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Against the Current by Robert Silverberg
Alice, the Cat Who Was Hounded by Jules Rosenthal
And Then What Happened Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz
Arizona by Clarence Budingham Kelland
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Barren Lives by Gracilliano Ramos
Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
Bleach Volume 2 by Tite Kubo
Bleach Volume 3 by Tite Kubo
The Boy Who Wanted to be a Fish by Le Grand
Burning Chrome by William Gibson
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo
A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
The Ebb-Tide by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Eight by Katherine Neville Gag by Lovechild
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Hide and Ghost Seek by Carol Thompson
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
How to Deal with Difficult People by Andrew Costello
I Went to the Animal Fair by William Cole and Colette Rosselli The Key by Joe Vitale
The Long Valley by John Steinbeck
Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H. F. Saint
Motherhood, the Second Oldest Profession by Erma Bombeck
Mousekin's Family by Edna Miller
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House by Eric Hodgins
Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
My Summer with George by Marilyn French
Sail Away by Donald Crews
Sailaway Home by Bruce Degen
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Shooting Polaris by John Hales
Small Pig by Arnold Lobel
The Storm by Sarah Zimmerman
Strange Mr. Satie by M. T. Anderson and Petra Mathers
Turtle's Flying Lesson by Diane Redfield Massie
The Unfinished Revolution by Michael Dertouzos
The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs
Who Goes There? by Dorothy P. Lathrop

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Shooting Polaris: 10/01/07

Shooting Polaris

The second book I read this summer for my participation in this November's Nanowrimo is a memoir of a man who worked on a survey team in Utah. Shooting Polaris begins with John Hales's first summer as a novice flag man on a government survey team in the 1970s.

Hales outlines how he learned the ins and outs of surveying and the culture that has arisen out of the Public Land Survey System of surveying as mandated by Thomas Jefferson. Surveying under the PLSS is not about describing lines and boundaries as they exist naturally on the land, it is about creating boundaries according to the mathematical certainly of line. The bulk of the United States regardless of the changing landscape is divided up into 6 mile townships.

Hales was part of a team to go through the roughest areas of the Utah wilderness to resurvey the area. As a flag man he was sent scrabbling up mountains, down ravines and through unforgiving landscape to plant his flag on Line as directed.

During his summer tenure on the team the technology changed from physical lengths of wire to the precursors of modern computerized surveying equipment. The new equipment while more accurate is more prone to damage. Hale argues that today's equipment removes the surveyor's ability to see himself in the universe.

To explain why he feels a disconnect with the modern equipment, Hales explains the evolution of the equipment and process from the time Wyld wrote The Practical Surveyor, through the equipment he learned on, up to modern times. This timeline was my favorite part of the book.

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