Update Fall 2014 – Now with book recommendations

I haven’t blogged since returning from our trip, and even though we haven’t done much worth blogging about in the last two months (mostly just work and a few moto-tag day rides), I want to post that first post-trip entry, as sort of an official acknowledgement that life has returned to normal.

In the past, returning to the obligations of “normal” life after a long trip felt like a big let-down. Being at home paying the bills and getting the groceries and going to work is obviously not nearly as fun as riding to exciting new destinations for weeks on end. I couldn’t wait to leave on another adventure, and planning future trips provided some of my motivation to get up and go to work every day. Not as much this time. While I was briefly disappointed that our grand Alaska motorcycle adventure was coming to a close, we otherwise have a lot to look forward to. While work is called work for a reason, the drudgery is outweighed by several projects ahead of us that are really exciting. We’re also making real progress on our new house, which we may someday get to actually build. Plus, while I love traveling, I also really like being at home, and its nice to be able to spend time with family and friends after not seeing those people for two months. In short, I am grateful that awesome motorcycle adventures aren’t the only thing I have to look forward to.

That said, life right now is pretty quiet, and mostly involves work. So, here are a couple of books I’ve really enjoyed recently:

Far Pastures – by R.M. Patterson

Far Pastures by R.M. Patterson

Far Pastures by R.M. Patterson

About the author (copied from google books): “R.M. Patterson (1898-1984) moved to Canada when he realized that working in a London bank would never bring him happiness. He spent the remaining years of his life pursuing adventure in the Canadian West and was a delightfully evocative writer and an intrepid explorer. Authoring a total of five books about his excursions into the Canadian wilderness and his life on a southern Alberta ranch, Raymond Murray Patterson earned himself legions of fans and made Canada’s wilderness famous. “

It hadn’t occurred to me until we were traveling through the area how little history I really knew about the Canadian West. Virtually none probably covers it. Gold rush, harsh weather, and mosquitoes. While not a history book, Far Pastures is a collection of true stories of life in Canada’s west from the early 1900s through the 1950s, or from “horse to helicopter” as the author puts it. Both Kevin and I really enjoyed this book, which at times had us laughing out loud. I did not have any expectations of the north-country before traveling there; my views were a blank canvas, but we discovered that we both might like the Yukon and northern BC better than Alaska itself. Patterson’s descriptions of the landscape are full of beauty, wonder, and adventure, and allowed me to appreciate why he was so attracted to this part of the world.

Far Pastures was a gift to us from a friend we met on the trip who lives in Canada’s northwest, and who really nailed it by giving this book to us. We especially appreciated that so many of the places the author writes about were places we had actually been during this summer’s epic motorcycle adventure.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and Other Lessons from the Crematory – by Caitlin Doughty

smokegetsinyoureyesAbout the author (copied from Amazon): “Caitlin Doughty is a licensed mortician and the host and creator of the “Ask a Mortician” web series. She founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and cofounded Death Salon. She lives in Los Angeles. “

Basically, I love the author’s “ask a mortician” web series; aside from just shedding light on the difficult topic of death and modern postmortem practices, she’s smart, funny, and entirely right about the problems of modern death denial. For sure, modern American society does not do a good job of dealing with death. Her book is mostly a memoir that’s both illuminating and definitely entertaining.

Also, I added a link to my Goodreads “read” shelf (*points to right of page–>*), the “What I’ve been reading” link (under the Random category of links). I’ve mostly been remembering to add any books I’ve read to that Goodreads list, so if you are interested in what I’ve been reading, look there. What I am currently reading still shows up in the widget on the right called “currently reading.” (As long as I remember to update it).

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