Alabama Reads

I’ve been working through some books that are either by Alabama authors, or take place in Alabama, or both. Here are a few brief reviews.

I Wish I Was in Dixie collected and edited by Marie Stokes Jemison and Jim Reed
This is a collection of stories from all across Alabama, from Birmingham to Montgomery to Tuscaloosa.

Dear Slave – poems by Irene Latham. These are rich retellings of stories taken from the mouths of slaves and recorded by Ruby Pickens Tartt many years ago.

I Still Dream of You by Fannie Flagg.  This was an enjoyable read and one that had me doing a little research about Birmingham. I read this for my book club, but no one else was able to finish it that month.   😦   You can read more of my thoughts HERE and HERE.

Fried Green Tomatoes At the Whistle Stop Cafe – also by Fannie Flagg. I couldn’t read this without picturing Kathy Bates in the role of Evelyn. I STILL want to go to the cafe in Irondale!

 

The last book is one I DON”T recommend – Looking for Alaska. I read it mainly because I heard it had a lot of references to the Birmingham area, but it didn’t really. Sorry, John Green fans, but I just didn’t like this and am disappointed that it is marketed to middle schoolers. I think all the reviews on Barnes & Noble were written by teenagers.

So, I will continue my Alabama quest at a later date. Right now my reading is headed to Ireland.

Red Mountain Is Calling And I Must Go

After this week’s wonderful online Kindred Spirits Book Club chat about Lassoing the Sun, a chat that included the author, Mark Woods, I was inspired to come up with  my own take on John Muir’s quote: Red Mountain is calling and I must go. And go I did, for a little hike on a beautiful Alabama  morning.

I headed towards the Smythe trail, labeled “difficult”, and  yes, I was breathing a bit heavy  on that portion of my hike. Then I hooked up to the north trail. I am a terrible map reader, so even with the map and signs, I ended up in a different spot, but mainly because a portion of the north trail was closed off. So, I only hiked 2.2 miles, but it always takes a while as I stop for photos along the way.

 

On my route I met with people running, biking, hiking, walking the dog, and segwaying.

 

 

Red Mountain has a lot of lovely pieces of the past, bits of buildings left from the mining days.

I also spotted a sort of cairn on a picnic table- I’m so proud I now know that word!

cairn

 

This is Muir’s full quote, which appears in an 1873 letter from Muir to his sister: “The mountains are calling & I must go & I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.”

I didn’t like what I read about Muir’s view of Indians, so I decided to do a little research on the man. Here are a few things I learned:

  • Muir founded the Sierra Club
  • He often expressed the idea that humans had no more intrinsic value than any creature of nature; this is known as a bio-centric view.
  • “All in all, there seems to be in Muir some grudging respect for Indians, but it is often masked behind the institutionalized racism that underlies his writing.” –
  • John Muir could not see the Indians for the trees. – Roy Cook
  • Although Muir claimed to oppose the oppression of Native Americans, he fully supported the extraction of Miwoks from Yosemite, referring to them as “dirty,” “deadly,” and “lazy.”
  • Muir was more concerned with human perfidy toward bears (“Poor fellows, they have been poisoned, trapped, and shot at until they have lost confidence in brother man”) than with how Native Americans had been killed and driven from their homes.
  • .. in his writings, Muir said the squirrels he killed on his ranch in Martinez, Calif., were disgusting pests out to ruin the orchards. But he described the squirrels living in his beloved High Sierra as hard-working creatures like those later popularized in the Disney classic “Snow White.”

 

So, after reading around the internet a bit, I have come to the conclusion that Muir, like the rest of us, is flawed. Yes, he did some great things and he had some noble goals. As for his view of Indians, it seemed to changed over time and not for the better. My takeaway is this: Be aware of others. Love and protect God’s creation, but not at the expensive of man, God’s highest earthly creature.

Third Quarter Recap

 

3q1

October is almost over and I just realized I didn’t write a third quarter recap at the end of September. So, for what it’s worth, here are the highlights of my third quarter:

  • We kept our daughter’s dog, Poca, for over a month while she was in Columbia, South America. Things started out well, but after the second fight, in which Loretta received a puncture wound, we kept the two dogs separate. It was fine, though, as each one got special attention.
  • I went to McAlister’s Deli for the first time. The Orange Cranberry Club was delish!
  • Joined Grace Covenant Baptist Church and began making new friends
  • Subbed in some new schools. including McAdory Middle, McAdory High, Pleasant Grove High, West Elementary, Hueytown Middle, Oak Mountain Middle, Helena Middle, Helena High
  • Attended a few Saturday Write Club meetings at the Hoover Library
  • Went on five hikes
  • Took lots of pictures around Bham
  • Went to Jacksonville and squeezed in a lot of visits. Got to see my  cousin Paula for the first time in over 15 years
  • Spent a morning at Jacksonville Beach
  • Started the Kindred Spirit Book Club  – it’s online, so if you are interested, leave me a comment or email me.
  • Started Round Two of the Capture the ‘Ham Small Group/Photo Group3q2

And now to finish the year well!