Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On my bedside table

I am reading a crackerjack book called Blood and Thunder. The author, Hampton Sides, uses the life of Kit Carson as a means of exploring the impact of the European/Eastern American incursion into the American West. The Native American side is told from that of Narbona, the Navajo leader who tries to hold back the tide. Sides does an excellent job describing the life, environment and culture of all the parties, including the fur trappers, the Navajo, the Mexicans and the US Army. His descriptions are riveting. I am only about a third through, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about how the West was won.

I am also reading Seven Types of Ambiguity by Australian author Elliot Perlman. It's a big fat novel with a Rashomon structure. The basic story is that a laid off teacher thinks he can help his long lost love by kidnapping her son. Full of wisdom, this guy. The story is told from the perspective of many people involved and eventually asks the question just what can we truly know about other people. I've been reading this late at night, which is the wrong time to do so. I'm going to save it for an upcoming plane ride.

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