My Absence

To the three or four of you who might have come this way looking for an update or a new blog post, my apologies for neglecting this site nearly all summer. Here’s the short version of the story:  At the end of May, I headed down to the University of Chicago for my class reunion–the only time I have ever attended. Alas, I began to feel sick almost as soon as I got there, and by June 2 I was hospitalized. I spent a lonely week (my classmates had returned home) at the University of Chicago Medical Center, until June 10 when I was caravaned up Interstate 94 by a classmate, a daughter, and a couple of friends. I have been hanging around home ever since, gradually regaining strength, and depending on the bountiful kindness of many friends. I started driving a week ago, and after doing little more than reading for two months, I have begun writing about an hour a day on my Petersen’s Cafe project. Nothing new is up on the webpage yet, but I hope to do a bit of revision and posting soon.

Here are some books I read:

Rory Stewart, The Marches, an account of walking along the Borderlands of Scotland and England and a memoir of the author’s colorful father.

Edward McPherson, The History of the Future, an intelligent, provocative set of essays, thoroughly researched, by a former colleague at the Loft Literary Center now teaching at Washington University in St. Louis.

Peter Geye, Wintering, the 2017 Minnesota Book Award winner for fiction; a mystery/thriller/family drama that beautifully evokes the Boundary Waters.

Zeke Caligiuri, This Is Where I Am, a memoir and Minnesota Book Award finalist by a man incarcerated since his early 20s who grew up in Minneapolis’s Powderhorn neighborhood and attended South High at the same time as my daughter.

Laura Lippman, Wolfe Lake, a family drama by a popular mystery writer; not as engaging as I had hoped.

Penelope Lively, Consequences, The Purple Swamp Hen, and Ammonites and Dancing Fish. I had not read Lively’s work before, and I was so taken by her gorgeous sentences, clever verb choices, and credible characters that I went on a minor binge. I’ve now exhausted what’s in my neighborhood library around the corner.

Imbolo Mbue, Behold the Dreamers, a novel about Cameroonian immigrants in NYC, their aspirations, their struggle to stay in the US without jeopardy, and their simultaneous fondness for home.

Now what have I forgotten to include?  I can’t say what I’m currently reading, because I am doing pre-publication reviews of two manuscripts.

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