The Virginian is a book that is both lovable and cringe worthy at the same time. It reminded me of listening to my dad and grandpa tell stories, eachThe Virginian is a book that is both lovable and cringe worthy at the same time. It reminded me of listening to my dad and grandpa tell stories, each one more fantastic than the last. It took me back to a time and place of fantasy, the wild wild prairies and the rough and tumble men that lived on them. It has cowboys, sprawling ranches, uncomfortable sleeping areas, a story of a chicken that is both hilarious and poignant, with an added kick of being a fascinating commentary on the women's suffrage. In short, it's very apparent that this book was written in 1902, and not just because its obvious issues with racism, misogynist ideas, and troubling views on the settlement of the prairies; but, also, because of the rambling style of storytelling that, for me, embodies what it is like to grow up on the Great Plains, even today. ...more
When I describe this book to my friends I talk about the beauty of the language, the lyricism of the story, and liken it to watching a three-hour moviWhen I describe this book to my friends I talk about the beauty of the language, the lyricism of the story, and liken it to watching a three-hour movie filled with beautiful scenery that makes you ache, but still, it's a movie of scenery.
That's not to say I didn't love Wolf Willow. I found it to be gorgeous and once I figured out what the format was and learned to appreciate the description, metaphors, and the insights into the lives of those who live on the Great Plains, I really started to get into it. In particular, the section titled "Genesis" had me spellbound as I followed the journey of Rusty - the Englishman who joins up with a cattle driving crew and experiences the full magnitude of the Great Plains in all their harsh, beautiful, deadly glory.
This was my first Wallace Stegner book. I've heard of him, but never took the time to pick up anything written by him. I found it to appeal to me on a deep, core level in some ways. I lived in Nebraska for most of my childhood/teenage years and coming back to this state to live now has brought a peace to my soul that is a long time coming....more
Charcoal's World by Hugh Dempsey is the third in a trilogy of books I am reading for my Great Plains literature class this fall. This book, unlike theCharcoal's World by Hugh Dempsey is the third in a trilogy of books I am reading for my Great Plains literature class this fall. This book, unlike the other two (Waterlily and Fools Crow), comes across as more of an historical tale first and story second. While the others were also filled with interesting historical facts, Charcoal's World goes even further to discuss the laws and the individual lives of the people surrounding Charcoal all with the intent, it seems, of providing us the whole story.
But even more so than the historical information included in Charcoal's story is the amazing survival nature that Charcoal possessed. He was on the run for weeks, evading, eluding, and sometimes even slipping under the noses of the police and the Indian scouts who were hunting him. He was on a mission, and even though those of us who have not been raised in the way Charcoal was raised may not understand how that mission could be so important, we can understand - through our own faiths and convictions, how desperately Charcoal sought to fulfill his own. He was a man of honor throughout his mission, he acted according to how he was called, and his journey ended up being as thrilling for this reader as it was tragic for Charcoal in the end.
While Dempsey's writing is a bit more stilted and difficult to really get into than Welch's and Deloria's, Charcoal's story is strong enough and fascinating enough to make up for it. ...more
Ella Deloria is part of a family of storytellers, thinkers, and activists. Even if the reader knows little of this going into Waterlily, it quickly beElla Deloria is part of a family of storytellers, thinkers, and activists. Even if the reader knows little of this going into Waterlily, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not just the simple story of a young woman named Waterlily; rather, this is a story framed around the life of that young woman that is intended to teach the uneducated reader the sophisticated, complicated, and beautiful way of living through kinship bonds.
Deloria wrote the story of Waterlily with the intention of deliberately avoiding any overt discussion of colonial contact, and for good reason. While it is still apparent in her vocabulary that she has been educated in Euro-American influenced schools (for example - she regularly uses Judeo-Christian terminology to refer to the behavior of the women in the camp) the essence of the story is more in the descriptions of what kinship is and how the every day activities of the camps were centered on the nurturing of those bonds. In Waterlily's story we are presented with values and ideals that, while not unfamiliar to the Euro-American, are still largely unused by today's society. That society is rooted in individualism, in capitalism, and the need for personal gain over the needs of others. Waterlily's story presents the other side quite well. The generosity shown by her family, the respect she shows to her husbands family, her need for her own "blood" still to be able to be carefree when she desires, and so much more are all indicative of a lifestyle and way of thinking that continues to thrive today, in spite of the colonialist attitude of "our way is best."
Deloria's work with students at Haskell, and other Native residential schools was vital to the perpetuation of stories like Waterlily. And, as I said earlier, while she did not escape the influence of the Euro-American educational system, I think Waterlily is a standing testament to how the big ideas continue to persevere through the horrific intent of cultural and physical genocide that was going on through the medium of those schools....more
This was an interesting one for me. I was reminded heavily of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" all the way through this book, but there's enougThis was an interesting one for me. I was reminded heavily of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" all the way through this book, but there's enough there that's different that made this an unputdownable story for me.
I'm always interested in what prompts an author to write a story, and for this one, Hillary Jordan gives us a bit of insight in the final section of this book - and of course, it comes from a "what if?" moment. I can't see the ultra conservatives in my circle being thrilled with the story here (then again, they probably wouldn't be thrilled with Atwood's either), but some of the things Jordan wrote about when describing Hannah's journey had me shivering from dread - it's quite realistic and very likely, should certain individuals get their way.
Overall, interesting book and definitely draws you in. I was disappointed in the ending, but by that point, I had already been hooked....more
I've been a fan of Marisa de los Santos since reading Love Walked In. It was that book that introduced me to a world outside of the cheap, paperback,I've been a fan of Marisa de los Santos since reading Love Walked In. It was that book that introduced me to a world outside of the cheap, paperback, grocery-store romances and, as such, Marisa's books will always hold a special place in my heart. I was excited to see that she was releasing a new one so I requested The Precious One to review and put it on my bedside table as a treat - something to read outside of all of the graduate studies and required reading that has been bogging me down this semester.'
It's difficult to talk about books one reads when they correspond to the area of research that individual is involved heavily in. I picked up The DeatIt's difficult to talk about books one reads when they correspond to the area of research that individual is involved heavily in. I picked up The Death of Jim Loney by James Welch on the recommendation of a mentor of mine and I knew, going in, that there would be a lot of times I would want to stop reading and start really diving into what I was reading and analyzing it and driving myself crazy with new research thoughts and ideas. But, about a chapter in, I put that part of my mind back into a box and I decided that I would give Jim Loney my full attention: as someone who was reading the book to listen to the story of this character.