Emily wants to be friends with your dog.
This is probably (and when I say probably I really mean definitely) my favorite book of all time. Haunting, sparse, beautiful, The Lover chronicles the lifespan of an affair from its tumultuous beginning to its inevitable end. Somehow I always find myself coming back to this book. It is that first love you always remember, never quite get over.
Ruth Goodman is such a joy! Her ability to bring history to life is truly unmatched. In her work you will not find an endless list of dates and names and places, but instead an immersive dive into the day-to-day lives of ordinary people. As I read this book I couldn’t help but stop every few pages to tell my partner about a new interesting fact I’d just learned (did you know that folks who woke up at dawn instead of first light were called slugabeds? I didn’t!) Follow her on a journey into Tudor England and you will not regret it. -Emily
It seems so inadequate to call this just a travel book. Blue Highways is a meditation on loneliness, on America, on the kindness of strangers and the coldness of strangers. It's a book for the broken hearted, a siren's call to the open road and the antidote to that strange disease called restlessness. Quite simply it is beautiful and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love it.
The Good Life is THE Back-to-the-Land bible. During the Depression the Nearings became disillusioned with the wage labor economy and sought out an alternate way to live, buying a run down farm in the Green Mountains of Vermont and starting a life based on self-sufficiency, shared work and freedom from the 9-5. Their memoir of 60+ years of living off the land is as inspiring today as it was when it was first published.
A beautiful love story about a woman who falls in love with a giant lizard man. Need I say more?
Tiffany Francis' Dark Skies: A Journey into the Wild Night is a beautiful blend of nature and travel writing taking the reader from Francis' home in rural England to Norway, the Black Forest, the Baltic sea and beyond to uncover the mysteries of the nocturnal world. Francis does a wonderful job exploring how the known and familiar becomes new and mysterious after dark and encourages us all to look at the world from a new perspective.
Susan Steinberg is one of THE BEST writers working today. Her first novel (she has three previous story collections that are also excellent) is a haunting and fragmented portrait of a group of teenagers following the death of a local girl. This book is filled with lines I found myself reading over and over. Let the words echo and fill the space around you.
The Mercies is one of the best novels I've read in years. Kiran Millwood Hargrave has an incredible talent for creating visceral scenes and sensations. She does everything from capture the smell of a sealskin coat, to permeating cold of an arctic winter to the stench of a body burning at the stake. Despite not sparing any gory details however this book is beautifully written and feels all too relevant to our times.
The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown (Paperback)
Michael Patrick F. Smith’s memoir of working in the North Dakota oil fields during the 2013 boom is a quiet and thoughtful account of hard work, loneliness and the irresistible lure of a job well done--and in return, perhaps, a life well lived. This is not an expose of the oil business or a detailed explanation of how fracking works, but instead one man’s experience of a system that cares very little about the individuals within it and yet creates a sense of brotherhood found in few other places. If you’ve ever wondered what it is really like to live and work in a modern day boomtown this is the book for you.
"Every evening in the city is a deep pool of wine Everyone who lives in the city is drunk with it And cannot leave They are surrounded by friends"
"Take care whom you mix with in life, irresponsible one, For if you mix with the wrong people - And you yourself may be one of the wrong people - If you make love to the wrong person. In some old building with its fabric of dirt, As clouds of witchcraft, nitro-glycerine, and cake, Brush by (one autumn night) still green From our green sunsets...and then let hundreds pass, unlit, They will do you ferocious indelible harm! Far beyond anything you can imagine, jazzy sneerin one, And afterards you'll live in no man's land, You'll lose your identity, and never get yourself back, diablotin, It may have happened already, and as you read this... Ah, it has happened already. I remember, in an old building; Clouds which had cut themselves on a sharp winter sunset (With its smoking stove of frosts to keep it cold) went by, bleeding."