I started reading this on the Amazon preview - I really like it. The intro is basically Richard Dawkins' TED talk which I loved. Now I guess I'll have to buy it to keep reading, because it's quite enjoyable so far.
This book is a GREAT reference - very readable and enjoyable - about the alpine world of the Sierra. If you love the high places of the west, you will enjoy this book about their secrets.
I much prefer it to "Land Above the Trees"
This is a fantastic book. And not just because I know people in it, and know the Sierra where it takes place, and have worked in the backcountry as a Park Ranger myself...
Eric Blehm's writing is excellent. His style is reminiscent of Jon Krakauer, where he pieces together a story from many different angles to present a more complete picture, but I think I like Blehm's writing even better. The picture he paints of Randy Morgenson, though many perspectives, is that of a complex person - beautiful and flawed, like the rest of us. He has the grace to let us draw our own conclusions, yet the story is presented respectful of all the participants and their own thoughts.
I look forward to reading more of his books!
What this book left me thinking about more than anything is how much I'd love to edit and re-write it, because I think it could be so much better. Jordan Fisher Smith has flashes of brilliant prose, but it's often buried, or forced. And the editing is very choppy. This book is best enjoyed as a book of essays rather than a cohesive story, because although the author *tries* to create cohesion and connections, the key word is "tries" - and the reader is aware of the trying... which is never good.
One idea that would make the book better, in my opinion, is if it started with the part about him getting Lyme Disease - if it started with the sentence that begins, "I like to mix my own intravenous drugs..." Then he could work his way back to connections with the land.
As it is, that section is jarring and out of place. Then he goes back to simply describing the history of the area... The book needs a stronger theme to tie it together. There are several good themes, but he needs to pick one and stick with it.
Still, if you are a ranger or have worked outdoors much, or know the area, it should make an enjoyable read. I enjoyed it for all of those reasons!
Books from a Park Ranger's Library - I was a Yosemite Park Ranger for 10 years, and now live in the eastern Sierra. I tried to keep this list to books focusing on California and the West, mostly the Sierra and Great Basin, two of my favorite parts :) A few classics or more general books are included. Most of these I own and have used as reference, or read for pleasure.
Also includes fiction, art, and poetry.
I read this book multiple times, several years ago. It's a wonderfully quirky, odd, sweet, touching, funny, weird book that is fantastic to read aloud. The language is amazing - the crazy street person version of beatnik poetry.
I just finished the Industrial section. I love Michael Pollan's writing, and this book is no exception to his clear and succinct, yet somehow poetic approach to explaining things. As a naturalist and a botanist myself, I find his work fascinating, yet I think he makes it accessible to anyone. I also thought I already knew a lot about our food systems, but the first section of this book, the "Industrial" section, was eye-opening and shocking and amazing - what have we done? And more importantly, how can we change it for the better?