I was in a meeting just this past week in which a participant described how, when she would read a book as a child, she was totally oblivious to whatever may be happening around her.  Her family learned that if they wanted her attention, simply calling out her name would not do it… they would have to tap her on her shoulder to break her out of “the reading zone”.     It was interesting to hear her story, because I could totally relate.  I recall curling up in a chair with a book and detaching from the world around me…

The past couple of months I have had the wonderful opportunity to dive into a number of books, and I decided it would be fun to  share some thoughts….


A few years ago I picked up a copy of  The Country of the Pointed Firs  –  but I never had the time to really get into it.    Back in the fall, I stopped in our little library in Georgetown as the staff were preparing to close the facility for the winter.   We were invited to check out books for the winter season.  In addition to picking up a copy of the book, I also grabbed a copy of this biography of the author, Sarah Orne Jewett, thinking that I might develop a better appreciation of   Pointed Firs, if I had a deeper  understanding of its author and her life.   I am enjoying reading the biography, but I must admit that some other books have interrupted my reading!


Nomadland was a Christmas present from my daughter and son-in-law.   They picked it with the idea that we could relate to it based on our recent experience as workampers which is pretty well documented on this blog.   In fact, it portrayed  an experience that is rather different from our own.   The book follows a number of different folks who are living on the road, often as an alternative to homelessness.   It certainly opened my eyes to the reality that there is a segment of the population, modern day migrant workers,  many of whom are at or past typical retirement age who move from campground to campground,  to the sugar beet harvest, to Amazon warehouses during peak season,  but not back home, because they don’t have one….     The book provided a unique glimpse into a lifestyle that typically remains under the radar.


book2 - Edited

Defiance –  I found this book to be totally compelling – full disclosure requires that I report that Titia is a friend from my past life, living and teaching in NH many years ago.  Her husband, Gijs, was the school doctor at Brewster Academy where I taught.   Titia has written about her experience growing up in Holland during the Nazi occupation,  In the Shadow of the Cathedral, as well as about Gijs’s experience spending his teenage years in  Japanese  concentration camp in the South Pacific, The Emperor’s Guest .    This book is her first novel which follows the lives of a group of young college students in Holland during the World War II  years..    Although it is a fictional account, I am quite confident that it gives us a glimpse of the reality of surviving those years in addition to a study of the full spectrum of humanity under stress..

Where you will Find Me :  Risk, Decisions, and The Last Climb of Kate Matrosova    –  sorry that I don’t have a picture of this book…  This is a fascinating account of  the death of Kate Matrosova  who attempted a traverse of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire  during a particularly severe winter storm in 2015.   There is no doubt, that the fact that my son played a role in the search and recovery operation made the book that more compelling for me,  but it does provide some insight regarding the winter outdoor enthusiasts in the White Mountains as well as the challenges and dangers they encounter.    We had the added bonus of being able to attend a lecture given by the author, Ty Gagne,  at LL Bean last week.     Having read the book, both my wife and I have a renewed interest in hiking the White Mountains ( although, not necessarily in the winter)  as well as a deeper appreciation for what a valuable resource the national forests are!

If you happen to have read any of these books and want to share some thoughts..   or if you have any questions,   it would be great to hear from you!



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