Bloomingdale writer Ed Kanze has penned a new book that recently hit the stores.
A guide and a naturalist, Kanze's sixth book is called "Adirondack, Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East." Most recently, he published "Over the Mountain and Home Again: Journeys Of An Adirondack Naturalist" in 2006.
In his latest book, Kanze invites the reader into the world of his current family life and that of his ancestors who settled in the southern Adirondacks centuries before him.
Kanze grew up in Westchester County but spent time visiting the Adirondacks and his family members there. During his visits, he formed a strong bond with his grandfather, who lived in Northville for the majority of his life until dying in 1978.
"My hero growing up was my Adirondack grandfather, and he's the hero of this book really," Kanze told the Enterprise. "I hope people enjoy meeting him. He was an amazing, amazing guy. For me, one of the pleasures of writing the book was there's all these good people in the world doing unsung good deeds, and as a writer you get to shine a spotlight on some of them. He was the mayor of his town much of his life. He wasn't a totally obscure person but he was self-effacing and very quiet, a man of few words, and so anyhow it was fun to do some speaking for him and show what a wonderful grandfather he was, just a great guy all around."
Kanze goes into more detail than just his personal relationship with his grandfather. He describes how his family arrived in the Adirondacks and spent time here. As he's doing this, he weaves in bits and pieces of general Adirondack history.
Of course, anyone who knows Kanze realizes that most anything he writes needs to have an element of the natural world in it. This book is no exception. Kanze goes out of his way to describe the flora and fauna, especially on his family's riverside property where they are in the midst of a biological inventory. Not only is the property rich in wildlife, but apparently he spots plenty inside his home also, including plenty of mice and even the backside of a black bear.
The pitfalls of the house also come front and center in his writing. The house that Kanze and his wife, Debbie, bought more than a decade ago came with plenty of drawbacks that required attention. When the pair bought the house, the plumbing wasn't adequate, the heating was non existent and the foundation was problematic. And that was just the start of the problems. Luckily for us, as readers we get a good laugh out of the situation as Kanze describes the trials and tribulations of dealing with these shortcomings, including dodging "a giant, stinking sausage of historic, compacted excrement" as he works on the septic pipe in the front yard.
"Where to begin?" Kanze writes in describing the house. "That was the first problem. The house's red-shingle roof leaked in several places. The siding, which consisted of cedar shingles of relatively recent origin, had been painted white, but not well. The entire exterior peeled like a sunburn.
"The foundation? Don't get me started."
Writing and publishing this book made Kanze feel a bit "naked," he told the Enterprise. It reveals many details of his family and home life. However, the information is provided in an entertaining and thoughtful way that doesn't come across as self-indulgent, which makes it worth reading.
"It was definitely an ambitious project for me," said Kanze, noting all the research he did. "It was definitely the hardest book I've ever written."
Copies of the book are available at Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid. If you're interested in meeting Kanze and having a copy of the book signed by him, he'll be at the Adirondack Museum on Thursdays through the last week in September, leading nature walks at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. He's also doing a book signing Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Bookstore Plus from 3 to 5 p.m. and will be in Long Lake at Hoss's Authors Night on Tuesday Aug. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.