A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

Book Review: Put Your Money Where Your Life Is

“As so many Americans feel powerless to confront a financial system designed to serve the few, Shuman offers us real choices: tools that align our lives with our values. That’s power. I love this highly readable, timely, surprising book.”  —Frances Moore Lappé, author of Daring Democracy and Diet for a Small Planet  Americans agree on […]

Book Review: Looking for Guidelines

Future Planning Needs to Take the Eternally Small Into Account The fantasy books I cut my imagination’s teeth on have proved a useful means of imagining better systems moving forward. I grew up a Borrower, ready to live as a small person beneath a home’s floorboards, making do with whatever I could scavenge from normal […]

History Charts Revolutions, Fiction Understands Riots

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Imagine a list of great moments in literature that capture the exciting change and recklessness of revolution and its less successful cousin, rioting, and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities immediately comes to mind. As do other depictions of the singularly complex […]

Hunger at the Heart of Fiction

To fully understand food security, feel it in literature, including the Bible itself. “Please, sir, I want some more,” is Oliver Twist’s memorable line from Charles Dickens’ classic bearing the orphaned boy’s name. It perfectly summarizes a state of hunger, of not having enough sustenance to maintain hope, that forms a strong current through centuries […]

Book Review: Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to know to Live Off the Land

Building on Our Pastoral Eternity One of our quieter publishing successes in the region has been Storey Publishing of the Berkshires’ North Adams, Massachusetts, whose Country Wisdom bulletins, Country Wisdom Almanac, and the most recent Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land, have all been not only bestsellers […]

A Truly Holistic Legacy: The Whole Earth Catalog

Published 1968-1972, by Stewart Brand and Others When the movement that resulted in the institutionalization of an annual Earth Day started over a half century ago, environmentalism was still a vague concept buried in the ideas of ecology and conservationism. The idea of a climate crisis was barely mentioned beyond science fiction; the terms global warming and climate […]

BOOK REVIEWS By Paul Smart

Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun Writers can come to define an area they choose to inhabit, either physically, or in their imagination. Consider Washington Irving’s relationship to the Catskills, or William Kennedy’s choice to return to his native Albany from the West Indies. One of the Hudson Valley’s best and most consistent literary […]

BOOK REVIEWS: Fifty Years On Lessons Nestled into Memoir

By Paul Smart When did we start memorializing everything in 10, 25, 50 and centennial anniversary years? More importantly, how many of the Woodstock Festival and sixties memoirs getting published this summer will last beyond the next Holiday Season’s remainder bins (given there even are any more such things left by then)? Sure, festival impresario […]

Book Reviews: The Importance of Book Clubs

By Paul Smart My late mother had a book club that called itself “Slime” because that’s what one of their husbands named the type of works “their women” discussed once a month over drinks. My wife had a book club that morphed into a garden club and later a political action caucus. They accommodated both […]

BEYOND ALL BOOKS: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LIBRARIES

By Paul Smart I’ve spent my lifetime visiting libraries. For a short while I was on the board for our mighty regional Mid Hudson Library System. For the past year I’ve been working in a city library system as a clerk, getting to know the many ways in which these bastions of knowledge also serve, […]

Book Reviews: Books Return, One By One Our Regional Rebirth of Publishing

By Paul Smart The Hudson Valley has long had a special relationship with book publishing. The Maverick Art Colony outside Woodstock ran its own lines of anthologies; the town and region became home to top editors and publishers throughout the 20th century. These days, as people bemoan the death of books, as well as bookstores, […]

book reviews: Loving, HV-Style Celebrating Valentine’s Locally

By Paul Smart Here in the Hudson Valley, we chalk February’s focus on all things l’amour to the cold. What better way to warm oneself than with another, or braving chill winds with chivalric dreams. Or at least reading of love, huddled under covers or by a warm fire. We’ve got a strong tradition of […]

book reviews: Partisanship Everywhere? Let’s Get Back To Thoughtful Nonfiction

Non-fiction shelves in our larger bookstores, and the many ways in which algorithms now point us to online choices, mirror and expand the increasing partisanship that’s racking our nation. Part of this is the result of what’s being published and pushed into the public eye. Think in terms of the many ways in which news […]

Book Review: Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

by: Alissa Quart Does something feel amiss in your economic life, something beyond the constant static of today’s politics, or our growing macro-wish for different parameters to the very w  ays in which we define economics and the use of money? Too remarkable new books get at the roots of our growing sense of discomfort. Both […]

Lila: An Inquiry into Morals by Robert M. Pirsig

By Paul Smart Are there new philosophers out there reaching to move our thought forward in gestalt-changing ways to match the political wake-up calls inherent in the recent rise of Democratic Socialism as a counter to the Far Right’s still-simmering anger?               To answer, I started re-reading the late Robert Pirsig this summer, and not […]

Why Save the Bankers? by Thomas Piketty

By Paul Smart How do we think about economics, given the way the relatively new social science’s tenets have taken over so much of our lives, both political and social? Where has modern philosophy, what’s left of it, taken us beyond the origins of economics thinking by Adam Smith and the Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus […]

A Thirsty Land by Seamus McGraw

The Radical Act of Community Storytelling by Penelope Starr Seamus McGraw’s A Thirsty Land: The Making of an American Water Crisis (University of Texas Press, 2018) is one of those books you want to talk about simply because it’s so well written. But even though it’s about the ways in which faraway Texas grappled with […]

Broken Glory: The Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy

By Ed Sanders May ’68: Revisiting Revolutionary Anniversaries & Reassessing Jean-Luc Godard’s Currency Anniversaries are big business. We use social media to mark birthdays for vague acquaintances; we look at history as a sales tool for whatever products can tag on to our vague sense of what happened 50, 25 or ten years ago (centuries being […]

Book Review

The Book of Highs by Edward Rosenfeld Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change by Mary Beth Pfeiffer Looking to explore mindfulness, buck anti-intellectual trends, and hook into an expansive holistic mindset all at once?  Edward Rosenfeld’s The Book of Highs: 255 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness (Workman) looks like the update of a 1973 […]