Thursday, January 27, 2011

MN authors on this week's Realgoodwords

Molly Hootch Hymes joins me this week to talk about her memoir, "Molly Hootch: I Remember When - Growing Up on the Kwiguk Pass of the Lower Yukon River". Molly is a Yupik Eskimo who grew up in the village of Emmonak, Alaska. She's lived in Bemidji for the last 30 years and has finally put on paper the stories of her childhood. Molly especially respected her father and as she puts it, "how he could make ANYTHING out of nothing". The family lived a subsistence lifestyle. Molly Hootch's name became well known later in her teens. The "Molly Hootch Case" was a peition to bring hometown high schools to rural students in Alaska instead of being shipped off to boarding school.

The other MN author I feature this week is Catherine Holm of Cook. Catherine's new book of short stories published by Holy Cow Press in Duluth is called "My Heart is a Mountain - Tales of Magic and The Land". It's gotten great reviews including Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler who said, "Catherine Holm writes with great and winning assurance and with nuanced compassion. My Heart is A Mountain is a truly lovely book by a fine writer."

One of my favorite stories in the book is the final one called "Farmwoman". It's sad, but it really shows how land and what you do with and tend to on your own land comes to define you. When you lose that land it's hard to have the same identity.

Catherine Holm will be at the Lyric Center for the Arts in Virginia for Monday February 7th at 6:30pm. She'll also be signing books at Howard Street Booksellers in Hibbing on Wednesday February 9th from 2-3:30pm.

Check out the RealgoodArchive for past author interviews on Realgoodwords.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

this week's authors

This week's Realgoodwords featured conversations with Beth Hoffman, Koren Zailckas and Thurston Clarke. The topics are varied - Beth talks with us about her feel-good bestselling novel that's out in paperback now "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt". I say feel good in the best sense... it's not light, there's a definite weight to the story, but you leave it feeling good about what people have the capacity to do for each other.

It's funny, because Koren Zailckas' memoir "Fury" while it's not the opposite of "Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt" it made be feel pretty empowered. It's about how we, especially as women, express or depress our anger. She brings up the question of "is it okay to feel anger? to show anger?" It's weird, because after the conversation I went home and felt angry all night, got it out, and feel SO much better tonight. I didn't stuff my emotions in, I didn't overeat, I was just angry. And I talked about it. And then moved through it.

And on a completely different note, this week Scott Hall talked to Thurston Clarke in honor of the anniversary of one of the most famous speeches in America - JFK's "Ask Not" speech. Scott said to me, "have you read it? It's a really well written speech. And not that long. It's like a fine piece of literature." Thurston Clarke's book is called "Ask Not: The Inaguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed the World".

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bullying this week on Realgoodwords

Rosalind Wiseman has written on the subject of bullies before, in her bestselling book "Queen Bees & Wannabees" that the movie "Mean Girls" was based on. This time, she's written a novel for young adults. It's called "Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials".

Tina Fey wrote of the new book, "Rosalind Wiseman once again writes with humor, compassion and accuracy about the high school experience. The real-life situations she presents are like watching a train wreck if that train were made out of text messages, make-out parties, and benzoil peroxide, and if train wrecks were surprisingly funny, which they are not. You can't put this book down...or it will talk about you while you are out of the room."

She, along with thriller writer Kathy Reichs (with her first book for young adults "Virals") and local author Duane Schwartz are my guests on this week's Realgoodwords. Check out this video from Rosalind Wiseman.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kim Edwards and "The Lake of Dreams"

Lucy, the main character in Kim Edward's new novel "The Lake of Dreams" thinks of a *Mary Oliver poem as her family's history and her future is cracked wide open. It is "What is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?"

And that, that connection of a line from a great poem quoted by a fictional character in a contemporary novel that weaves the past and future of a family seamlessly is what it's all about. Because even though I am immersed in the novel, when I leave the book it stays with me. It makes me think. It makes me question what I plan to do with my one wild and precious life. And it makes me think about some of the stories of the people that came before me in my family. Especially, my great-great aunt Tilly.

Tilly has been on my mind again lately. I am the keeper of her chair as well as her postcard collection. Tilly and her husband Art never had children, and thru the briefest of stories on the backs of these hundreds of postcards she received from 1904-1911 I have gotten to know her a little bit. I have wondered how or if our lives are woven together.

Do I know the answer to that? Do I know the answer to what I will do with this one wild precious life of mine? No. But I like the questions. And the possibilities. And the book that made me think about them.

Kim Edwards is my guest this week on Realgoodwords. Hope you get a chance to hear it!

*The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?