Monday, May 24, 2010

Thomas Berry, The Great Work

The story of the late nineteenth and the entire twentieth century has been largely the story of petroleum, its discovery and use by humans, and the social and cultural consequences in human society. The story of the twenty-first century will be the story of the terminal phase of petroleum and the invention of new patterns of human living. (p.150)
The most important thing for me about Thomas Berry's The Great Work: Our Way into the Future is that it's got me questioning my opposition to all things spiritual, religious, or faith-based. His rejection of standard theological responses to environmental crisis is pretty thorough, even if he's deeply respectful of their efforts, so his call for an ecospiritual awakening is oddly compelling. Thomas Berry as Bhagwan, without the gold-plated limos? Not really, no, but this is a real unsettling of my way of thinking, and I'm grateful to him for it.

Don't get me wrong. My skin still crawls at remarks like "There is a spiritual capacity in carbon as there is a carbon component functioning in our highest spiritual experience. If some scientists consider that all this is merely a material process, then what they call matter, I call mind, soul, spirit, or consciousness" (p.25). Well, the second sentence is okay, more or less, but the first one gets my eyes a-rolling.

Berry's view on humans is that we're part of "the integral universe." Our highest function is to exist as the way that the universe is conscious of itself -- we're conscious, we humans, but we need to be conscious not of ourselves but of the universe, on behalf of the universe: "we are that reality in whom the entire Earth comes to a special mode of reflexive consciousness. We are ourselves a mystical quality of the Earth" (p.174). More than that, the universe itself is creative in and of itself, with evolution "neither random nor determined but creative" (p.169), such that the universe itself "must be experienced as The Great Self" (p.170), as distinct from the individual self as whom each of us lives.

Imagine there's a smooth transition or segue here.

As horrifying as the images are of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it's important to remember that all of this oil was going to be turned into one form of pollution or another anyway, whether as smoke or as toxins or as indestructible plastics. It's just that it's all happened at once, in a single form. The Boston Globe's "Big Picture" gallery is heartbreaking, but it's just a more dramatic form of pollution. It's not like all the oil was going to live on a farm where it could run around free.

So yeah, I'm thinking about ways to reimagine my way into the world. Who isn't? Thomas Berry's ecospirituality is for me neither the truth, the way, nor the light, but I've come away from The Great Work more prepared to hear out those for whom it's the best available option.

Though it isn't.

David Orr, Earth in Mind

I've heard David Orr talked about a lot of times in recent years, and he's long been on my unbelievably extensive "gotta get there eventually" reading list. Last weekend's Times-Colonist book sale gave me the chance to pick up one of his books, and I knew that the daily transit trips for the immediately following SEAP-BC workshop on sustainability education in the province's colleges and universities would give me the chance to get some extra reading done, so the obvious decision was there to be made.

Accordingly, in my bag the first morning at SEAP, I had both Thomas Berry's The Great Work: Our Way into the Future and David Orr's Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect. Imagine my surprise to hear the workshop's coordinator, Dr. Geoffrey Chase, quote from BOTH these books in his opening remarks! I cling to my atheism regardless (though I did make a point of asking Geoff about spirituality and environmentalism, something that has always turned me off. He thinks it's essential, though he carefully distinguishes it from religion in a way I find hard to trust, but then I'm a godless heathen Canadian. What do I know).

Clearly, though, I'm at the point in my careers as a reader and teacher where my response to particularly relevant texts are difficult to articulate for others and yet (to me) troublingly straightforward in my own mind. Because Earth in Mind is a thoughtful, potent work, and when it appeared in 1994, it would I think have been extremely valuable to me. Fifteen years on, I'm familiar enough with the standard environmental claims, and calls to action, that I'm much more distracted by the Q&A structure (multiple A, invariably) than I would have been on first encountering it. There are six useful characteristics of student experiences of nature; two answers to any number of questions; five reasons to defend particular places; and so on. It's the rare essay here, of the twenty-three, that doesn't feature at least one such catalogue, and I did get tired of it. Similarly, I was mildly displeased to see the same quotations used more than once, especially when they're neither authoritative nor especially well written, as in statistical info from the New York Times.

