In no particular order:
- the Songlines - I recently finished this book (Sunday that is). It was a great read, if a bit slow in some parts. It is a book Jimmy Buffett really enjoyed and even sings about so I thought I would give it a go. It is a sort of ethnographic sketch, something I had not read much of since I took Anthropology as an undergrad. I really liked the underlying theme of threads tying a culture to its creation, heavy on nature. It is also nice just as a rambling, traveling tail.
- the Namesake - I saw the movie and was interested in the perspective of a Indian family moving to the US and the way they approach it vs. that of their children who are born here. They take a trip with their children back to their native India, weaving a travel tale with a cultural experience. It also seems to be a book about understanding and accepting where you come from and how that can differ from the lives of your parents, relatives and friends, making you appreciate where they are coming from and why they are the way they are. Something I pay more attention to these days in my own life. I also heard the book was much better than the movie, which can be a good or bad thing.
- Breakfast with Buddha -My sister-in-law got me this one for my birthday and, although I have not heard of it before, my husbands side of the family have had a good record of getting me books that I like, so I am looking forward to reading it (they got me Water for Elephants for Christmas which I read in Jan./Feb., and it was a really great read). It sounds interesting and involves a few themes I am always interested in: roadtrips and buddhism.
- Fifty Years on the Old Frontier -I picked this book up while I was doing fieldwork in Nebraska a few weeks ago. We had gotten rained out of the field and took a short trip down to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. I had been there a few times before but this time the kid (he was only in high school!) who gave the interpretive talk before their short film on the history of the area gave a really good talk! It made me interested to find out more about James Cook, the pioneer, rancher, Native American advocate, and fossil enthusiast who lived at Agate Springs and first invited paleontologist to his ranch to study the Miocene fossils found there. There are also some interesting Native American interpretations of the fossils themselves.
- Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty - I first heard about Ruess in April when I read about him in a National Geographic Adventure article (I guess I also read about him in the book Into the Wild, but I do not remember it). I had been wanting to read more about his adventures and wanderings, and found this book in the Arches National Park bookstore when I was in Moab last week helping with one of our five-day dinosaur digs the museum does. I am looking forward to learning more about him.
- Cinema Southwest - This is another one of those book I have intended to buy for sometime. I have seen it in many of the bookstores in and around my neck of the woods, and just never picked it up. On the drive down to Moab last week John and I were debating about a film that John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara had shot in the canyon on highway 128 - we could not decided which movie it was (it was Rio Grande by the way), so we decided to just break down and buy it. Many movies have been filmed down here, especially around the Moab area, and we visit these areas enough that we thought it would be fun to know what we were talking about for once and that it would be interesting tidbits we could work into tours and impress our friends with our never ending amount of useless knowledge surrounding fluff like film. :)
So there is my random list. I must admit that one nice thing about not being in the hard core rat race of grad school is the fact that I actually have time to read books I enjoy! And it does not always have to involve paleontology or even science. Crazy concept, but it is actually rather nice and relaxing to still be able to do what I love but also slack off and read some fun fiction every now and then. It is kind of interesting now to look up at my list and realize there is a common thread of travel in these books. Odd, I wonder why ;)
© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster