Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mr. Brilliant Recommends...

In honor of not shopping on black Friday, I visited my localest independent bookseller – “The Book Seller” in Grass Valley, California, and selected (or ordered) several titles that may have been overlooked by big publishing or the corporate bookstores. Here is a short list of books worth gifting this season.

The California Atlas and Gazetteer: This atlas truly has the 1000 places you need to see before you die. And most of them are accessible within a day or two – best if on two wheels or on foot. Mr. Brilliant has worn out three copies and is on his fourth.

The Sierra Nevada Natural History by Storer and Unsinger; The best all-around guidebook to the flora and fauna of the Sierra. Know what you're seeing when you are driving through what you're seeing. Mr. Brilliant is on his third copy. Keep this in the car or saddlebag.

Motorcycle Journeys through California by Clement Salvadori. Never run out of places to ride! Clem’s moto-journalism is the absolute best. He recently autographed my copy, which I now keep under my pillow at night. I’m going to have to get a new copy.

The Virginian – Owen Wister; defines the western cowboy. Written in 1903 and set in late 19th century Wyoming, Wister’s depiction of the nameless young man from Virginia sets the bar for character in the west and should set the bar for character period. A slow read but one you’ll want to read twice.

Merle’s Door: Ted Kerasote who presented at the Wyoming Writers Conference speaks to the relationships between man and dog; and the lessons learned when the dog is allowed to be free and independent. Set in Kelly, Wyoming, this book breathes the Tetons. (We met Merle’s ‘successor’ as we rented a place across from Ted’s this summer – after the conference.)

The Cold Dish is the first in Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmeyer series. Great read(s)! Set in contemporary Wyoming, the land is as important to the story as the characters, relationships, police procedures… …and the murders. Craig spoke at the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference in Wyoming and happens to ride a BMW GS, much to his wife’s chagrin. Read Dish first; you’ll run to get the others.

Five Skies by Ron Carlson – A great story about coming to terms with loss, drawing a parallel between hard work and the hard work of relationships. Set in rugged, rural Idaho, this is a short novel to be savored slowly so that the images don’t pass too quickly. Mr. Carlson is on the faculty of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Make Way for the Ducklings: Bumpa’s favorite kid’s book.

If you have a favorite book, please pass the title along using the Church of the Open Road’s comment section.

Happy reading.

- Mr. Brilliant

1 comment:

  1. Will be finishing the last 20 pages of the 3rd in the Walt Longmire series today, because it was due back at the library last weekend! Oops. Good series! Will have to check out some of your other titles next.