The Start of Summer Reading

I've finished reading two books now since I came home to Ketchikan: Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett, and The Golden Spruce, by John Vaillant. Ken Follett and I have a somewhat substantial history together, as I first read his Pillars of the Earth back in the summer before my sophomore year of high school. A few years later I read the sequel to this medieval saga, World Without End, and subsequently recommended both books to my then future girlfriend. She ended up loving them even more than I did, so last Christmas my family gave her Fall of Giants, the first book in Follett's planned 20th century trilogy. After reading it, she said it had become her favorite book she'd ever read, and now that I'm done with it I really love it too. I'm not sure if I could call it my favorite or if it's even possible for me to pick out a favorite book any more, but that's another story.

I started The Golden Spruce at the end of last summer, since it was in the bookstore where I work, and I had gotten a decent way through it until - calamity of calamities - the last copy was sold. I tried to get a copy from the library, but it was gone, so it was only a week ago that I finally was able to check it out and finish it. The story is so amazing that it's hard to believe it's true: First off, who is ready to accept that there are actually some Sitka spruce trees with constant, brilliantly golden-colored needles? Then, who would believe that the biggest and most famous of all these trees, Kiidk'yaas, was cut down in 1997 as a political statement by a man of questionable sanity? For me, it's even harder to believe because I had never heard about the tree or its death, even though it stood little over a hundred miles away (which is nothing in terms of Alaska/Canada distances). After reading this book, I want to visit Haida Gwaii more than ever, as well as all the other exciting and wondrous places of the Northwest Coast that I've still never been to.

As for the rest of my summer reading, I'm planning on finishing a few more books I started months ago, including two from my Eastern European History class last fall. Then I'll be moving on to unknown shores, and I'll be trying to read as much as I can.