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.      


Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

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

Archive