The summer they built it they slept out there for weeks. It was their place on our place, and it had become for me a central symbol of Jeff's place in my life and all the happiness we'd shared. Now I wanted to tear it to splinters. I wanted to pull it apart and stack up the boards in neat piles and put the nails back in their jar. Such behavior we all recognize in ourselves. Well, I certainly do! By the end of the book I really, really liked Ted! In the last few pages of the book he uses a metaphor of a man walking from one end of a speeding train to the other. This is simply stunning!
I cannot tell you more because it sort of sums up the book. OK, here is an example of Ted's humor: For the past few years it's been fashionable for young women to wear ballcaps and to snap the strap on the back under their ponytails.
I like the looks of that, their shiny ponytails jauntingly swinging, but it's hard not to think of the rear ends of horses. The Bohemian Alps is a worn place in the carpet of grass we know as the Great Plains, the spot where the glaciers wiped their snowy galoshes coming in and out. I was raised by clenched-jawed German-Americans who wouldn't have called for help if a tree had fallen on them.
He too has German descent! You must certainly have heard the joke about Moses? You must read the episode about Ted's outhouse! I could go on and on and on, giving more and more quotes. Some episodes will appeal to one reader more than another, but I think everyone will find numerous passages they will enjoy. And the summing up at the end is just wonderful!
The train metaphor really struck me down. I had to give the book five stars. View all 24 comments. Jun 05, M. I am still the biggest collector of the thousand or so books remaining in m http: I am still the biggest collector of the thousand or so books remaining in my possession. So, to read this memoir by Ted Kooser about Nebraska's Bohemian Alps and the flair and personalities of the inhabitants who never throw anything away in case they might someday need it, all their hoarding of artifacts, trinkets of glass, and buckets of nails and bolts and wire seems excessively a waste of space and time to me, and in truth, Kooser's book becomes in short order a bore.
Through the course of these related rural histories and anecdotes about the good life , it is obvious to me that Kooser is a huge sentimentalist. His established literary rank provides an automatic forum for this type of work. In fact it was the jacket blurbs and glowing reviews that first drew me to him, not any previous knowledge of his work or his standing in the world of poetry and letters. The novelist, essayist, wild-game-chef, and poet Jim Harrison's blurb about this book being "the quietest magnificent book" he's ever read is all over this production.
It is on the front of the jacket, it is on the back, and it may even be found inside the cloth boards on the nice, clean pages as well. Being a university publication, the book itself is of the highest quality. It is obviously nice to be connected to the academics and one of the anointed ones. Ted Kooser is a two-time U. I have read a couple of his poems, and they were OK, but not of the quality I would think worthy of what I believe a winning Pulitzer Prize should consist of.
But that is just me talking. And it is not sour grapes at all as I am happy as a clam for him for any success he can garner, even if undeserved. In this memoir Kooser takes us through all four seasons of the year and relates to us stories of his family and neighbors, as well as tales about the dogs and other critters that amble through the pages from time to time. There are some ideas or positions of his I should think need advancement such as his humor for the silliness of hunters or his disdain for the encroachment of land developers and their monstrous constructions of large homes for people who want to live twenty miles out from town and commute to work from the safe bucolic fields of Kooser's farm country.
But that happens everywhere there is beautiful and pristine land that these greedy idiots care to uglify and destroy. Ted Kooser is a very nice man. You can tell by looking at the photograph of him on the rear jacket flap. His skillful yarns weave gently through every relative and neighbor he has known. He is big on the past. Reading him is like taking an easy stroll through the park, never in a hurry to get anywhere, and willing to take in all the surroundings.
But there is little heavy seriousness to this book. He is much too nice for any extreme depths of consciousness. There is no edge, and literally no jeopardy. There is little reason to read this book after being willfully subjected to the intense negotiations of writers such as D. Lawrence, Thomas Bernhard, or Robert Walser. And I would think the great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze would not have wasted his precious time reading this memoir. But the man of letters Jim Harrison thinks this book is great, and Harrison is a grizzled old burly fellow, and he writes poetry as well, so that makes him a sensitive guy too.
