Do you hunt? Do you fish? Do you enjoy reading about the history of hunting and fishing? Do you enjoy backpacking? Do you enjoy canoeing? Do you enjoy hiking? Do you enjoy reading about the outdoors in general? Do you have an interest in Appalachian history?
Okay, before I literally ask 20 questions, let me just say that if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, chances are you will want to check out the Jim Casada Outdoor Collection (JCOC) – a special collection located at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City.
Jim Casada, who grew up in Bryson City and learned to hunt and fish in the Smokies when he was a boy, is now a retired Professor of British Imperial History. He is now an award winning outdoor writer, photographer and consultant. He is also, and has always been, a voracious reader – not surprising as his mother, Anna Lou Casada, was the librarian at Marianna Black Library for many years and he was personally encouraged to read good books by Marianna Black herself. Over the years he has amassed a substantial collection of books related to the outdoors and Appalachian history, and in 2008 his collection of over 1,000 volumes began trickling into the Marianna Black Library two boxes at a time.
Today, about one half of the JCOC has been cataloged and is ready for check out at the Marianna Black Library. Of course, anyone with a Fontana Regional Library card may place holds on any book in the collection and have it sent to your most convenient location, as well.
Just a few examples of the wonderful books in the JCOC include:
John Muir’s Wild America, by Tom Melham, photographed by Farrell Grehan. Filled with stunning photographs and moving prose, follow the authors as they trace the famous naturalist’s foot-steps.
Tar on My Heels, by Bill Sharpe. Subtitled “A Press Agent’s Notebook,” this 1946 gem follows Sharpe throughout all 100 counties of North Carolina. It also includes his report on the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, hosted by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, in Asheville.
The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older, by Robert Ruark. A follow-up to Ruark’s classic The Old Man and the Boy, the boy who learned from the wisdom of his grandfather now tells his notalgic story.
Skills for Taming the Wilds, by Bradford Angier. A wilderness survivalist himself, Angier wrote nearly 50 books on how to live nearer to the land and a minimalistic lifestyle. This book spells it all out.
The World of Wood, Field, and Stream, by John W. Randolph. A noted outdoorsman, this is a collection of his best columns from the New York Times.