Modern reads for Pennsylvania outdoors enthusiasts

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In June, I shared a blog that featured “six classic reads” for those who love the outdoors. The blog post gave a brief overview of multiple titles from more than 50 years ago that are still every bit as good now as when they were first released.

I received positive feedback about the story, as readers seemingly took a trip down memory lane, remembering fondly some of their favorite books, as well as others, from many years ago.

It got me thinking about several “modern reads” recently released by a few of Pennsylvania’s talented outdoor writers, and I thought I’d share them here for anyone interested in something a little hotter off the press.

River Boots by Robert Lynn Steiner

Pennsylvania Outdoor News readers will surely remember longtime columnist Bob Steiner, whose whimsical wisdom graced the pages of the publication for many years.

In addition to being an extremely talented writer, Steiner served a 25-year career in law enforcement as a waterways conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, as well as a couple years working as a fish culturist for the state hatchery.

Through his countless encounters with both law-abiding and law-breaking sportsmen, he has accumulated a lifetime of stories to make anyone laugh, cry, and ponder. As we all know, Bob is quite the storyteller, and his new book masterfully captures 253 of these stories into a witty, entertaining, and easy-to-read collection of fish and game tales that anyone interested in the outdoors can appreciate.

Available on Amazon.com for $14.95, the 24-chapter paperback is sure to make you chuckle in the first few pages and keep you coming back for more!

Salmon Survivor by Christian A. Shane

Salmon Survivor is a middle grade Alaskan adventure novel for ages 10 and up, written by Pennsylvania educator and fishing enthusiast Christian Shane, who wanted to offer coming-of-age readers an engaging book about the outdoors.

In the book, 12-year old Jack Cooper unwillingly travels with his mom from Pennsylvania to Alaska to meet his grandfather, Fly Bob, for the first time, following the tragic death of his father and fishing partner. Over the summer, Jack challenges himself to do something his father ‘Redds’ Cooper had never accomplished. He attempts to catch the Alaskan Salmon Slam, all five species of Pacific salmon in one summer.

While chasing after the Red, the Chum, the Pink, the Silver and the elusive King, he’ll need the assistance of his so-called grandfather and veteran fishing guide, Fly Bob, to teach him the secrets of fishing for salmon in Alaska. As Redds used to say, “It’s not called catchin’, it’s called fishin’.” Nothing comes easy, especially in Alaska.

The paperback sells for $14.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and Relevant Publishers. Find out more at www.christianshaneauthor.com.

When Everything Beyond the Walls is Wild by Lilace Mellin Guignard

Guignard draws from emblematic moments and relationships in her own life to explore issues of gender, recreation, and environmental conservation in her book, which features her yearning for an up-close and personal look at iconic American landscapes, despite social pressures and cautionary tales telling her these spaces were not meant for her.

Reflecting on ways culture socializes women to remain indoors, Guignard shares her own struggles with finding her place outdoors. Refusing to stay indoors, Guignard drove cross-country with her dog, worked as a river guide, and set out to climb Mount Whitney. She recounts navigating outdoor interactions with male friends and strangers that range from wonderful to awkward to frightening.

These stories expose how cultural messages about women shape their experiences and interactions when backpacking, paddling, rock climbing, and bicycling, while broadening readers’ notions of what adventure is, what places are considered wild and worth our care, and what types of people enjoy the outdoors.

Her book is available at Amazon and tamupress.com and is also available as an audio book on ibook and Audible.

Through the Eyes of a Whitetail Fanatic by Brian R. Kightlinger

With deer hunting seasons just a few months away, hunters may wish to pass the time by diving into Brian Kightlinger’s latest book about Pennsylvania’s favorite big-game species.

For more than 30 years, Kightlinger has been consumed by the mystical allure of the whitetail deer. There is something special about whitetails that makes his heart race and brings him such joy. This book is a collection of deer hunting stories he believes you will be able to see through his eyes as you read each one.

The 220-page book contains 36 deer hunting stories and is available both in softbound edition and E-book at www.litfoutdoors.com.

Grouse & Woodcock: The Birds of My Life by Timothy C. Flanigan

This award-winning book celebrating two of America’s greatest game birds is the pinnacle of Tim Flanigan’s lifetime devotion to ruffed grouse and American woodcock, which he considers the “classic combination” of upland gunning.

Gaining an early fondness for the birds as a child, Flanigan spent a career protecting wildlife resources as a conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Along his journey, Tim studied grouse and woodcock, these most wild of forest species, up close and personally in their native habitats all year in all weather. He developed a keen and intimate understanding of their lives to an extent that few humans ever have before. And to top it off, he taught himself to take exquisite closeup pictures of these shy and reclusive birds that are nothing short of dazzling.

Flanigan’s impressive photographs and rich knowledge of the birds serve as the backbone of this 40-chapter treasure, narrated in an easygoing storytelling style that draws from a lifetime in the field. The book educates readers in thorough detail about where to find, how to hunt, and why to love these magnificent birds.

The 413-page, full-color hardbound standard edition is available for $100 at www.wildriverpress.com.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Tyler Frantz

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