But having said all that, there are still some gems of phrasing in the book, and Orr's perspective remains valuable even for jaded readers like myself:
We are never more than one generation away from losing the idea of forests as places of wildness and ecstasy, mystery and renewal, as well as the knowledge of their importance for human survival.... [T]he power behind the idea of decent forests depends on the experience of decent forests, not on secondhand, bookish abstractions. (p.65)
Orr lays out a clear, focused explanation of why and how we need to change the way we humans live in the world, with a special focus on postsecondary education that means it's especially close to my own concerns. I suspect I would have read this book differently in 1994 when it first came out, but it can't be helped. Right now, it feels to me like an artifact. I feel badly at some of the book's apocalypticism, since it underlines just how extended the experience is of this culture's crash and dissolution, but also badly FOR some of it, since the crash remains at or near what one might call environmentalism's event horizon: we're clearer about some of the ways we're approaching disaster, but the pace of our approach is still difficult enough to understand that apparently well-meaning people don't do much beyond meaning well.

The velocity of modern travel has damaged our ability to be at home anywhere. We are increasingly indoor people whose sense of place is indoor space and whose minds are increasingly shaped by electronic stimuli. But what would it mean to take our places seriously? (p.163)
I don't know. Let's take our places seriously, and see what happens.

Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns

Am I the only person who hasn't yet seen Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker? Yes? Ah well.

It was a hoot reading once again Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Going in, I wasn't sure I'd read it before, but some of the panels and pages jumped out to remind me that I'd been there already, likely in 1986 or 1987 at boarding school. (Like a foreign country, that time seems now, both the happy moments and all the rest of them, but that's another story.)

It's no Watchmen, but The Dark Knight is playing a very different game. Alan Moore's intent in Watchmen was to leave his heroes unusable in standard episodic form, making their lives so harrowing and their actions so conclusive that their backstories would overwhelm any future attempts to tell new stories about them. Miller was bringing Batman back to life, differently, and in a different world, so the great triumph of this book is that Miller can destroy almost every vestige of the old Batman, and yet leave him more exciting than he ever was before.

I'd rather read Watchmen, and I'm comfortable arguing that Watchmen is the richer and more accomplished novel, but without question, The Dark Knight Returns is a better comic book.

Oh, and Russell Books on May 21, a steal for $7.99.

Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island

“I would absolutely love to do a book on Canada,” Bryson declares boldly. There’s a pause as I struggle but fail to say something enthusiastic. “I find Canada fascinating, particularly its relationship to the US. But publishers beg you not to do a book on Canada. Nobody wants to read a book on Canada. Even Canadians don’t want to read a book on Canada! My wife would very much prefer it if I did a book where I stayed at home, which makes a book on Canada doubly difficult." (reference)
If I get the chance to visit the UK again, a place I've been only once, for three weeks in 1986, I'll be re-reading Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island ahead of time, alternately chortling and furrowing my brow thoughtfully. The man sells books like crazy, so there's no need for puffery here, but they're well worth reading.

There are times when you just can't go wrong with jokes about flatulence, and I guffawed about a couple of those in this book, and about Bryson's observation of British manners and tastes. Though sometimes a bit unnecessary, his imagined petty vengeances are also excellent. I mean, who wouldn't spend time dreaming up assorted ways of getting back at a B&B host who boots you out for breaking a house rule on the improper flushing of a decrepit toilet, for example?

Serious stuff, too, though: Bryson has some very strong opinions about architecture (heritage versus the 50s to 80s), about the maintenance of community, and about the importance of life as a pedestrian. He's not unaffiliated with Prince Charles' famous objections about Britain's assault on its own history by means of urban plan, but Bryson's accent is a bit further from upper-class twit, the range of his tone lets him be more persuasive, and honestly, it's not a fair fight when you can write like this.

