It's nice to see that five-star reviews are still coming in on amazon.com for the collection of California Desert literature I edited and researched!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Five Star Reviews of No Place 4 A Puritan Desert Anthology
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent anthology, October 24, 2011
By Leo A. Mallette (Rancho Mirage, CA, USA) - This review is from: No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California's Deserts (California Legacy) (Paperback)
Ruth Nolan has put together an assortment of stories that we mere mortals would never be able to find by ourselves. This book is packed with telling stories of the desert; stories written by long-gone as well as contemporary writers. NO PLACE FOR A PURITAN is densely packed with many stories and it took me a while to get through it, but I enjoyed most of them - this last statement is not a cut against either the book or Nolan: It refers to the story about a rattlesnake and a few poems - the rattlesnake story unnerved me and I'm simply not a fan of poetry. Buy this book now.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Anthology of Desert Writing, August 5, 2010
By C. Schaffer (Nevada)This review is from: No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California's Deserts (California Legacy) (Paperback)
This is a great anthology if you're dreaming of the desert or camping in it and want a good read in your tent during a dust storm. The anthology includes big name authors and some unexpected gold from local authors - nature writing and history, poetry and prose intermingled to reflect the extremes of the California deserts.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, February 15, 2010
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA: This review is from: No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California's Deserts (California Legacy) (Paperback)
The desert, barren, devoid of life, but home to some great stories. "No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California's Deserts" is a collection of literature in many different formats. From excepts from novels to poetry, to short fiction and more, Ruth Nolan compiles quite the read for any who doubt the power of the desert, invoked for its mysteriousness, its hopelessness, its remoteness, and so much more. "No Place for a Puritan" is an excellent read for those who doubt the literary inspiration that is the deserts of California.
And here's one more review, by Donna McCrohan Rosenthal, just published in the News Review newspaper of Ridgecrest, CA. Ridgecrest is a small town in the northern Mojave Desert. "It's Like Being There":
The premise behind this excellent volume starts with something obvious to us yet surprising to most readers: California deserts have produced more than grizzled survivalist tales and their literature ex-tends well beyond stereotypical metaphors for triumph over adversity. To the contrary, says editor Ruth Nolan, “The true story of California's Moja-ve and western Colorado deserts is as rich and textured as their vast geography, which covers twenty-five hundred miles and parts of seven of the state's counties.”
Supporting this claim, “No Place for a Puritan” offers stories, essays, poems, journal entries and news reports by 75 contributors, among them Edward Abbey, Mary Austin, Pearl Bailey, Cesar Chavez, Joan Didion, Frank Norris, Sylvia Plath, John Steinbeck and Susan Straight.
The collection takes its name from a poem by William Justema, a twentieth-century former monk who, in addition to writing, designed wallpaper in San Francisco for 40 years. In other pieces, William Lewis Manley describes his famous rescue of a wagon train stranded in Death Valley, Asa Merton Russell better known as “Panamint Russ” details the hardships of mining for gold (“I wondered if the elements were trying to run me off, or just annoy me”) and National Public Radio commentator Craig Childs recounts a train crossing a railroad bridge in a flash flood (“Rain, when it comes to this desert, falls out of the sky like bricks”).
Aldous Huxley, contemplative futurist author of “Brave New World,” who lived his later years in the Mojave Desert, suggested in 1956 that “By taking a certain amount of trouble you might still be able to get yourself eaten by a bear in the state of New York. And without any trouble at all you can get bitten by a rattler in the Hollywood hills, or die of thirst, while wandering through an uninhabited desert, within only a hundred and fifty miles of Los Angeles … (yet) solitude is receding at the rate of four and a half kilometers per annum.”
Nolan’s selections address dangers, refuge, exile, spiritual and scientific discoveries, romance, conservation, protection, and the lure of the desert that, “far from being the disposable wasteland it was once thought to be, is in fact a fragile, overcrowded, overused, and intensely threatened landscape.” California deserts find their voice in “No Place for a Puritan.”
Fellow desert dwellers, it's calling you.
This weekly column is written by members of the Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Meetings are held the first Wednesday evening of each month at High Desert Haven. The branch’s book, “Planet Mojave,” is available at several local venues as well as on the website, planetmojave.com.