STAYCATION: BOOK IDEAS
Stuck staying home this year? Â Poornima tells us about some ofÂ Â her ideas for “STAYCATION” books… share your ideas!
Blog Post by Poornima Apte 6-23-09
I figured Iâd need a few good books to âtransportâ me some place fun. I read a few really good ones recently and there are a couple of exciting ones in my book pile that I thought Iâd share
Coming into the Country is by one of my favorite non-fiction authors, John McPhee. It is one of the best books about Alaska I have read. McPhee describes not just the gorgeous setting but also details the lives of the people who have moved to this last frontier and made the state their own. The first edition was written in the late â70s (long before Gov. Sarah Palin became a household name) but it reads fresh and relevant today. McPhee peppers the narrative with interesting characters, lively anecdotes and beautiful descriptions. The book is one wild adventureâas close to the real thing as the written word can allow.
A few weeks ago I heard Mark Kurlansky on NPR and talk focused on his new bookÂ The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food–Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation’s Food Was Seasonal, writings from the Depression era about American food traditions. As intensely fascinating as it sounded, I decided to skip this one and try instead a slightly older bookÂ America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA – the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define. What author Pat Willard has done here, is reproduced writing from the WPA project where out-of-work writers during the Depression Era were commissioned to write about local foods and then compared these to how things are today. I loved the contrasts between current and old traditions and it is heartening to note that in an era of McDonaldâs and Chilis and Taco Bells, food is still being made with a sense of community as before. Yes, traditions are still waning but not all is lost. I was especially delighted when I saw Â this article in the New York Times recently, which reminded me what a great read America Eats! was. There is one amazingly telling picture of a feast in the Carolinas: a long table and a wall separating the whites from the âcoloreds.â TheÂ Â paperback version of America Eats! releases in early July. Itâs worth picking up. The book is a dash of history seasoned with good food. Youâll love the ride!
Smitten with the travel bug, I decided to take a look at
Route 66: A Photographic Essay by Susan Croce Kelly and Quinta Scott. We traveled along Route 66 many years ago and I am definitely looking forward to visiting again. The book is full of fascinating images and some great peeks into history. I canât wait to really get into it.
Finally, I am currently on a wild ride all the way from Divide, Montana to Washington D.C. I have the 12 year-old genius,Â The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet with me for company. I am really enjoying his quirky personality and the story. Stay tuned for my review.
These great reads truly fulfill one of booksâ many functionsâthey transport you. If you have any good ideas for staycation reads (or even ones to take to the beach), why not share it in the comments section? Happy reading! Have a great summer!