Holiday books, a needed break from vile politics

How about a break from all the meanness and back-biting and think about some local books for holiday gifts?

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Here are some books by local authors, many on local subjects, that might just fit into the stockings hung by the chimney with care this holiday season.

Like all book buying these days, shopping on-line is all the rage, but please do not forget the local independent bookstores and book sellers in our region. Pearl's Books in Fayetteville, Gazebo Books in Eureka Springs and Once Upon a Time in Tontitown are among some of the best in stocking local books of interest.

They will be glad to order these books found below if not in stock.

As usual this will be the first installment of suggested books for the holidays. Most notable are the independent books, not necessarily from noted academic presses like the award-winning University of Arkansas Press, on the Fayetteville campus for almost 45 years, but still good books on local topics.

First up is a very entertaining book, "100 Things To Do In Fayetteville, Arkansas Before You Die," by Jill Rohrbach.

The playful title is not meant to shock you, but enlighten you or someone new to the region to some interesting things to see, do, experience and savor in the region.

Rohrbach, a noted travel writer, who has been a NWA resident, wife, mom and writer for many local publications, knows the area and she really knows Fayetteville. It is a great book for those new to the area. Her delightful list is from the Ready Press, the $18 paperback, is a great stocking stuffer.

For the local history story teller, J.B. Hogan of Fayetteville, has assembled 18 very good stories from his vast repertoire of local topics called, "Forgotten Fayetteville And Washington County," from the Otterford Press, an imprint of Roan & Weatherford.

In these tales from Hogan, some of the best told stories of the region appear and in quick and easy chapters for the junior high or high school student in the house or the grizzled old coot of the family who knows all about local history just ask him or her and this book will amaze them.

For the family genealogist, especially those with family roots in the Baker, Foote, McMillian, Hubbery/Humbard, Lefleur, Holbrook, Jones, and other families in the Southwest Arkansas area around Glenwood and environs, might investigate "Fading Memories," by Russell Pierce Baker of Mabelvale in Central Arkansas.

Baker, who is also the editor of The Arkansas Family Historian, has published a work that is indeed "more than just a genealogy and compilation of family groups." Interested contact the publisher, Bookbaby, at

Lost in the covid-19 pandemic, was perhaps one of the best compilations of the late Dusty Richards' western writings for the armchair cowpoke in the family.

The Galway Press, an imprint of the locally known Oghma Press, merged Richard's tale of "Bounty Man and Doe," with a shorter tale from J.B. Hogan of "Bounty Riders," into one compact volume.

This is a great gift, buy one book, but you are getting two great Western stories. The writings by Richards are from his very desirable "Brandiron Series," just right for the Western readers palate.

If it's sports and especially Arkansas baseball players, then look to a new book from noted baseball historian, Jim Yeager.

His latest of the sandlot players in from the state during the Depression years, who made it to the major leagues is called "Hard Times And Hardball," and is available on line or by contacting Yeager at [email protected]

As always, I will recommend a $20 membership in the Arkansas Historical Association and its four issues of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly each season during the year. Go to for more information.

Locally, a $35 basic membership in the Washington County Historical Society ($25 for seniors and school students) delivers four issues of the Flashback, the historical quarterly about the county's history to ones' mailbox for excellent year round reading. For more information go to:

Maybe more books next week... why not?

--Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at maylon[email protected]. The opinions expressed are those of the author.