March 1, 2013

North Country locals share their reading choices

PLATTSBURGH —  “I find television very educating,” Groucho Marx once said. “Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Some North Country residents have the same idea and were quick to respond when the Press-Republican asked, “What book are you reading now?”

Anna Battigelli, professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, is reading “The Storytelling Animal” by Jonathan Gottschall. The book has a connection to Plattsburgh State, in fact: the author’s mother is Marcia Gottschall, one of Battigelli’s colleagues.

Jonathon’s book argues that storytelling is a distinctly human trait — something that makes us human.

“It’s just such a fascinating topic,” Battigelli said.

Her husband, Paul Johnston, associate professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, is reading “Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comeback Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds,” by Jim Sterba.

It describes the increase in animal activity in the suburbs, as creatures like deer, wild turkeys and even bears try to adapt to an environment that seems dominated by humans.

“More people are now in contact with wildlife than ever before in American history,” Johnston said.

He appreciates the message of the book: “It points to the need for a change in attitude, where we accept as human beings the need to be stewards of nature rather than just being either hands-off or destructive.”


For Peru Town Supervisor Peter Glushko, the current book of choice is “Lone Survivor,” by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. The book describes a 2005 Navy SEAL mission in the mountains of Afghanistan.

“It’s about a SEAL team in a firefight up in the mountains, and one basically sacrifices his life to save the others.”

Glushko added that the book “has kind of a dual purpose,” since it describes SEAL training, as well as the mission itself.

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