One of the best things about working at a library is the fact that you are surrounded by so much reading material. While I tend to read one thing at a time, every now and then, a whole bunch of books make their way into my life at once and my bedside table becomes overcrowded with options. This latest group of books is particularly eclectic, ranging from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and a play. I hope something catches your eye, as it did mine!
There There is an amazing debut novel by Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange. I started reading this book last fall and while I fell completely in love with the story and the writing, I didn’t finish it before its due date. I’ve picked it up again and it’s even more beautiful than I remember. The novel follows a large cast of characters living in the Oakland, California area who all end up at the same pow-wow. The further you read, the more you can piece together how these characters’ lives intersect. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially if you enjoy reading for language!
Written by Courtney Maum, I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You follows Richard Haddon, a British visual artist who is living in Paris with his wife, Anne, and their small daughter. Richard has cheated on his marriage and even considered leaving his family for the other woman. When the affair ends, Richard and Anne must grapple with each other’s actions, reevaluate their relationship, and fight for a second chance.
While I haven’t read a play since university, I couldn’t resist Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians. Based on true events, this piece is about Arthur Cooper, an Anishnawbe man who decides to repopulate the lakes of his home Territory with wild rice. Disapproval from local non-Indigenous cottagers reminds us that land politics is as relevant an issue as ever.
I had the privilege of seeing Mohawk writer Janet Rogers perform spoken word in Winnipeg a number of years ago. When I stumbled upon her latest collection, As Long as the Sun Shines, I felt compelled to pick it up. Her poetry provides a stunning perspective on Indigenous culture, identity, struggle and womanhood.
In this concise piece of writing, David W. Lesch chronicles the history of modern Syria, from the Ottoman Empire to the current civil war. I’m certainly not going to retain every date or place mentioned in this book but I have been able to further understand Syria’s history and how current conflicts have come to be.