Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
Hey guess what! We made ourselves a FaceSpace page for our little blog. You should "like" it and follow along. There's a greater chance of seeing Gianna in compromising poses there.
Day 7: Books Inspired By Our Favorite Places
I am not adventurous.
In general I am a rule follower due to my overwhelming fear of the ol' strip search. Having said all that…. I once entered a country illegally (totally kidding). If I had, let's just pretend that country was say…Cuba (it wasn’t, I never went). If I had gone, I bet I would have had a really truly amazing time. The highlight of course was the Cubans. I would imagine.
Two books that reflect what I saw (or may be making up) are National Geographic’s Cuba: Island at a Crossroad, photographs by David Alan Harvey, and Cuba – Going Back by Tony Mendoza, published by the University of Texas Press. What these books have in common is that they are basically photograph books with heavy text. Had I been to Cuba (which I absolutely have not because that would be illegal) I would say that it's no mistake that these are my favorite books about my favorite place. Cuba is so beautiful--the people, the architecture, the land--photographs are essential. I mean I’ve heard…I wouldn’t know for sure.
Photo I may or may not have taken in Cuba.
When I feel like running away, one place always lurking in my head as a potential destination is Yosemite National Park. 1. It's beautiful and has the terrain features--mountains, tall trees, waterfalls, rivers and streams, big rocks--that calm me. 2. It's not illegal to visit unless you shoot a bear or something. I've been there four times and never seen a bear. I don't think bears exist. I did see a wolf there, but I didn't shoot at it. I love Yosemite Valley except for all of the other people there, but when I rule the planet I will throw everyone else out of the park and make it my private sanctum.
During my last trip to Yosemite, I read Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor. Talking about Yosemite and not mentioning the writings of naturalist John Muir seems criminal.
The book I want to feature, though, is one coming out next March. Wild, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed, is in many ways the anti-Eat, Pray, Love. The author was a young woman when her mother died from cancer and her world shattered. Cheryl's family dispersed and she alternated between bad jobs and bad men, and even sought solace in illegal substances. Cheryl happened to see a book about the Pacific Crest Trail (the West Coast's version of the Appalachian Trail), though, and decided that in order to regain control of her life she would hike from Southern California to the Oregon/Washington border. Cheryl has no idea what she's doing. She can't lift her backpack, she's never made a long hike before, and she has no money. Oh, and she loses her hiking boots off the side of a mountain. Nonetheless, Cheryl seeks her peace in the wilderness that I love and I understand her desire to choose that path when searching for meaning. In April, I stood at the connection to the John Muir Trail (which links to the PCT) and I thought about hiking down that path too.