"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

End of year reading, piling up

Five books beckon this month, piling up the reading list in a year-end flourish.
Two others have Oklahoma subjects. One includes stories  about the South by one of the best writers in the country. One is a self-discovery book and another I discovered today. 
I've read more than half of one, and breezed  through two of them because they're books of short chapters and you can bounce around, and thus pretty well read them.
With 23 books read so far this year, I figure I can count those two to boost me past my goal of two a month.
The Oklahoma books
I recently found and bought a book I wish I’d had the idea for, "The Main Streets of Oklahoma--Okie Stories from Every County," by Kristi Eaton. It's full of quirky interviews and facts from every corner of the state, some with photos. Some are county seats, but others are small towns barely on the map.
 I was pleased that four of the chapters featured community newspapers--my love: the Sayre Record and Beckham County Democrat, Garber-Billings News in Garfield County, Seminole Producer in Seminole County, and Cordell Beacon in Washita County. Each of the publishers is interviewed.
The other Oklahoma book is Barbara James Fretwell's novel, "Cimarron Crucible," set in a fictional town int he Panhandle about a woman running a newspaper. It starts with the disappearance of a small girl, and that has stopped me from reading yet, but I'll get to it. I have a hard time reading anything that has to do with harm to a child. But I love newspapers and the Panhandle.

The South
One book essentially read already is Rick Bragg's "My Southern Journey." Bragg is a heavyset Alabama boy who has worked for the New York Times, winning a Pulitzer. His best is "All Over But the Shoutin'" about his mother. This book is a collection of his short articles in "Southern Living" magazine and elsewhere.    My Southern heritage makes this a scrumptious read--about common people  and their lives.
I found Elizabeth Lesser's "Broken Open--How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow," on my wife's table, and she can't remember where she got it. I wish I'd found it years ago--it speaks honestly to me and anyone about recovery.
Today, while judging this year's  non-fiction books for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's annual Wrangler Awards, I came across "Finding Abbey, The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave" by Sean Prentiss. 
Abbey, a Western Thoreau, has been a hero for me for more than 20 years, introduced by a favorite student at OSU. Anyone who loves the Southwest knows his value. I've only started this book, and am grabbed by the author's narratives and spirit. Published by the University of New Mexico Press.

1 comment:

  1. The Main Streets book is by Kristi Eaton. I'm an Instagram "friend" with her and have never met but she sure seems interesting and active. I didn't realize she was an author. The book about Abbey's grave is a sure thing with me. Rick Bragg is a heck of a writer. Great additions to the reading list Terry.


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