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Books: "The Language of Baklava"

Todd Moe talks with author Diana Abu-Jaber about her book, The Language of Baklava. It's this year's "North Country Reads" selection. Abu-Jaber's memoir focuses on food and its role in family culture - with a focus on Arab American acclimation. She'll visit the North Country in early April. Diana Abu-Jaber told Todd Moe that food helps illustrate the two cultures of her childhood.  Go to full article

Readers & Writers: The Ha-Ha by Dave King

Howard Kapostash, the protagonist of The Ha-Ha, has not spoken in thirty years. Ever since a severe blow to the head during his days in the Army, words unravel in his mouth and letters on the page make no sense at all. Dave King's debut novel takes us behind this mute facade to meet a man unchanged in the important ways, still capable of awe, still yearning for love. The Ha-Ha is this year's selection for the "one community, one book" project North Country Reads. Guest host Barbara Wheeler joins Ellen Rocco, Chris Robinson, the author and callers.  Go to full article

Books: The Ha-Ha

Dave King's debut novel The Ha-Ha is this year's selection for the "one community, one book" project "North Country Reads." The program's goal is to get people in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties reading and discussing one book. Todd Moe talks with Dave King about his award-wining novel that explores war, family, disability and love.  Go to full article
Convicted murderer Chester Gillette
Convicted murderer Chester Gillette

"American Tragedy" Weapon Found

Members of the Herkimer County Historical Society say they've found the antique tennis racket used in the "American Tragedy" murder a century ago. The racket's authenticity was confirmed using marks from the murder trial. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
Author Jennifer Donnelly
Author Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light Author Returns to Her Roots

North Country Reads is a region-wide project focusing this year on Jennifer Donnelly's book, A Northern Light. Next week, Jennifer Donnelly will make several appearances in the region -- Lowville, Canton, Potsdam and Watertown. A Northern Light has won several awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the L.A. Times Book Prize. It's a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Grace Brown's murder on Big Moose Lake in the summer of 1906. Donnelly told Todd Moe that she began her writing career as a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times in 1987.  Go to full article

Books: Grace Brown's Love Letters

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Chester Gillette-Grace Brown murder case. The 1906 murder of Grace Brown on Big Moose Lake shocked the nation and is a big part of local history in the Adirondacks. It has sparked novels, movies, folk songs and an opera. Craig Brandon is the author of Murder in the Adirondacks, part true-crime story, part local history and part social commentary. He's researched and written about the Gillette-Brown murder case for over 25 years. Brandon has published a new book, Grace Brown's Love Letters. He spoke with Todd Moe.  Go to full article
Tobias Picker featured in Opera News
Tobias Picker featured in Opera News

Interview: American Tragedy Composer Tobias Picker

The opera version of American Tragedy premiers tonight in New York City. The score was written by composer Tobias Picker. Picker sat down last week with Brian Mann to talk about the project. Picker spent time researching the story in the Adiorondacks. He says Theodore Dreiser's classic novel is still contemporary, in part because of its attention to the tension between evangelical Christianity and American capitalism.  Go to full article
A scene from <i>American Tragedy</i> (Source: Metropolitan Opera)
A scene from American Tragedy (Source: Metropolitan Opera)

An Adirondack Murder on Stage at the Met

On December 2nd 2005, the Metropolitan Opera unveiled a new work based on Theodore Dreiser's classic novel American Tragedy. Dreiser's novel was inspired by a true Adirondack story. In the summer of 1906, a young man named Chester Gillette took his pregnant girlfriend boating on Big Moose Lake, near Old Forge. The next day, Grace Brown's body was found floating in a secluded cove in South Bay. Chester Gillette tried to flee, but was captured in Inlet and tried for murder. The case sparked a media frenzy and made headlines around the world. As Brian Mann reports, over the last century it has become a part of American mythology.  Go to full article

Readers & Writers: Jennifer Donnely, author of A Northern Light

Set in the Old Forge area at the turn of the 19th century, A Northern Light revisits the crime that inspired An American Tragedy from a fresh perspective. This novel, suitable for young adult as well as adult audiences, is this year's book selection of the three-county community reading program North Country Reads. Author Jennifer Donnelly is joined by hosts Ellen Rocco and Chris Robinson, and by Barbara Wheeler from the North Country Reads project.  Go to full article
Grace Brown
Grace Brown

Grace Brown's Last Love Letter

At Chester Gillette's trial in Herkimer, the prosecution read from Grace Brown's love letters. The last of those letters was written a week before her murder. The letter is read by Jennifer Donnelly, who grew up in Lewis County. She's the author of a novel about the murder called A Northern Light, the 2006 selection of North Country Reads--a one-book, one community program--and is tonight's guest on Readers & Writers at 7 pm.  Go to full article

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