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green hills
journal #4 Green Hills – February 23 to May 25, 2010
     also: journal #5 
- #6
These are the books I read while we were opening and managing read. booksellers in Blackhawk. Books demanding to be read come at you from everywhere: published reviews, publisher catalogs, customer requests, ARCs from publishers, and then there are all those great books getting pulled out of all those boxes. Christmas comes every day in a bookstore.

  more book journals
     what's John reading NOW?     Vicky's Page


crowing  a book to crow about—a stand out book      not the best or the worst    p   this just didn't do much for me


signing their lives awayfugitives and refugeesdream of perpetual motionwoodsburnertrue confectionsthe prince of mists

Signing Their Lives Away by Deniss Kiernan (NF) 5.25.10


Fugitives and Refuges by Chuck Palahnick (F) 5.22.10


crowing The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer (F) 5.20.10


Woodsburner by John Pipkin (F) 5.15.10


True Confections by Katherine Weber (NF) 5.11.10


The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (F) 5.9.10

when that rough god goes ridingaliens in the prime of their liveseaarthalthough of course you end up becoming yourselfthe solitude of prime numbersthe devil and sherlock holmes

When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison by Greil Marcus  (NF) 5.7.10


Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives by Brad Watson (F) 5.4.10
These stories are filled with poor and southern folks, but the variety of plotlines and styles are most varied. Let me pass on the jacket blurb that hits the mark well. - "Brad Watson writes with such an all-seeing, six-dimensional view of human hopes and inadequacies that his talent must come from another planet. With wry humor and other worldly grace, he reminds us how alien we humans really are - to each other and to ourselves."


crowing Eaarth by Bill McKibben (NF) 5.1.10
Eaarth, is an incredible book on our environment, by a fine writer, Bill McKibben. His book focuses on the climate change that has already altered our planet so much...it simply isn’t the planet any of us were born on...it’s a new world...maybe it needs a new name. AND all these worldwide changes are only accelerating. He offers up a great deal of information, hope, and a new way to move on. His feeling is that many of the solutions will not be solved on the national and international level, but will be worked out on the state and local. He didn't come up with the one big game-changing solution to all our environmental problems that we all seem to expect. We're only asking for the sky. The book is well worth a look and some thought.
You can also check out one of his websites at


Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky (NF) 4.24.10


p The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano (F) 4.18.10

This was a huge bestseller in Italy and it left me mostly unmoved and uninterested. It seems by all indications that - I just didn't get it. A young girl soiling her ski clothes stays with me, and little else.


crowing The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession by David Grann (NF) 4.15.10

making toastfrom awaya week in decemberwar dancesin search of small godsthe three weissmans of westport

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt (NF) 4.13.10


From Away by David Carkeet (F) 4.11.10


A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks (F) 4.7.10


War Dances by Sherman Alexie (F) 4.4.10


In Search of Small Gods by Jim Harrison (P) 4.1.10


p The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine (F) 3.29.10


the harvard psychedelic clubminimum of twoshadow tagchronic citythe theory of light and mattersilk parachute

crowing The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America by Don Lattin (NF) 3.27.10

This was a mindblower.

What a long, strange trip this all was.

   This really was a well-written look at the power that strong individuals have in influencing a culture and bring about huge changes in how people view and live their lives. The biggest news to me was what a prick Andrew Weil was. He acted as such a snitch and blackmailer when he got Leary and Alpert fired from Harvard because of the drug studies they were performing there. Weil does feel sorry and apologizes to both of them later - what a guy. Leary forgave him and moved on. Ram Dass (Alpert) never let it go, and is still bitter many years later as he's waiting to die in Maui. Weil nark actions stuck with me, but there were so many other more positive and promising times related in the book.

   I got a real lift when I took some time out from trucking belongings, to eat lunch and read on the grass beside an active tennis court. It was a beautiful day, I had a great burger from Judy's in Woodland, and it took me back into my past in San Diego, with my youth, tennis, and a fresh marriage. It was a time when my future was stretched out ahead of me...one of those "where will life take me" sorts of periods in my life. The book perfectly described that time of care-free youth, drugs, music, love, freedom, and all the possibilities and hopes - a time when anything's possible. I hoped in my car and bombed down back roads with the radio cranked up to some good tunes. It was a true nature high.

   Harvard Psychedelic Club is so well-researched, written, and put together, that it easily puts the reader into so many of those big moments and scenes that many of us have read and heard about countless times. It's pretty amazing to have so many of these moments related to the reader in one book and to realize that one or more of these four characters was always there. Our cast of characters: Leary - the Trickster, Ram Dass - the Seeker, Andrew Weil - the Healer, and Huston Smith - the Teacher. There were always many "winds of influence" pushing things along, but in the foreground, or behind the scenes were these guys. The interconnections that run throughout the book, and the times, are fascinating.

   Our current times seem so suburban in comparison. Time for a change...are we on our own?   


Minimum of Two by Tim Winton (F) 3.25.10


Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich (F) 3.23.10


crowing Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (F) 3.20.10


The Theory of Light and Matter by Andrew Porter (F) 3.20.10


Silk Parachute by John McPhee (NF) 3.20.10

where the god of love hangs outancestors and othersshop class as soulcraftwild child

Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom (F) 3.12.10


Ancestors and Others by Fred Chappell (F) 2.28.10


Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B Crawford (NF) 2.25.10


crowing Wild Child by T.C. Boyle (F) 2.23.10


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