, over two centuries after Mozart lived, is he still such a fixture in our cultural consciousness? Why, as we near the 250th anniversary of his birth, is a worldwide celebration mounting, with orchestras clamoring to produce concerts of his music, tourists tracing his footsteps in Austria, and Steinway and Sons giving away an all-expenses-paid trip to Salzburg, the city of his birth?

    Of particular note

    The opening of the concert season is a cause for celebration any time, but this year is particularly noteworthy. Resident musicians --- in the Rochester Philharmonic and smaller classical groups, from the Eastman School's outstanding faculty, and in churches and other venues --- will continue to provide exceptional performances.

    The best of all grapes

    Late this summer there were at least two terrific "Winemaker" dinners at Ravines Wine Cellars overlooking Keuka Lake --- Chasing Pinot: In Search of the Perfect Pinot Noir and Meritage: The Art of Blending. "Meritage"?

    How'd you get so lucky?

    When people stumble upon my not-so-secret identity as a movie critic, they often start chucking questions at me. Most believe that getting paid to give your unsolicited and subjective opinion sounds like a dream, and I do spend a great deal of time pinching myself. But when the clock strikes midnight and I'm trying to get enthusiastic about a film I had zero interest in seeing, it can seem a little nightmarish.

    Let them entertain you

    It's time for the local theatrics to gear up and people to start dancing. You will have your pick of performances to attend, from community theater shows in school gymnatoriums to visiting blockbusters --- along with a matching range in ticket price --- but here's what we're excited about.

    Turn on the reading light

    Well, the Rochester Arts and Lectures series is already sold out. If you don't have tickets, you may be able to get standing-room-only tickets to hear Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)and Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Sunday Philosophy Club) --- both worth it.

    Keep it on ice

    Not too many things have lasted for 50 years in Monroe County, but the Rochester Americans have. Since the Amerks were founded a half-century ago, the demographics of its hometown have completely changed, Kodak has withered away, and countless other American Hockey League teams have come and gone.

    They'll fight their hearts out

    There's a certain smell to freshly mowed grass on a high school football field, a mixture of chlorophyll and dew and mud that wafts into a player's nose and triggers a release of adrenaline and testosterone that carries him through the picturesque violence that will consume his mind and body and soul for a quartet of 12-minute quarters. Books and movies like Friday Night Lights can only go so far in relaying the passion and release that is a high school football game.

    It's the season for eating well

    "It is a time when every cook wishes time could stand still and the bounty of the fall last forever." So says Max chef-owner Tony Gullace, and you'll get no argument from the dozens of food-loving friends who jumped to say what they like best about food in the fall.

    The learning never stops

    School is great, but why stop there? There are plenty of museums offering kid-friendly exhibits and events to keep the structured (but fun!)

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