Leo Tolstoy: “To walk a thousand miles …”

Is Count Tolstoy an unappreciated long-distance trail hiking guru? Judging from this image, he sure looks the part: the weathered features, the two-pronged frizz beard, the intensity of his gaze, and the loose-fitting shirt that covers his chest and arms so he doesn’t have to wear sunblock. Consider this piece of advice — found more than 1,000 pages into the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace. I think these words will hold you in good stead if you ever find yourself out on the trail, although Tolstoy, in this case, is talking about the French army after the Battle of Borodino. “When a man finds himself in motion, he always thinks up a goal for that motion. In order to walk a thousand miles, a man needs to think that there is something good at the end of those thousand miles. One needs a vision of the promised…

The Cactus Eaters: related stories, articles, book reviews, podcasts and more

The Cactus Eaters (HarperPerennial) was a Los Angeles Times Discovery selection and winner of the Elle magazine readers prize. The book has been reviewed or featured in Salon, Kirkus Reviews, National Geographic, Nextbook, Publishers Weekly, and many other publications. My book can be found at Powell’s Books, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and in bookstores across the country, and was featured in a 2013 HarperPerennial e-book promotion, “Stranger Than Fiction,” also featuring Sarah Silverman’s The Bedwetter and other high-profile memoirs. Here is a hodgepodge of useful links including unexpurgated reviews of the book, which was a San Francisco Chronicle and Northern California Independent Bookstore bestseller and a number-one bestselling travel book on Amazon. It is now available in paperback. Here you will also find related podcasts, related articles and some of my latest adventures on the bottom. There are some oddities, too — I’m featured in a radio program that also features Chuck D of Public Enemy. Alas, I did not get to…

Upcoming events and horse photo

Upcoming events: I have three upcoming events, but only two of them have official dates and itineraries. Looks like I will also be addressing a group in the Oakland area soon. I will update this when I know more. 2011 events February 12, 2001, “Reading in Good Company” Atherton, CA Thank you to the newly launched Bay Area book group Reading in Good Company, which has chosen The Cactus Eaters as its inaugural choice and invited me to participate. I will be there for the discussion, which will take place at 1 p.m. on February 12 at the Atherton Public Library in Atherton, Ca. April 9, 2011: Literary OrangeIrvine, CA Here is the complete itinerary for that upcoming conference and book talk at the UC Irvine library. I will be part of a travel/trailblazers panel with Robert Anasi and John McKinney. Make sure to be there. I’ll bring the salamander…

Cactus Eaters and the Dalai Lama

I heard from a reliable source that a copy of my book has been spotted at a funky hostel at the McLeod Ganj (the Dalai Lama’s hometown). If it’s still there, this is the farthest that a copy of the Cactus Eaters has traveled, and will ever travel — unless someone shoots the book into the far reaches of outer space. Maybe someone will give him a copy. I hope they cross out all the bad words. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default


Two readers of this blog like to keep track of this reading list. Everybody else, aside from those two readers, will kindly ignore this feature. If nothing else, this also helps me keep track of my own reading without having to join a social network that forces me to rate and review books for free, including the work of friends and other people. (bad, bad, bad.) Current Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island David Mitchell, Black Swan Green, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Current movies: Walkumentary by Lawton. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default