Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Reading Northern New Mexico

My pleasure reading this summer has been all about Northern New Mexico, and I'm surprised to find out how much literature has been set in this area. I've just scratched the surface, but here are a few books I've come across, along with me comments.

Los Alamos, by Joseph Kanon. As literature the book is terrible, but it has a whole lot of information about the Los Alamos Lab, the making of the bomb and all the folks involved in doing it, and it got me very curious about learning more. The book I'm eager to read next is American Prometheus : The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. I drove up to Los Alamos one day this summer and spent the day in the historical musuems. The LANL is definitely alive and running today and is very controversial both here in Taos and in my hometown of Berkeley CA (I believe it is administered by UC Berkeley)

After Los Alamos, I read The Milagro Beanfield War, by John Nichols, a cult novel from the 70s the pains a delightful picture of life in the villages around Taos. Folks say that the life is not much different here today. The characters come alive -- they are lovable with all their flaws. My only complaint is that the book is too long. He could have gotten the point across in half the words. Nichols has written a number of books, fiction and non-fiction about his hometown of Taos. I hope to get a chance to browse through

I heard Chimayo resident Chellis Glendinning read from her new book Chiva : a village takes on the global herion trade. This is Chellis' personal story of her relationship with a heroin addict and her experience living in the village and town that is the number 1 cener for heroin trade in the United States. Chellis is a beautiful writer, but her weaving poetry and politics and her personal story just didn't work for me. Her point could easily have been made without interjecting her political beliefs.

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