Saturday, November 15, 2008

Curses, Memed Again!

Book Calendar has hit me with the dread Bookworm Awards meme. I have been asked to like him for it.

Here are the rules:

Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56.Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.

I happen to have a copy of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire on the shelf behind me. It's the 1990 trade paperback edition, of the book, originally published in 1968. The fifth sentence is:

In addition to this sort of practical guide service the ranger will also be a bit of a naturalist, able to edify the party in his charge with the natural and human history of the area, in detail and in broad outline.

Abbey goes on to say:

Critics of my program will argue that it is too late for such a radical reformation of a people's approach to the out-of-doors, that the pattern is too deeply set, and that the majority of Americans would not be willing to emerge from the familiar luxury of their automobiles, even if briefly, to try the little-known and problematic advantages of the bicycle, the saddle horse, and the footpath. This might be so; but how can we be sure unless we dare the experiment? I, for one suspect that millions of our citizens, especially the young, are yearning for adventure, difficulty, challenge - they will respond with enthusiasm. What we must do, prodding the Park Service into the forefront of the demonstration, is provide these young people with the opportunity, the assistance, and the necessary encouragement.

Abbey is proposing, here, to close the national parks to vehicular traffic, in order to make room for the onslaught of tourists and to give those tourists a chance to get out and stub their toes on the natural world. Some parks, like Yosemite, have since closed some areas, except for the buses they run to keep people from having to walk. Later Abbey would propose other things, like blowing up the Glen Canyon dam. His novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, became a kind of manifesto for eco-terrorism, such as it is and inspired the formation of Earth First. It's a good thing he never met Barack Obama - at least as far as I know.

I'm supposed to pass on the meme infection to five other bloggers. I just happen to know several people who regularly read ACTUAL BOOKS and sometimes review them; contributors to the Book Review Blog Carnival. Here are my chosen victims:

A Progressive on the Prairie

Cromley's World

Linus's Blanket

Living the Scientific Life


I hope that each of them will accept this meme with good humor, or at least without threatening bodily harm.


  1. oh hey! i'll totally do it. esp because the book nearest to me will surely make me look super cool. haha-- take care!

  2. Well, I'm glad to see you're such a good sport about it. Uh...mostly.

    No blowing up dams, now.


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