If the great stack of Bryson books at the recent Times-Colonist charity book sale is a reliable indicator (and it is, Carol Shields, as you also know, Alice Munro), Bryson's books get given at Christmas to an awful lot of non-readers. Save the trouble, and give them to friends or family likely to actually read them: maybe give them at surprise dates (June 19, for example - no, wait, apparently that's Juneteenth in 36 American states - June 27, then), to free up Christmas for those nasty polyester sweaters your great-aunt is so fond of giving away.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, Times-Colonist book sale

Yet another fine day at the Times-Colonist book sale, proving again how much can be accomplished in a limited amount of time, this year for a total of $84:
  • ed. Ian G. Barto, Western Man and Environmental Ethics
  • Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity
  • BBC Natural History Unit, Wildlife Through the Camera (eco-porn! eco-porn!)
  • Thomas Berry, The Great Work: Our Way into the Future
  • Daniel Botkin, Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century
  • Kathryn Bridge, A Passion for Mountains: The Lives of Don and Phyllis Munday
  • ed. David Brower, Grand Canyon of the Living Colorado (another early Sierra Club coffee-table book)
  • Gerry Burch & John Parminter, Frederick Davison Mulholland, P.Eng, BCRF: The Father of Sustained Yield Forestry in British Columbia (catchy title, boys)
  • Capt. H.L. Cadieux & Garth Griffiths, Dogwood Fleet: The Story of the British Columbia Ferry Authority from 1958 (very earnest stuff)
  • Canadian Literature no.124-125 (spring-summer, 1990): “Native Writers & Canadian Literature”
  • Canon, Wildlife as Canon Sees It: A Photographic Heritage for All Generations (yep, more eco-porn, but from National Geographic rather than the BBC)
  • Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems
  • Donovan Clemson, Backroad Adventures through Interior British Columbia (an absolute classic)
  • ed. Elroy Deimert, The Boreal Factor (an unusual-seeming anthology, including stories from Lee Maracle and Thomas Wharton)
  • ed. Bill Devall, Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry (a recent and very large format coffee-table book from the Sierra Club)
  • William O. Douglas, My Wilderness: East to Katahdin
  • ed. M.A. Fenger, E.H. Miller, J.F. Johnson, & E.J.R. Williams, Our Living Legacy: Proceedings of a Symposium on Biological Diversity (form the Royal BC Museum, bless 'em)
  • ed. Gary Geddes, Skookum Wawa: Writings of the Canadian Northwest (two copies, because that's how useful it is)
  • Terry Glavin, Nemiah: The Unconquered Country
  • Herb Hammond, Seeing the Forest among the Trees: The Case for Wholistic Forest Use
  • William Hillen, Blackwater River (because I think it's where Ken Belford used to live)
  • Thomas Kohnstamm, Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism
  • Theodora Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America
  • sel. John Lane & Maya Kumar Mitchell, Only Connect: Soil, Soul, Society: The Best of Resurgence Magazine, 1990-1999
  • ed. Andrea Pinto Lebowitz, Living in Harmony: Nature Writing by Women in Canada
  • Ken Liddell, This Is British Columbia
  • Ruth Loomis with Merv Wilkinson, Wildwood: A Forest for the Future
  • Ian MacAskie, The Long Beaches: A Voyage in Search of the North Pacific Fur Seal
  • Mary Midgley, Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature
  • ed. Allan Murray, Our Wildlife Heritage: 100 Years of Wildlife Management (love the ownership in the phrasing)
  • David W. Orr, Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect
  • Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats
  • Jan Peterson, Cathedral Grove (MacMillan Park)
  • Jay Ruzesky, Blue Himalayan Poppies
  • Greg Sarris, Keeping Slug Woman Alive: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts
  • Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500-1800
  • Margaret Thompson, Adrift on the Ark: Our Connection to the Natural World
  • Patricia Van Tighem, The Bear’s Embrace: A True Story of Surviving a Grizzly Bear Attack (whoa, and also ouch)
  • Joan Ward-Harris, More than Meets the Eye: The Life and Lore of Western Wildflowers
A few copies to give away, a few more purely for classroom purposes, but all cheerfully taken on!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Melody Hessing, Up Chute Creek

"How does anyone 'belong' to this place anymore? Is home just anywhere you hang your hat? Any place with a pay cheque? How are we attached to a place when we no longer derive our sustenance from it? How do we know what it is? Why should we care?" (p.119)
In retrospect, I should have waited to start reading Melody Hessing's Up Chute Creek: An Okanagan Idyll.

It came well recommended, with cover blurbs from Dick Cannings, Harold Rhenisch, and Don Gayton, plus a title-page puff from David Suzuki, and Theresa Kishkan tells me that she likes it a great deal. And my mother, too, when I loaned it to her, read it in two sittings and thought Up Chute Creek was one of the best books she's read in years. The book deserves the praise, but my reading circumstances meant that it's been difficult for me to verbalize quite why that is. So, this review is a bit awkward, representing some competing responses that I've had to Hessing's work.

