The book was about a fictional small town in Minnesota called Gopher Prairie, a place inhabited by "a savorless people, gulping tasteless food, and sitting afterward, coatless and thoughtless, in rocking-chairs prickly with inane decorations, listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles, and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world."
When I am running in the backcountry, I am the antithesis of the kind of "living" described above. Also Leopold captured the notion neatly in A Sand County Almanac:
Recreation is valuable in proportion to the degree to which it differs from and contrasts with workaday life.
Yep, being a good animal in the backcountry, pushing one's mind and body to giddy limits, certainly does contrast just a tad with everyday life. I guess it's much like an addiction, albeit a positive one.
The identity of our author?
Yesterday, 7 Feb 2013, was the birthday of Sinclair Lewis, born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota in 1885, and author of Main Street, from which the quote above comes. He was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
Credit to The Writer's Almanac, always a good read, for the tip on Lewis. Now I gotta read Main Street, I suppose.