For Love of Local Writers & PublishersLiteratur & Poesi
To Siberia by Per Petterson is an exquisitely written story of a brother and sister who are torn apart by war. The author, of Out Stealing Horses fame, never names his narrator, and when the book begins, she is a 60-year-old woman remembering her childhood with (and without) her beloved brother. Their small town is stifling, so they dream of places they wish to see: for him, it’s Morocco, with barren mountains and sun-scorched towns in the distance. For her, it’s Siberia, with open skies that are cold and clear, where it’s easy to breathe. Throughout the book, the past and present crash into one another on the page, a nearly palpable presence that once felt cannot be undone.
Onigamiising by Linda LeGarde Grover This sublime collection of essays takes us through a traditional Ojibwe year, beginning with Zigwan (spring), followed by Niibin, and Dagwaagin, until we reach Biboon (winter), one year in the life-long journey on the path to Mino Bimaadiziwin, the living of a good life. These fifty short pieces are part Native American history, part cultural history of Grover’s own tribe, part personal history, and part instruction manual; there are several recipes included and directions for how to crochet rugs, potholders, and a baby blanket. The tone throughout the book is peaceful, and harmonious, and each essay is only 3-5 pages long. A quick read, informative, and it has helped me to understand Native American culture more than I did before.
My Own Devices by Dessa A broad-ranging essay collection centered on music, love and heartbreak, Dessa, a former member of the beloved rap collective Doomtree, has put together a lyrical, fluid, and entertaining memoir. But hers is not the usual memoir—having graduated with a degree in philosophy and a fan of behavioral science, it toes the line between art and science. Brutally honest and written with precision, this collection does for lovers of literature what her music did for lovers of indie rap, and it makes a wonderful beginning as she leaves the music world behind.
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl These short, lush essays written by the Southern-raised author trace not just the roots of her family history, but also her love of the natural world that she grew up observing via her suburban Nashville home. As the reader begins to dig further into the book, two threads begin to emerge: the natural world, and our own, and how they work together in our lives. Renkl’s writing proposes that there is perhaps grace and surprise in all things ordinary, in what we share with each other, and she might be right. Brilliantly illustrated by her brother Billy Renkl, this is a fantastic debut. Other books you might enjoy would include Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds, or perhaps, Scott Russell Sanders’ The Way of Imagination.