Re: Summer Reading List


I've been reading too much news. :o( My boating literature fix has been been coming mostly from the boat magazines -- Small Craft Advisor (every Coot should read it, especially since MAIB is gone), Water Craft, 48 North, and WoodenBoat. But I have read some books...

Texas Coot Gerard recommended Canoeing With the Cree, by Eric Sevaried. I already had it in my book stash, so dug in. After graduating from high school in 1931, 17-year-old Sevareid and a friend a couple of years older set out to canoe from Minneapolis to Hudson's Bay! Sevaried was already a budding journalist, and salesman <g>. He convinced the publisher of the Minneapolis Star to sponsor the trip, if Sevaried filed reports whenever he could. The newspaper put up $50 to get them started, and promised another $50 when (if) they reached Hudson's Bay. The first part of the trip involved paddling 500 miles _up_ the Minnesota River. After a short portage to the Red River of the North it was all downhill, but the travails were by no means over. Later in life he wrote that the trip from Lake Winnipeg to Hudson's Bay was even more miserable than he'd related in the book. Sevareid was 22 when he wrote Canoeing With the Cree, but it's well written and a Good Read.

After being introduced to Eric Sevaried's writing I decided to read the memoir he wrote at the ripe old age of 32, Not So Wild a Dream. It may sound presumptious to write a memoir at 32, but he'd just been through the buildup to WW II in Europe, and the war itself. He went to France in 1937 as a print news correspondent, then he was recruited by Edward R. Murrow to become a radio news correspondent. He and his wife visited Germany, he was on the ground during the fall of France, fled to England and experienced the Battle of Britain in London. After spending some time in the States and South America he was sent to Chunking to report on Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government. There was a bit of a detour after the transport plane that was flying him over the Hump from India crashed... I'm still working on the book, but I know the ending -- he survives the war. <g> A very interesting read. Unfortunately, some of what he writes about feels familiar today. <sigh>

Over at the "beach cottage" in Florence I've got a book by another newsman, Ernie Pyle. In the thirties Pyle was a roving reporter of human-interest stories for the Scripps-Howard newspapers. After his death some of the columns were collected in the book I have -- Home Country. It's a fun book to pick up now and then to read for a little while, maybe while sitting on the throne, since the stories are short and stand on their own. Pyle's writing is witty, and the characters he finds are interesting. The book is an engaging look at a bygone era. "G.B. ('Deac') Parker, editor-in-chief of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, said he had found in Pyle's vacation articles 'a sort of Mark Twain quality and they knocked my eyes right out'."

Small Craft Advisor (SCA)

Water Craft

48 North (free at boat dealers and marine supply stores)


Canoeing With the Cree

Not So Wild a Dream

Canoeing With the Cree and Not So Wild a Dream are available as electronic books (don't be put off by the interminable forward to the 1976 edition)

Home Country

John <jkohnen@...>
I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book. (Groucho Marx)

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