Staff Picks: May 2013

Mom & Me & Mom

Mom & Me & Mom Book Cover

Maya Angelou once again does not disappoint. She continues her series of auto-biographies with an incredibly well written book about her relationship with her mother. She writes with such eloquence and ease that I did not want to put the book down. The book illustrates the hardships in their relationship with respect and love and at the same time entertains.

The River Swimmer

The River Swimmer Book Cover

A book of 2 novellas, I preferred the second – The River Swimmer – which is the story of an Upper Peninsula of Michigan farm boy who is irresistibly drawn to swimming as an escape and way of coping with the injustice and pressure of coming of age. There is also a mystical element involved provided by the Native American woman who raised him. The other novella entitled The Land of Unlikeness deals with a 60yr old art history academic who returns to his family’s Michigan farmhouse to visit his aging mother. This triggers a renewal of what he holds dear and restores his lost love of painting. Both stories written in Harrison’s definitive style, fans should be pleased with this latest work.

The Orchardist

The Orchardist Book Cover

This is a stunning and captivating novel on many levels. The story takes place in the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century. A young man who has lost the rest of his family starts an orchard and finds solace in the quiet life of the land he cultivates. Two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the local market and later appear at his orchard. Starving, scared, and very pregnant, he takes them in. He learns of the unspeakable cruelty and misfortune the girls have endured and vows to protect them. This starts an irrevocable course that disrupts the harmony of his ordered life. Many interesting characters and life lived in a natural world of early America. If you liked Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier you will love this one.