Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was a busy, busy man. As I lay in bed watching Episode 23 of Parks and Recreation Season Two as if it were my job, I reflected on TR’s strenuous life and constant contributions and guilted myself into getting up and getting a new post started. By following the biography of his early years, Mornings on Horseback, with a selection of his own writing I thought I would stay engaged with one of our most energetic historical figures, but these writings focus on how to kill as many animals as possible, mostly for food. Yes, I eat meat, wear leather goods and have more animal skins scattered around my house than the average person, but I find myself wondering, “so when does the conservation part begin?”
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Mornings on Horseback, David McCullough

Theodore Roosevelt is one of my all-time heroes. As a near-sighted asthmatic myself, I love the stories of how he developed the idea of “the strenuous life” to overcome his ailments and went on to become one of the most admired and beloved figures in United States history. His tirelessness physically and mentally and his unwavering morality never fail to inspire. It is shocking to be reminded that he died at 60–his brain, his mouth, his pen or his body was in motion the entire time; no wonder he wore himself out relatively early.
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The One Block Feast, Margo True & Sunset Magazine

I’m looking forward to getting into some history and biography from my library, but since summer is winding down and I’ve been in the garden more than usual this year, I’m choosing The One Block Feast for my next book. I learn from the introduction that Sunset Magazine’s campus is a “Lab of Western Living.” It is about 5 acres and on it the staff gardens, raises chickens and bees, erects garden structures, makes wine and cheese and beer–it sounds idyllic. The Sunset Magazine building is even designed by icon of the ranch-style, architect Cliff May, who designed the Mission-like Robert Mondavi Winery. Continue reading “The One Block Feast, Margo True & Sunset Magazine”

Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins

I was really looking forward to rereading the four Tom Robbins novels I’ve treasured since 1988 (Another Roadside Attraction, 1971; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, 1976; Still Life with Woodpecker, 1980; Jitterbug Perfume, 1984). I was never a fan of his later books, which started to seem stale and formulaic to me and so took the magic out of his loopy, genius metaphors and fantastic mix of myth, science, philosophy and magic. So when I started reading my battered paperback copy of Another Roadside Attraction, I was afraid I might have outgrown Robbins, or maybe that the late 1960s-early 1970s hallucinatory hijinks may not have aged well, or that post reading Ulysses and present North Korea/Trump shenanigans might have swiped any patience I have left for linguistic, idealistic antics.
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The Hoarder in You, Dr. Robin Zasio

The Hoarder in You is by a woman who is a therapist specializing in Hoarding Disorder and who consults for one of the popular hoarding shows on TV. As a professional organizer, I have worked with quite a few hoarders and have found it a Sisyphean task.
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Ulysses, James Joyce

Ay carumba! It’s time for Ulysses, a book I have held at arms length (which is exhausting since the book is heavy!) for YEARS. As I tuck into it again, I remember why I quit so early in college–Joyce takes special joy in describing things as “snotgreen” and the words “phlegm” and “bile” come up early too. Such a turn-off to a 20-something girl. 30 years later, it doesn’t bother me so much. Let’s go, Joyce: bring on your “knuckly cud”s and “urinous offal”s and “leprous nosehole”s!  Continue reading “Ulysses, James Joyce”