THIS WEEK’S CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “A FUGITIVE IN WALDEN WOODS,” BY NORMAN LOCK AND “BANANA KISS,” BY BONNIE ROZANSKI, CAN BE FOUND, ALONG WITH THIS MONTH’S “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY,” BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST. OR, YOU CAN CLICK THE AUTHORS’ NAMES ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.
So you say you’re getting uncomfortably warm at this point in the summer — sunburned, heat-rashed and soggy?
How about chilling out with a novel set in Antarctica? Lucy Jane Bledsoe not only writes eloquently about the world’s last southern frontier, but she’s been there three times. And even though Antarctica might be looking pretty good to you right now, you’ll probably change your mind after reading “The Big Bang Symphony.”
Meanwhile, in case you missed the late ’60s and early ’70s, Lawrence Kessenich’s novel “Cinnamon Girl” is intended to serve as a time machine.
Writes Lawrence: “I have found that Cinnamon Girl appeals both to the generation who lived through this era and to younger people who wonder what it was like to live through it. As the Baby Boom Generation—the largest population cohort in the history of the nation—moves into retirement age, more and more of us are looking back on our youth and pondering our generation’s role in the social upheaval of “The 60s.” For young people today, the Vietnam War era is as far back as the World War I era was for us as young people, and it is a fascinating era of tremendous change. I believe that this novel presents the widespread upheaval of that era—political, social, and personal—in a dramatic context that is both thought-provoking and entertaining.”
Finally, this week offers you the chance to meet poet Jim Gustafson and savor his wry commentary on growing older. “Unassisted Living” may not make you feel any better about the inevitable advance of the years, but it might help you confront those years with a sense of humor.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JULY 11-17.
“THE BIG BANG SYMPHONY,” BY LUCY JANE BLEDSOE.
Three women — a geologist, a composer and a galley worker — take jobs in Antarctica. As they each fall in love and into trouble, their lives become more and more entwined — until one crisis binds them in friendship for life.
“CINNAMON GIRL,” BY LAWRENCE KESSENICH
It is 1969, the summer of Woodstock, and after nearly getting his head bashed in at a demonstration on Milwaukee’s East Side, John Meyer crashes down a hillside with fellow student Tony Russo. It looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, until John meets Tony’s wife Claire, and from then on things get complicated in a very 60s way. Tony and Claire are at odds, although their toddler, Jonah, holds them together. John is at odds with his parents and with a society that supports the war in Vietnam. He is struggling with what to do about the draft and has little direction in his life. He begins to imagine that loving Claire and Jonah might lend his life the purpose it’s lacking.
When John, Tony, Claire, Jonah, and another student rent a house together at the dawn of 1970, relationships become even more complicated. Then, the bombing of Cambodia leads to a national student strike and the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State. Over Claire’s protests, John becomes involved in the strike. When Tony’s brother is wounded in Vietnam, it brings the war right into their living room and throws everything up in the air.
Can John, Claire, Tony, and Jonah forge a new kind of family for a new age, as John dreams of them doing, or will the weight of world pull them down?
“UNASSISTED LIVING,” BY JIM GUSTAFSON
Jim writes: “These poems spring from winter in Southwest Florida. In the constant warmth, it is easier it seems for the elderly to deny the truth of life’s closing snow. Some poems drift north to youth and disquieting memories, others return to reflect on nature, the nature of things, and the natural progression of relationship and time.”