|Budd Inlet, Olympia, Washington (C) Ron Scheer|
Two months ago BITS went on hiatus while we took a road trip up and down the West Coast. The main objective was to escape some of the desert heat at home, where the household weather station says the temperature got up to 117 degrees while we were gone. We also missed the smoke and ash from the fires west of here a while ago.
A good friend in Olympia, Washington, let us housesit, which was perfect for a couple of people who aren’t all that adventurous anymore. Neighbors across the street went to the Arctic for a week while we mowed their lawn and watered the flowers and tomatoes. We were content to see their (breathtaking) photos when they returned.
Between walks along the many hiking trails through and around town, a day-trip to Mount Rainier, and crossing to Victoria for a visit, with stops in Port Townsend and Sequim and ascent to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, we mostly hung around the house reading. Thanks to Jonathan Evison, by the way, whose novel West of Here (reviewed here) was a great introduction to the Olympic Peninsula.
|Powell's Books, Portland (C) Ron Scheer|
The Paperback Exchange in Olympia saw us three times and Powell’s in Portland, which is an amazing experience for any book shopper. I know they don’t have everything in print, but it sure seemed that way. A nifty feature is the way they shelve used and new books together. In the western section I found OOP copies of two John Reese novels in hardback, as well as B. M. Bower’s Flying U Ranch (1912) in perfect condition for $5.95. My traveling companion, a crime fiction fan, came out with a shopping bag full.
I should mention Munro’s Books in Victoria, too. There a helpful employee introduced me to Canadian author Guy Vanderhaeghe, whose two recent western novels, The Last Crossing and A Good Man, came home with me.
Writing up reviews as I read, I can promise you future posts on books by Loren D. Estleman, Richard Wheeler, Johnny Boggs, Jory Sherman, Robert Conley, Ann Parker, Elmore Leonard, John Reese, W. R. Benton, and Lloyd Fonvielle. Interviews are also lined up for Richard Wheeler, Johnny Boggs, and Ann Parker.
Finally, I finished the last of the early frontier novels for the book I’ve been writing: Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona (1884) and Irene Welch Grissom’s The Superintendent (1910). Reviews of both will appear here shortly. I’m now working on the second draft of that survey of early frontier fiction and have hopes that it will see print before the end of the year.
Last and maybe least, I consolidated all the Old West glossaries I’ve been posting at BITS for the past 3 years. I’ll be starting with the A’s and then proceeding through the alphabet so that eventually the entire glossary will be easily searchable online. There will also be separate postings for Old West cuss words and words related to strong drink.
Good to be back, and I’ll be catching up with you all again in the blogs and at FB.
Photo credits: Ron Scheer
Coming up: Gil Adamson, The Outlander