Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Breaking Chains and Gathering Moss

Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event (details here).

Book Dragon's Lair is hosting in October.  Please stop by this friendly blog to find reviews and recommendations for your next fantasy novel, cozy mystery, romantic suspense, or who knows . . . .

I got two books from OSU Press last week:

Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by R. Gregory Nokes.  Nokes is a former journalist and the author of Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon (reviewed here), the highly readable account of 34 Chinese gold miners murdered in Hell's Canyon in1887.  There is a new documentary, also called Massacred for Gold, based on the book (watch the trailer here).

Now, in Breaking Chains, Nokes turns his attention to a little-remembered 1853 trial brought by a former black slave against his Oregon owner for breaching his promise to release the man, his wife, and their two children.  Nokes uses the pre-Civil War trial to examine the historical context for racism in the West.  The book is already generating buzz and looks terrific.

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer.  This may not be as rip-roaring a read as accounts of slave trials or gold-mining murders, but I've had my eye on it for a long time and am very excited to get a copy.  The author won the John Burroughs Medal Award for Natural History Writing for Gathering Moss.

I plan to read it for inspiration and practical guidance in making my own moss garden.  Moss is the rule in Portland, not the exception, but every time I visit the Japanese Garden (below), I am motivated to be more deliberate in my use of moss as an intentional part of my landscaping.

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