Indispensable guide for riding the Pacific Coast route between Canada and Mexico. I used my now well-thumbed copy on a 1,317 mile trip from British Co...moreIndispensable guide for riding the Pacific Coast route between Canada and Mexico. I used my now well-thumbed copy on a 1,317 mile trip from British Columbia to San Francisco in summer of 1988, and found it invaluable. Didn't come across many other riders on the road who hadn't at least consulted it prior to embarcation; only the ones riding from south to north, in ignorance of the prevailing wind direction.(less)
I ran across an excerpt of this non-fiction chronicle of the natural (and otherwise) history of the inhabitants of the Farallon Islands in 2005 in an...moreI ran across an excerpt of this non-fiction chronicle of the natural (and otherwise) history of the inhabitants of the Farallon Islands in 2005 in an Outside magazine article I read while winging my way over them on my way to a Hawaiian vacation. A volume focused in large part on the toothy denizens of the waters surrounding these islands, located 27 miles off the California coast due west of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, seemed less-than ideal reading material for a trip centered on paddling around in the same Pacific waves, albeit 2,400 miles away, so I put the book away for a later date.
Once picked up, I couldn't put it down. Ms. Casey has written a compelling page-turner of a book chronicling the white shark research efforts of the few scientists granted entry visas for the Faralllones, as well as providing the historical context of the islands; but at what cost? I'm afraid that although I couldn't put down this well-written natural history, I was left with the feeling that if I were to meet her at a cocktail party, I wouldn't much care for this whinging author who rode roughshod over the careers, equipment, and sensibilities of the researchers and professional mariners that were her hosts during her stay.
Even though I don't read a lot of short story collections, I didn't hesitate to pick this up and was glad I did: I'm a sucker for anything set in and...moreEven though I don't read a lot of short story collections, I didn't hesitate to pick this up and was glad I did: I'm a sucker for anything set in and written about my preferred corner of the world: extreme Northern California.
I discovered Parvin at a reading at my indie bookseller, Northtown Books in Arcata, CA. His stories have a strong sense-of-place, which appeals to the geographer in me (I studied the subject for my undergrad degree). These are tales, real and imaginary, of the rural people that I come into contact with every day. I look forward to more of Parvin's work.(less)
Lifesaving? No, not really. Timely & resonant & just what I needed at the time? Absolutely.
I read this book in 2003, at the end of the long s...moreLifesaving? No, not really. Timely & resonant & just what I needed at the time? Absolutely.
I read this book in 2003, at the end of the long separation phase of my second marriage, about one month after "we" finally tied the toe tag on our relationship. Desperate for sympathy (for my pain) and absolution (for my failure), the essays that touched on Kingsolver's divorce ("Stone Soup" and "Confessions of a Reluctant Rock Goddess") are the ones that made it into my journal at the time.
Drawing comfort from such statements as: "Like a cancer diagnosis, a dying marriage is a thing to fight, to deny, and finally, when there's no choice left, to dig in and survive", I took succor from one who had gone there before and come out the other side.
Certainly High Tide covers other territory addressed with the humor and insight I have come to expect from Kingsolver, but for me, finding her ruminations on how similar our responses to death and divorce are in this country was just the validation I needed.