This is a well-researched account of the disappearance and subsequent search for two honeymooners who traveled down the Colorado River through the GraThis is a well-researched account of the disappearance and subsequent search for two honeymooners who traveled down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon running rapids in a scow. The year was 1928 (9 years after the Grand Canyon became a national park) and Bessie Hyde would have been the first woman to attempt such feat. The author makes a good point that aside from the adventure of the journey, Glen and Bessie lived in the age of “record setting and exploration” (Amelia Earhart, George Mallory, Charles Liindbergh) and a successful trip would have earned them enough fame to go on the pre-television Vaudeville lecture circuit that accounted for so many small theaters across America at the time.
Because their bodies were never found, there were several stories that grew up around the disappearance that the author revisits, along with their backgrounds before they got together that added to the mystery of who they really were. For example, Bessie, only 23, had been married before. The book has substantial discussion of rafting that may interest and benefit someone who has done or will do such a trip. However, the technical details are not so overwhelming as to turn off the more casual reader who is mostly interested in the mystery part of the story. I know enough about the area and some of the places and names that it was easy and entertaining for me to imagine the trip. I also enjoyed Bessie’s pieces of poetry (just simple rhymed verse, many tied to the river and exploration) at the start of each chapter. The author had access to a phenomenal amount of photos (many of which I wished were larger as sometimes small ones were surrounded by the blank space of a whole page) that evidence the access the Hyde family and others gave him to any surviving records of the two. The author’s work is a labor of love for the sport and the couple.
On the other hand, I did come away from the book thinking the story was unfinished. I didn’t feel there was complete commitment by the author on settling on what happened to the couple – he in fact asks people to contact him if they find out any more. One thing I would have liked to have known more about was why Georgie had a copy of Bessie and Glen’s marriage certificate. I don’t think that question was answered with any certainty, so maybe more time in the book should have been spent researching these other “Bessies” and “Glens” if the real Bessie’s and Glen’s final ends were not clear. To me, this part of the book was the most curious, but too short in comparison to the setup and technical details of the river and painstakingly mapped out route.
Overall though, I think the author did a very nice job and could recommend the book to several people. ...more
In 1930s Minnesota, Patsy Schwartz is a seventeen-year-old girl who decides to run away from home and hitch across country, when her ex-con father sheIn 1930s Minnesota, Patsy Schwartz is a seventeen-year-old girl who decides to run away from home and hitch across country, when her ex-con father she doesn’t trust to start with tells her she must marry the town sheriff’s deputy son. Virgie Berg, her BFF, and the only person she lets in on her plan, impulsively travels with her, adventure bound. The author, Judith Grout, expertly creates a realistic and colorful cast of characters who punctuate the journey, which fundamentally is a coming-of-age story of two young women who dare for their first taste of independence. The debut novel is a little long for my taste, but ultimately satisfying....more
This is a great book on a tough topic. The selfish, paranoid, chemically imbalanced, unfathomable and miserable voice of someone struggling through anThis is a great book on a tough topic. The selfish, paranoid, chemically imbalanced, unfathomable and miserable voice of someone struggling through an eating disorder comes through loud and clear. LHA once again demonstrates she is an excellent writer. The only issue I have with the story, and perhaps it is a substantial one, is the relationship between the two girls – if they made that pact, they knew they needed each other, even if they had been distant. Cassie called 33 times and Lia mentally registered most of the calls. The friends since grade school had already both been to rehab over the eating disorders. They must have known a lot about what the other must be going through. Why didn’t Lia answer the phone? Or even listen to a message? It seems to me that struggling with an eating disorder is a terribly lonely/interior condition and the self-loathing is much bigger than disgust or ill-will towards almost everyone else around you. So I didn’t quite get on board with this one important fact because I believe a real, rather than fictional Lia, would have picked up. ...more
Well this book wasn’t what I was expecting when I purchased it, but I kept on reading because the voice was good and for what I know it is now – a newWell this book wasn’t what I was expecting when I purchased it, but I kept on reading because the voice was good and for what I know it is now – a new adult romance – it’s done fairly well. The novel is not about being an exchange student – this aspect of the story exists as a plot device to get Talia from Santa Cruz to Melbourne. However, the author does incorporate and authenticity to the Melbourne setting with Australianisms and places that sound real. Other than the romance, there is also some exploration of a person who deals with OCD that adds more interest to the story. I don’t think the grief a person might have when a loved one dies, combined with the anxiety of being somewhere new (especially someone with OCD) was all that believable, but again, those were probably more plot devices to make the character seem more sympathetic and vulnerable. Overall, this novel was good for the genre and the author’s voice is au courant. ...more
Interesting history of a pioneering archeologist who was instrumental in mapping out the time periods of ancient civilizations in the Southwest and amInteresting history of a pioneering archeologist who was instrumental in mapping out the time periods of ancient civilizations in the Southwest and among the first to use tree ring dating for his research. I wish he would have made it just a little earlier to some of the sites that were so carelessly pillaged by pothunters....more
I read this book with a group of women who will go to see our neighbor compete in roller derby soon. I had seen the movie a while ago, and though I noI read this book with a group of women who will go to see our neighbor compete in roller derby soon. I had seen the movie a while ago, and though I normally don’t read a book after the movie comes out, I did this time only to find out they were very in sync and I wouldn’t have missed anything in the other by only seeing/reading one. I kept thinking through the book that it would make a perfect graphic novel because of the way the stereotypical characters were drawn and the glib snarkiness of the narrator. The pacing was quick with short chapters with one or two elemental concepts that would have translated easily into graphic representation as well. My neighbor is not the stereotypical roller derby girl expressed in this book. She is a forty-something French woman with two children and her own business and style the borders on Mediterranean country chic, and why she is into the sport remains an inconspicuous layer to her personality....more
I heard Lively interviewed regarding this book and bought it for my mom, and now have read recently it myself. I enjoyed the sections on old age, writI heard Lively interviewed regarding this book and bought it for my mom, and now have read recently it myself. I enjoyed the sections on old age, writing, and how certain books defined parts of her life, the most. There are also objects in her home, where the ammonites and leaping fish come in, to which she also attaches a sense of self.
