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Some Brags and Some Books

February 26, 2018

I’m getting evaluated this term at the college where I teach and so I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about what all I’ve accomplished, particularly in the past three years since my last evaluation.

I bragged some about this blog and about Wine Predator — specifically that I published over 150 blog posts in 2017 and that I get sent lots of wine and I get to attend amazing seminars about wines from around the world  — and I listed some of the conferences I’ve attended like these:

  • Wine Bloggers Conferences: 2017 Santa Rosa; 2016 Lodi (speaker); 2014 Santa Barbara; 2013 Penticton BC; 2012 Portland (speaker); 2010 Walla Walla; 2009 and 2008 Santa Rosa
  • Wine Marketing and Tourism Conferences: 2017 Santa Rosa, CA; 2014 Paso Robles, CA
  • International Food Bloggers Conferences: 2017 and 2016 (speaker) Sacramento; 2011 Santa Monica (speaker)
  • Associated Writing Programs Annual Meeting: 2016 April, Los Angeles, CA
  • Climates of Change and the Therapy of Ideas: 2016 April, Pacifica Graduate Institute,
  • Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization: 2015 June, Claremont College, CA
  • Epiphanies: Big Dreams and Transformative Meetings with Christine Downing 2014 Nov. PGI
  • Imagination and Medicine IV: Soul and Body in Nature: 2014 May, Pacifica Graduate Institute

I of course mentioned that I completed 2800 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and I rather casually dropped plan for pilgrimages in the following years and a few other choice accomplishments:

  • I was one of the first women to complete the 2800 mile Pacific Crest Trail (unlike Cheryl Strayed I did the whole thing!)
  • I have climbed many 13-14k peaks in CA, CO, and Wyoming.
  • I have worked with peregrine falcons, goshawks, burrowing owls, and spotted owls.
  • I’m a yoga practitioner and teacher.
  • Camino de Santiago (Europe 2018),
  • Inca Trail (South America 2019),
  • John Muir Trail (North America 2020),
  • Mount Kailash (Asia 2021).

But what really stumped me was the suggestion that I list all of the books and other reading I’ve done in the past few years.

Now if I’d been keeping track, it might not be that hard. But although in 2015 I started a blog post about the 15 best books I read in 2015, I never got around to publishing it (maybe I should! Or at least review it!). And I’ve read more than 15 books each year since as well as a copious amount of essays and other articles.

Seriously, not only to I WRITE A LOT, but I read voraciously and widely. These are the books that I listed that I recently completed:

  • Sherman Alexie: memoir (2017)
  • Margaret Atwood: Cats Eye (1998); The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
  • Craig Child: House of Rain (2006); Apocalyptic Planet (2012)
  • Didion: Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
  • Louise Erdrich: The Antelope Wife (1998)
  • Elizabeth Strout: Olive Kittredge (2008)
  • Florence Williams: The Nature Fix (2017)

I would recommend all of them and even though The Handmaid’s Tale is Ventura College’s One Book One Campus book this year, I have decided to add only two to them to the list of books I suggest to my students for their book club project:

So what are the other books?

  • Violence Girl by Alice Bag (2011)
  • Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard (2005)
  • Boy About Town by Tony Fletcher (2014)

  • Bad Indians by Deborah Miranda (2012)

  • Life By The Cup by Zhena Muzyka (2014)
  • Always Running by Luis Rodriguez (1993)
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2012)

What books will you spring for this spring? Today I’ll ask my students to do some research in the computer lab and give me a note about which book they want to read so I can form groups of students reading the same book. Usually I form groups of 4-6. The students do a group presentation about the book and, individually, they write a critical analysis or book review about it. To form the groups, I want to know–

1. which book is first choice to read and why,

2. which book is second choice to read and why

3. which book is a NO NO NEVER and why,

4. who to work with and why

5. who NOT to work with

6. whether who to work with is more important than what read.

I’m also going to ask them which is their reading on writing group, who is in it, and what they like best about that book — and their group.

Here’s my fall harvest of books. I wonder what will come up this spring for me?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2018 5:31 pm

    Very impressive list if accomplishments and growing. I can’t begin to express what a great pleasure it is getting to know you. I don’t have a super hero emoji but if I did, I would certainly bestow it upon you. Keep up your badass life and thanks for sharing with us.👊🐕

  2. February 27, 2018 6:20 pm

    aw, thank you! fist bump doggie emoji back atcha!!

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