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Villette
Helen Cooper, Charlotte Brontë
Parade's End (Vintage Classics)
Ford Madox Ford
The Solace of Open Spaces - Gretel Ehrlich Part travelogue, part journal, Gretel Ehrlich writes from her own wild west Walden Pond -- but it's got sage brush, rattlesnakes, tornadoes and nights that hit 40 below. She says she didn't plan to stay. She came to "the planet of Wyoming" after the loss of her partner, to write an article for PBS(?) and found herself living alone in a cabin with her dogs. "It's May and I'm just awakened from a nap, curled against sagebrush the way my dog taught me to sleep-sheltered from wind..." She interviews sheep herders, rides after cattle with the best of the boys and writes this lovely prose poem of a book. Open it up and you can smell the sage. I should admit that the book initially terrified me because I read it right before we moved to Cody, Wyoming. It's not a book makes a person jump up and say, "Man, I want to live in Wyoming." In fact, I was saying things more like, "Jesus Christ, a rattlesnake got in her kitchen? ...and she killed it? ...with a shovel? You think maybe we should reconsider!?" But, like the author, I wound up falling in love with the huge sky and open spaces she writes about so eloquently: the big empty basin, the Wind River Valley, the Big Horn Mountains and the witch's cauldron of Yellowstone Park. It's fascinating to read about, but tougher to live there and it takes a hardy soul to stay permanently. I didn't get hit by lightning, or clobber any snakes, but just like Gretel Ehrlich, I don't live in Wyoming anymore, either.