Gift local! Books and music by Cincinnati creatives

With the decline in the number of book and record stores, it has become more challenging to learn about new releases – so we’ve done the legwork for you. Here’s a selection of books and recordings from 2018, by local artists, authors and musicians. A direct purchase means more support for your hometown creatives. 


Joani Lacy and Debbi Kern: “Jack and Remy’s Bayou Band” | You’ve likely heard Lacy as a member of her husband’s party band, Robin Lacy & DeZydeco. Here she shows her storyteller side, with delightful images by local illustrator Debbi Kern.
For infants to young readers. (River Road Press)

Loren Long: “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” | An adaptation of the classic children’s song by our own New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. Complete with sheet music and lyrics for a family sing-along. (Philomel Books)

Thane Maynard: “Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo” | A child’s tale of Fiona, the hippo, from the hippo’s mouth, so to speak, Cincinnati Zoo director Maynard. Grades pre-kindergarten to 3. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Brian Wells: “The League and the Legend” |
A sequel to “The League and the Lantern,” a thriller blending action, humor and historical trivia. For ages 9-14. (Republic Ink)

Ashley Aya Ferguson: “Girl, You are Magic!” |
A maternal love poem of encouragement and empowerment, with illustrations by Lee Edmond Johnson. For girls up to age 10.


Leah Stewart: “What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw” | A lighthearted yet poignant tale about the price of fame – a novel Entertainment Weekly called “…a surprisingly insightful, even poignant meditation on
stardom.” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Kathleen Wade: “Perfection” | A young woman’s quest for perfection as a post-Vatican II Catholic leads to a romantic triangle, of sorts, among family, faith and following one’s heart. (Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press)

Jessica Strawser: “Not That I Could Tell”  | A March 2018 Book of the Month selection, this taut tale of a mysterious disappearance casts a shadow of doubt across the close-knit interpersonal fabric of quaint Yellow Springs, Ohio. (St. Martin’s Press)

Art Academy Cincinnati 150 yearsNONFICTION FOR ADULTS

Art Academy of Cincinnati: “AAC 150” | A visually vibrant history (1869-2019) of the Art Academy and its rebellious spirit, published by Joan Kaup, told by Jeff Seuss and illustrated through photos and the creative expressions of AAC students.

Books from University of Cincinnati – Greg Hand, editor: “From The Temple of Zeus to the Hyperloop, University of Cincinnati Stories” and David Stradling: “In Service to the City: A History of the University of Cincinnati” | Two contrasting volumes celebrate UC’s bicentennial and describe how the university’s growth is inseparable from its host city. Hand has assembled an inside look at the many lives that have influenced UC. Stradling’s book reflects the deep connections between university and municipality as both have evolved into national prominence.

Buck Niehoff: “Walking Hadrian’s Wall” | A 70th birthday memoir by the Cincinnati attorney and philanthropist about his 84-mile hike along this northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire. (Orange Frazer Press)

Alexander Watson: “River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America” | Two middle-aged gay men rescue a dog and an aging Chris-Craft and set out to explore America’s inland waterways: destination Cincinnati. (Orange Frazer Press)

Cincinnati Illuminated


Michael Wilson: “They Knew Not My Name and I Knew Not Their Faces” | Nationally renowned rock ‘n’ roll photographer showcases strangers photographed via random encounters in a portable studio in various locations around Cincinnati.

Robert Flischel: “Cincinnati Illuminated: A Photographic Journal” | This newly designed fourth edition represents the
legendary Flischel’s 45-year love affair with the Queen City.

Saad Ghosn: “For a Better World 2018” | This yearly anthology of poems and drawings on peace and justice includes 73 poets and 37 visual artists from Greater Cincinnati. Proceeds benefit SOS (Save Our Souls) ART.


Cincinnati Boychoir, Christopher Eanes, conductor: “Children, Go Where I Send Thee!” | The only “mostly” holiday release on our list is a collection of favorites from the last four Boychoir seasons, including music of Bach, Fauré and selections from “Messiah.”

Douglas Knehans: “Unfinished Earth” | CCM’s Knehans presents his own expansive, multicolored orchestral showpiece, plus “Tempest,” his virtuosic flute concerto. (Ablaze Records) 

Vocal Arts Ensemble, Craig Hella Johnson, conductor: “Canticle” by Kile Smith | World premiere recording of a major new work in the choral repertoire, “Canticle” is a sumptuous mystical journey of the soul toward enlightenment. (Fanfare Cincinnati) and  

Catacoustic Consort: “Ai Sospiri” and “L’Art Seduisant” | Catacoustic produced two lovely, yet quite distinct recordings this year – the first featuring 17th century Italian fare, and the second a November release of 18th century French song. Both spotlight emerging soprano Melissa Harvey.

American Originals

Cincinnati Pops, John Morris Russell, conductor: “American Originals: 1918” | This Pops live program ranges from stirring marches to popular songs of the time (featuring Rhiannon Giddens and the Steep Canyon Rangers, among others), plus a new work by Peter Boyer honoring the centennial of the end of World War I. (Fanfare Cincinnati)

Zac Greenberg, composer: “The Power of Music (Live)This “sonic exploration of ancient gods,” is from a live performance featuring members of concert:nova, for whom Greenberg composed his rock opera, “The Bradbury Tattoos,” this past summer. Here’s an imaginative young composer unfettered by genres or labels.

Ariel Quartet: Bartók: String Quartet No. 1; Brahms: String Quartet No. 2 (Avie Records) | The debut recording by CCM’s prodigious quartet-in-residence features early quartets by these two masters of the string quartet form.

No Promises Vocal Band: “All Wet” | Favorites of Motown, jazz and adult contemporary music with selections from Stevie Wonder, Dan Fogelberg, Manhattan Transfer, Hall & Oates, Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift.

Home by John Harrison


  • “Home: Visual Conversations,” by John Harrison – benefiting University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
  • “Transforming Cincinnati,” benefiting ArtWorks
  • “Love Brunch,” benefiting the de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation
  • “AAC150,” benefiting the Art Academy of Cincinnati
  • “Through the Lens: Transforming Music Hall,” by Matthew Zory
  • “Paper with a Past: collage art,” by Sara Caswell Pearce

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