What I’ve been reading: September, 2023

  • The High Sierra: A Love Story

    Really enjoyed this side of Kim Stanley Robinson. I grew up hiking around Mammoth Lakes and did some time in / around Yosemite and Tahoe and have dreamed about backpacking around above the tree line. Some day. Should be required reading for anyone doing hiking in the High Sierra.

    (tags: nonfiction geology mountains hiking walking backpacking glaciers yosemite naming )

  • Behind the Bears Ears: Exploring the Cultural and Natural Histories of a Sacred Landscape

    Picked up our Southwest roadtrip, 400 pages of what could have been dry reading but is really well done. Quotes:

    • Page 15: "Although this never stops journalists from trotting out the ‘rewrite history’ meme every time a new one is found. In following with Betterridge’s Law, anytime you see the clickbait-y headline ‘blank could rewrite history’, put your money on ‘but probably not.’ Footnote: Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by teh word ‘no’. It’s named for British tech journalist Ian Betteridge, although the observation that egregious editorizliating should not be taken at face value is about as old as journalism itself."
    • Page 317: "And here’s where the local community has good reason to despise the legacy of Cerberus. Meth addiction – drug and alcohol abuse in general, for that matter, is a big problem in any impoverished community in the United States, regardless of the dominating ethnicity or presence of churches or whatever all else, because the root problem is socioeconomic. It’s the same in rural communities as it is in inner cities. Substance abuse and base violence are more strongly linked to economic distress and disparity than to any extraneous variable, like skin tone or local culture, because in our country we teach people that poverty is deplorable. In addition to brown air and burning rivers, that’s another fun spinoff from the legacy of consumerism."
    • Page 389-390: "This type of community is a scary idea to some people. It’s often the basis of what nowadays is called identity politics, where people vote or otherwise get political in sole accordance with perceptions of their own and/or favored candidates’ cultural identity, and it’s almost always a defensive reaction against manufactured illusions of invasion. At best, that’s how you get segregation. At worst, fascism and genocide. The thing is, being members of a community doesn’t require a whole lot of scarifice, and it doesn’t require sacrificing one’s own cultural identify. On the contrary, a diverse array of individual and cultural contributions is exactly what makes a community great in the first place. The alternative is like a stew with just one ingredient."

    (tags: history nonfiction utah southwest native-americans arizona colorado bearsears )

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