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The New York Grimpendium: A Guide to Macabre and Ghastly Sites in New York State Paperback


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The New York Grimpendium: A Guide to Macabre and Ghastly Sites in New York State + The New England Grimpendium
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881509906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881509908
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. W. Ocker runs the Web site Odd Things I’ve Seen, where he chronicles his visits to various oddities of culture, art, and history. His writings have been featured in Rue Morgue magazine, CNN.com, American Exorcist: Critical Essays on William Peter Blatty, and Studies in Australian Weird Fiction. Ocker lives in Nashua, NH.

More About the Author

J.W. Ocker is the creator of OTIS: Odd Things I've Seen (Oddthingsiveseen.com), where he writes about his visits to oddities of nature, history, art, and culture. His first book, The New England Grimpendium, won the Lowell Thomas Silver Award from Society of American Travel Writers. His latest work, The New York Grimpendium, won the gold and was described by The New York Times as "droll and gruesome...readers might die laughing, gag on its tasteless subject matter or even shed a tear or two."

His work has appeared on CNN.com, TheAtlantic.com, Rue Morgue, The Boston Globe, and other places that people stick writing. He's from Maryland, but has lived in New Hampshire since 2008. He has a wife, a daughter, a penchant for port, and celebrates Halloween for a month and a half.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Info Zombie on October 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
*This review is of the Kindle edition.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, authors would go on extensive journeys and notate all of their experiences. Those unfortunate enough not to have the means to travel would be inspired by and learn from these travel journals. One such person who found his muse in them was an Irishman by the name of Bram Stoker. He would go on to pen THE vampire novel, Dracula.

Moving through the extensive New York Grimpenmdium by blogger/author J.W. Ocker, one wishes that Stoker were alive today. The stories he could glean from the Ocker's travel journal would make Dracula seem like Twilight.

Ocker created and maintains the Odd Things I've Seen website where he and his intrepid photographer and wife, Lindsey, travel to remote locations to find things, well, odd. Ocker's comfortable tone and gee-whiz approach to the most baffling and entertaining artifacts makes the site a daily stop--particularly around Halloween when he posts every day on the celebration of the 31st.

Ocker carries that same friend-telling-you-a-tale-in-a-bar tone for the second grimpendium. Focusing on the 11th state added to the union, the author searches through packed cities, pastoral graveyards, and abandoned buildings to demonstrate just how strange this world, and the state of New York, really is.

I have read some of the "Weird" books that also focus on a particular state and all the eccentricities to be found in its borders. What I have noticed about those books is that they have a layout that looks to be done by an overenthusiastic graphic artist. Where the "Weird" books have the feel of a turnpike rest-stop brochure, Ocker keeps things simple and organized.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank Lynch on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ocker has a book concept with legs: death-related and macabre sites within a specific geographic area. This, his second book, follows on his New England Grimpendium. Ocker does -not- restrict himself to the obvious places in New York City, but goes afield into all five boroughs, Long Island, and the many counties of "upstate" New York. He covers horror movie locations, murder scenes, graveyards, haunted sites, and all with a special touch of humor.

I've long been a fan of Ocker's writing, through his blog O.T.I.S. (Odd Things I've Seen), and in this book, as there, he has this smarmy touch that borders on "I can't believe I'm writing about this." A classic approach-avoid conflict, like the patron at a horror movie peeking between the fingers they're using to cover their eyes. He uses parallelism wonderfully, coupled with the 1 punch, the 2 punch, and 3, boom, the hay-maker. His vocabulary and his allusions make this a never-boring roller coaster a joy to read.

I haven't read it all, but I've read a good chunk and skimmed more, and learned about places I knew about as well as parts about Brooklyn I never knew at all.

The book is a lot of fun. Seriously.
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Format: Paperback
Like ivy on some forgotten headstone, *New York Grimpendium* grew on me fast. Ocker's bemused observations are spot on, his writing as intimate as his creepy subject matter would allow, and sense of his humor tastefully droll. I couldn't help but chuckle over how Ocker ends most of his entries, lacing a freshly baked cake with rat poison: you can almost hear a disembodied voice mua-ah-ha-ing somewhere in the background. In a literary sense, Ocker is an offshoot of Edgar Allan Poe, with the uncanny knack of drawing his reader (heart, mind and soul, if you will) into what fascinates him. I found myself a willing victim. That he stops short from going over the deep end is reassuring, however, for who's to say he wouldn't then take some perverse delight in seeing us immured in some catacomb over a rare bottle of wine, or strapped to a plank waiting for a scythe to slice us in two, or unsuccessfully fending off a plague simply referred to as the Red Death?

Oh, the unmitigated ghoul!
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By K. Norris on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a travel guide to sites that are a bit more interesting than your average sites this is for you. The writing is tight and witty and JW Ocker makes me want to follow in his footsteps. I really enjoyed this book!
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