Geralyn B.

Cleo: the cat who mended a family

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Helen Brown

First of all, I was surprised that this book was an “international” bestseller. The author was born in New Zealand and now lives in Australia. The book has been translated into twelve languages. Another unordinary note is that Cleo the cat lives to be almost a quarter century old which is very unusual for a pet to live. Helen Brown’s family was able to cope with life’s ups and downs, sometimes traumatic events, with the help of Cleo’s innate abilities to lessen stress and sadness. One such “healing” took place when a purring Cleo laid on the abdomen of a family member that was recovering from Crohn’s surgery. Check our catalog

Geralyn, Technical Services

A 1000-mile walk on the beach: one woman’s trek of the perimeter of Lake Michigan

Friday, December 16, 2011
Loreen Niewenhuis
A 1000-mile walk on the beach

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Loreen’s  1,019 mile Lake Trek around Lake Michigan. She started walking from Navy Pier, Chicago in March of 2009. It took her 64 days (not continuously), walking an average of 16 miles a day to finish in September 2009. Her longest daily trek was 25 miles and her shortest was 5 miles, because at times she had to walk against the wind and over boulders that acted as retaining walls. An excerpt from her book explained her feelings. “I was becoming attuned to the rhythms of the lake, the connections of rivers and streams to the big body of water, sensitized to the flow of air over waves. I was also connecting to the shoreline, the undulations, the geology, the plants and wildlife. The shapes of the shoreline were meaningful; for instance, I knew a certain curve would allow a river to merge with the lake, while a larger curve would create a bay, creating a space that would calm the waters enough to allow more plant life to thrive.  I felt like I belonged, that I was part of the circle, that I was there to record the lake in my body with each stride." Would I take on such a feat? You betcha! Check our catalog

Geralyn, Technical Services

The Last American Man

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Elizabeth Gilbert

Eustace Conway was enamored with a pioneer spirit and living off the land at a young age. After graduating high school, he lived in a teepee for 17 years. He has accomplished many adventures including walking the 2175 mile Appalachian Trail; surviving on what he hunted and gathered; hiking across the German Alps (in sneakers); kayaking across Alaska; living with the Navajo in New Mexico and the Mayans in Guatemala; and traversing the United States from east to west and south to north using horse power.

Eustace set a record by crossing the U.S. by horse in 103 days. Besides learning survival skills from natives, Eustace soaked up his mother’s tomboy inclinations and his grandfather’s tutelage of nature. One of his missions in life is to encourage others to live off the land. He visits schools and communities dressed in animal furs, encouraging other humans to go back to nature. He invites apprentices to his Appalachian utopian wilderness called Turtle Island near Boone, North Carolina. Most of them leave because Eustace’s expectations are too high—he strives for perfection. Visit for more insight into the last American man. I hope to read more personal narratives of humans going “back to the land.” Who knows, someday I may be one of them.  FYI, Gilbert also wrote Eat, Pray, Love and Committed.

Geralyn, Technical Services

**This item is only available through MelCat Interlibrary loan.  See library staff for assistance!


The Book of Eli (DVD)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Like the movie “9”, the “Book of Eli” takes place “after the end of the world” as we know it today. The existence for humans consists of searching for drinkable water and edible food. In some cases, cannibalism is a means of subsistence. The landscape is bleak.

Eli is walking west carrying a special book as part of a mission. Whenever he encounters “a community,” he is considered an outsider, so he has to fight his way “out” to survive. Eli’s skills with weapons are amazing. He is joined by a follower that is intrigued by his manner and the fact that he has read from the same book “every day” for 30 years. One entrapped community has a leader that is searching for a particular book that will
give him renowned powers. His underlings are always on the lookout for any book so that they can show their leader to receive praise. Eli’s book is identified, so he has to step up his means to stay alive and protect his treasure.

The book becomes in possession by the wrong hands. But once it is unwrapped and opened the greedy leader cannot read how to gain worldly powers because the book is written in Braille. Eli is wounded while protecting his treasure. Questions are raised about how he survives. Once Eli is in a safe place, he verbally recites “The Book” (Bible) so it is written in a more universal language and kept in a protected archive. His follower continues walking west to fulfill “His” mission.

