Archive for January, 2010

From the Depths of Winter

"Winter Moon" courtesy of National Geographic

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”

~ Bill Watterson

Not that we all need to be especially ornery in the winter, but like Watterson (who is the creator of Calvin and Hobbes) states, something happens in the gloom of these dreary days.  To prevent you from getting too far into the doldrums, here are a few good reads Рall with winter in the title.


The Birds of Winter by Kit Harrison – Winter birdwatching tips

The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne R. Coffey – Herb Brooks and the “Miracle” Team

The Center of Winter by Marya Hornbacher – Triumph (and humor) amidst loss, depression, and suicide

Cherries in Winter: My Family’s Recipe for Hope in Hard Times by Suzan Colon – Recipe memoir linking the Great Depression to the current recession

Hard Winter: A Western Story by Johnny D. Boggs – Friends, rivalry,cows, and snow in Montana

In the Land of Winter by Richard Grant – A young, single mother is transformed by witchcraft

Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan by Ann Jones – Policy and Post(?)war Afghanistan

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Children’s classic about one winter on the prairie

Mrs. de Winter by Susan Hill – Sequel to DuMaurier’s Rebecca

The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland by Barbara Sjoholm – A look at the people of the Arctic Circle and the building of the Ice Hotel

Winter Brothers: A Season at the Edge of America by Ivan Doig – Journey across the Pacific Northwest through the eyes of James Gilchrist Swan

Winter Count by Barry Lopez – Short stories with lots of imagery

Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems by Mary Oliver – Essays and poetry on nature

Winter in Madrid by CJ Sansom – Thrills and espionage in Civil War Spain

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck – Classic dealing with ambition and morality

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly – Crusading young female doctor in 1900’s London

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher – Five people, one house, the shortest day of the year

Around the World – Nepal

Want to take a trip around the world? In this economy the best many of us will be able to afford will be those taken in our armchairs, but that could be the best way to travel. No lines, no screaming infants (or adults!) on interminable flights, no packing! We’ll “visit” a new place each month, highlighting culture, history, and even politics. Are you ready for our first excursion? Well then, welcome to Nepal.

A building in Kathmandu, Nepal.

A few facts before we get into the resources:

  • Nepal is a rugged country, landlocked between China and India, slightly larger than the U.S. state of Arkansas.
  • It is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama¬† otherwise known as Buddha.
  • Its most famous “landmark” is probably Mount Everest.
  • While over 90% of the population speak Nepali, more than 20 different languages and their dialects are spoken in Nepal.


The Soul of a Rhino: A Nepali Adventure with Kings and Elephant Drivers, Billionaires and Bureacrats, Shamans and Scientists, and the Indian Rhinoceros – Hemanta Mishra

Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya – Jamaica Kincaid

Love and Death in Kathmandu – Amy Willesee

The Guru of Love – Samrat Upadhyay

Himalayan Passage: Seven Months in the High Country of Tibet, Nepal, China, India and Pakistan – Jeremy Schmidt

Hidden Himalayas – Thomas L. Kelly

Rhythms of a Himalayan Village – Hugh R. Downs

The King Who Rides a Tiger, and Other Folk Tales from Nepal – Patricia Hitchcock

Tiger of the Snows: The Boy Whose Dream Was Everest – Robert Burleigh


Library of Congress: Country Study

U.S. Department of State: Background Information

Kathmandu Post

PBS: Lost Treasures of Tibet


New Year, New Look

Somehow, the idea of a “new” year and a blank slate is the most appealing part of January. I just love the idea of beginning again, and a fresh, clean, calendar is the right way to start. In support of this, I’ve decided to change the blog up a little bit. I liked the look of this theme (and not just because green is my favorite color), especially the separate boxes and date tabs. Unfortunately, there was not an option for a photo header, so our wonderful black and white photo of the Shoshone Falls is gone (although this might give me a reason to use more photos from our collection).

Let me know if you like the new look. (You may also let me know if you hate it, but be warned, I don’t have to publish those comments! Ha.)