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High Uintas Bookshelf

A High Uintas Bookshelf

In this column we’ll list 2-4 interesting articles, books or the like that have caught our attention. They aren’t necessarily recent or recently read-- sort of a random compilation. Within a year, hopefully, we’ll have an established and detailed reading list. It won’t be complete without your additions. Please send suggestions and a descriptive sentence or two.

This month’s review is by HUPC board member Margaret Pettis.

I have realized that a common theme in some of my favorite books is travel through new country. Oh, certainly the plot matters; I care about the story and the conflict as much as I do about the characters who compel me to join them in their adventures. But I consistently find that I am most intrigued by the physical journey the characters take.
I suppose this might have a psychological parallel with my own life and strong lessons learned in wild country. Perhaps it has more to do with the geography of my imagination and what I would do, if given a chance to be in that magical place, tramping with my fictional companions through unknown country. It is not possible to capture all the plots here. I merely share with you some adventures that were well worth the trip.

One such book is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Such language and perceptive observation is rare! Another is The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Her spirited Scottish Highlands of the mid-1700s are reached by time travel. Another is The Last Season by Eric Blehm, the story of the search for a career wilderness ranger lost in King’s Canyon National Park. What a keen feel of silence a ranger relishes in high rocky wilderness! Try reading Doug Peacock’s Walking It Off for a potion of wild medicine in desert travel. Or Peace Like a River by Leif Enger for a family’s poignant search through harsh landscapes for an outlaw brother. Or Wild Life, an incredible novel by Molly Gloss, who weaves a strange, ethereal encounter with a Sasquatch colony in their wild northern forest.

For younger readers, Soun Tetoken by Ken Thomasma portrays the sorrowful tale of Chief Joseph’s people traversing the plains and forests. Ben Mikaelsen’s Touching Spirit Bear unfolds again in the Northwest where a bear and isolation heal a boy’s soul. Farley Mowat’s People of the Deer is a stunning portrait of the intimacy of wild country and the Inuit people. Who can equal the magnificence of the vast, wild worlds of Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, Tolkien’s iconic Lord of the Rings, the river explorations of Tom Sawyer, and The Odyssey of Homer?

Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard is the unforgettable account of his tracking more than the elusive creature in Nepal. What of The River Why by David Duncan and the glorious A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean? Or Beowulf’s pursuit of Grendel? Ah, the journeys!

The wild country we feel under our feet with the protagonist by our side is real. We are part of the journey, the magic and the austerity of the wild. The enticement of wrapping myself in exquisitely “painted” new territory- wild, untrammeled, beautiful- is this reader’s sheer joy.

What are you reading? Please consider adding a review to the pages of THE LYNX. We urge you to send your short review of a book or article to us at

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