Over the weekend I finished a very interesting book Poets on the Peaks by John Suiter. It’s about a set of the famous “beat poets”, mostly Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac, and time time each of them spent working as fire lookouts for the Forest Service in the North Cascades. It’s a fascinating storey about not only the poets (whom I didn’t know very much about) but the history and geography of the North Cascades. It’s inspired me to pick up copies of both The Gary Snyder Reader, and The Dharma Bums, which is largely about Kerouac’s time in the mountains, and hanging out with Gary and Phillip (and Allen Ginsburg). Poets on the Peaks is accompanied by some fabulous B & W photos of the poets and the North Cascades, some of which come from archives and some taken by the author in the lat 90’s.
The one I’m currently chewing through (it’s hard to put down) is Charlie Huston’s Six Bad Things : A Novel, which is the sequel to the hard core page-turner Caught Stealing : A Novel. If you did action/crime writing, these are really worth checking out. Kind of “North-Northwest” meets “Pulp Fiction”.
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