Book Reviews

Desert Solitaire

Edward Abbey

Read March, 2016

Hailed as a god by some and a lunatic by others, Edward Abbey was the first park ranger at Arches NM (Arches was National Monument before named a National Park) in the 1950’s.  He signed on to an unknown landscape and responsibilities.  He found a world he never expected.

Living out of a small trailer, he was to attend to visitors and the park and figure it out as he went.  Summer was hotter than expected being typically 100+ degrees.  He found he couldn’t stay in the trailer and set up a shaded area outside.  He boated down Glen Canyon before Lake Powell was developed so he enjoyed it like no one else now can.

Although I found it an interesting read, I think he was a split personality.  One half of him wanted to protect everything, despised the NPS though he worked for the department beyond his first season, and have no one else visit.  He even removed stakes when planners came in to develop a roadway thinking it would slow progress.  But the other half spoke about missing NYC where the action really was and when he wrote of how he carved his initials in an aspen knowing it wouldn’t heal but would grow and expand as the tree grew, he lost me.  That’s when I decided a split personality existed or at least a man torn between two worlds.

The Arches NP team hopes to have his trailer site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Me?  I’m not on board with that thought.

Have a read yourself.  It might change your life as it did others or you might say it was just an interesting read.


Go Set A Watchman

Harper Lee

Read March, 2016


To Kill A Mockingbird is, of course, a classic.  I remember reading it as a child but remember more the movie adaptation starring Gregory Peck.  Who cannot recall him towering over Scout or standing in the courtroom, the gallery full and all eyes on him.

The release of Go Set A Watchman has raised much discussion.  I don’t know why Harper Lee didn’t want to release it but it was ultimately done.  You may have heard that Ms Lee passed shortly after publication.

I was fortunate to sign out a copy from the Taylorsville Library in SLC.  It was a thought provoking read.  Written before TKAM but taking place 20 years in the future, Harper was ahead of her time of sequels and prequels.

I won’t say much about the story specifics in case you wish to read yourself but, to me, it read as though the family were telling me the story.  Scout has definitely grown up.  I found it a riveting tale of the South in a different time.  The characters are focused on themselves but the world around them is having an impact that can’t be ignored.