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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Running a book event up the flagpole

By JOE McQUAID
November 12. 2017 9:16PM




There should really be a protest of last Tuesday’s Manchester election results. Clearly, the Russians colluded in this. The voters threw out the mayor but kept the city flag?

I agree that the current flag, based on the city seal, is a lot more interesting than any of the three designs that were printed on the ballot (someone said they all looked like soccer team logos). But these were the only options provided. Where was the place for write-ins?

Technically, these would have been draw-ins, I guess. But there was no place for them to be drawn; and our rights were further trampled because all we were given in the voting booths was one cheap pen. Why were no color crayons provided?

I mentioned this to an election supervisor. Her only response was to wonder aloud, “Hmmm. How would I count flag write-ins?”

How, indeed.

This coming Saturday afternoon, the Barnes & Noble bookstore on South Willow Street in Manchester will be featuring some local New Hampshire authors, including yours truly.

I will be discussing “Cog Days,” a book I wrote about a long ago time on Mount Washington. I hope to see you there, but I won’t be alone in any case because Irene DuPont will be there, too.

Irene is a former longtime Nashua school teacher and a talented artist. I bet she could draw a great flag.

She is out with a second edition of her compelling picture book, “Spanning Time.” It catalogs a New Hampshire treasure that is as iconic as the Cog Railway.

Actually, there are more than 50 treasures in her book. Just about every covered bridge still standing (and spanning) in the state is pictured.

Irene used a silver-print process to present each bridge in a black-and-white perspective that gives the book a back-in-time feel. It is an interesting choice and one that seems fitting for the kind of bridge that was common in what we sometimes think of as a pre-technicolor world.

“Spanning Time” includes location and other information on each bridge, almost all of which are still standing. Irene writes that the Northeast has 192 of these and New Hampshire alone has 59 of them.

The one thing that isn’t covered in the book is an explanation for why the bridges were covered. The most commonly-accepted reason is that a covered bridge lasted longer than one completely exposed to the elements. The roof would be pitched, to drain off moisture. And it might well be shingled. In more modern days, newer materials (metal, treated wood, etc.) used on the bridge floor took away the need for a roof.

But I think there were other reasons as well. I’m looking forward to Irene’s answers. The authors’ event is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 18.

Write to Joe McQuaid at Publisher@unionleader.com or on Twitter at @deucecrew.


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