Congratulations to Joan Bertin of the National Coalition Against Censorship

The Carle Museum of Picture Book Art honored NCAC's Executive Director, Joan Bertin with a Bridge Honor last month. YAY! I am so grateful to NCAC for all they did for THE DIRTY COWBOY. If you're reading this NCAC -- thank you! 

(Ms. Bertin mentioned THE DIRTY COWBOY in her acceptance. Read it here:

Read Brian Doyle out loud!

Hi everyone -- 

Book report: I've been reading Brian Doyle's books lately -- or better, I've been listening to Brian Doyle's books.  Phil has been reading the books out loud. I've been sitting across the living room, knitting a scarf and listening. I recommend! Brian Doyle's voice is his own -- absolutely his own. You know how you know you're reading Toni Morrison the moment your eyes land on her prose? Brian Doyle is the same. That voice is his. It's pacific northwest, mythic, with a whole lot of philosophy and filled with opinionated characters who'll rant at a moment's notice. 

I haven't read/heard MARTIN MARTEN yet, but I've heard THE PLOVER and I'm in the middle of a month of listening to MINK RIVER.  

Man --  I love this stuff. 

I hope someone gives Brian Doyle a MacArthur Genius Grant. That's the right kind of award for him. He's so outside the 'literature' box that I think someone is just going to have to call him a genius and be done with it. 

Go Mr. Doyle! 

Back to work, 


What's everybody reading?

I just finished KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST by J. Ryan Stradal. I enjoyed  it! So if you're looking for the perfect summer (or end of summer) reading, pick this one up. It's a great story and I love how it's told (a different POV every chapter)... Warning: it literally makes you want to cook.  

By the way, reading the reviews I assumed the book was going to be more fairy-tale-ish than it is -- or a sort of myth, an allegory. But it's not that way. This was not a disappointment for me, since I'm not always a fan those kinds of books. I did enjoy the writing greatly -- it's warm and funny.


And, like the title suggests, it's about the midwest! Yay -- more books about the midwest please. This one actually had the name of my hometown (Hudson, WI) in it too. I think it was the source of an ingredient for one of Eva Thorvald's famous dishes. Ha! Oh yes, I enjoyed that too.

Also, I've gotta recommend KITCHEN by Banana Yoshimoto. That is a lovely, lovely book. It's quirky, and a perfect examination of grief (but in a funny, sad way). Oh yes -- lovely. And her writing voice -- wow. And this is a translation from the Japanese... 

What's up next on my list? 

I see David Allen on my last book update too. Yup, I'm still working through it. He's good, but I need in him small doses so I can take it in. (I've read all of his other books too. I love his system for "getting things done," which is also the title of his first book.) 

As for THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, I read that book in college and I need to read it again. It didn't hit me very hard in college. I think I didn't want to think about those details then -- just wanted to express myself in a textual Jackson Pollock sort of way. (There's a big limit to that metaphor since Pollock was a master at what he did, and the writing I did in college? Ah NO -- not masterly, not at all.)

And for all of you who've been put off by the heft of the Thomas Merton -- you can read this thing in chunks. Yes! I've been reading this thing on and off for three years -- three years! But yet, every time I pick it up it's like meeting an old friend. That astonishes me. How does Merton do this? Merton is another writer for me to emulate.

Okay, that's it. I'd love to hear what you've been reading, so feel free to tell all. I hope all is well with all of you!

Okay, I'm working on my novel. Back to work, back to work, back to work.