Friday, May 14, 2021


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Chautauqua Institute:
Eight Finalists Named for 2021 Literary Arts Chautauqua Prize

Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce eight excep-tional books as the 2021 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize, now in its 10th year:  

  • Having and Being Had, by Eula Biss (Riverhead Books)   
  • The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich (Harper Collins)  
  • The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories, by Danielle Evans (Riverhead Books) 
  • Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi (Alfred A. Knopf) 
  • The Bear, by Andrew Krivak (Bellevue Literary Press)   
  • Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir, by Natasha Trethewey (ECCO)  
  • Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and Their Groundbreaking Battle for Civil Rights in the South, by Matthew Van Meter (Little, Brown) 
  • How Much of These Hills is Gold, by C Pam Zhang (Riverhead Books) 

  • The Chautauqua Prize, inspired since its inception by the late literary and entertainment industry attorney Michael Rudell, and his wife, Alice, draws upon Chautauqua Institution’s considerable literary legacy to celebrate a book that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and to honor the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. The winning book will be selected from this shortlist and announced in late May.

    Having just purchased her first home, in Having and Being Had the poet and essayist Eula Biss embarks on a provocative exploration of the value system she has bought into. Examining our assumptions about class and property and the ways we internalize the demands of capitalism, Biss offers an uncommonly immersive and deeply revealing new portrait of work and luxury, of accumulation and consumption, of the value of time and how we spend it. Chautauqua Prize readers described Biss as “a provocative thinker who has constructed a book about possessions, economic systems, work, class, money that is lyrical in tone,” and whose writing “encourages us to sit and think in uncomfortable psychic spaces.” “The writing,” another reader wrote, “is simply terrific.” 

    Based on the life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., The Night Watchman explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman. Readers described Erdrich’s novel as “deeply informed, gritty, luminous, poetic and solidly grounded in human experience,” and creating a world “peopled by a colorful, convincing cast of characters.” Her “excellent storytelling … is enhanced by the everyday, exact details that immerse readers into an intimate portrait of reservation culture.”  

    Widely acclaimed for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships, Danielle Evans’ latest work, The Office of Historical Corrections, zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history, exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. The collection, one reader wrote, is “remarkably clever in its currency and social relevance.” “One doesn’t often encounter such a deft and timely, almost prescient, hand at a form of fiction that is so cohesive, yet varied (and) surprising,” wrote another. “Readable and relatable,” one described it, “piercing without grimness.” 

    Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief — a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Gifty is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine; after losing her brother to a heroin overdose and her mother to depression, she seeks answers in hard science while hungering for her childhood faith. Gyasi’s main character of Gifty, one reader wrote, “really is a gift.” In lauding the “skill and quality of the writing,” another reader noted that “not one word, sentence or paragraph is wasted in this devastating account of a young woman’s ultimate salvation.” 

    From previous Chautauqua Prize winner Andrew Krivak comes a fable of Earth’s last two human inhabitants. In the Edenic future of The Bear, a girl and her father live close to the land, possess few remnants of civilization, and the father prepares the girl for an adulthood in harmony with nature. But alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead the home through a wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen. Readers lauded the book’s “dreamlike, imaginative quality and beautiful passages” and the “lyrical, poetic writing.” In The Bear, one noted, Krivak has created a “lovely exploration of the interconnectedness of all things in nature.” 

    A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive is a reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy. With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Trethewey creates a “searing and poignant” work that, while haunting, is a “pleasure to read,” according to Prize readers. “I was left breathless,” wrote one reader, by “this gently written book.” Ultimately, one reader wrote, “her portrait of her mother is a loving tribute.” 

    In 1966 in a small town in Louisiana, a 19-year-old black man named Gary Duncan pulled his car off the road to stop a fight. Duncan was arrested a few minutes later for the crime of putting his hand on the arm of a white child. Rather than accepting his fate, Duncan found Richard Sobol, a brilliant, 29-year-old lawyer from New York who was the only white attorney at "the most radical law firm" in New Orleans. In Deep Delta Justice, journalist Matthew Van Meter brings alive how a seemingly minor incident brought massive, systemic change to the criminal justice system. Through first-person interviews and in-depth research, “Van Meter draws his characters as skillfully as any novelist,” one reader noted. "This book,” wrote another, “is a must-read.” 

    In an electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape — trying not just to survive but to find a home. Longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. “The prose is exquisite,” one reader said of Zhang’s “beautifully crafted novel.” Zhang’s debut is one of “haunting and original storytelling … that spurs readers to question our historical and present notions of belonging, the power of memory, and what it means to yearn for and build a home.” It is, another reader stated, “the kind of reading experience I dream of.”       


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    SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See: SilverLakeExperience.org

    W. PETE MAIRS

    W. PETE MAIRS
    Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

    Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

    GERALD C. SAHRLE

    GERALD C. SAHRLE
    Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

    Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

    KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

    KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
    "Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

    Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

    BRENDA J. PADDOCK

    BRENDA J. PADDOCK
    Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

    Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

    Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

    Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

    Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

    Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

    Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

    A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

    Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

    AUGUST 4-7, 2022

    AUGUST 4-7, 2022
    Click on graphic (above) to be taken to the website.


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