I began the book with good feelings, I admit. I thought it was pretty nice. Of course, I was on my summer vacation with nothing pressing on my plate and plenty of time for a leisurely amble through the mind of Ted Kooser. But I found little there, especially when I unwittingly and concurrently began my study of D. Kooser had been divorced and still occasionally licked the wounds suffered from being an absent dad, but there was little in his life to compare to the freedom and courage of my new-found Lawrence.
- Additional Information.
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- Jungle Jeopardy (Passenger to Paradise Book 5).
- Focused for Soccer - 2nd Edition.
- All Thats Left You.
And it wasn't the sexy novels of Lawrence I was reading. It was merely the Lawrence letters and memoirs that were finding their way into my consciousness. And the truest biography exists through ones collected letters. Lawrence was a serious man. Most likely too serious for most, with more questions hanging than agreements, more skepticism than belief, and his controversial opinions engaged always in looking for a wider argument.
I suppose the particularities of why I was most attracted at first to this Kooser book and why I most dislike it now is summed up best by these remarks by some of the his readers: It is not a book of poems. It is gentle remarks on life in Nebraska hills. I am much too serious for this type of literature, but obviously many of his readers are not when I am personally confronted by the sheer number of his admirers. I would say that people in general like to feel good, and this book does that for reasons stated previously regarding sentimentalism.
Of course, for others, there is the almost obligatory life-changing story present near the end of the book where Kooser uses another parable, this time about losing a donkey, and relates the story of his fight with cancer and what became of it. Sort of like my own mantra of looking at problems as opportunities rather than something negative, but the notable difference being that my mantra is minus the god and personal savior element. And you probably already have guessed it, another reason here for me to cringe. Aug 13, Lindsey rated it it was amazing.
There is a quote on the cover of this book from Kooser's friend Jim Harrison: I've always been a fan of Kooser's poetry, also for its quiet insights, so I was excited to read these essays. They are organized by season and range from observations of his rural Nebraskan neigh There is a quote on the cover of this book from Kooser's friend Jim Harrison: They are organized by season and range from observations of his rural Nebraskan neighbors and quirky thoughts he has during the day, to beautifully rendered memories of growing up in Ames and frank discussions of his bout with cancer.
Some of the pieces are several pages, while others are only a few sentences; after almost all of them, though, one or both of us would make a contented "hmm. This is one of those books that you just know you'll return to for the sense of calm reflection it provides. It easily ranks among my all-time favorite collections of essays, right up there with Barbara Kingsolver's "Small Wonder," and I can't recommend it highly enough.
Sep 13, Melody rated it really liked it. Random musings in prose from one of our best poets. He's the guy I'd like to be stranded with at a truckstop in a snowstorm. Interesting to read his prose, which is in parts lyrical, in parts elegant, and in parts reassuringly ordinary. Kooser words make me think of Andrew Wyeth's paintings, and sometimes even Edward Hopper's. There's that certain slant of light to nearly every page. He's got a fierce love of the land, in particular his own Nebraska soil, and of his neighbors who work that land.
Mar 12, Terri rated it it was amazing. If Ted Kooser wrote tractor repair manuals I would read those too. Feb 14, Rachel rated it really liked it. It took me a while to get the feel for this author's style.
I read his poetry book this month and this book about his life and the seasons is in a poetry style. Which takes a bit of a mind turn for reading and comprehending. I enjoyed it but the first bit too a while for me to turn into. The author uses his present and the seasons to tell about his past and some of the stories he has gathered.
As he passes through the seasons he remembers those who have passed from his life. There were lots of It took me a while to get the feel for this author's style. There were lots of good 'pieces' that jumped out at me which is why I made so many notes of pages to look at again before I turned it in!
Omaha and its suburbs, with over a half million people; Lincoln, with a little over two hundred thousand; and Grand Island, with about fifty thousand, which in some states would be considered a town. There are a number of towns with several thousand and hundreds of little villages like Garland that have survived from the days when you didn't want to be more than a dozen round-trip miles from a trading center, because that was about as far as you could push a team and wagon in one day.
