‘The Best Times Of My Life’

Jim Roselle’s life story is now in print.

A new memoir, “The Best Times of My Life,” follows Roselle from his Depression-era boyhood in a humble Jamestown neighborhood on Franklin Street to journalistic and broadcasting eminence interviewing the most famous people on Earth.

Roselle brought their stories, their adventures and their deepest thoughts into living rooms and car radios for 40 years from Chautauqua Institution and for 60 years on WJTN 1240 AM Jamestown.

The memoir features many of Roselle’s successes and recognitions, including his 2010 induction into the New York State Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame and his personal life story.

In “The Best Times of My Life,” Roselle recalls memorable and historic conversations with a young Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton, the U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, and legendary songstress Judy Collins. Meet the woman who was once Britain’s top spymaster, the preacher who threw a birthday party for a Honolulu prostitute and the Israeli sniper who became America’s most famous sex therapist. Roselle has unfailingly revealed the real people behind the fame and the celebrity. In “The Best Times of My Life,” readers will eavesdrop on 40 of his more than 1,800 Chautauqua Institution interviews and hundreds of hometown broadcast conversations selected from the WJTN archives.

The introduction, penned in personal tribute by Roselle’s good friend and well-known political satirist, Mark Russell, opens the book with the kind of folksy, homespun humor that animates many of Roselle’s personal stories throughout “The Best Times of My Life.” Roselle never lost touch with his community and his lifelong friends. Their stories are told with affection and with the same respect and admiration as any of his most famous guests.

“I didn’t succeed alone,” Roselle said. “Family and community made all the difference.”

“The Best Times of My Life,” by Jim Roselle, as told to Walt Pickut, is a collaborative success, compiling hundreds of hours of personal conversations with Roselle and his hometown co-host Russ Diethrick, transcriptions of recorded interviews and in-depth research.

The book’s release will be celebrated as WJTN hosts Jim Roselle Day at Chautauqua Institution on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Hall of Philosophy.

Another special event will be hosted by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation on Monday, Aug. 4, at 4:30 p.m., at the Robert H. Jackson Center. These events will include special presentations, interviews and book signings. The CRCF’s Jackson Center evening will feature “A Conversation with Jim Roselle,” and a live interview by Greg Peterson at 5:30 p.m. Additional book signings are scheduled at the Fenton History Center on Thursday, July 31, 4-5:30 p.m.; Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in Lakewood on Saturday, Aug. 9, noon to 2 p.m.; the Prendergast Library’s Fireplace Room on Thursday, Aug. 14, 4-6 p.m.; Cadwell’s Cheese House, Route 430 in Dewittville on Saturday, Aug. 16, 1-3 p.m.; and the Lakewood Library on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 5:30-7 p.m.

“Jim Roselle: The Best Times of My Life” is 192 pages and includes a special eight-page color section and over 100 images covering seven decades. The memoir was printed by Falconer Printing & Design. The cost is $22 plus tax.

Pre-orders are being accepted at the Chautauqua Bookstore and other selected locations throughout Chautauqua County. One may preview the book and order a copy by mail through the book’s website: www.JimRoselle.com or by calling Pat and Bill Locke at 386-2107.