This feature has a two-fold purpose: 1. To allow those recently added to our followers list to discover books they might have missed and 2. To make sure previously featured authors and their work aren’t forgotten. If you’d like to learn more about any of the books revisited here, simply click on the “Authors” page, then on that author’s name.
“GIVING PAWS,” BY MARTHA L. THOMPSON
Writes Martha: “Anyone who has loved a dog or cat understands their instinct to snuggle with us when we don’t feel well, but not everyone knows how dogs can be trained to assist people with all kinds of maladies and disabilities. My book will be invaluable to anyone who could benefit from having a service dog. It will be particularly helpful to those with “invisible disabilities,” who are considering getting a service dog. The process is not as simple as putting a vest on the dog and bringing them everywhere they go. There will be obstacles, and my story offers solutions and lessons on how to keep going despite the bumps in in the road.
There are a few books on the market about training service dogs, but none that tell a personal account that include all the highs and lows.
“WOLF SEASON,” BY HELEN BENEDICT
After a hurricane devastates a small town in upstate New York, the lives of three women and their young children are irrevocably changed. Rin, an Iraq War veteran, tries to protect her little daughter and the three wolves under her care. Naema, a widowed doctor who fled Iraq with her wounded son, faces life-threatening injuries. Beth, who is raising a troubled son, waits out her marine husband’s deployment in Afghanistan, equally afraid of him coming home and of him never returning at all.
As they struggle to maintain their humanity and love, and to find hope, their war-torn lives collide in a way that will affect their entire community.
“BITTERROOT,” BY STEVEN FAULKNER.
A modern father and son travel the Oregon Trail with that remarkable 19th-century traveler Pierre Jean De Smet who leads them to the Rocky Mountains where they join Lewis and Clark during their difficult crossing of the continental divide—several weeks that almost killed them. Along that trail they meet the Nez Perce tribe who helped save the lives of Lewis and Clark and their “corps of discovery”. On the return trip, father and son join the Nez Perce in their long flight from General O. O. Howard and the U. S. army.
This is a travel book like Blue Highways or John Graves’ Goodbye to a River, with vivid accounts of historical events along the way: the Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs, Lewis and Clark’s miserable climb through the Bitterroots, the Nez Perce battle at Big Hole, the Battle of the Little Bighorn from the perspective of a Sioux boy who lived through it.
“LAIKA,” BY KATE KORT
Laika desperately wishes for a new life. At fourteen, she’s hardened and independent, living on the streets of southern California. She’s finally free of her volatile home but yearns for true stability.
As Graham, a waiter at a local Russian restaurant, watches Laika steal and struggle to survive, he sees there is something else going on. Something dangerous. An insidious disease that gnaws at her mind and drags her deeper into a world of chaos and delusion.Laika brings to light the often-shrouded world of paranoid schizophrenia. It also examines the socially stigmatized issues of homelessness, addiction, and PTSD, in the hopes of fostering greater awareness and compassion.
“WHERE TO?” BY DIMITRI SAMAROV
An illustrated work memoir about twelve years driving cab in Chicago and Boston between 1993 and 2012. The book starts with the author’s very first fare and ends with his last, in between are chapters devoted to the inner workings of the cab industry and memorable customers, colleagues, and civic events. In all, it is a portrait of city life from a vantage point which will soon disappear entirely due to the taxi business’s impending doom at the hands of the ride-share racket.
This the follow-up to Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and a summing up of the author’s cabbie career after he decided to walk away.
Where to? was what I asked anybody who got int my taxi. “Hack” the old-fashioned term for a cab driver. Memoir to make sure readers realize this isn’t fiction (as they did when I included the word Stories in the title of my first book.
“AMERICAN FLOWERS,” BY TYLER FLYNN DORHOLT
From Tyler: “I’ve been writing prose poems for years and at some point in 2013 I realized I was writing contained prose poems, or lyrical splashes, about themes that related to one another. This might have just been proximity: I wrote all of these on post-it notes and affixed them to the same book, next to one another. I also wrote all of them by the same small window, from an apartment in Brooklyn. Much of the writing was corresponding to ways I was thinking not necessarily about, but out of photographs.
Once I had collected the writing, I was uncertain as to what shape the lyrics/blocks/strophes should be. After being assembled, the book was a finalist at a couple of poetry presses and also a finalist for a Lyric Essay contest, and so I knew it was missing something to make it feel and become its own book. I didn’t have a problem with this sense of hybridity, but it allowed me to understand that the shape of the work was meant to be in blocks, or paragraphs, and that the photographs I was taking in and around the writing were reflections of the writing. Even vice versa. That’s when photographs were added.