Something important to get over: I've long had difficulty reading stories out of the 60s with much sympathy. "Damn boomers," approximately. It's related, I assume, to what Coupland in Generation X called "boomer envy," but less focused on materiality; one of Jeff Gomez' characters in Our Noise says he'd just die if one more boomer told him that Clapton's "Layla" is the best that music could be, and it's something like that. One tires of hearing references from the 60s and 70s used as ways to slag the more recent, and even the contemporary.

In other words, my fatigued reading state made it difficult initially for me to overcome the sense that I was reading a story about how brave you all were in the 70s when you went back to the land, and kids these days etc. But really, it's not that book. Hessing does write about her struggles, inside the family unit, at work, and on the land, but it's not written comparatively, and you know what? These struggles are worth reading about, and Hessing's writing is up to the task.

Mind you, my own parents lived a parallel life to Hessing. She and her husband moved to the Okanagan rather than the Shuswap, her children are younger than my sister and me, and their house is built on a less accessible building lot, but otherwise the timing and story is about right. This means that I've got a different view on the story than many of her readers will. It rings true to me, which is a good thing, but it also meant that I had to work at considering the book as something other than a family story: it tells her story, like a memoir should, but I had trouble making myself think of it literarily.

And now that I've bared myself, so to speak, let's go to the actual review, shall we?

In Up Chute Creek, Melody Hessing has expressed with great sensitivity the early-70s drive to live outside the city, but much more importantly she's articulated the consequences for a woman and a family of doing all she could to live out that drive. Gender had material meaning for her role in the family's move out of the city and into the land, and one of the pleasures of the book for me is the mostly unexamined way that the male-dominated community she entered in the 1970s becomes a community of women. She's interested, too, in the small and large effects of human dwelling in a place (nests for birds, the movement of coyotes across large landscapes), and there's an activist pull in her work, so there are a lot of things to grab onto with this book.

Hessing is especially insightful about the changes across time of her property and her community, but she does a nice job of not overdoing it -- there's a fairly organic quality to the insights, some of them seeming almost accidental, which makes the book feel nicely fresh:
Since we moved to the Okanagan Valley thirty-five years ago, this place has been "home," even in my absence. Children would grow up and leave, jobs could end, friends would come and go, but the land wasn't going anywhere. To sell this property would be a renunciation of faith, like giving up a sacred trust. I inhabit, with my neighbours, a unique and vulnerable geography. The tragedy of this commons, is not that we do not get along with one another, but that we are flourishing like weeds, the ultimate invasive species. (p.204)
Or as she says earlier, "My musings do not deflect the forces of development changing this valley" (p.158). This thoughtful book dwells carefully and passionately in Hessing's property beside Chute Creek, and it tells stories both politically conventional and personally illuminating about how that property fits into the larger Okanagan community and into how Hessing herself understands the world.

I do wish the book had been a little more carefully copy-edited, but that's not the end of the world. In the end Hessing acquits herself well with Up Chute Creek, even if she doesn't join my little BC nonfiction pantheon. Of course, three members of that pantheon thought highly enough of the book to praise it, two of them on the cover of the book itself, so who am I to doubt them?

J. Douglas Porteous, Environmental Aesthetics

With summertime here, the academic shifts gears: no, not toward fluffy summer reading, but toward books complicated enough not to fit easily around office hours and marking binges. Next up for me, J. Douglas Porteous, Environmental Aesthetics: Ideas, Politics, Planning.

Environmental Aesthetics was written at an interesting time, appearing as it did from Routledge in 1996, because the late 90s saw significant changes in the four disciplines this book tries to cover. Porteous, a geographer by training, wrote this book in an attempt to bring together thinking about environmental aesthetics from the humanities, experimental sciences, activism, and public policy and planning. In the succeeding years, both environmental history and the "literature and environment" movements got seriously moving in the humanities; experimental scientists got some additional momentum with UN and other public endorsement of assorted ideas and initiatives; environmental activists went global and more consistently added social justice (including aesthetic issues) to their placards; and planning ... well, I don't know much about planning. And I still don't trust governments or corporations, so I don't know quite what to say about that element of Porteous's four-part vision.