The rest of the state is a vast grassy preserve set aside for those of us who like to be left alone" When my mother was in her eighties, she fell in her house and twisted her ankle so badly she said she thought she might faint.
Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps - Ted Kooser - Google Книги
Rather than use her cordless phone to call my sister or an ambulance, she crawled across the living room floor, turned the floor fan on, and let it blow on her face so she wouldn't pass out" Guns don't kill people, people driving pickups kill people" I find it difficult to throw away anything, believing that this little scrap of wire or this four-foot section of garden hose might come in handy for something someday" But it's still a good life.
I probably have the largest private library in Seward County, thousands of books. I can't resist them. Writers are writers because they love to read. If I were to read two or three books every week, I couldn't live long enough to read through the books I own, but that doesn't keep me from buying more. Most of the ones I buy are from bookstore sale tables, but I;ve also found a number at thrift shops and garage sales" Apr 02, Casey rated it really liked it Shelves: All of Kooser's work is excellent, and this book of short, vignette-style essays is no exception. Really, this book should be handed out in conjunction with tourism info through the Chamber of Commerce in Nebraska.
Through the specific details of the four seasons in the "Bohemian Alps" in SE Nebraska, Kooser gets at a kind of universal sense of what it's like to live in the Great Plains. Aug 08, Nathan Albright rated it liked it Shelves: This book gave me an odd feeling, and I'm not sure it's a feeling I like. When the author was talking about the small towns of the area of the Bohemian Alps, or about his fondness for having an outdoor toilet despite or maybe because of the disapproval of his neighbors, I found the book odd and somewhat likable.
When the author talked about his political views or whined about lots of other people wanting to move to the area, though, I thought the author should shut up, and found him not very This book gave me an odd feeling, and I'm not sure it's a feeling I like. When the author talked about his political views or whined about lots of other people wanting to move to the area, though, I thought the author should shut up, and found him not very likable at all. Most of the time, people are likable when they are talking about themselves, but I did not necessarily find that to be the case here because the author, like many of his ilk .
The advice that people should be personal in order to improve how they are viewed likely assumes that people want to know what others are like and appreciate those who think differently than they do, and that is not necessarily the case, which makes this book more than a bit of a mixed bag, filled with some humor but a lot of tedium. This book is organized as four somewhat longish rants tied to the seasons of the year. The book begins in Spring and then goes through Summer and Autumn before ending in Winter. The book consists of a wide variety of talking points, including the spacing of towns, the practicality of many locals, the relationship between religious skepticism and suicide in the face of the loneliness of farming on isolated farmsteads, the lack of desirability and troubles of having outdoor plumbing, the popularity of boating in rural Nebraska, and so on and so forth.
Again, the author is frequently entertaining and even poignant when discussing the traditions of the location and the nature of small town life, but quite honestly, he does not seem like all that decent or nice of a person himself, especially when he wades into political territory. Perhaps it is worthwhile to ponder for writers just how unlikable political stances make someone in an age of partisanship like this one is. It's a shame that Nebraska couldn't have a halfway decent Republican poet to write about this region instead of Ted Kooser, as that would have been way more enjoyable to read.
Ultimately, this book provides its readers with what most of them are looking for, a comfortbly leftist and quirky perspective on a quirky area that is becoming fashionable for Nebraska suburbanites. The author may not like the sort of subruban growth that is happening in his area, and it may not be good for the area itself especially since suburban development is seldom a break-even, much less a profitable, phenomenon , but the author himself is a comfortable old dinosaur in dealing with such matters.
He can be read with fond nostalgia by those who long for the good old days when people could be rural leftists without offending their neighbors. Perhaps such days are not to be seen for quite some time here. This book would have been better had it been a book of opaque poetry rather than the author's attempt at rambling and disorganized prose, but if you like what this book has to offer, you might be able to find it in a library near you, so long as that library stocks books like this one, which my local library does, being on the outskirts of Portland.
