And now I'm thinking you really don't need any of the information in the above paragraph. I could have just started straight off with the book reviews. I refuse to devote any more mental energy to this, however, so it's staying.
Education of a Wandering Man: A Memoir by Louis L'Amour
I doubt I would ever have picked this book up on my own, but a lady from my book club brought it one day recommending I read it, and because we have similar taste in books (totally unrelated side note: she has excellent taste), I decided to do as she said and read it.
Like many of you, I grew up in a house full of books, including one entire shelf full of brown leather-bound volumes whose titles were gold-foiled: The novels of Louis L'Amour. As it turns out, he lead a fascinating life before he was ever even published: sailor, mine caretaker, boxer, self-proclaimed hobo, all before and during the depression. As he puts it: "Over the years the terms applied to wanderers have been confused until all meaning has been lost. To begin with, a bum was a local man who did not want to work. A tramp was a wanderer of the same kind, but a hobo was a wandering worker and essential to the nation's economy." The tales of his travels and his impeccable memory of the books he was constantly reading throughout make me feel both lazy and ignorant, but in a good way, somehow; a way that makes me want to get off this couch and do something, for Pete's sake.
As with most nonfiction, I had the insatiable urge to write in the margins of the text; but as this is not actually my book and I am not a heathen, I wrote on little scraps of paper every time I was struck by something or other he said. As such, the book looks like it's been hit by a Post-It plague. A few things I evidently felt were worth writing down: "It is constantly reiterated that education begins in the home, as indeed it does, but what is often forgotten is that morality begins in the home also. It also begins in the car seat, where many a budding criminal career is born when the child not only watches his parent repeatedly breaking traffic laws, but hears him lie about it when caught. The example is not, supposedly, expected to influence the child (p 4)." "We do not at present educate people to think but, rather, to have opinions, and that is something altogether different (p 75)." "Look up Stephen Vincent Benet" (I still haven't done that one.) I highly recommend this one, both as a wonderful memoir and a commentary on a vanished way of life.
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
More books tomorrow, and I promise to do a better job of staying on-topic. (And if you believe that, you must be new around here.)