Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Not Winter Reading

Louise Erdrich - Monday, November 28, 2016

November rains and a stormy outlook. Time to plunge into a contradictory reading spree -- first Svetlana Alexievich's extraordinary work, Secondhand Time, an oral history that encompasses every emotion from extreme sorrow to the most tender love. This book of contemporary Russian voices and Soviet history is not for the faint of heart. So, when my heart went faint from descriptions of what is to live in that grand and tragic country, I turned to Amor Towles. His novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, is also about Russian/Soviet history but from the point of view of a most fortunate man. Our hero, Count Rostov, isn't executed in the first pages but instead is confined for life to the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. This is an old fashioned sort of romance, filled with delicious detail. Save this precious book for times you really, really want to escape reality. 

Back to reality -- I have resisted picking up Atul Gawande's Being Mortal for quite a while now because of the title, which would imply mortality. Once I began reading this important book I could not stop. It addresses, without fear, questions we all ask in our hearts but rarely voice. And it gives a person the tools to begin talking about . . . mortality. One's own, one's cherished family.  I gave this book to everybody in my family. Not as a Christmas gift -- I must admit it would be a downer to receive this book as a Christmas gift. But give it to yourself because you deserve clarity.

Somehow I missed talking about Ann Patchett's wonderfully human Commonwealth. Her first chapter is one of the best I've ever read -- leading to a kiss that is one of the best kisses I've ever read. The engaging and headlong family story that follows sweeps you up -- you won't stop reading until it puts you down.      

Comments
Dave Clemens commented on 09-Jan-2017 09:12 AM
I was disgracefully late in coming to Ann Patchett's work, but I recently started to catch up with Bel Canto, which I loved. Now based on your recommendation, Louise, I've put Commonwealth at the top of my list of next reads, to dig into as soon as my wife and I finish reading LaRose aloud together. (I read it for myself months ago.)
Barbara Suter commented on 27-Mar-2017 10:47 PM
My very special time...just for me...is when I crawl into my bed each night and read another chapter or two of LaRose. I received the book as a Christmas gift because my husband knows how much I love your writing, Louise. When I am done, this book will join the dozen or so other Louise Erdrich books on my bookshelf. When I read your books I step into another world with characters I've grown to love. Congratulations, by the way, on winning the National Book Award. I can't think of anyone as deserving for the consistent love you share of your culture through your writing.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

photography Canada incarnation Peak Oil Let's Take the Long Way Home This Green World tree books Minnesota Remarkable Trees NACDI:All My Relations devoted customers peculiar touches of green and gold Philip Roth Aza Alan Weisman Ha Jin sweden British Navy Crushing Books Stephen Salisbury Women and Trees favorite book Hillary Clinton neighborhood post holiday reads ependent Chitra Divakaruni Magers and Quinn The Royal Prussian Library Light in August Unnatural Disasters Too Much Happiness boarding school Anishinabemowin aquifer cafe H2Oil Minneapolis ireland Nero Hilary Mantel pilgrims S.C. Gwynne solstice, Thomas King Rare Books fresh water Birchbark Books Islam book and dinner club Empire of the Summer Moon Keystone XL Victory Gardens Gary Clement Wolf Hall post holiday Bohumil Hrabal adventure Too Loud A Solitude language revitalization Up Late Again Gryphon Press The Ojibwe Pembina support Anton Treuer Kenwood Gardens coyote italy Kate DiCamillo World on the Edge Tar Sands Native People More Remarkable Trees Alice Munro Chickadee Green Team State Troopers japan Dogs Ojibwemowin School Gardens joy Mankato Powwow bill mckibben Bleak House Beth Dooley show your love Greenland favorite dog E.L. Doctorow mississippi anniversary gardens 2666 National Book Award Michael Jackson Wendy Makoons Geniusz favorite tree Easter Island Gail Caldwell gratitude spring The Porcupine Year cafe closing trees Aubrey/Maturin germany thank you friends The Blue Sky Master Butchers Singing Club Poetry Botany health care reform Patrick O'Brian Louise Makoons Fireworks The Round House Love the most romantic city in the world birchbark house series customers Catalyst Small Bookstores as Commons Czech Writer france Bill Moyers Journal green graphix twins Dartmouth Afghanistan Tree Houses Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive Ice President Obama Vic Glover Brown Dog thanks Kabul north dakota buffalo Keepers of the Trees The Game of Silence 350.org Native Arts Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge The Resilient Gardener William Trevor The Transition Handbook Jim Harrison leaves and snow Nemesis The Farmer's Daughter Guthrie Theater how good looking you are Peak Water The Wealth of Nature Climate Change Anishinabe euphoria plants city of books monkey in a dryer knowledge Collective Denial friends Book Review Education Ojibwe Interview Milkweed Press Video local economy Population Mohamed's Ghosts Zombies Emily Johnson The Birchbark House Roberto Bolano Wastepaper ptsd china

Archive