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Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages

At the Edge of the Orchard

At the Edge of the Orchard - Tracy Chevalier

I wouldn't say this will be one of the best of 2016, but this is nonetheless a good book and a super fast read. Good historical fiction--fictional people doing real things in real places, with a few real people thrown into the mix.

Robert Goodenough is brought up, at least to age 9, in the Black Swamp area of Ohio. His family, from Connecticut, is trying to make a go of homesteading there in the 1830s. The need for 50 fruit trees to prove the claim is his father's biggest concern, as he loves the Golden Pippins his family orginally brought from England.

At age 9 Robert unexpectedly strikes out on his own. He moves around, regularly changing jobs, and he finally ends up in California. There he meets William Lobb, and becomes a tree collector, shipping trees and seeds to England. William Lobb was real, tree and seed collecting was really a thing, the sequoia dance floor and bowling alley trees are now part of Calaveras Big Trees State Park,  and the Black Swamp really was not a great place to homestead.

 

 

Summer 2010—this is the dance floor stump. It's huge, and I completely understand the sadness Robert Goodenough feels when he sees this use of such a magnificent tree.