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It is not a complete waste, at least, even if it is often a tedious and frustrating if thankfully short read of slightly more than pages. Sep 15, Harry rated it liked it. This is a memoir of life in southeastern Nebraska, an area know as the Bohemian Alps. The style of writing is poetic Kooser was formerly US Poet Laureate , with vivid descriptions of the land and the people who live there.
Arranged by the seasons, one experiences the slow yet significant changes brought by the passage of time. Kooser portrays all that is special and unique in an area of the US I had never thought of as interesting. The book gave me a much deeper appreciation of a land and cultu This is a memoir of life in southeastern Nebraska, an area know as the Bohemian Alps. The book gave me a much deeper appreciation of a land and culture very dear to the author's heart. May 12, Tom rated it it was amazing. Elegantly written, clean and clear Feb 05, Andy Plonka rated it liked it Shelves: Even though I've never visited Nebraska, I feel a bit more informed about the state and its inhabitants after reading this book.
Also learned something about Iowa as well, another state that I have never set foot in.. May 12, Dave rated it it was amazing. Jul 14, Jennifer Pullen rated it liked it. Some moments of lovely close observation of nature and place. However, sometimes it got a little too cozy. Sep 02, Leah Kline rated it it was amazing. Ted made me a fan of poetry. May 08, Dana Tuss rated it really liked it. Every page wasn't over-the-top amazing imagery, but I certainly enjoyed it. A nice leisurely read and quiet book perfect for writing about Nebraska.
Jan 14, Angie rated it really liked it Shelves: What a nice little book.
Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps
Ted Kooser captures so many of the subtle little things I adore about Nebraska. Apr 12, Beth Budra rated it it was amazing. And learned a few things about my new neighbors. Feb 04, Susan rated it really liked it. Apr 09, Ron rated it it was amazing Shelves: Poet and Poet Laureate Ted Kooser wrote this collection of prose pieces while in his early sixties, all of them appreciations of his daily life and memories of family going back to his boyhood in Ames, Iowa.
Living today in a farmhouse near little Gardner, Nebraska, not far from Lincoln, he first describes the rolling terrain of the land and its Czech and Bohemian settlers, whose descendants continue to provide a cultural identity to the region. The essays are sprinkled with Czech and Bohemian Poet and Poet Laureate Ted Kooser wrote this collection of prose pieces while in his early sixties, all of them appreciations of his daily life and memories of family going back to his boyhood in Ames, Iowa.
The essays are sprinkled with Czech and Bohemian proverbs, reflecting the wry common-sense wisdom of the Old World that informs his point of view. Not all of them essays, some are short prose poems, spun out usually in one or two long sentences that reach a breathless climax that is, well, breathtaking. Reading his work, you are struck by his sincerity and the intensity of his awareness.
While a man of strong opinions, they are rarely expressed directly and only seldom ironically, as when he describes the willful spraying of herbicides in road ditches by two county workers who have no sense of the risks to their health and the environment. Identified on the book jacket as a retired insurance executive, Kooser embodies a kind of risk aversion that celebrates what is steady, dependable, and unthreatening in his world. There are rarely shadows, and when they do appear it is with a surprise that is shocking, as when a woman tells of an elderly aunt whose family was murdered by a farm hand when she was a teenager.
Even his bout with cancer is told with a kind of emotional reserve and matter-of-factness that belies the anxiety he experienced over a six-month period of recovery. Kooser is clearly abreast of the modern world, but everywhere in his writing, there's a lightness of touch - a gentleness - that harks back to a quieter time in our social history.
Random musings in prose from one of our best poets.
He's the guy I'd like to be stranded with at a truckstop in a snowstorm. Interesting to read his prose, which is in parts lyrical, in parts elegant Written by a poet. Essays on life in Nebraska. I enjoyed the way he saw the world and it helped me to look at the world like that for awhile; had a lot of sayings from the immigrant Czechs who settled there, and they were down to earth and true. Nothing is too big or too small for his attention.
Memories of his grandmother?