A collection of books I highly recommend, along with brief (hopefully) descriptions about what makes them so….
What Wildness is This: Women Write about the Southwest, edited by Susan Wittig Albert, Susan Hanson, Jan Epton Seale, and Paula Stallings Yost. [Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007.]
This is an anthology of short works by dozens of writers, well known and lesser known, from all around the southwestern United States. There are short stories, autobiographical pieces, essays, poetry — all of them beautifully written, vivid, and amazing. One of the most electrifying collections of writings I’ve ever read….
The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir by Leslie Marmon Silko [New York: Penguin-Viking, 2010.]
Ms. Silko writes about where she lives, all its seasons, how she connects with place as she walks the land around her…. She writes with brevity, sometimes blunt truth, and always her honest observations and experiences. She is sometimes uplifted, sometimes angered, sometimes humorous, sometimes mysterious…. I just love her writing, and I love an honest memoir….
Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer by Peter Turchi [San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2004.]
What lover of writing doesn’t also love maps? They seem to go together, somehow — in fact, it’s getting to where if there’s not a map in the book, I’m a bit disappointed! Remember Tolkien’s maps? sigh. Or pick another favorite adventure book. Anyway, this book is written by someone who also felt that connection, and applied the concepts of map-making to the process of writing. It’s an engaging, entertaining book, filled with fun examples. It has stimulated my writing in so many ways! An easy, fun, useful read.
The Anthropology of Turqoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky by Ellen Meloy [New York: Vintage-Random, 2002]
I know, another book with “Turquoise” in the title! True, the word did attract me to pick the book up, but oh, what a book! Another memoir (I am almost exclusively into memoirs these days — but they have to be beautifully written!) — but also a wonderful set of adventures written with exciting verbs, fantastic imagery, and tender pathos. Wonderful, wonderful book. I guess it’s wonderful. (I only used that word 4 times here.) 🙂
A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway, edited by Seán Hemingway, and with a foreword by Patrick Hemingway [New York: Scribner, 2010.]
If you don’t like Ernest Hemingway, I urge you to race out and pick up this book today. (Or quickly order it on your ibooks, or kindle, or whatever.) And if you do like Hemingway, I assure you, you’ve never read him like he writes in this restored edition of his masterpiece, A Moveable Feast. The first publication, after his death in 1964, was edited by his then-wife Mary, and Scribner’s itself, who made significant changes and rearrangements in the manuscript. Decades later, his son and grandson found a trunk of Hemingway’s papers, which included his very own designated Final Draft of A Moveable Feast. The result is a delight. Hemingway’s brevity and humor appear in peak form and with moving dashes of passion and emotion. It’s hard to pinpoint just why, but this edition is so much better than previous ones. The notes and additional text by his son Patrick, and grandson Seán add so much deliciousness to the whole.
Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom [New York: Random, 2010.]
Ok, ok, some fiction! This is a collection of short fiction (short stories) centered around the various forms love appears and disappears in life. They are funny, sad, pointed, sweet, and all gradations in between. What I love about Ms. Bloom’s writing is that she doesn’t tie things up in neat bows for her readers all the time…. Sometimes we have to sit with the feelings we experience from a story, and find a connection in our own way. These are art-full, well-written, and entertaining. Plus, it’s nice to have a book that you can read just bits of at a time.