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Barkskins -- novel by Annie Proulx

Discussion in 'Forestry and Logging Forum' started by JackJ, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. JackJ

    JackJ ArboristSite Member

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    Wondering if anyone here is reading Annie Proulx's recent novel Barkskins. It's historical fiction centered around the North American logging and forestry industry, from the 1600's up to the current day. Lots of interesting detail (though I'm not sure how accurate it is) on lives centered primarily around the axe. It's indicts the rapacious clear cutting that proceeded with amazing speed despite the use of primitive tools, but also tries to explain how it was a natural consequence of outsiders looking for opportunity, and seeing an apparently limitless resource.

    It's a massive, sprawling book, with some very interesting characters. Like all good historical fiction, takes me to places I would otherwise never get to see. Recommended.
     
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  2. Markus

    Markus ArboristSite Member

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    Thanks for the tip, sounds like a good read. Maybe Santa Claus will bring me a copy :innocent:




    Ah F**k Santa, I better order it myself!
     
  3. Big_Al

    Big_Al ArboristSite Guru

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    Just checked it out from the base library,haven't started yet.
     
  4. ValleyFirewood

    ValleyFirewood Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Library?! Are you going to read that while wearing bell bottoms and sitting near your lava lamp? As far as I knew libraries went out of business 25 years ago with the uprising of the internet.
     
  5. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    You need to get out more. I've lived in a library challenged place. It was hell. Our little community library not only has books, but it puts on programs for kids and adults--I have a music group that meets at the library and plays music while folks do crafts. I now check out electronic books from the library system, but I love our little library. Our state has a good system, so don't move here if you are not a fan of supporting libraries. Oh, and they also supply computer time for folks who can't afford internet or computers. WiFi is also available and you'll see people come out of the woods to use that.

    Our librarians will come right out and say that our library is a noisy library. We like that. It is always busy.
     
  6. ValleyFirewood

    ValleyFirewood Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I wouldnt move to a place just based if the town has a library!
    Might even have one around here, I have no idea.

    Maybe when I'm 80yrs old I'll be able to listen to music, do crafts, and mooch internet.
     
  7. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    We don't really have a "town". We do have a wunnerful library that is perched above the flood level. I won't live in a place without a library or library services. But I'm a person whose mother took her to the library as soon as I could read and got me a library card. I eat up books like crazy. Always have. I'm addicted to reading.
     
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  8. 1270d

    1270d ArboristSite Guru

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    What seems to be the issue with libraries? I didn't realize you had to be a hippy to enjoy books. The internet has made it a lot easier for me to interact with my local library as well as others across the country. I can and do borrow audio books through our local library on a daily basis as well.
     
  9. Big_Al

    Big_Al ArboristSite Guru

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    The base library has a lot of new books & being a retired vet i take any chance i can to read new stuff. Also have a good research branch, can locate almost any book. I didn't look but haven't seen any carhartt bibs in bell bottoms.
     
  10. ValleyFirewood

    ValleyFirewood Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I never said anything about hippies, I was talking about libaries being a thing of the past.
    I don't have time to read books. I have one in the bathroom I started 4 or 5 years ago and I'm maybe on page 50. Usually now just read the forums when I'm pooping (like now)
     
  11. Big_Al

    Big_Al ArboristSite Guru

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    Getting to the age where everything hurts at night so i read for a bit before i fall asleep or the drugs kick in.
     
  12. Gologit

    Gologit Completely retired...life is good.

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    Maybe you could check out a dictionary.
     
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  13. AT sawyer

    AT sawyer ArboristSite Operative

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    Just finished it. Got my copy from our local library in mid-November, where I had to place a reserve order on it back in August. Popular book. A bit new age at the end, but I think it captured the attitude of "man vs. forest" in the early days of US and Canadian history.
     
  14. JackJ

    JackJ ArboristSite Member

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    Yeah, ending was weak, though I appreciated the attempt at guarded optimism. There were other parts that bugged me too, like the inconsistent and sometimes comical pidgin English, but other parts were truly majestic.

    One thing that surprised me was that pine appeared to be the only lumber of serious value until it started to become depleted, and only at that point did hardwoods become interesting from a commercial standpoint. Could that possibly be correct? It certainly runs counter to what I would have thought.
     
  15. AT sawyer

    AT sawyer ArboristSite Operative

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    Perhaps it was because of the British navy's desire for mast timber that they initially went after the pine. I would've liked to have read more about the Maine axe industry. I thought she was going there but it never happened.
     
  16. JackJ

    JackJ ArboristSite Member

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    Yeah, that's what I gathered. But for every spar the Royal Navy (and French Navy and merchant marine) stepped, there was a lot more oak needed in the hull beneath it. Were those raw materials plentiful enough in Europe? Maybe I need to re-read my Patrick O'Brian.

    I agree--there were a lot of axes in the book, and I too was excited about the side plot on the manufacturing, but it wasn't much.
     
  17. Markus

    Markus ArboristSite Member

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    I just finished this book, it was pretty good but I would have wanted to read more about the work in the woods, most of the book is about how the Duke's managed their business or how the mik'maws wanted to go back to how it used to be, before the white men came. There was a lot of characters in the book and they were all killed or died of illness in a hurry, as if to make room for more characters.
    The first chapter was really good, the rest of the story never got up to that level IMO.
    I'll give it 3/5 bleeding pine tree stumps :)
     

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