Friday, May 30, 2008

Desert Thoughts

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope you all are well. It is slighly busier than the average Friday evening, and a bit warmer today than earlier in the week. I have been missing desert landscapes, Reno (Nevada) and my grandmother today, so have been wracking my brain to come up with relevant books to recommend to you fine people. Sadly, I haven't been able to remember any good books about Reno, or even any that bring to mind that strange dry sensation of bathing in casino lights and moonlight at the same time, one foot on red rocks and one on concrete, sagebrush floating through the air on a breeze smelling of old beer and open space. God, I love that weird weird town.

Instead, I'll tell you about other books. The Guardians, by Ana Castillo, is solid . It is the story of a teacher's aide, young widow, and Mexican immigrant named Regina and her quest to look out for the pieces left of her family. I really enjoyed the story, and especially like how Castillo dabbled in mysticism without dipping the entire book in it. My grandmother is a Mexican immigrant named Benina who worked in an elementary school as a young woman too old to be unmarried, and yet unmarried. Maybe I'm telling you about this book because it reminds me of her. Maybe you should read it anyway.

All The Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape, byLawrence Hogue (read a great review here) is another book that smells like the desert. A comprehensive natural history of the Anza-Borrego Desert, this book addresses (among other things) the extent to which desert regions were cultivated by native peoples. Hogue explores this thread in greater detail than I have seen elsewhere, and it is quite well done. I miss the Anza-Borrego Desert (especially on days like today. Now it is Saturday, humid and rainy and beautiful, but it does not smell like sagebrush and fresh life), therefore you should read this book. Ha, take that, steely-gazed logicians! Sorry, sorry, ok, again. I miss the desert, therefore I am especially invested in convincing you to read desert-y things, so that we can share the skeletal experience of thinking about a landscape we are not currently in.

The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey, is one that reminds me of Reno in a roundabout sort of way, and I'm not sure I could explain why. Here's my blurb
A book for those who love the southwest landscape, radical environmentalism, philosophical discussions on the ethics of land use policy, and those looking for a fun ride with a couple of explosions and car chases.I consider this book a classic in nature writing, but it is also a hilarious story.Abbey explores what motivates a small group of somewhat lost radicals to come together and fight industrial development, in violent, confused, entertaining, and flawed human ways.

Well folks, I'm takin' the week off. I will not see deserts, but I will likely fantasize about desert camping for a couple of minutes. I hope you all have lovely desert dreams as well. Ooh, you could help me think up books that refer to or feel like Reno, eh? C'mon, do some research on a weird old town, it is plenty strange enough to be entertaining. Take Care, all!

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