50 Hikes.jpg

50 Hikes in Connecticut by Mary Anne Hardy

Countryman Press (sixth edition), 2019, 320 pages

More than 40 years ago, Connecticut residents and outdoor enthusiasts Gerry and Sue Hardy published the first 50 Hikes in Connecticut, the now-classic guide to the state’s many hiking trails and destinations. Their daughter, Mary Anne, is carrying on the family tradition by providing the sixth update to this definitive hiker’s guide. Her father, who died in 2018, would no doubt be proud of his daughter’s effort. An educator and avid hiker herself, Mary Anne has updated descriptions for many trails, such as Wadsworth Falls in Middletown and Sleeping Giant in Hamden, and has added new trails, including Osbornedale State Park in Derby and Southford Falls State Park in Southbury. If, after reading our feature on the state’s increasingly luxurious camping options, you decide to head to the country, it might be wise to pack this guidebook. — Albie Yuravich

New England Myths and Legends Cover.jpg

New England Myths and LegendsThe True Stories Behind History’s Mysteries by Diana Ross McCain

Globe Pequot (second edition), 2019, 201 pages

Durham resident Diana Ross McCain, a staff member of the Connecticut Historical Society for 35 years, brings some of Connecticut and New England’s strangest stories to life in this informative work. “New Englanders have been depicted classically — or more accurately, stereotypically — as no-nonsense, down-to-earth, reality-based folks who have no time or patience to fritter away on fanciful things,” she writes. “In fact, though, over the past four centuries New Englanders have spawned all manner of odd or bizarre tales.” In her book, she looks at 15 of these tales with an engaging mix of skepticism and open-mindedness. Connecticut stories include the real-life chronicles of eccentric wanderers, the Darn Man and the Leather Man. Outside our state, the myths examined include Champ, the mysterious sea creature long rumored to roam the waters of Lake Champlain. — Erik Ofgang

K.jpg

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner

Doubleday, 2019, 275 pages

A former beat writer for the Angels, Mariners, Mets and Yankees, Kepner has been The New York Times’ national baseball writer since 2010. The Wilton resident did his due diligence on this project, interviewing more than 300 people including Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Mariano Rivera and Clayton Kershaw. Ten chapters dive into the history of 10 types of pitches — fastball, curveball, slider, knuckleball, splitter, screwball, sinker, changeup, cutter and the outlawed spitball — who invented them and who mastered them. But there are nuances to each pitch based on who is throwing it. A baseball will move differently because of arm angle, finger length, grip and release. When a pitcher doesn’t have his best stuff, he has to rely on secondary pitches, guile, and outthinking the batter. Kepner writes: “A major league pitcher is part boxer and part magician; if he’s not punching you in the face, he’s swiping a quarter from behind your ear.” — Mike Wollschlager

This article appeared in the May 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.

Albie Yuravich is the editor in chief of Connecticut Magazine. A product of the Naugatuck River Valley, he's also been a newspaper editor and writer at the New Haven Register, Greenwich Time, The Register Citizen and the Republican-American.