Terry M. Clark--back roads traveler, journalist, watercolor explorer, grandfather, lover of New Mexico, former weekly newspaperman, coffee drinker, native Texan, geezer, probably a verb. Retired UCO prof.
When I was a kid my Dad would take me to used bookstores in Albuquerque. There we would find all kinds of treasures, and I think that's why I love used bookstores to this day. The treasures I found there always led to more trips, to adventures and traveling in faraway places. I would sit for hours reading those sometimes musty, yellow-paged books, curled up in a leather chair, perhaps with music on 33 1/3 LP records on my hi-fidelity player in the background. Tommy Dorsey's "Moonlight in Vermont," or "Ports of Call" and others would add mysterious moods to the spell of the words on the pages. My imagination would travel the rivers and roads and jungles.
Two of my favorite authors, and I collected as many of their books as I could, were Edgar Rice Burroughs, who imagined and wrote Tarzan of the Apes and all the other Tarzan books, and James Oliver Curwood, and his stories of the great north of Canada and Mounties and wildlife..
Many of the books were first edition, back when you could find them in bookstores. I think I had a first edition of Tarzan of the Apes but lost it. Looking it up on abe.com these days, I see it's worth thousands of dollars. My son Travis has that collection now.
I still have many of the Curwood books, and recently picked up The Flaming forest, first edition, 1921. I never knew much about Curwood, but now that we have the internet I've found he was the highest paid writer of his day. It may not be literature, but his writing is great narrative, and the kind that can provoke your imagination and make you want to travel.
My copy doesn't have this dustcover, but the illustration is one of four tantalizing peices of art in the book. I was bored and needed something to read, and soon I was caught in the current. With Curwood's books, you want a map of the Canadian north to follow the characters as they travel down rivers like the Slave, the Yellowknife, the McKenzie, or through the Great Slave Lake. You look them up on the map and wonder, and Curwood helps fill your mind with wanderlust.
And then there are Curwood's titles: The Grizzly King, Kazan, Sgt. Steele of the Royal Mounted, The River's End, Gods Country and the woman, Nomads of the North, and others.