It may be a small town but Marietta has it share of both authors and books inspired by the town.
Baseball, birds and whales are the topics of a few of the books written by those who currently live in the Marietta area and who once called the area home.
Originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, Gary Caruso spent four years in Marietta as a student at Marietta College. Although he now lives on the east coast of the United States, his love for the college's baseball team never faded, so he decided to compile the team's history into a book.
"My goal was to have it out for opening day this year and we got it out a little ahead of time, but not much," Caruso said.
Some in the Marietta area may remember Stephen Vadakin as a painter, but since moving to Wisconsin about seven years ago he has become an author, sharing his love of marine life in a children's book called "The Adventures of the Thundering Whales: The Dreaded Weaved Catcher."
"I've gotten five or six five-star reviews on Amazon and it was named children's book of the month by bookreview.com," said Vadakin. "It's also an e-book and you can get it on Amazon."
Whipple resident Julie Zickefoose said her most recently released book is her third major book. She said creating the book was a unique experience, in that she was very involved every step of the way, including working with a cover designer to create the book's cover.
"I don't think there are that many authors out there lavishly illustrating their own books anymore," Zickefoose noted.
"Marietta College Baseball: The Story of the 'Etta Express"
By Gary Caruso
Gary Caruso has interviewed his share of professional baseball coaches and players in his nearly 40 years as a sports journalist, but when he interviewed players and coaches who have been involved with Marietta College's baseball program for his book, it was a whole different ballgame.
"All these former Marietta College players and coaches were so glad to talk, they spilled the stories from their heart," he said. "There's so much compelling human interest material about things that have happened with the college baseball program. A lot of it is just direct quotes from the people I talked to because it was so good."
Caruso, a 1971 graduate of the college, now lives in Vista, Calif.
"Marietta College Baseball: The Story of the 'Etta Express," was just released about two weeks ago. He calls it a labor of love, having spent two months conducting interviews and two months writing.
"It's something I've wanted to do - not necessarily I wanted to do myself but a story I wanted to see told a long time," he said. "I've pitched it to a couple sports writer friends of mine over the years, saying it's one of the best untold stories in sports, certainly college sports."
Caruso played on the team as a freshman, then in his junior and senior years was asked by then-coach Don Schaly to be a student assistant coach.
"The book does not precede Coach Schaly. That's when it became not a baseball team, but a baseball program," Caruso said.
Caruso will be available to sign the book during a 1 p.m. game April 21 at Marietta College's Don Schaly Stadium, during which the pioneers will face off against John Carroll University. For information about the book, visit www.wonderdogpub.com.
"The Adventures of the Thundering Whales: The Dreaded Weaved Catcher"
By Stephen Vadakin
Marietta native Stephen Vadakin, who currently lives in Waukesha, Wis., has spent the last 15 years of his life as a marine life artist, wildlife artist and sculptor. He has spent much of his time swimming with and watching dolphins and whales in the wild.
Having spent so much time observing and studying the creatures, he was inspired to write a children's book about them.
"The Adventures of the Thundering Whales: The Dreaded Weaved Catcher" tells the story of three dolphin friends, Thunder, Sapphire and Flukie, and their experiences in the sea.
"What it is is a whimsical but educational children's book. After every paragraph, we explain what different words are and we add different facts about dolphins and whales as we go," said Vadakin, 51.
For example, it is noted in the book that one dolphin has the power of two men and that the dorsal fin is the fin at the top of a dolphin's back.
Vadakin spent about six months writing the book and it was released about a year ago. It is the first in a series, with a second book currently in the works.
Vadakin is also working to turn the books into an animated movie.
"Two of our reviews recommended it as an animated movie and I wrote it with that in mind because I thought it would be," he said.
For information about the book, visit www.thunderingwhales.com.
"The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds"
By Julie Zickefoose
When Julie Zickefoose' "Letters From Eden" was published about six years ago, she immediately started working on "The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds."
"It was more of a compilation of things I had already written," she said of "Letters From Eden." "This one I had written from the ground up. There are 320 paintings and sketches in it, so it was a tremendous process. I thought I could do it in two years and it took five."
Zickefoose wrote the book and did the sketches and paintings. Each of the 25 chapters covers a different species of bird. She tells stories of raising some who were orphaned and taking care of others when they were injured.
"It's personal anecdote about the personal experiences I've had with each of these birds," she said. "There's a whole bunch of different experiences woven into this because I've been studying birds all my life."
Zickefoose started as an illustrator as a freshman at Harvard University in 1976. She served as a field biologist with The Nature Conservancy's Connecticut Chapter for six years.
"I thought for a while I'd be a scientific illustrator but I started writing for Bird Watcher's Digest in 1986 and they liked my stuff and that was my introduction into publishing," Zickefoose said.
Zickefoose still writes columns and serves as a contributing editor for Bird Watcher's Digest. Her husband, Bill Thompson, is the editor there.
For information about the book, visit www.juliezickefoose.com.