The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, Alexandra Fuller -
When Alexandra Fuller set out to write about the oil rigs on Wyoming's high plains, she was expecting the fierce weather and the roughnecks, the big skies and the industry men, but she wasn't expecting to encounter a real-life cowboy. Then Colton H. Bryant happened upon her story, a soulful boy with a mustang-taming heart and blue eyes that'll look right through you. The story of his life took over Fuller's writing and a kind of magic ensued, the result of which became this book: The Legend of Colton H. Bryant.
Along with his best friend, Jake, Colton survives a sometimes cruel adolescence where neighborhood bullies tease him for his brand of optimistic goofiness and where his mantra, "Mind over matter. I don't mind, so it don't matter," keeps him fighting on. Into his adulthood, Colton loves all things Wyoming, horses, hunting, pickup trucks and camping out.
But when real life comes due, Colton grows up and finds himself a family and when, against his wife's wishes, Colton joins a crew of roughnecks on the oil rigs that reach high into the Wyoming sky, all the big heart in the world can't save him from the new, unkind greed that has possessed his beloved Wyoming during this latest mineral boom. Tragedy seems inevitable.
The bittersweet story of Colton H. Bryant could not be told without the telling of the land that grew him, where the great high plains meet the Rocky Mountains, to create a vista of lonely beauty. It is here that lives of unembellished stoicism are lived, where friendships last forever and where the existence of one boy has become a true story as deeply moving as the life that inspired it.
And, Undiscovered, Debra Winger -
"A dozen years ago the question of where I was going got louder than anything else in my head. My life had taken a certain trajectory into the world of films and stardom when I was quite young, and I hadn't stopped to question it. But in truth, it was like wanting a pony for your birthday and getting a big shiny merry-go-round instead.
Although I have participated in the odd project here and there over the last twelve years, I had no real desire to hop back on that merry-go-round. I watched others as they grabbed for the gold ring and felt fine out in the country on my pony. It is a strange experience to be so in a certain world, and then not. I tried to imagine how to start anew." - from Undiscovered
And, The Man Who Loved China, The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, Simon Winchester -
In sumptuous and illuminating detail, Simon Winchester brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, long the world's most technologically advanced country.
No cloistered don, this tall, married Englishman was a free thinking intellectual, and an eccentric. In 1937, while working as a biochemist at Cambridge University, he instantly fell in love with a visiting Chinese student with whom he began a lifelong affair. He soon became fascinated with China, and she swiftly persuaded the ever-enthusiastic Needham to travel to her home country, where he embarked on a series of extraordinary expeditions to the farthest frontiers of the ancient empire. He searched everywhere for evidence to bolster his conviction that the Chinese were responsible for hundreds of mankind's most familiar innovations, including printing, the compass, explosives, suspension bridges, even toilet paper, often centuries before the rest of the world. His thrilling and dangerous journeys, vividly recreated by Winchester, took him across war torn China to far flung outposts, consolidating his deep admiration for the Chinese people.
After the war, Needham was determined to tell the world what he had discovered, and began writing his majestic Science and Civilization in China, describing the country's long and astonishing history of invention and technology. By the time he died, he had produced, essentially single handedly, seventeen immense volumes, marking him as the greatest one man encyclopedist ever.
Both epic and intimate, The Man Who Loved China tells the sweeping story of China through Needham's remarkable life. Here is an unforgettable tale of what makes men, nations, and indeed, mankind itself great, related by one of the world's inimitable storytellers.
See you at Rylander!