Geralyn B.

Jimmy Bluefeather: A Novel

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Kim Heacox
Jimmy Bluefeather: A Novel

Being a lover of nature and adventure, our library has 2 books by Kim Heacox that I have enjoyed: Jimmy Bluefeather: A Novel and Rhythm of the Wild: A Life Inspired by Alaska's Denali National Park. One of the storylines is about Jimmy Bluefeather, a high school student that is guaranteed a spot on a NBA team, until his leg is injured in a logging accident. James struggles to “reinvent” his life’s path while swallowing the speculation that the accident was caused by rivaled negligence. His grandfather, Old Keb, being a native of mixed blood that includes Tlingit, successfully steers a reluctant James in a direction that involves his hands rather than his legs. Keb introduces James to the ancient practice of carving a canoe. The canoe is carved from a log that Keb has saved from a time when his mentor was still alive. Keb’s wood shed becomes the town’s gathering place to help or watch the boat come into form. Being a respected elder of the village, the townspeople, are aware of Keb’s deteriorating health, and wonder if the hand carved “vehicle” will become a way that Keb is brought “home.” This book weaves Keb’s life, which is rich in ancient culture, to “modern times” that are embroiled in land rights.

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Geralyn B., Technical Services

Grey Owl

Friday, September 18, 2015
DVD
Grey Owl

I was intrigued when I saw Pierce Brosnan dressed as a Native American on the cover of the movie, “Grey Owl.” After watching the DVD, I learned that the movie was based on a true story. When I researched the life of Grey Owl by borrowing books through MeL, I learned that he was born in England with the birth name of Archibald Belaney. Grey Owl traversed the Atlantic Ocean and took residence in Eastern Canada. While in Canada, Grey Owl took on the persona and life style of a Native American. He was a trapper, an author and lecturer of conservation issues, and a ranger of a national park. When animals became scare (overtrapping) for their hides, he advocated for the plight of beaver by creating sanctuaries. He actually had beaver as pets that had part of their home inside Grey Owl's cabin! Life in the wilderness was very grueling of time & energy. Transportation in all seasons included canoeing/portaging, hiking in mud, snowshoeing, and sometimes travelling by train. A trapper may stake out an area to set traps after travelling 100 miles, buying his “grubstake” on credit, building a rustic home with items found in the wilderness, and returning empty handed. I read a book, “Devil in deerskins” that was written by his wife, Anahareo. She wrote about living off the land while being a wife, a mother and a prospector. I enjoyed learning about people that subsisted on bannock.        Check our catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Rinker Buck
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

The Oregon Trail: a new American Journey by Rinker Buck isn’t the usual tale of "the Donner Party” traveling West in a covered wagon. The author, his brother Nick with his dog Olive Oyl, a Jack Russell terrier, survived the 2000 mile arduous journey in a covered wagon in the twentieth century. The author did extensive research about the Oregon Trail before planning and completing this challenge. The author had the exciting adventure of traveling in a covered wagon with his family (11 children) and parents when he was 7 years old. His father (with a wooden leg), actually pulled the wagon across a bridge when the mule team shied away from the crossing. One item that survived the 1958 wagon ride and was attached to the current wagon was a wooden sign that said, “See America slowly.” Rink and his brother experienced  a multitude of challenges that pioneers in the 1800s endured: learning to harness and drive a mule team; repairing shoddily-built covered wagons (the brakes and wheels being the most crucial parts); driving blindly through rain and sand storms; finding a route across unmarked terrain; experiencing euphoria in altitudes and disappointment in mirages; bypassing the “planned route” because of overflowing river banks or extremely steep, rocky mountains. They did enjoy meeting helpful, interesting people when they camped at public corrals or actually on privately-owned ranches. When the author read pioneer journals during his research, “recycling” was a common occurrence.  Pioneers, as well as the current travelers, had to lighten their loads in order to travel on. This left permission for whomever following a chance to change into clean clothes if needed or take on food that had been too heavy for their mule team to pull. Olive Oyl earned her keep by scaring up rattlesnakes when crossing arid country. Rinker had a way of telling about his journey that let you experience riding on a narrow ridge with a canyon wall inches from your nose and a wheel on the ledge of a 100 foot drop off.

