Dan, who shares the unfortunate name of a notorious San Francisco double-murderer, has a new book out about his long-ago adventure up the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s called “The Cactus Eaters,” alluding to the time when, in an extreme expression of green-horniness, he tried to draw moisture from a cactus, with prickly results.
Rick at Best Hikes mentioned the book yesterday, so I’ll pick up where he left off. Short summation: “A Walk in the Woods” with better scenery. I poked around at Trail Forums and the PCT-L archives and saw nothing on the book so far, but if Bill Bryson’s example is any guide, before summer’s out the PCT purists will have combed over every comma in search of reasons to get their feelings hurt because he didn’t hike their hike. Or they’ll be all Zenlike with acceptance, or they’ll get back to reliving old hikes and planning new ones.
Googling the book title yielded a raft of links:
- Dan’s blog.
- His publisher’s site for “The Cactus Eaters” (Harper Collins, no less).
- Amazon.com reviewers (12 so far; nobody hates it).
- Interview in the Portland Oregonian.
- Salon.com review (It’s one of their recommended summer reads.)
- Profile in the Good Times Santa Cruz. (Dan was reporter for the Santa Cruz Sentinel for many years before running off to New York to get a fancy MFA in writing).
- Interview at Powells.com
I’ve never met the guy and didn’t know he existed till yesterday, but we have an odd collection of connections:
- He worked at the Sentinel; my employer owns the Sentinel.
- His wife worked as a feature writer at the Mercury News; I used to edit features copy at the Mercury news. (Our paths never crossed).
- He and I both saw John Prine and Nick Lowe at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and both mentioned the song “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore.” (His, 2007 | Mine, 2004).
- He lives in San Francisco and commutes to San Jose; I live in San Jose and avoid commuting to San Francisco (OK, this one was a stretch, but I can see why it’d be productive for a professional writer to live the city. Lots of material).
Just like JFK and Abe Lincoln, eh? Let’s start us a conspiracy theory.
Upcoming Bay Area bookstore gigs:
- 4 PM, Saturday, July 12, 2008
BOOK PASSAGE, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd Corte Madera, CA 94925
- 12:30 PM Tuesday, July 15, 2008
STACEY’S BOOKSTORE, 581 Market ST San Francisco, CA 94105
- More events at his blog.
A couple just-for-the-heck-of-it links:
(At some point I may actually read the book, really). Buy yours at Bookshop Santa Cruz.