I haven't done a book post in a while and since the nice man in the big brown truck brought a package from Amazon (killer of good local bookstores everywhere) I thought it was time.
It hard for me to classify Liza's book so let me tell you about my experience with it. I found it in the local lending library and took it home for a read. Although it was only 284 pages (I can polish off that in an evening with a decent cup of tea) I was only just started when my loan was up. The reason being that this isn't your usual story book. Part almanac, part history and language primer and part garden diary. This is something that deserves to be enjoyed over time. So I bought a copy and plan to give it the year or more it deserves.
OK I have weird tastes in reading material. Japanese and Chinese poets that have turned to dust between 2 and 5 thousand years ago are my favorites. The trouble is I have no gift for languages or translation from the original texts. Red Pine has such a gift and fortunately for me is spending his time working with all the greats just so I have something to read in the evenings after dinner. What a guy! I can't overstate the importance of the translator for this type of work. I suppose you could get a piece of software to do the literal translation. But a good translator and Red Pine is much more than good brings more to the work than just translation. Let's say you find an old and forgotten cook book from several thousand years ago and coincidentally you are hungry. You could run the book thru a translator and get ingredients and some old world instructions like "Ye needs to travel on the kings highway to the miller...". This isn't helpful and you are still hungry. What a translator like Red Pine does is to live with the work long enough to translate the feelings and meanings behind the words. To return to the cooking analogy, you drop off the text to Red Pine pop down to the pub for a pint and when you come back he has translated the book but more importantly he has used it to cook dinner!
I've read this one before and it is definitely good enough to read over. The stories (or story's if you like to torment the English majors) are simple enough. A bunch of college kids wander in a semi orderly fashion thru the GNW looking to find, climb and study the big trees. That the colleges, Reed college and Humboldt state university tend to attract (or do they turn them out ?) some interesting characters, should give you a feel for the character of the book. Interesting, quirky and easy to read again and again.