Once again our area is blessed with a large number of excellent writers, and this week we bring you the first of two local books roundups.

“Voices from Room 6: A Teacher Remembers,” by Paul O’Brien (The Troy Book Makers)

O’Brien is a recently retired English teacher who taught for 47 years, primarily at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady. This 203-page collection of essays is part memoir and part love letter to being a teacher and living a creative life surrounded by books. O’Brien writes in an amusing and inspirational way about the joys of teaching, the students who have touched and taught him, and his creative colleagues. His book can be found at Amazon, Market Books in Troy, the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza and the Open Door in Schenectady.

Mitchell’s New General Atlas 1860″ by Bob Lindberg (Schiffer Publishing)

Back in the 1800s, publishers would print new atlases every year. According to Lindberg, who owns a historical map business, one of the most detailed and beautiful atlases was published by Augustus Mitchell Jr. of Philadelphia. This atlas shows maps of an evolving United States, as well as a view of the rest of the world as it appeared in that year. This is an essential book for historians who would like to see how our world and our country was mapped over 150 years ago. The atlas is in full color and is an almost perfect reproduction of the original. The binding is cloth stamped in gold, with faux leather on the spine and corners.

“Always With You,” by Elaine Stock (Elk Lake Publishing)

This is the second book of fiction by Stock. It is set in the Adirondacks, where main character Isabelle is living in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. She meets Tyler, who belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith. She wants it; she gets it; they marry. And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices: Staying could endanger her child. Leaving could cost her life.

“What a Ride,” by Anthony Francis DiBello (Create Space Independent Publishing)

This memoir describes how the author, who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in a tiny tenement in Depression-era upstate New York, became a well-respected entrepreneur and promoter who worked with the Beatles on their 1964 tour. In the book he tells of his encounters with celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. This memoir is amusing, and you’ll wonder how someone was able to cram so much life into his 70 years.

“Faithfully Yours,” Peggy Frezon (Paraclete Press)

This is an inspiring collection of stories and essays about the unique bond between humans and their pets. Research studies have shown that a strong relationship with our pets is essential to the health and well-being of both. Frezon, who lives in Rensselaer, is an award-winning writer and regular contributor to Guideposts Magazine.

“Lay Down Your Weary Tune,” by W.B. Belcher (Other Press)

The author lives in Greenwich along the banks of the Battenkill River. This is his debut novel, and it’s about a ghostwriter of memoirs named Jack Wyeth who seeks out famed folksinger Eli Page to help him write his memoir, and what he discovers will deeply impact his own life. This novel has been getting some strong reviews nationally.

“Lost Mohawk Valley,” by Bob Cudmore (History Press)

Cudmore has a strong regional following from his radio and television work. He also writes a weekly history column for the Daily Gazette. In his newest book, he has collected humorous and touching stories of life in the Mohawk Valley. He describes a place some generations ago that was filled with factories and tells many compelling stories that would be forgotten, if not for him. This is a wonderful book to buy for people interested in the history of our region.