"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Two month flurry of pages read--II

The flood of reading started earlier when Vargas recommended the book on beekeeping I read in spring.
I found the author Hanah Nordhaus, had also written a book about Santa Fe, American Ghost, about a haunted house owned by the author's great great grandmother.
I learned much about New Mexico history in this book, and have walked by that house several times, never knowing it. I also found that the story is fictionalized in Paul Horgan's Centuries of Santa Fe. I own that book, pulled it off my New Mexico shelf and read that portion. Ahem. I found an error in this book too. She writes that the Santa Fe Trail originated in Saint Louis. Nope. First trip began in Franklin, Missouri in 1821, and I've been there, when visiting son Derrick and family when they lived in Columbia. 
But still, a valuable read. She also quotes Oklahoman and friend David Dary, from his book Frontier Medicine. And he agrees with me the trail started at Franklin.
Others:
Deep South, Four seasons on the back roads. Paul Theroux. One of my favorite travel writers, especially about trains (The Great Railway Bazaar). This book is an eye opener at the abject poverty in several southern states. He gets off the interstates, meets all kinds of rural people, and notes since the advent of NAFTA, most of the jobs are gone. He's no fan of Clinton.  The poverty he sees ranks with what he sees in Africa. Yet the US gives millions to help those countries, and almost nothing to our own citizens. As a Southerner I had to read this, and its storytelling and facts in the four seasons he travels there from his home in Cape Cod, are deeply disturbing. Some of it is not too far away, because the last state he visits in Arkansas. The only thing I found missing was a mention of the Confederate soldier statues on every  courthouse square. I just thought that was a given.
Across the Cimarron. Jerry Wilson. From my friend and small press owner Jeanetta Calhoun Mish of Mongrel Empire Press. I got halfway  through this novel before being distracted by another book. So now I'll finish it. It's a novel of the Oklahoma land run, and gives you a great idea of what those early settlers' lives were like. And it's a good history book too. 
Me with authors Corbett and Marmon
Laguna Pueblo, a Photographic History. Lee Marmon, Tom Corbett. I bought this at the Western Heritage Awards at the Cowboy Hall in April, as it is the Wrangler Award for photography. Marmon is a 90 something year old Laguna elder who has been photographing that beautiful New Mexico place for decades, and Corbett worked with him. It's full of black and white photography from years back, with up to date description and narrative. Of course I met the authors and had them sign it, though Marmon uses a stamp of his signature due to his age. 
Broken Open. How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow. Elizabeth Lesser. Another book I have not finished, but I've skipped around in it, reading the chapters that most interested me. Much self help and understanding here. 
Reclaiming Conversation. The Power of Talk  in a Digital Age. Sherry Turkle. This book is part of a UCO book club, so I got it free. It's very scholarly and I won't finish it, but it discusses how digital phones are robbing high school students--an others--of empathy. I've read several pages. A recurring theme I just had a chat with our Uber driver this weekend.
The Krasingers
The Western Cattle Trail. Gary and Margaret Kraisinger. Ok, I haven't read much of this handsome book, but I and two other judges picked it as the best non-fiction work for the Wrangler Awards. Benefit of being a judge gets us into the back tie dinner and ceremonies. And we ended up sitting with the authors, two former Kansas school teachers who have devoted their lives to tracking, photographing and mapping, segment by segment of the historic cattle trails. Wow. So I also got their signatures.
The Wrangler winners
Not read, but pictured, Cimarron Crucible, Barbara James Fretwell. I bought this novel becuase it is set in Cimarron county at the far end of the Oklahoma panhandle. It is about a crime and murder of a little girl, and I'm not quite ready to tackle that subject yet.
Except for the gifts, the cattle trail book and the UCO conversation book, I buy all my books at either Full Circle Bookstore, or Best of Books in Edmond.



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