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The New York Grimpendium: A Guide to Macabre and Ghastly Sites in New York State Paperback – October 1, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the Lowell Thomas Gold Award from the Society of American Travel Writers for Best Guidebook 2013

About the Author

J. W. Ocker is the author of two award-winning macabre travelogues, The New England Grimpendium and The New York Grimpendium. He runs the website OTIS: Odd Things I've Seen (oddthingsiveseen.com), where he chronicles his visits to oddities of nature, history, art, and culture. His work has appeared on CNN.com, TheAtlantic.com, Rue Morgue magazine, The Boston Globe, and other places people stick writing. 
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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: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,118,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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*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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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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The author has a great sense of humor and wonder. I'd love to have a beer with him. And a lot of the places and people included were unknown to me before I read this title. Great read for the fall season.
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By K. Norris on November 15, 2013
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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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Author J.W. Ocker does a great job weaving his way through the morbid and bizarre things & places in New York State. He makes you feel like you're right there along side of him, with his dark sense of humor and witty scrutiny of some really cool, obscure stuff. I'm really glad to add this book and its predecessor, New England Grimpendium to my personal library. They're both a greatly entertaining read and good guide to the weird and creepy. LOVE IT!!! p.s. I also LOVE the cover art!..The New England Grimpendium
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