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5 stars for Lake Effect by Tim Coonan #memoir #climatechange #familytrips #goodoldays #mustread #bookreview

Title: Lake Effect

Author: Tim Coonan

Genre: Memoir, Climate Change


Book Blurb:


When is a family vacation more than a family vacation? The classic lake cabin, beyond being an iconic vacation genre, becomes a home away from home when the visits are regular, when they are a set piece in the year's calendar, when they bracket generations of a family's trajectory. As much a natural history as a memoir, Lake Effect delves beneath the surface of a rather ordinary lake - a reservoir, really - to examine the region's origins, and its unclear future. Viewed through the lens of classic, family cabin vacations at California's Lake Almanor, the narrative explores the author's fond remembrance of times past at the lake, and his affinity for its natural environment. Beyond being a tale of memory and nostalgia, Lake Effect examines the genesis of the lake and region, focusing on the shock-and-awe geologic force of volcanism, evident at nearby Lassen Peak (the volcano on the horizon, the southern-most of the volcanic Cascade Range), and the natural history, the biota that wraps itself around the geology, at this confluence of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges. Overwhelming this is the inexorable advance of human civilization, economic interest, and resource extraction in the area, including a Chinatown-like subterfuge to grab water rights and build a dam, an effort that just maybe included a little arson. Lake Effect details the fate area's natural resources during the evolution from a lush, Native American-inhabited meadow through timber extraction and dam-building to the proliferation of lake vacation rentals. Overlying this all is the new kid on the block, catastrophic fire exacerbated by climate change, a force that threatens the character of the lake vacation itself, if not the very existence of the lake. How long can the lake be a refuge, a respite from the world? Maybe you can't go home again, or at least back to the lake. On the other hand, life finds a way, and perhaps humans can exhibit an adaptiveness, a resilience, like some of the area's furred and feathered residents.


My Review:


This book appealed to me, and I am very pleased.  For me, this book became very personal. Family means a lot to me and this book is about family. That is what stands out. Enjoyable reading about the old days. The story about the cabin at the lake I embraced.


Truth is that my dad took us fishing once a year along the Huron Shores.  Many of my happy memories as a kid are from those trips. The writing here takes you on a trip to the lake. I am thinking many of us have done this too.


This work is well written and full of memories.  There are laughs and smiles along the way. If you are looking for a way to feel how life was in the way back, then get a hold of this book. If you want to learn science (climate change) while reading about a fun time in the past, then this is for you. A great book for people wanting to reminisce about the good old days.


For me, it was called a cottage; for this author, it's a cabin. What it is, in the end, is fun at the lake with your family.


My Rating: 5 stars


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Author Biography:


Tim Coonan is a retired wildlife biologist (30 years with the National Park Service, most notably at Channel Islands and Death Valley) who currently teaches science at a Catholic school in Ventura, California. He grew up in suburban Los Angeles (from which family road trips departed), and attended Notre Dame, with graduate work at Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Tim has co-authored the definitive (granted, the only) book on an endangered species, the island fox of southern California’s Channel Islands. Father to two girls, Tim lives in Ventura, California.


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Reviewed by: Tiger


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