See You in a Hundred Years, Four Seasons in Forgotten America, Logan Ward -
Logan Ward and his wife, Heather, have traveled the world, Kenya, France, Peru. But nothing compares to their next adventure: a trip back in time, living the life of dirt farmers in rural Virginia, circa 1900.
Disillusioned by city life, the Wards pull their son out of day care and trade skyscrapers for silos in search of simpler times. Adopting strict rules that limit them to only the tools that were available at the turn of the century, they face a year of struggles, where unremarkable feats putting food on the table, attending a neighbor's 4th of July party, become the worthiest accomplishments of their lives.
With no phone, no computer, and few distractions aside from irritable livestock and a plague of garden pests, Logan and Heather begin to reconnect and rebuild their fractured marriage. More than that, they find what they didn't know they were looking for in a community. As the skepticism of neighbors and family turns to admiration, the Wards develop a network of support and love bound by neither time nor technology. By renouncing everything from cell phones to supermarkets, they discover what's important in life, whether 100 years ago or 100 years in the future.
See You in a Hundred Years is for anyone who has ever dreamed about the good old days, and wondered how good they really were!
And, The Walk, William deBuys -
From Pulitzer Prize finalist William deBuys comes an uncommonly beautiful book, a testament to a particular place and to the horses that inhabit it, all of which help him to rediscover hope after the end of a long marriage and the death of a friend.
The Walk, similar to deBuys' book River of Traps, set on the small farm in a New Mexico mountain valley that the author has tended since 1976, explores the illuminating ways in which personal history and natural history interweave in a familiar landscape. The book is breathtaking for its compressed power and flawless prose. It demonstrates one man's quiet attachment to familiar ground and how walking that ground week by week and month by month, takes him from despair to reconciliation and hope.
Horses play a major role in deBuys' life, and he masterfully captures their spirit both metaphorically and physically. The book's middle essay is a riveting portrayal of a man's intimate and powerful experience with a horse. "They made their way into the work," deBuys says, "without planning or intention: they just galloped in."
deBuys' real talent by some invisible means is wrestling beauty and depth from his place on the land to the page and to the reader.
And, Way Off The Road, Discovering The Peculiar Charms of Small Town America, Bill Geist -
Throughout his career, Bill Geist's most popular stories have been about slightly odd but lovable individuals. Coming on the heels of his 5600 mile RV trip across our fair land is Way Off The Road, a hilarious and compelling mix of stories about the folks featured in Geist's TV segments, along with the observations on his 20 years of life on the road. Written in the deadpan style that has endeared him to millions, Geist shares tales of eccentric individuals, such as the 93-year-old pilot-paperboy who delivers to his far-flung subscribers by plane; the Arizona mailman who delivers mail via horseback down the walls of the Grand Canyon; the Muleshoe, Texas anchorwoman who delivers the news from her bedroom (occasionally in her bathrobe); and my favorite: The Church of the Holy BBQ in Huntsville, Texas.
Geist shows us first hand how life in fly-over America can be odd, strangely fascinating, hysterical, and anything but boring.