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Friday, September 2, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation!

Shoreline in Front of Outpost Motel, Grand Marais, MN
borrowed from their website
By Jan Pease
Everyone agrees that summer has gone incredibly fast, but why, when you have a week off in a beautiful location, does time go even faster?   Dave, Becca and I just returned from a week on the North Shore, so this is our annual “what’s in the book bag” confessional.

My husband Dave is reading the “Sharpe’s Rifle” series by Bernard Cornwall, and also the series, “Game of Thrones,” by George R.R. Martin.  He brought three books plus his Bible, which goes everywhere he does.  We celebrated his birthday by adding to his book pile.

Becca brought her usual selection of geology, botany, and natural history books.  To celebrate a friendly fresh water otter that visited “our” shoreline, she bought a copy of Stan Teikala’s “Mammals of Minnesota Field Guide.”  Her other reading selections are on her notebook, because she downloads novels from various sources.  She’s an avid Pioneerland ebook fan and often is on waiting lists for popular ebooks from Pioneerland and from Hennepin County Library. 

And as for me, I brought my Nook, which has now 60 books including two Bibles, a cookbook, and too many other choices to choose from.  I started reading the best-selling “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin,” by Erik Larson and “The Sleepwalkers,” by Paul Grossman.  Both were recommended to me by a patron, and it is interesting to read both a non-fiction account and a novel set during the rise of Hitler’s Germany in the early 1930’s.  I’m reading “Dug Down Deep,” by Joshua Harris, recommended by Raechel (see Litchfield Independent Review August 25th edition). I wish this had been the book we used in theology classes instead of the tomes I struggled through in college.   I can’t leave out “The Name of the Wind,” by Patrick Rothfuss.  This is simply a great fantasy read.  I can’t wait to get through this one, so I can read his second book, “Wise Man’s Fear,” which was published in March of this year. I’m also re-reading the “Girl Who Played With Fire,” by Stieg Larsson.  I read it last year but can’t remember a lot of it. 

Every day I watched Lake Superior in its (her?) many moods.  One day waves crashed on the rocks, the next it was quiet; cool one day, warm the next.   We watched spindly fingers of fog stretch toward the pine trees on the shore and then suddenly evaporate in warm sunshine.   One day a bank of fog made an interesting shade of gray/pink/lavender against the blue water that made me wish I was an artist who could capture colors with paint.

A highlight of this trip was visiting the studio of a real artist, Betsy Bowen.  She is famous for her woodcuts, and her gallery also features other local artists.  Betsy was there the day we visited, friendly and gracious about my star-struck state.  We have her books in the children’s collection, and I purchased an autographed copy of “Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman” to replace our worn edition.

Our hosts, Jim and Jennifer Plahuta of the Outpost Motel, were accommodating as always.  They provided everything we needed to be very comfortable without hovering.  As I talked to other guests at this family-owned motel, I discovered that many of us make a yearly visit, bringing along books and dogs, kids and grandchildren.  To our little dog Harley’s dismay, there were several canine guests with their owners.  He tends to think of it as his place, and after several visits, I feel the same way. 

See you at the library!