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Buckeye Book Fair

The 22nd annual Buckeye Book Fair was held in Wooster, Ohio, last Saturday. If you like books, you should put this event on your literary itinerary for next year. It's the biggest book bash held in the state, with about 100 authors of all kinds of writings.

This was my second time there as an author. To qualify to make the invite-only scene, one must either be an Ohioan or have written a book that has something to do with the Buckeye State. My first trip, in 2004, came on the heels of the release of Birds of Ohio. This year the pen dripped lots of ink, and both The Great Lakes Nature Guide and Wild Ohio: The Best of our Natural Heritage tumbled forth.

My collaborator on the Wild Ohio book on the left, Gary Meszaros, and I man the table. Gary is without doubt one of the best nature photographers currently adjusting F-stops, and his work has appeared far and wide. Our book is full of his stunning images, many of which have never been published before.

That isn't a mirror Gary is holding - it is a cellophane-wrapped virgin copy of one of our books. Trust me, Gary wouldn't have taken a photo like that, but thanks to whoever it was that did.

We had a great day, with constant traffic and scores of book sales. By most accounts, this was the best-attended book fair in recent memory, and I think everyone involved was pleased with the turnout.

I knew about eight or ten other authors, although I barely had time to make the rounds and snap a photo or two. This is Tim Snyder, another extraordinary naturalist, who among other interests has a passion for geology. His interest has always been especially piqued by rock arches, and no one has seen more of them in Ohio than Tim. He tapped that knowledge to produce Rainbows of Rock, Tables of Stone: The Natural Arches and Pillars of Ohio.

Longtime birder and prolific author Pat McCarthy was there promoting her 16th book, Heading West: Life with the Pioneers. Those of you familiar with the Ohio birding scene might recognize the group Darke County Birders from their members' frequent reports to the Ohio Birds Listserv. That's Pat's home turf gang, and Darke County is her stomping grounds.

The one and only Ian Adams, photographer par excellence and one of few people - the only one? - to have been invited to every single book fair. Ian's landscape portraits are nothing less than stunning, and he packages the best of them into an annual calendar. He has also illustrated many books with his work.

Herpetologist extraordinaire and scholarly author Ralph Pfingsten holds up a copy of his new book, The History of the Ravenna Arsenal.The arsenal is a massive and mysterious chunk of land in Portage County that has an interesting history, untold prior to Ralph's book. If you like to look at pictures, this book's got over 900 of 'em!

Chip Gross, a consummate outdoorsman, with his just released Pro Tactics: Steelhead and Salmon. If you're a fisherperson, you'll want this book. The ever productive Gross also released the Young Beginners Guide to Shooting and Archery. Chip is an excellent and prolific writer, and you may have seen some of his stuff in mags like Country Living.

The hours between 9:30 am and 4 pm blurred by, and it was fun meeting lots of people, and running into lots of friends. They even had me give a talk on some of the best places left in Ohio in the afternoon; first time for such a program at the book fair.

I hope to return here again someday. But no free lunches with the book fair - I'll have to produce something else! There's a few projects in the pipeline, so I have my hopes of making this scene once again, soon.


Lisa Van Doren said…
Great book Jim—looking forward to your next one.

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