Winter reading

Stack of books


I’ve been out of town. A stack of books from the library and online were waiting when I got home.

The Steinbeck work journals for East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath are recommended by Louise De Salvo in The Art of Slow Writing as essential if you’re writing a book-length work and want to learn about process.

Deep snow in backyardThe Age of Miracles is this year’s selection for “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book.” We love to read through the deep winters in our part of the world, and this novel of catastrophe and survival will be on many a nightstand here. Why not try it along with us – I’ll be writing about this debut novel by Karen Thompson Walker soon.

The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland, a memoir, and Wolf Winter, a novel. I want to know more about my Scandinavian roots; biography, memoir, and fiction are a great way to explore ancestry and heritage.

Wendell Berry’s Our Only World (ten essays), because Berry is one of our greatest prophets, writing about the clash between humanity and nature and how we must do better. He’s been called a modern-day Emerson or Thoreau.

Backpacking with the Saints, a travel narrative and spiritual memoir. Belden C. Lane’s take on Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu and Sufi Muslim writings as he treks the Ozarks and the American Southwest. The book jacket compares him to other lovers of the backcountry, including John Muir and Cheryl Strayed, whose memoir, Wild, was just released as a movie.

Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed, is an overdue Christmas gift for my photographer son. This newly published series of interviews with the filmmaker is so popular it’s been out of stock. I hope he finds it worth the wait.

No one writes about creating art with as much love and eloquence as Vincent Van Gogh.

More about these in upcoming posts at Books Can Save a Life.


12 thoughts on “Winter reading”

  1. I do love a list of books!! I have decided to try Wolf Winter & The Age of Miracles – although spring is on its way here I think I still have time to squeeze in a little more winter reading by the woodturner. Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. Steinbeck is a favorite author of mine. I like his classic works, but also In Dubious Battle (a short novel about a fruit-pickers’ strike) and Travels With Charlie, which is non-fiction.

  3. I have been in such a reading slump lately. Will be sure to pick up one or more of these books at the library this week to see if I can finally get back into reading again.

  4. Wonderful books, Valorie! ‘Winter travels in Lapland’ and ‘Backpacking with the Saints’ look so wonderful. I didn’t know that you had Scandinavian roots. That is really cool 🙂 (I thought you had either Irish or Italian (Sicilian) roots). Hope you enjoy reading these wonderful books. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on them. Happy reading!

  5. Hi Valorie,
    That is a really nice picture of a stack of books.
    I have read and liked The Grapes of Wrath. Of Mice and Men was amazing. Have you read it? I’ve always wanted to read more of Steinbeck’s work but must wait for a melancholy mood. His books are definitely not cheerful.
    I’d love to read Van Gogh’s book. It sounds so interesting.

    1. Delia, I haven’t read Steinbeck for quite a while, but I liked what I read. I do love Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, Theo, so I’m looking forward to this volume. I’m not a painter, but his words help with my writing and approach to creativity. Glad we’ve connected!

      1. If you’re looking for a book to help with creativity, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is great – there’s even a week by week plan of exercises you can do to help unearth the creative force within. Just finished it last night and thought it was really good – a step ahead of the writing books I’ve read so far.
        Glad to have found your blog. 🙂

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