Local authors make gift giving easy
By Kathleen Folkerth
GREATER AKRON — Akron and Northeast Ohio are full of stories, and local authors have brought many of them to readers just in time for holiday shopping.
From sports and entertainment to local history and politics, there’s surely a title that someone on your list will like. Here’s a rundown of some of the newest books to hit local shelves.
“Walks Around Akron: Rediscovering a City in Transition” (University of Akron Press, $42.95 cloth cover, $19.95 paperback) is a compilation of articles written by Russ Musarra and illustrations by Chuck Ayers. The two began collaborating on the project 20 years ago, exploring little-known nooks as well as well-worn paths of the city and nearby communities. The book features a look at Canal Park in the snow, a tiny cemetery in Copley where the graves date back as far as 1818, and the blue heron rookery in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Fairlawn resident Abe Zaidan, a former reporter for local newspapers, is the author of “Portraits of Power: Ohio and National Politics” (University of Akron Press, $49.95 cloth cover, $22.95 paperback), along with John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Politics at The University of Akron (UA). The book features 90 essays from 1964 to 2004 that examine the politics of the region and state.
Medina resident Tom Batiuk’s “Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe” (Kent State University Press, $27.95 cloth, $18.95 paperback) is a compilation of the “Funky Winkerbean” artist’s comic strips dealing with the cancer that afflicts character Lisa Moore. In 1999, Lisa discovered she had breast cancer. Batiuk approached the topic with the idea that mixing humor with serious and real themes would heighten the reader’s interest. After a mastectomy and chemotherapy, Lisa was cancer free, but the cancer returned in 2006. The book is a collection of both the 1999 comic strips on Lisa’s initial battle with cancer and the more recent series examining her struggle with the disease. It also contains resource material on breast cancer.
West Akron residents Bob and Peg Bobel edited “Trail Guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Third Edition” (Gray & Co., $15.95), the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council’s guide to the park. The book has detailed descriptions and maps of the park’s many trails as well as the history of areas like Kendall Lake. Interspersed throughout the book are lists of the best hikes for children, wildflowers, fishing and more.
Remember The Buzzard? In John Gorman’s “The Buzzard” (Gray & Co., $24.95), the former music director and programming director of WMMS recounts the glory days of the legendary Cleveland radio station. Gorman arrived at the station in 1973, right after it was purchased by Malrite Broadcasting, which had planned to turn it into a country music station. The station helped many unknown artists break into the mainstream and was influential in getting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum located in Cleveland. Gorman stayed with the station until 1986, when he and other staff members left to start WNCX.
“Franchise: LeBron James and the Remaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers” (Gray & Co., $24.95) is the latest offering from sportswriter Terry Pluto. In the book, he and Brian Windhorst give readers an in-depth look at how the team and the city of Cleveland are being rebuilt around Akron native James, who took the team to the NBA Finals for the first time last season.
Chuck Heaton had a front row seat to the Cleveland Browns for five decades as a local sports reporter. Now Heaton has put many of his best articles into “Browns Scrapbook” (Gray & Co., $14.95). The writer reminisces about Hall of Fame players like Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Bobby Mitchell and original head coach Paul Brown. The book also features a look at the team’s biggest rivals over the years.
Heaton’s son, Michael Heaton, has been a local newspaper columnist and reporter since 1987. The younger Heaton also has a new book, “Truth and Justice for Fun and Profit” (Gray & Co., $24.95), a collection of 40 of his stories, many of which examine the underbelly of Cleveland society. Others are more personal.
The cooks on your list may enjoy “Mustard Seed Market & Café Natural Food Cookbook” (Pelican, $29.95) by the local natural food retailer’s resident chef, Bev Shaffer. She has included 250 of the Mustard Seed’s recipes and covers everything from basic cooking techniques to explanations of ingredients and seasonal fare. The cookbook is suitable for those following many diets, such as vegan and gluten free, and features an index listing those types of recipes. Color photos by Shaffer’s husband, John, illustrate the book. The cookbook is available at the Mustard Seed Market & Café in Montrose, as well as the Solon location and local bookstores.