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Birchbark Blog

RUTHLESS NOSTALGIA

Louise Erdrich - Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Dear Friends and Book Lovers of the World and the Twin Cities in particular,

Thank you for your visits all through the summer.  I didn't visit this blog because this is Minnesota.  Who can bear to sit inside and write when this brief, golden, breathlessly hot, high pressure perfect, time is upon us?  Niibin.  The word for summer in Ojibwe.  No blogging in Niibin.  But now it is the first of September and things get serious.  The school bell rings across from Birchbark Books and there is the periodic hysterical joy of recess sounds.  There is a new garden placed beside the lunch room, right across from us.  There are books to be read.

Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge by Vic Glover gave me heart one day, and indelible images.  A book filled with everyday wisdom, gentle survival humor, and practical advice for those who wonder what it is like to be in Indian.  

Let's Take the Long Way Home, a memoir of friendship by Gail Caldwell, is (disclosure) by my friend Gail Caldwell.   For anyone who has ever lost another precious human, and that includes all of us, this is a map of grief and joy you'll hold to your heart.  For anyone who has struggled with addiction or likes dogs, and that includes many of us, this is a map of terror and hope .

I've resisted reading Roberto Bolano's 2666 and now I cannot stop.  It is like entering a strange and compelling dream.

I have just picked up Empire of the Summer Moon, Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, by S.C. Gwynne.  It is a promising read.

I also have the advanced readers copy of Philip Roth's Nemesis, which I think is one of his best books.  The ending says all there is to say about the arc and beauty of our mortality.

For me the end of August and its long light is a time of relentless nostalgia  -- Faulker knew about this light.  I am watching the sun creep behind the still green leaves, lighting them fiercely from behind so they glow.  Unearthly.  Gorgeous.  Mundane.






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