Kiosk Blues

Remember the old rules of hiking:

Always study the map on the kiosk before hitting the trail.

The golden age of kiosks has come and gone

Add trailhead kiosks to the long and growing list of casualties of the smartphone age. People are much more likely to rely on their GPS or smartphone than bother with the communal map under the glass, if it’s even still there at all, probably not.

The last kiosk I stopped at didn’t look like it had been maintained for years.

Topo maps were the original Google Earth

I was glad I had a topomap with me.

I even considered taping it to the kiosk before I left. On the other hand I was glad not to lose that map. Topomaps are an increasingly rare commodity in the modern age.

Gateway to adventure
And how topo maps got you there

Before Google Earth …

There were USGS Quadrangle Maps.

Listen to the full campfire talk

Better known as just topo (or quad) maps …

I still remember it like yesterday the first quadrangle I fell in love with. Not surprisingly it was at the confluence where two rivers met, then merged and continued on downstream. Along its bank were canals, a tow path where mules once pulled the boats, railroads, railroad bridges, multiple dams and an old water-powered industrial park. Oh yes, and there was lots of topography, too. And one steep hill in particular that went up and up and up before giving way to a ridge that led to a path and then to a scenic view. I loved everything about it, and most of all studying it all on the topo map. I haven’t been to that place in a quarter century. Nor have I ever revisited it on Google Earth.

A topo map helped me climb to Window Rock

I would go on to discover other topo maps …

But there’s something about the first I never forgot.

Bookshelf dynamics
Bookshelves just don't happen

What’s a rereadable?

It’s a book on your bookshelf you go back to time and time again.

Introducing Mr. Bookshelf

What makes any one book rereadable could be a combination of things, or maybe just one attribute. Every two years I reread The Great Gatsby. It’s definitely the top fictional rereadable on my shelf, with maybe Walden Pond being a close second – although that is more autobiographical than a fictional account. On the non fiction side, there are too many books to count. Morton D. Winsberg’s Florida Weather ranks high on that list, as does John E. Hoffmeister’s Land from the Sea, or Thomas Lodges’ The Everglades Handbook. But no other book help me bond with Florida than John McPhee’s Oranges.

Come to think of it: I haven’t read that book in a good couple years (i.e time flies!).

Life is better when you’re rereading a book.

Florida weather
The book

I know what you’re thinking …

That’s kind of a bland title for a book.

Listen to the book review

Only, there’s nothing bland about Florida Weather …

Neither the subject nor this book.

The book is truly a gift. It opened my eyes to a place I thought – as many do when arriving from Up North – to be a seasonless land. Winsberg puts that fallacy immediately to rest by his organization of the book around the four seasons themselves: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. The simplicity of structure provides the foundation for a truly unique and impressively quantitative exploration of the four seasons, Florida style. If that sounds dry, it’s not. The book is chock full of historical anecdotes, summary maps and other interesting tidbits.

For me the book is like an old friend, as all good rereadables are. Time and time again I find myself pulling this relatively thin tome off my shelf to brush up on the season or just simply to relax. The book helped me bond with Florida.

It also made me an instant expert on the weather.

Thank you to Morton D. Winsberg and his collaborators for this wonderful book!

The Adventures of Ranger Rusty
A recommendation from Rereadable

Every once in a great while,

There’s a book that shows up new on the scene.

At first people don’t pay in much mind.

But over time its deeper meaning, and entertainment value starts to soak in. To cut to the chase, I’m talking about a book, and not just any old book, but a book that was part of a trilogy written by two park rangers named Robert V. Sobczak and Rudi Heinrich.

The thing about this book:

They never set out to write a book, let alone a trilogy.

The trilogy was written from 2015 to 2020

Their simple goal:

A 30 minute campfire talk.

In action at the campfire talk, as I remember it

The rest, shall we say, is campfire legend.

Or more specifically, The Legend of Campfire Charlie.

It’s not only rereadable …

It’s a worthy addition on any bookshelf … in my opinion.

P.S. You can click here to buy the books

Me, My Shelf, and I
Introducing Mr. Bookshelf

Howdy folks,

I’m Mr. Bookshelf …

And I know what you’re thinking.

How odd – a talking bookshelf?

This bookshelf learned to talk, by necessity

Well, it didn’t used to be this way for sure.

But what else was I to do? Ever since the advent of smartphone, everybody’s been ignoring me to the point that, well, I guess I reached down deep to my bottom shelf and started to talk. Come to think of it – that wasn’t coincidental. I actually have a book on linguistics down there.

Interesting bookshelf facts

Did you know that bookshelves read every word of every book on their bookshelf every night after you go to bed? (Source: I think I read that in a magazine.)

And while we’re at it, one more thing:

Just because I talk doesn’t make me an audio book.

There’s a raging debate in the traditional bookshelf community whether listening to an audio book constitutes as reading a book. My personal philosophy is that if you can’t see it on your bookshelf, then it’s probably not a book. Then again, there are a lot of things on my bookshelf that are very clearly visible but are just as clearly not books (i.e. coins, a mug, and old camera lens). The counter argument is words are words however you get them in your head. (Now you’re starting to see why it’s such a fascinating debate.)

What is a rereadable?

That’s an excellent question. Basically, a rereadable is any book that finds a special place on your bookshelf. Rereadables are the books that you go back to time and time again.

Why do we love our rereadables so much? Well, sometimes it’s the book. Sometimes it’s who gave you the book. Other times its your personal connection with the story or the subject.

There are so many reasons a book may be rereadable.

That’s why it’s such a good topic to explore.

In closing

Go up and give your bookshelf a hug.

Bookshelves more than ever need some good old-fashioned TLC.

Yours Truly,

P.S. What’s your favorite rereadable?