The key to the book is to understand that for Porteous, aesthetics isn't a defense or explanation of the neutrally pretty, or even of the (classically defined) beautiful. One of his concerns is that collectively, we've lost some of our sense of what "landscape" really means -- we understand it primarily as "scenery," as a view or succession of views from specific sites. For Porteous, landscape is an immersive experience. Terms like "smellscape" and "soundscape" are part of the book's vocabulary, because the visual has so dominated our understanding of aesthetics, and a sense of home is important here, too. (Not as important as it is in his 2001 book Domicide: The Global Destruction of Home, co-written with Sandra E. Smith, which has gone on my reading list, but important.)

The basic approach here is to see how the four disciplines have worked toward understanding the concepts of environmental aesthetics, toward understanding how we see ourselves physically in the world. Some of the most intriguing sections for me have to with his recounting of psychological work suggestive of distinct personality types based on differential relations to landscape, environment, and/or nature. (Yes, there are all sorts of naming problems in this sort of conversation. You expected something different?) Phillips and Semple's 1978 use of the Environmental Response Inventory for students in the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environmental Studies, for example, identified seven quite distinct personality clusters, which Porteous summarizes with this gloomy remark:
"those who have a rich and flexible generalist approach, one most likely to contribute to a balanced approach to environmental change, find themselves powerless in the face of the rule-governed, group-cohesive, elitist professionalism of the planners" (p.131).
As with the other sections of the book, Porteous ends this one with a call for different types of research, more research, and more work toward personal and social change.

His work on zoning law seemed to me very insightful, including the idea that understanding landscape as a "visual resource" empowers certain kinds of activist legislation because it allows the financial and otherwise material quantification (however shaky such quantification might be, methodologically) of landscape. As well, I appreciated his call for deeper and more regular conversations between his four groups (especially between representatives of the humanities and the experimental sciences). On the other hand, I don't respond well to his concluding suggestions that for humans to survive, we need to develop some sort of "environmental religion" (p.264). I'm okay when he's talking about an "aesthetic-ethical consciousness" (ibid.), but my devout atheism doesn't give me the tools to assess fairly his call for what would after all represent a fairly different sort of religious experience.

All things considered: Porteous assesses the mid-90s state of these four disciplinary groups very well, so it represents a valuable historical document as well as a useful resource for checking on how things have evolved since then. As a call to specific action, his suggestions for research plans and for activist change seem to me very significant. It's earned a place on my Frequent Reference shelf, I think.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism

Greg Garrard's volume in the Routledge New Critical Idiom series, Ecocriticism, is a fascinating read for someone knowledgeable about the field, and -- if introduced carefully -- a useful introduction for someone new to the field. While I've read this book before, I'd never read it start to finish, instead dipping into it and reading isolated chapters as the mood and need struck. I've got some different ideas about it now, which I suppose is a lesson I've learned more than once already, as well as an injunction I've given an awful lot of students over the years: read the damn book.

In sum, Ecocriticism is a politically engaged response to the assorted published and in-the-air manifestations of ecocriticism, not a summary of the field. While I agree that it's an "invaluable introduction to one of the most exciting recent developments in literary and cultural studies," as the back cover would have it, the book doesn't represent an introduction that should be handed over to students without context.

This context is necessary because Garrard's keen on what he calls a "poetics of responsibility," which is a term he doesn't unpack in much detail (appropriately, given the nominally introductory nature of the book). As well, he's more prepared to defer to scientific perception and discourse than many ecocritics are comfortable with:
Ecocritics must assess the scale and import of scientific consensus, and in the final analysis defer to it, even as they analyse the ways such results are shaped by ideology and rhetoric. (p.107)
I'm a little uncomfortable with that verb "defer," although I think I'm on board with the sentiment being expressed. As long as we ecocritics are parsing the signs and symptoms of science's ideological and rhetorical assumptions, then we should be fine accepting the results of science's experimentation. The problem is, of course, that science tends to hear our questioning their ideology and rhetoric as doubt about science altogether -- and we humanities folk tend to think of science as unwilling to take the time necessary to understand the nuance of what we mean.

(Both of which generalized assumptions are largely true: humanities folk do distrust science, and scientists don't really want to spend much time on the humanities. Perhaps a knot best left for another time.)

