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Birchbark Blog

First Snow

Louise Erdrich - Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Oh, Winter.  Here you are again. It seems like you never left. The snow lies heavy on my heart and on the trampoline that I have been keeping shoveled for many a winter past. The thing is, books -- when snowed in, when the temp drops, when you feel the snow will never stop. At least there are books!

And what books. I have to write about Olga again! We know that I'm completely in favor of Olga Tokarczuk. From the advanced readers pile, I plucked Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead, and immediately loved the eccentric voice and the murder mystery which satisfied with its eco undertone and its slippery wit.  also loved Flights but it is utterly different, more philosophical, grounded in the body. I found myself a bit choked up when I learned she won the Nobel Prize because she so deserves it. And because now there will be more translations of her books.

I loved Ann Patchett's The Dutch House. Perhaps it is my favorite of her books, which is saying a great deal. Ann wrote a character I still think about, Maeve, an ironic saint. And there is a villain she does not redeem -- very difficult to maintain a loathsome character. I so respect Ann's discipline. The house is also a character. You won't forget it. This beautifully constructed novel really is the perfect read when you are snowed in or need something classy looking to be seen with in a coffee house. I mean, the cover alone! 

All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews. Actually, anything by Miriam Toews. 

Two Books That Belong Together: Cold Warriors, by Duncan White and The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. I read these books together and was pretty much overcome by all that I learned about Doctor Zhivago, the Cold War, and the real Lara. I didn't know that one of our secret cold war weapons was actually literature and that Animal Farm was translated into Polish and thousands of books were air lifted and dropped behind the Iron Curtain. The Secrets We Kept is a delicious read about what disregarded secretaries knew and told or didn't tell. After I read these books together I kept collaring people, pushing these books at them the way I'm now pushing them at you. 

What am I reading tonight? Before I make pumpkin pie with my youngest daughter? Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson.  

Now I have to stop. I promise a Holiday List to come and also books to look forward to when January happens.  Also, I will let you know how this pie turns out. I really can only cook two things and neither one is pie.

Yours, as always, for books.


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