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Book Notes: Aug. 11, 2013

By Staff reports

W.Va. sports history

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Huntington author Bob Barnett will discuss and sign copies of his new book, "Hillside Fields: A History of Sports In West Virginia," from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 16 at Taylor Books.

Published by West Virginia University Press in May, "Hillside Fields" contains familiar stories about Jerry West, Mary Lou Retton and the Marshall plane crash. However, the book also covers lesser-known stories, such as the first golf club in America at Oakhurst Links, the first girls basketball championship in 1919 and the evolution from racially segregated sports to integrated teams.

Charleston-area athletes, coaches and teams are featured throughout the book, including a history of Charleston minor-league baseball, the great West Virginia State College basketball teams of the late 1940s, Neil Baisi's West Virginia Tech teams, golfer Ed Tutwiler and Morris Harvey basketball All-America George King.

Barnett graduated from Marshall University in 1965 and returned to Marshall to teach in 1972 after earning a doctorate from Ohio State University. He taught sports history classes in the Division of Exercise Science for 35 years.

With Barnett at the book signing will be special guests Warne Ferguson, a player on West Virginia State's 1949 national black college championship basketball team, along with Rose Farry Young, a pioneer in women's sports in Charleston. Both are featured in the book and will be available to talk sports and sign books along with the author.

Barnett's first book, "Growing Up in the Last Small Town: A West Virginia Memoir," is about coming of age in Newell in the 1950s.

Stories along the Kanawha

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "River Town" is the latest release from Charleston author Eric Douglas. Working with five other writers, the book is an anthology of short stories set in West Virginia in 1890. This anthology has a twist though: Many of the characters show up in some or all of the stories.

"I gave the writers a location, essentially Charleston, West Virginia, in 1890, and then everyone gave me a character they wanted to write about in that location," Douglas explained. "We shared those characters with each other with the understanding that you couldn't change another writer's character. You couldn't kill them or alter them."

The tales range from adventure to romance, from intrigue to fantasy. Each story stands alone, yet together they take readers to a time along the Kanawha River just after the Civil War when families were still struggling to recover and before the railroad came through the mountains. The river was the center of everything.

In addition to Douglas, "River Town" features the work of Shawna Christos, G. Cameron Fuller, Elizabeth Gaucher, Katharine Herndon and Jane Siers Wright. Douglas, Fuller, Gaucher and Wright are from West Virginia. Christos and Herndon are from Virginia.

For more information, contact Douglas at 304-421-2203 or eric@booksbyeric.com.


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