 

 

Geralyn B., Technical Services

 

 

I've always been interested in the Oregon Trail and this book is a fascinating look at that period of American history. The author and his brother purchased 3 miles drove on the trail as much as they were able. They were gone 5 months. A lot of the trail is now under highways and subdivisions but a lot is still available. Rinker researched for 3 years using diaries, history books, etc., and the book reads like a novel. There are different chapters on mules, types of wagons, the pioneers, the Mormons and their part of the expansion, and the wonderful Americans who helped along the way. It took me two weeks to get through the book because I had to keep researching different things about it. Plus I drove my husband crazy by reading parts of the book to him frequently. I highly recommend putting the hours into this book.

 

Sue N., Youth Services

 

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American Sniper

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
DVD
American Sniper

 “American Sniper” (the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history) This true story/movie is based on SEAL officer Chris Kyle’s 4 tours in the Iraq War. He was so dedicated to his “war life” that it overtook his “family life.” He was more connected to his comrades until he decided that “he had enough.” In one scene, he could detect the enemy’s #1 sniper, “the Butcher,” from over a mile away. That sharpshooter was no more. In the movie, when Chris returned, he slowly became the husband & father that he wanted to be with minimal residual effects from the war. He even visited returning soldiers in VA hospitals. Unfortunately, he was killed in America by a returning soldier at a shooting range. The movie showed the multitude of appreciative U.S. citizens that honored Chris Kyle by lining the streets with waving flags as his funeral procession passed by. Unlike “Saving private Ryan” “American Sniper” was a war movie that I could tolerate, but I had to take a break in watching it because was over two hours long. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Blind curves : a woman, a motorcycle, and a journey to reinvent herself

Friday, June 5, 2015
Linda Crill
Blind curves : a woman, a motorcycle, and a journey to reinvent herself

“Blind curves: a woman, a motorcycle, and a journey to reinvent herself” by Linda Crill and the true story/movie “Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed have similar storylines. Both of these true “adventures” are taken by women after suffering a loss of a relationship. These individuals have strong “backbones” and challenge themselves to risks. Linda in “Blind curves” learns to ride a motorcycle just before she joins 3 other individuals on a 2,500 mile round trip on the West Coast from Vancouver, Canada to Mendocino, California. After “laying” a motorcycle down on top of herself during her motorcycle test to driving her Harley up craggy trails with blind curves, this woman truly reinvents herself. Cheryl Strayed similarly challenged herself to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail without previous experience or someone to watch over her in case of tragedy. 

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Geralyn Technical Services

 

Game Warden Stories

Friday, February 13, 2015
Gerald Battle
Game Warden Stories

John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Rachel Carson are not the only conservationists worth noting. Gerald Battle wrote of his experiences “in the field” in “Game warden stories.” Battle was a Conservation officer in Leelanau County during the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s. His job was to enforce laws having to do with nature and respecting the lives of creatures that roamed the fields, swam in water, or flew in the sky. Many of his enforcement duties involved deer poaching. Leelanau County, which included the Manitou islands, is a vast area to patrol singlehandedly. At times, he was supposedly “seen” in many places around the county at the same time. This would allow him to stake out an area to thwart illegal activity. Lawbreakers would be surprised when he jumped out of the bushes to catch them in the act. Some county dwellers complained of porcupines chewing on their buildings. It was such a problem that plywood companies had to change their formula in assembling plywood so porcupines found it distasteful. Another incident involved skunks. A cat had crawled under a restaurant and confronted a group of skunks. Patrons and the cat left the scene. The black & white animals were trapped and released in a more suitable location. A fun job in nature. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

Friday, February 13, 2015
Kathleen Flinn
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midw

