I’ve read a few books lately on my iPad Mini and I’ve really enjoyed it. I found the regular iPad too big and heavy to read comfortably, and my iPhone was a little too small. The iPad is the perfect size, just like a book 🙂

Here are my request conquests:

The Bucolic Plague
The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir 
by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

I’ve been a fan of the Beekman Boys since the first time I heard them on Rosie O’Donnell’s Sirius Satellite Radio show,  before they were on the Amazing Race. Recently the Cottage Life channel picked up the television series that they filmed a few years ago and I just love it!

The Beekman Boys purchased a big old mansion farmhouse in upstate New York that they discovered on a fateful annual countryside drive. This book tells the story of how Josh and Brent found the old Beekman estate, how they bought it, and how they almost lost it.

Since buying the Beekman house, they took on farmer John, a barn full of milking goats, a quirky llama named Polka Spot, and created a thriving business, Beekman 1802, and have become huge promotors of small farmers and local made products.

I loved this book because I identify with people with a dream and am inspired by their ups and downs to make it a reality. Plus Josh and Brent are really loveable guys you can’t help but root for 🙂

I am not myself these daysI Am Not Myself These Days
by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

After reading Josh’s later book, I had to read the book of his former life, before he met his partner Brent.

What a life! Josh lived in New York City and worked in advertising by day and had a wild life as a drag queen by night. This book is full of drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, and too many near death experiences.

After reading this book I realize there are so many things going on behind other people’s doors, you just wouldn’t have any clue! And Josh tells it all so matter-of-factly! Who would have ever guessed that Josh would go from a city life working in a night club, with goldfish swimming in his transparent boobs, to a small town farm life, in rubber boots.

I read most of this book while sitting in a truck in a parking lot all day while Jeff was giving a gun safety training course 🙂  The time flew by! I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading this one again. Thanks for sharing your stories with us Josh!

12 years a slaveTwelve Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup

I needed a new book to read for my long flight(s) out to Portland, Oregon last month. I’m admittedly cheap, so I went to Amazon and hunted for a book with a cheap Kindle version.

I had vaguely heard of a movie out called “12 Years a Slave” but I didn’t know much about it. I had no idea it was based on a true story, and a truly historical one at that.

Solomon Northup was born a free man and had a wife and kids when he was was kidnapped into slavery. This book recounts his twelve years as a slave.

What a wickedly horrible story, yet what a treasure of a book! Northup fully documents everything from his 12 years in slavery, including names, places, lives of other slaves who would have otherwise been lost to history. He documents the planting, tending, and harvesting of sugar cane and cotton, the farms, roads, and transportation. He details his diet, lifestyle, and health. It is an utterly fascinating story.

Humans are capable of such insanity. I’m not sure I’ll ever be interested in seeing a Hollywood adaptation of this book, but I feel enriched for reading it.

prisoners of the northPrisoners of the North
by Pierre Berton

I’m a huge Pierre Berton fan. He had such a skill for researching Canadian history and weaving the characters and facts into fascinating historical books.

In preparation for our trip to the Yukon this year, I’m about to read his Klondike and Gold Rush books, but first this one caught my interest. It features the stories of 5 fascinating Canadians who aren’t nearly as well known as they could or should be.

So far I’ve read about Joseph Boyle, and Vilhjalmur Steffansson, and am now learning about Lady Jane Franklin.  At this rate, by this time next week, I’ll also know all about Robert Service and John Hornby too.

My favourite so far is Joseph Boyle. He was a bigger than life character who was capable of Paul Bunyon-like heroic moves, and launched business ventures that shaped the gold rush and the town of Dawson City itself. Yet oddly, the man seemed to have no emotional connection to those closest to him – including his parents, brothers, wives, and children.

For a quick outline of his life, including his impact on the history of Russia and Romania, here’s his Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Boyle

But do yourself a favour and pick up this little gem from Pierre Berton. Two thumbs up!