The Best of 2017: Author Interviews and Favorite Reads

I stayed afloat during 2017 for one reason only, human connection between myself and authors I admire and falling into books that gave me hope, let me cry, and let me hide between calls (all the calls) to my congressmen, fighting for my rights and the rights of others. Trying to hold extended family close to my heart when differences were tearing us apart, and generally trying not to slip into apathy and resignation was a full-time job. Here are just a few of the interviews and books that kept me afloat (click on author interviews in the blog menu for even more). May they encourage, shelter, challenge, and set you an a strong course for the coming year.

Happy Reading!!

Interviews:

F843E58F-3922-406D-8959-D87B64973443

Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series and the new fantasy, The Bloodprint, talks generational trauma, revenge, and healing across time and continents.

itlookslikethis

Rafi Mittlefehldt, author of the gorgeous YA coming of age novel, It Looks Like This, talks family connections, religious rifts, and the danger and survival of belonging.

alltheriverscover

Dorit Rabinyan, international bestselling author of All the Rivers, talks integrating visual art into a narrative and finding other’s humanity admist chaos.

Some Favorite Reads:

mothers tell your daughters

Mothers, Tell Your Daughersby Bonnie Jo Campbell (Short stories about families, rural life, and the truths we hide from ourselves)

under the udala tress

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (a young girl explores her identity as a lesbian in Nigeria while trying to maintain the powerful connection with her mother and society)

The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs (essays on infertility, family, sociology, and the inter workings of the human heart)

I’m Tired of Pretending

…that it wasn’t hard, that my heart didn’t break a million times, that my heart doesn’t break every time I heard a friend can have a baby with ease, that I should feel happy. I’m tired of the guilt of not being happy for them, of being sad, of not appreciating that I got to have one, as if that should be consolation. Infertility is grueling, not just during, but after, forever.

Belle Boggs tackles these feelings and more in her new collection of essays, The Art of Waiting. From essays called Baby Fever, Imaginary Children, to Just Adopt and wrapping up with Paying for It, a perfect essay title for families that pay more than just money when things don’t go as they planned, these essays are like looking in a mirror and at the same time knowing you are not alone. Belle Boggs is a voice to be heard, and in it, she speaks with the voice of many who have faced what she has in struggling with fertility with a blend of history and personal experience. If you have been through it you will devour it. If you haven’t, read it even more closely, because someone you love has and is.

About Belle Boggs

Interview with NPR

Belle Boggs article in The Atlantic

Follow her on twitter @belleboggs

Life in Four Directions

crazybraveJoy Harjo’s Crazy Brave is part history, part memoir, and part poetry. A recounting of a life from inside the soul that encompasses the way history impacts our lives at every turn.

Joy Harjo barely survived a rough childhood by running. Not running away, but finding a place where she was known. At an arts boarding high school she learned ways to express what her stepfather and life had told to be quiet and to bury. Turned on to the arts, her soul began to fly again. But even the sky has storms. Continue reading “Life in Four Directions”

Avalanche

avalancheWhen people say they had trouble conceiving, or having a baby, or things were difficult, those are both euphemisms and over-simplifications. The trouble is never just trying to have a baby. The trouble becomes the fracturing of a relationship strained to cracking as two people try everything to create something together. It is the explosion of promises little girls are fed, the certainty of motherhood-now just a dream wrapped up in a nightmare. The broken dream of family, the arrow of jealousy between friends-one who can get pregnant on a whim, one who cannot for literal love or money.

Julia Leigh bares all in this tale of a woman struggling to have a baby, struggling with connection, struggling with career, struggling with her very soul. A searing look into the world of infertility and the heart of a woman. Continue reading “Avalanche”

Two Tales of Two Mothers

ordinary light  the liars club

She was the best of mothers, she was the worst of mothers. She was always present but unknowable, she was unknowable but often present. She was the touchstone of existence, she was the essence of loss. Two extraordinary mothers, two searching daughters, two journeys to take, many questions to be answered. Read them together for a dive into two markedly different worlds, both with daughters trying to make sense of their childhoods as their future depends on it. -Book Club Advisor Continue reading “Two Tales of Two Mothers”

Childhood Interrupted

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. Continue reading “Childhood Interrupted”

Bones Spell Justice

Not everyone who collects bones is a murderer. Some people collect bones to give the gift of truth and justice.

 In 1994, Rwanda was the scene of the first acts since World War II to be legally defined as genocide. Two years later, Clea Koff, a twenty-three-year-old forensic anthropologist, left the safe confines of a lab in Berkeley, California, to serve as one of sixteen scientists chosen by the United Nations to unearth the physical evidence of the Rwandan genocide. Continue reading “Bones Spell Justice”