December 8, 2010
Reading the Western Landscape Book Group Dec. 2010/Jan. 2011
The Reading the Western Landscape Book Group met last week to discuss Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights. Below is a summary of the questions that were brought up for that book and a preview of the book that will be discussed on January 5.
Previous book selections can be found here and future selections here.
December 2010 – Between Grass and Sky: Where I Live and Work
Between Grass and Sky: Where I Live and Work, by Linda Hasselstrom; Reno: University of Nevada Press ©2002. Find it at your local library.
From Booklist: There are those who would argue that the viewpoints of a rancher and those of a nature lover are incompatible. Hasselstrom would not be among them, for she embraces Nature-with-a-capital-N as her home, her workplace, her inspiration, and her mission. Self-described as a “rancher-slash-writer,” Hasselstrom, in these personal essays, details with pragmatic honesty economic, environmental, educational, and ethical issues confronting today's independent rancher. Beleaguered by the plagues of modern society, ranching is endangered as much by the inflamed rhetoric of ersatz environmental groups as it is by land developers intent on suburbanizing America's open spaces. With impassioned eloquence, Hasselstrom takes on all comers, from animal-rights activists to agribusiness conglomerates and eco-terrorists to militant vegetarians, patiently explaining facts, refuting arguments, defending opposing philosophies in logical, sensible, rational terms. “You don't know what it's like,” she cautions and invites those quick to condemn to walk a mile in her rattlesnake-repelling high-top boots before castigating a way of life on which this country once thrived and must protect in order to do so again. Carol Haggas Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Specific questions for this book include:
What was the effect of changing the story about the fawn in the grass while mowing?
Tell us about a time when your opinion of an animal changed after you observed it in nature.
Tell about passages that resonate for you in terms of her “environmentalism” beyond preserving the prairie… hunting, rendezvousing?
Did any passages change your opinion about cows? What were they?
What was she saying in the story about the tipi pools and how the men and women had such different task, etc.
What is she trying to tell us about birthdays?
There were two distinct styles of writing in this book, one surrounded by facts and opinion and another based in storytelling. What were the strengths or challenges in each. Give examples.
Can she ever reconcile an “us” and “them?”
January 2011 – The Solace of Open Spaces
Discussion on Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich; New York: Viking ©1985. Find it at your local library.
From Publishers Weekly: Like many before her, poet Gretel Ehrlich discovered the therapeutic qualities of the West. In 1976, a time of personal crisis, she moved from the East to a small farm in Wyoming where she ultimately found peace of mind and inspiration. Originally, she had gone west to make a film for PBS; she returned to work with neighbors at cattle- and sheep-ranching, taking pleasure in open spaces. Ehrlich writes with sensitivity and affection about people, the seasons and the landscape. Whether she is enjoying solitude or companionship, her writing evokes the romance and timelessness of the West. Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Please RSVP to the librarian, Susan Eubank via phone at 626-821-3213 or via email if you plan on attending the book group discussion.