When I read “Burnt toast makes you sing good: a memoir of food & love from an American Midwest family” by Kathleen Flinn, it reminded me of my family life growing up with many siblings in the same time period, the 50’s & 60’s. To Kathleen, meals brought back memories and cooking was a way of communicating. The author’s family struggled financially. As a result, clothes were purchased at thrift stores for the 5 children & bag lunches rather than “hot lunches” were the norm. Of course, these ways of living were fuel for the children being taunted at school. Kathleen’s mother actually told the children that the thrift stores were high end department stores. The girls in the family didn’t realize the white lie until they entered a “real” department store. Imagine their faces to look upon a sight of the multitude of choices to buy, let alone the bright lights! Another similarity had to do with birthdays. In lieu of gifts, the children got to pick out the menu for “their” day. Grandma Inez’s cinnamon rolls were always the choice for breakfast! The words of the title came from an adage that Grandma Inez used to say. She didn’t own a toaster so she “baked” toast in the oven. The children would complain about having to eat burnt toast, so grandma gave them a good reason to eat it. Some of the choice family activities included eating, camping, reading, & fishing. They would spend days fishing, whether it be ice, smelt, or motoring around a lake in a boat that was big enough for the family of seven. The family lived in California for a time helping out a relative run a restaurant. Kathleen’s parents eventually tried their culinary skills by running their own restaurant using family favorite recipes. The book includes some of the family recipes. When the family moved to Michigan, the family’s financial status improved when they were able to buy a farm. Food could be grown & stored for future consumption. At one time there was enough money to open doors for socialization. Food and fun while meeting new people. In regards to reading, Mr. Flinn purchased a set of encyclopedias from a college student. (Selling encyclopedias was a common job for college students during the 70’s, nowadays encyclopedias are a thing of the past). Mr. Flinn would read the informational books from cover to cover. Sometimes he would read aloud so who ever wanted to gain unique knowledge could listen. A good book to read if you want to stroll down memory lane or drive on Route 66. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Take Me With You

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Take Me With You

Sixteen years ago, Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote the bestseller “Pay it forward” which eventually was made into a movie. Her latest book, “Take me with you” also has a “kindness” theme. A teacher, (August) spends his summers traveling in a motor home visiting national parks. When he has to stop at a garage to get repairs done, his summer trip changes. The mechanic strikes a deal with the teacher. The mechanic asks the teacher if he would take his 2 sons with him and he would waive the cost of repairs. August learns that the mechanic has to spend time in jail for DUI incidents. Of course the boys are more than happy traveling “with a stranger” and a dog instead of living in foster care. Each passenger has issues that are dealt with during the summer. The travelers are very reluctant to sever their paths. Eight years later, the boys surprise August with a trip that they have planned. By this time, August is having trouble with his legs, so he is more than happy to turn the reins over to the young adults. They want to continue this summer tradition for the “rest of his life.” Check our Catalog

Geralyn Technical Services

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Monday, November 17, 2014
Ben Montgomery
Grandma Gatewood's Walk: the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalach

Admittedly, there are women that have hiked long distances such as, Loreen Niewenhuis who wrote, “A 1,000-mile walk on the beach: one woman's trek of the perimeter of Lake Michigan” and Cheryl Strayed who wrote “Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail.” “Grandma Gatewood” as she was known, hiked in Keds sneakers without a map, sleeping bag or tent over the rough terrain of the Appalachian Trail, which is 2050 miles. She started walking when she was 67 years old, and actually hiked the trail 3 times! When she finished the first time, Grandma Gatewood was so uplifted by the scenery that she sang the first verse of “America, the beautiful.” She gained notoriety as she visited small towns to buy food or seek shelter. But, she didn’t even tell her adult children what she was doing, only that she was going to ‘take a walk.” Ben Montgomery told of her experiences in the book, “Grandma Gatewood’s walk: the inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail.” After her treks, she gave speeches to many groups and further inspired many to attempt “walking in her footsteps.” I thoroughly enjoyed Grandma Gatewood’s adventure, all you have to do is “put one foot in front of the other.”  Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

God's Not Dead

Friday, September 19, 2014
DVD
God's Not Dead

DVD review: God’s not dead. This movie involves conflict & resolution in a religious realm. A professor of a philosophy class “told his class” to write on a piece of paper, “God is dead” and sign their name. He said doing this would allow that student to pass the class. Josh was the only student that could not even remotely participate in this “assignment.” The professor was not happy with the student’s reluctance at “doing what he was told.” Josh had to “debate” 3 lectures to support his reasoning. The professor threatened Josh that if he continued to “win over the students” and disbar the professor’s authority, he would prevent Josh from being admitted to pre-law. His lectures affected other skeptics. Two students had strict fathers of either oriental or middle eastern descents. The students did convert. Two other couples went through changes. One woman had cancer & her partner didn’t want to be hampered with her dilemma. The other involved the professor’s partner ending their relationship because she didn’t like not having her freedom & being “told” what she can and cannot do. The end of the movie left a positive resolution. Check our catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

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