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

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

Archive