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.
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.
I would go on to discover other topo maps …
But there’s something about the first I never forgot.
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 rereadThe 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!).
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!
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.
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.
Go up and give your bookshelf a hug.
Bookshelves more than ever need some good old-fashioned TLC.