Follow the Adventures of Immigrants, Steampunks, and Vegans

Follow the Adventures of Immigrants, Steampunks, and Vegans

A family migrates west, Rue heads for India, and a veggie maven serves up a challenge.

Write, If You Live to Get There: Tracing Westward Expansion Through 120 Years of Family Letters, compiled and edited by Mary K. Sonntag and Mary Jo Sonntag (Word Association Publishers, 2013, $19.95, 434 pp.)

The title—Write, If You Live to Get There—is hard to resist and resembles a ransom note, or even a wanted poster, plopped atop a grainy color-tinted photo of California Gold Country. The book traces the migration of the family of Mary Phillips McConahy from Vermont to Placerville, Calif. It captures everyday frontier life from 1842 through the turn of the century on to 1962 through correspondence among family members, conveying hardships, victories, losses, and daily minutiae. The authors, a Pennsylvania mother and daughter, are descendants who pieced the stories together from family letters and photographs.

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Living Compassionately, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (Montali Press, 2014, $22.95, 331 pp.)

If you are tempted to plunge into veganism, this new edition could be the book for you. Written by Oakland-based Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, a cooking instructor, writer, and activist, it offers a step-by-step approach to going vegan, answers practical and philosophical questions, and tosses in more than 100 “delicious, nutritious, plant-based recipes and meal ideas.” The book recommends preparation and goal-setting goals then lays out 30 days of vegan-centric tips, truths, myths, and misconceptions. Patrick-Goudreau asks readers to challenge their thinking and behavior and offers plenty of tools and support. It’s a beautiful book with delicious-sounding recipes sandwiched between resources demystifying the vegan lifestyle.