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Books remain a great Christmas present

One of the staples of Christmas presents remains books.  What's different in this area is local authors writing local books and local bookstores offering an often unique array to readers. Mick Cochrane is an English professor at Canisius College who runs the writing program and writes himself.  His latest book, Fitz, has just come out. 

Cochrane preaches the value of locally-owned bookstores like Talking Leaves, two locations he praises in a new national book about local book purveyors. 

"Writers are first of all readers and we have to feed our souls and find good books.  And, I write literary fiction and to come into a place where I know there's going to be books by writers that I admire new books. We have to keep up with what's being published and, that's crucial and to know there is a home for a book we aspire to write is likewise crucial," said Cochrane.

Cochrane said it's also important to find out what bookstore staff are reading and recommending.

Talking Leaves Co-Founder Jonathon Welch said bookstores, like his two locations, offer something beyond what a large chain does: a sense of the community in which it does business. 

Welch said there are books which became major bestsellers after being nurtured in independent bookstores before breaking nationally, books like Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes.

One of the significant features of the local writer season is the Saturday after Thanksgiving when the Buffalo History Museum hosts a book sale and author signing event.

Tim Bohen has a mammoth local hit with his Against The Grain about Buffalo's First Ward.

Credit Photo from buffalo.books.com Website
Against the Grain, Tim Bohen Jr

"We're on our third printing in nine weeks, sold well over 2,000 books in nine weeks.  It's just been incredible," said Bohen.

Bohen said the book is selling far beyond the families of First Ward residents.

There were so many local authors appearing this year, they sprawled across two rooms in the museum.
The books included local history, local cooking, local weather and local children's books.

Credit Photo from buffaloheritage.com
Books published by Buffalo Heritage Books

Playwright Donna Hoke has her first book for kids, working with artist Jessica Gadra, called Neko and the Twiggetts.  Hoke's book revolves around a family of mice who move into the double bass of a symphony orchestra musician.

Tim Shannon's Da's Shillelagh is a Buffalo story about an immigrant family from the War of 1812 to the Civil War.  Shannon has an understanding of the book business because this is his eighth.

WGRZ-TV Sports Director Ed Kilgore has a book out with his adventures in sports, from games to climbing Mount Kilamanjaro, called As I've Seen It.

Kilgore said he has local sports stories about backstage events, like the firing of first Sabres General Manager Punch Imlach.  Kilgore said the book is also an opportunity to tell his wife, daughter and grandchildren what he does for a living.

Credit Photo from buffalo.books.com Website
Television sports journalist Ed Kilgore

For more on local books you can search on-line at buffalobooks.com or buffaloheritage.com.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.