Friday, November 10, 2006

Dude, what are you reading?

Air travel gives me the time to do pleasure reading, especially if I'm stuck in a middle or aisle seat. I'm baffled by people who can seemingly sit for two hours on an airplane staring off into space. Oh sure, they'll pick up the airline magazine and quickly thumb through. A few people pull out their laptops and catch up on work or play a game. I seldom pull out the laptop except on longer cross-country flights, which for me are rare (last one was February 2004 to the Carolinas, into Charlotte and out Raleigh-Durham). Most of my air travel is western US, with flights under three hours. I'm usually not very chatty and most other people aren't either. Every once in awhile I sit next to an interesting chatterbox. Really, I prefer to read or stare out the window.

So what am I reading now? I just finished up "A World Transformed - Firsthand Accounts of California Before the Gold Rush" edited by Joshua Paddison. It's a collection of writings from early California explorers and adventurers like Juan Crespi, George Vancouver, and Richard Henry Dana, with Dana being the most interesting. I'm reading now "Bear Flag Rising - The Conquest of California, 1846" by Dale L. Walker. This book is about that short timeframe when Americans began streaming into California as the vangaurd of manifest destiny and Mexico lost control of her far off and neglected territory. The book has a great cast of real characters, the most infamous of course was John Charles Fremont.

I have been reading these books mostly because of my frequent travels to my native state. Sure, I picked up a lot of California history just growing up and going to school there. The history is worth refreshing and expanding, especially the colorful history of California. I so love history.

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