Sunday Salon: One Sick Puppy, One Wandering Cat, and Bingeing on Cool Museum Visits.

Clovis is one sick puppy.  We think he probably ate something that has upset him.  If you’ve ever had a Bassett hound, or really any dog I suppose, then you know they will eat anything they can find and the not being able to chew it is no problem.  Very likely he found an old plum under the plum tree and went for it. He … Continue reading Sunday Salon: One Sick Puppy, One Wandering Cat, and Bingeing on Cool Museum Visits.

Sunday Salon: All This Time I Could Have Been Reading Jane Austen

I’ve done a lot of reading this week, but I haven’t finished anything. Since it’s summer, I decided to order library books whenever I came across anything interesting on a book blog. You all are reading some very interesting stuff–I’ve quite a little pile of library books on the end table next to the reading chair where Beau the cat and I sit. Beau the … Continue reading Sunday Salon: All This Time I Could Have Been Reading Jane Austen

The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday. Chapter II: Fitting for a Start and Chapter III: The Great California Caravan

Last week in one of his now infamous dissents Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that California does not count as part of the American West.  He was a little more forceful than that.  My initial response was, of course, “Drop dead.”  Not in those words exactly, but you get the picture. It’s a tired and somewhat racist view, this notion that the true America … Continue reading The World Rushed In by J.S. Holiday. Chapter II: Fitting for a Start and Chapter III: The Great California Caravan

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides

It is possible to study history by studying the lives of certain key people in history. One of the key people in American history, at least in the history of the American West, is Kit Carson. An illiterate early pioneer, Carson was a mountain man trapper who joined the Army of the West on its 1846 invasion of Santa Fe and what became New Mexico, … Continue reading Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

I’ll start by admitting that we use Jack London’s The Call of the Wild in our 7th grade English classes because I once found several hundred copies gathering dust in the book room. I believe in using classic literature with my students as much as possible.  For several years I taught the now defunct gifted and talented class with groups of students who were very high … Continue reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Joan Didion vs. Ben Winters. A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

You might think this one would be a bit of a stretch. This time the two cards I dealt brought me Ben Winter’s linked stories “BRING HER TO ME” and “BRING THEM DOWN” from The Apocalypse Trilogy and Joan Didion’s essay “Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)’ from Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Winter’s story is about a group of religious fanatics who believe God has told them to end … Continue reading Joan Didion vs. Ben Winters. A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco by Josh Sides

Turns out, I spent my youth in San Francisco while it was in the midst of a sexual revolution and didn’t even know it. Josh Sides opens the epilogue of Erotic City with a quote from Joan Didion, whom I have also been reading a lot of lately. “Going back to California is not like going back to Vermont, or Chicago,” Joan Didion wrote in … Continue reading Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco by Josh Sides

Mining for Freedom by Sylvia Alden Roberts

A few months ago an article by Kameron Hurley finally came to my attention via a mention on Podcastle.  “‘We Have Always Fought’: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative” makes the argument that women have always been warriors and that it’s time to start portraying them as such particularly in science fiction and fantasy.  I’m not enough of a historian to say whether or not … Continue reading Mining for Freedom by Sylvia Alden Roberts

Joan Didion vs. Joan Didion: “John Wayne: A Love Song” and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

I consider this a lucky draw. The nine and the king of spades were both essays by Joan Didion in my second deck for the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge.  Obviously, since these are both non-fiction essay, I’ve changed up the rules to suit my own personal taste.  I’ve also been reading two “cards” at a time and trying to find a link between the … Continue reading Joan Didion vs. Joan Didion: “John Wayne: A Love Song” and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

Sunday Salon: Spending the Night in Every California County – San Benito Edition

Last month, C.J. and I heard a radio story about a couple who planned on spending the night in every California county as a way to get to know their new home state.  (Like almost everyone in California, they’re not really from here.)  We thought this sounded like fun.  Turns out we’d already sent the night in 18 counties as a couple, so we only … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Spending the Night in Every California County – San Benito Edition

Hollywood by Charles Bukowski

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Charles Bukowski; I liked it. Hollywood is basically a memoir in novel form as far as I can tell.  In in 1980’s after a life of hard living and heavy drinking, poet Charles Bukowski was asked to write an original screenplay which eventually became the Mickey Rourke/Faye Dunaway film Barfly.  Few people were more surprised by this … Continue reading Hollywood by Charles Bukowski

Five Fires by David Wyatt: A Final Review

My plan was to read Five Fires one chapter a time, the way I did with Kevin Starr’s book California.   While this didn’t exactly give me a legion of new followers, it was a very useful way for me to read the book since it allowed me to really focus on each chapter in more depth as a way to truly learn from reading it.  I’m not … Continue reading Five Fires by David Wyatt: A Final Review