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8 books from Berkshire authors to add to your reading list


Authors in and around the Berkshires have been busy. Here's a look at a few of the new works, ranging from collections of poetry to memoirs about less-than-friendly pooches, that have been published in the last 10 months. 

"Wine-Dark Sea: New & Selected Poems & Translations"

By Scott Edward Anderson

Award-winning poet and translator Scott Edward Anderson brings together 30 poems about romantic love, myth, nature and our search for meaning of the every day.

The book also includes a sampling of the part-time West Stockbridge resident's translation of poem s by important Portuguese poets ranging from Fernando Pessoa and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen to Vitorino Nemésio and Angela de Almeida. (Shanti Arts, March 2022)


"Third Person Singular: 33 1/3 Poems Each"

By Dan Valenti, Jerri Chaplin and Paul Kocak

Pittsfield-based writer Dan Valenti, poet Jerri Chaplin, of Pittsfield and Charleston, S.C., and writer Paul Kocak, of Syracuse, N.Y., collaborated over Zoom, phone and email on a new volume of poetry. 

“This book began as a literary experiment — three poets who decided to use technology to collaborate in a new way, without physically meeting,” Valenti said in a release. “We got the job done more smoothly and comfortably than we ever imagined.”

The three poets never met in person during the collaborative process.

“Our voices are disparate and different but complementary, and I think readers will enjoy that. Reading 'Third Person Singular' is like getting three books in one. Our book is not an anthology. It’s not three poets edited by an overseer. It’s unique, from initial conception to final execution. I know of nothing else like it,” Chapin said in the release. (Planet Media Books, Feb. 2022) 

The Gem of Richmond: A History of Richmond Pond. (copy)

“The Gem of Richmond: A History of Richmond Pond”

The Richmond Pond Association & Richmond Historical Commission

A rich and deep history of the life and times of Richmond Pond. This 30-chapter book, recounts the many efforts to balance the tension between the natural habitat, development and recreation. It includes over 200 photos, from the late 1800s to the present day. (The Troy Book Makers, Feb. 2022) 

“Rise Above It, Darling”

Rise Above It Darling.png

By Judy White Staber

In this biographical memoir, Staber recounts the life of her mother, Joan White — actor, director, teacher, producer and (sometimes) mother. White, who spent 65 years as a thespian on stage and screen, worked at The Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge from 1960 to 1964. (The Troy Book Makers, Jan. 2022) 

“Reading the Gravestones of Old New England”


By John G.S. Hanson

The epitaphs found in old New England cemeteries hold a great range of poetic messages. While old and etched in stone, their themes are timeless: mourning and faith, grief and hope, loss and memory. Tyringham resident Hanson takes readers on a yearslong walk among gravestones near and far, giving insight into the meaning behind these long-standing thoughts. (McFarland Books, Oct. 2021)


"Freud on my Couch"

By Richard M. Berlin

Richmond resident Richard M. Berlin is not only a practicing psychiatrist, he's also an award winning poet whose poetry has appeared monthly in Psychiatric Times for the past 24 years. His fourth book of poetry, "Freud On My Couch," is an intimate and insightful insider's view of the medical and psychiatric practices, told in heartfelt prose.

(Dos Madres Press, July 2021) 

I know this looks bad_.jpg

“I Know This Looks Bad: Errors and Graces in a Louche Life”

By JPV Oliver, Gent

If Saturday Night Live’s “Jack Handy” had worked as the former speechwriter for Seagram or GE, his “Deep Thoughts” might have been similar to this humorous tome published by JPV Oliver, Gent (real name John Oliver). Beware, Oliver is neither British, nor the John Oliver of HBO. He is, however, well-traveled and from Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

In “I Know This Looks Bad,” Oliver pens a memoir of sorts, sharing 365 vignettes ranging from his stint in a band at 13 (They played two songs, “Gloria” and “Satisfaction” and no one seemed to mind) to New Year’s Eve 1999, eve of the dreaded Y2K, when the IT experts warned “your cars won’t start on New Year’s Day.” (Epigraph Press, July 2021) 


“Walking Evil: How Man’s Best Friend Became My Worst Enemy”

By Mark St. Germain

"Timmy had Lassie. Dorothy had Toto. Turner had Hooch. I had Evil."

So begins renowned playwright Mark St. Germain's comedic memoir of how a dog named Evie made his life a living hell. Evil, as St. Germain refers to his canine nemesis, didn't limit her wrath to only him, there were others of both the human and canine persuasion that she tortured too. When Evil wasn't chewing hotel doors, eating car seats, escaping cages, shredding the author's work or taking up his side of the bed, she was being perfectly pleasant for Germain's ex-wife Emma. 

Written in an easy, conversational-style, you'll feel like St. Germain is retelling this laughable tale while sitting across the table from you. (Ironstream Press, May 2021)

Jennifer Huberdeau can be reached at jhuberdeau@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6229. On Twitter: @BE_DigitalJen

Features Editor

Jennifer Huberdeau is The Eagle's features editor. Prior to The Eagle, she worked at The North Adams Transcript. She is a 2021 Rabkin Award Winner, 2020 New England First Amendment Institute Fellow and a 2010 BCBS Health Care Fellow.

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