Local literary fact of the day: the New York State Writers Institute, which is based at UAlbany, was founded with the money William Kennedy received from his McArthur "genius" grant.


William Kennedy truly is a genius. It's funny, every time I recommend Ironweed as one of the best books I've ever read, people ask if I truly feel that way, or if it's just because I'm a "homer" for Albany. The truth is, that book is beautiful, and I've very much enjoyed other books of his. My favorites have been "Roscoe" and "The Flaming Corsage." He has a way with words, and a way with surrealism. He is a true gem of Albany and should be mandatory reading in all Capital Region schools to generate some local pride and awareness or interest in the history of this area - which was once one of the most important areas in this country.

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One of my favorite hikes is the Beebe Hill and Harvey Mountain State Forest in Austerlitz. Beebe Hill is an easy hike with a restored fire tower that gives you an awesome view of the Taconics and Catskills for very little effort. The foliage is spectacular even if you don't climb the tower.

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