Geralyn, Technical Services

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Ken Burns

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Since I love nature, I wanted to watch the Ken Burns series on the National Parks. At first, I didn’t want to start with episode 1. I wanted to see the scenic views of the most recent parks that I thought would be in the later episodes (6 episodes). I did start with episode 1 that tells the history of the National Parks. I knew that John Muir (also the founder of the Sierra Club to which I belong) and Teddy Roosevelt were instrumental in preserving the natural areas of America, but there were so many other preservationists. Unfortunately, there were also gold-diggers that wanted to profit from America’s splendor. The documentary took 6 years to make, many historians make comments during the production. After being impressed with the first 2 episodes, this year I plan on journeying and becoming part of the National Parks in the west. John Muir sojourned to many of America’s natural phenomenon on foot, even walking on the glaciers!

Geralyn B., Technical Services

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Mutant Message Down Under

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Marlo Morgan

This is a fictional account of a woman that travels to Australia. While there, she is summoned by a tribe of Aborigines. Her understanding is that she is to receive an award. She blindly travels in an open jeep dressed to the nines far into the Outback. Once she arrives at her destination with the “Real People” she is stripped of everything she has in her possession (credit cards, keys, ID, clothes). She is given a cotton covering to hide her physical body. She is then led on a 4 month journey through the Outback with her Aboriginal companions that treat her like one of their own. She has to endure the environmental differences (her feet become like hoofs from walking on the desert), living discomforts (eating worms & sleeping on the ground) and language differences. Each day the group walks in no particular direction with little baggage (no food or water-they have to rely on what is provided along the way). She learns that she has been “chosen” to spread the message taught to her during her walkabout that humankind needs to better honor all living things—plants, animals, & the earth. This book reinforced the message to me to be more appreciative of all that we have—water, air, food, housing, etc. and the environmental/health concerns that we are facing. When I mentioned reading this book to my spiritual friends, they said that they had read the book years ago & appreciated the message that it speaks. I am now reading Marlo Morgan’s book, Message From Forever. We need to envision a healthy “Mother Earth."

Geralyn B., Technical Services

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North County: a personal journey through the borderland

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Howard Frank Mosher

I noticed the book when I was checking it out to a patron, otherwise I wouldn’t have found it because it was written in 1997 and I don’t normally look for books shelved in 917.304. Mosher describes his solo trip from the east coast of Maine to the western shores of California. He follows little traveled, sometimes impassable highways and byways between the United States into Canada. He travels with little baggage, mainly his fishing gear and journals to transcribe his experiences. His goal was to fish in the many rivers and lakes in the “North Country” and to meet the local townspeople in villages with populations sometimes under 25 people. Some of the characters he meets are smugglers that transport illegal items across the border. I will probably read another book by Mosher (fiction; copyrighted 2003) that we have in our collection called The true account: concerning a Vermont gentleman's race to the Pacific against and exploration of the western American continent coincident to the expedition of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark because I enjoy accounts of exploration and experiencing nature.

Geralyn B., Technical Services

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Into the Wild

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Jon Krakauer

Into the wild is a biography about Christopher McCandless written by Jon Krakauer. Christopher, who referred to himself as “Alexander Supertramp” was a voyageur who preferred to get “lost” in the wildness of this Earth that we live on. Much like Henry David Thoreau, “Alex” relished in the challenges of surviving “off the land” rather than in the challenges in the society of man. After donating his $25,000 in savings to a charity, and abandoning his Datsun, his “car-less” wanderings took him through various “wild” trails in Arizona, Colorado, Mexico, California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Alaska. Unfortunately, Chris perished along the Stampede Trail near Fairbanks, Alaska.

There are passages and quotes from books by Jack London, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and others in the book Into the Wild, because books by these authors were found with Chris’s remains and had been highlighted. Jon Krakauer had also written an article about this adventure story in Outside magazine. The library will be adding the movie about the book to our collection in March.

Geralyn, Technical Services & Circulation

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