Anyway, these two assertions on Garrard's part mean that it's not purely an introductory volume to the field and discourse of ecocriticism. Instead, it's an introductory volume with a significant agenda. Once you're clear about that, then Garrard gives you plenty of terrific stuff to engage with; I especially enjoyed the ways he forced me to uncover my own assumptions about how I read texts and respond to the world (if I can naively make such distinctions for the moment). His final chapter, "Futures: The Earth," has all on its own given me valuable material out of which to build my understanding of where I want my own scholarship to go, and I encourage you to read that one chapter with great care: and the rest of the book with it, in order to make sense of his political and critical program.

As part of his work as spokesman and proselytizer for the mode of ecocriticism, too, Greg's written a summative piece for The Year's Work in Critical Theory 2010 (vol. 17), which actually addresses publications from the years 2007-08. The always insightful Adrian Ivakhiv has reviewed this article at length in his blog, so I won't attempt here a reading as careful as his.

(Incidentally, Adrian has also blogged in some detail about Greg's joint plenary session at ASLE '09 with Cate Mortimer-Sandilands, a session that can be watched online here. Happy watching!)

And finally, if you want to see why many ecocritics dislike approaches like Garrard's, it's not a bad idea to start with Sean Robisch's negative review on Amazon. Robisch seems to be aiming for a role as the troll 'neath ecocriticism's bridge, with his ... absurd take in ISLE recently on Simon Estok's suggestion that ecocritics should develop theoretical sophistication, rather than declining to investigate their own assumptions. Here, Robisch is in full rhetorical flight (though briefly), attacking not just ecocriticism as it is spoke, but also English professors, urbanites, and the academy itself: "Sadly, English professors have lost their way, collectively speaking. And ecocriticism is hard to really describe if you're using only an urban campus map." Robisch doesn't speak for me, and honestly, I don't know who would want his rhetoric to represent them, but he offers an extreme version of how one might read Garrard negatively.

Not that you should read him negatively. Ecocriticism is a fascinating book -- individual and accessible and engaging, with flaws that prompt a closer reading and a rethinking of one's own positions.

May 4 - Value Village

Back to the Village, for the coat I forgot to pick up yesterday, but since I had some time....
  • Michael Cullen, The Theory of the Big Bang: A Northern Soap
  • Peter Knudtson & David Suzuki, Wisdom of the Elders
  • Will Kymlicka, Finding Our Way: Rethinking Ethnocultural Relations in Canada
  • ed. Warren Magnusson et al, The New Reality: The Politics of Restraint in British Columbia (copyright 1984, The Committee on Alternatives for British Columbia - back when anarchy looked like a viable response)
  • J. Douglas Porteous, Environmental Aesthetics: Ideas, Policy, Planning
  • David Suzuki & Amanda McConnell, with Maria DeCambra, The Sacred Balance: A Visual Celebration of Our Place in Nature
  • The Albertan, This Is Alberta in 1963 (a giant paperback - "the first educational and information book of its kind financed entirely by free enterprise," which gives you some idea of how deep Alberta's political roots are)
  • Andrew Weaver, Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World
Not bad for $29.93.

Monday, May 03, 2010

May 3 - Value Village

Kind of an odd book day today -- I was actually looking for some sweaters, one of which I'm wearing, and some shoes, which I'm not, but for a total of $15.94, into my basket leapt:
  • Ralph Edwards, as told to Ed Gould, Ralph Edwards of Lonesome Lake (nonfiction, aka "the complete biography of the Crusoe of Lonesome Lake")
  • Roger Farr, Reg Johanson, Aaron Vidaver, PILLS: N 49 19.47 - W 123 8.11 (poetry from the so-called "Pacific Institute for Language and Literacy Studies," basically the three of them)
  • Heather Simeney Macleod, The Burden of Snow (poetry)
  • William Morris, Notes from Nowhere (fiction, in the fine edition from Broadview)
  • Richard Nelson, The Island Within (nonfiction, possibly inspirational nature writing)
  • Thomas Wharton, Icefields (novel)
  • Ian & Sally Wilson, Wilderness Seasons: Life and Adventure in Canada's North (nonfiction, of the "city folk in the wild" variety)
All of which please me, if to varying degrees.