2020 COMMON READER

Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

As one of the most imaginative and thoughtful writers about the Western desert landscape and the need to protect it, Terry Tempest Williams reminds us in the 2020 Common Reader, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, that the preservation of wildness isn’t just about a specific region.  It is about all of us. To preserve wildness is to preserve the spiritual essence of a nation and of individuals. In this lyrical tribute to the red desert country of Utah, Williams gracefully and forcefully steps into the debate over the use of public lands that divides even her own family. Red reminds us of the wisdom the desert offers all of us—after all, the desert tortoises “teach us the slow art of revolutionary patience”—and introduces readers to the power, vulnerability, and transformative possibilities offered by the desert landscape that so many people and unique species of life call home.

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