Here are some quotes that feel apropos to this reader’s forum:
“You start reading a novel with no idea where this thing is going to go; you should finish it feeling it could have gone no other way.”
“… but we do have this one majestic, sustaining weapon, this small triumph over time – memory.”
“Cultural community is shared reading, the references and images you and I both know. Books are the mind’s ballast, for so many of us – the cargo that makes us what we are, a freight that is ephemeral and indelible, half forgotten but leaving an imprint.”
“Taxonomy is crucial, essential – the majestic discipline that marshals the natural world, so that everyone can know what is what it is not.”
“The language of the King James Version was laid down in my mind, as a child, like some kind of rich sediment…If you don’t know something of the biblical narrative you are going to be bewildered by most early art and by innumerable references in English prose and poetry. And if you have not known the King James Version you will not have experienced the English language at its most elegant, its most eloquent.”
“I don’t have enough old Penguins… And long gone are the days when a paperback meant a Penguin, pure and simple, let alone when a paperback publisher could confidently market a product with no image at all on the cover – just the title and the author’s name, emphatically lettered. Beautiful.”
The book was very easy and pleasurable to read. I enjoyed many of the author’s ideas. And I remembered making Christmas wrapping paper from potato stamps too. It was when I was very young and maybe it happened only once. But the memory of it came back and made me smile. ...more
I received an early review copy of Wes Moore’s The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters. Thank you LibraryThing.
My main take away from this memoirI received an early review copy of Wes Moore’s The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters. Thank you LibraryThing.
My main take away from this memoir is that kindness, support and friendship in key moments of our lives help that us to reach our potential, and one of our greatest avenues to a meaningful, truly successful life of our own is to give the same to others.
I liked Moore’s stories about choosing to serve in Afghanistan rather than continue in a lucrative job in Wall Street as Army Reserve, and leaving that world of golden handcuffs again to eventually to pursue his passion and put him on the path to who he is today. In these stories he really did take unexpected risks and opportunities, and was rewarded on multiple levels for them.
The book is not so much self-help, but self-reflection, though there are a good set of questions to walk through inspired by the lives of those who touched his in the appendices if one wanted to continue to discuss a person’s journey for finding fulfilling work.
I haven’t read Wes Moore’s first book, The Other Wes Moore, which I understand some people prefer to this one, but he is an eloquent writer and knowing what this and the other one in general is about, I could see them used as texts for the exploration of self and how our environment contributes to who we are – perhaps in a cultural anthropology or civic subject matter course.
I’ll be interested to follow Wes Moore’s future work, in all its forms. ...more
This book made me tear up in a few of the more emotional and well-written scenes. I cared about the characters, except Emmy’s birth dad, who I actuallThis book made me tear up in a few of the more emotional and well-written scenes. I cared about the characters, except Emmy’s birth dad, who I actually think the author gave too much excuse, as sorry as he was, in explaining his actions. The saddest fact to me, which I had to verify, was the expanse of the Grand Coulee Dam and what it did to sacred native lands. From Wikipedia: “Creation of the reservoir forced the relocation of over 3,000 people, including Native Americans whose ancestral lands were partially flooded. The dam has also blocked the migration of salmon and other fish upstream to spawn.” This novel has a lot of heartbreak: - Third world poverty - Alcoholic, deadbeat parents - Religious fundamentalism that corrupts communities - Single moms who work multiple jobs to make ends meet - Teenage girls with no self-confidence who fall for the first boy who pays them any attention and proceeds to take advantage of that low self-esteem - Racism - Broken families - Resignation On the other hand, there is a lot of sensitivity the author uses to frame life on a rez, life in a trailer park, and life in an inner city apartment with secondhand everything that I found completely authentic. I can say this with some amount of authority because I myself grew up on a Native American reservation. I wasn’t sure about Emmy’s voice at first, though I became more accepting of it as the novel went on. I thought the multiple perspectives were very well done and very different to each other (except how perhaps “true” love is viewed). I also wish there was a little bit more resolution between mother and daughter at the end, and that the f-word wasn’t used so much, though I thought when it was used it showed the frustration it meant. Overall, this is a very special debut novel and I hope more people read it. I have already specifically recommended it to some. ...more