Thursday, January 16, 2014

January Reading

Four books that are on my mid-January reading pile range from a mystery by Tony Hillerman to a throwback look at electric vehicles that was published in 2007.

"Zoom" by Iain Caron and Vijay Vaitheeswaran is subtitled "The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future" and is a look at the issues of oil dependency and car manufacturing. Now that I have driven an electric vehicle for more than two years, I'm interested in gainign some perspective on the fuel of the future issue. So much has changed in the last five years with fuel economies in the auto industry that this book may very well be a throwback read, but that will be interesting.

Tony Hillerman's mysteries are set in northern Arizona and feature his Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee characters.  In "The First Eagle,"  Leaphorn has retired from his law enforcement job but returns to his old haunts as a private investigator. Navajo and Hopi cultural interests are pitted against each other in the murder investigation of a police officer. Hillerman's books are engaging; his story line weaves from one character to another with compelling force. Once you start reading, you have to finish this one.

Mary Pipher's "Letters to a Young Therapist" is an uplifting look at human troubles and hopes. Filled with wisdom gained from the years that the author spent as a clinical psychologist, this book will be a re-read for me. Mary Pipher practices in Nebraska and from the first time through the book, I remember being impressed by the midwestern sensibility. I'm looking forward to the hours spent with "Letters to a Young Therapist" and to the message of hope and healing that I remember from my first read of this book.

Finally, since I'm in Arizona for the month, I picked up a biography of Mo Udall, the Democratic congressman from Arizona who made a mark in Arizona and on the national scene with his environmental commitment, sense of humor, and skill as a legislator. "Mo: The Life & Times of Morris K. Udall," by Donald Carson and James Johnson, follows Udall's life from his start in a Mormon family in northeast Arizona, to military service in World War II, and then to his political career. Mo Udall, born in 1922, struggled with Parkinson's in the last twenty years of his life.

My father, Stan Hayes, was born in 1921, and Mo Udall was born in 1922, so the two men would be contemporaries. I'm interested in the parallels that I will find between these two stories, my Dad's and Mo Udall's, both born in the 1920's and shaped by a rural upbringing and a world war.

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