Back to the books
A few weeks ago, I was going to share my reading list. My thoughts were interrupted by the passing of my aunt, followed shortly by the transfer of my father from his apartment in assisted living to the nursing home. It's like heartbreak after heartbreak – but we remember the circle of life and eventually accept it.
Our almost-blizzard was a blessing. The outdoor gardens were covered with snow protecting the soil from erosion and adding subsoil moisture for a spring jumpstart. And speaking of spring, I have visions of seeds and soil blocks dancing in my head as it's almost time to begin gardening again.
Somewhere along life's timeline, I decided to make time to read every day. What I would lose in sleep each night reading would not be missed. Sometimes, the only difficulty in this practice is finding good books to read.
And then finishing them.
I currently have about four books in the queue – half-finished at that. I'm debating if I should find a book less than interesting at my age should I toss it aside rather than spend precious moments finishing it? The jury's still out.
One of my goals is to read some classic old novels. After reading the invisible man, which is nothing like any movie of the same name, I downloaded Siddhartha. That classic was a fascinating read, but I was interrupted by the latest Stephen King novel, "Billy Summers." I feel it was the best book King wrote since his accident. It was a love story, and I almost couldn't put it down.
Because I admire and wish to support local writers, I opted to try Clay Jenkinson's book, "The Language of Cottonwoods." I agree with his love of North Dakota and its treasures worth preserving, but somehow, I couldn't get more than halfway through until it became about him. I will finish it someday when I wait for a few more books from my favorite authors, but I am sorry, for now.
Then, my friend Sarah Vogel wrote a book. She is talented and a great writer. I put that book on my hard pile (along with Jenkinson's) and opted for a book from the soft pile. It wasn't a difficult choice because Louise Erdrich had just published her latest work, "The Sentence." I love Louise. The terms hard and soft piles came from that read. Until then, my dresser and end table contained only piles of books.
I may very well have read everything that Ms. Erdrich has written. It all began with "Tales of Burning Love." Erdrich's stories are based on North Dakota places. She recently won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, "The Night Watchman," a story about her grandfather. Someday I would love to visit her independent bookstore in the Twin City's area or online at: https://birchbarkbooks.com. Until I read this book, I was unaware the staff did mail orders. I am remiss that I didn't order a signed copy of "The Sentence" directly. My apologies.
"The Sentance" is about a haunted bookstore, among other timely topics, but the very best part of Erdrich's latest book is a list of the main character's favorite books behind the final chapter. BONUS.
Let it blizzard all it wants, with this list in hand; I shall not run out of books (both hard pile and soft pile) for a long, long time. After my December Sun magazine, I will begin "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants" by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I can't wait
Read on, my friends.
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Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.