Time flies, giving looms, and books abound; can more suggestions be far behind?  (These continue suggestions begun two posts back, 11-8- 13)


For someone new in the extended family who is nifty but not yet familiar,  Roseledge Books suggests Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies because this is, hands down, my favorite book of the year for enough reasons — including a National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography — to maybe please a likeable stranger in your midst, e.g. a new in-law.

This suggestion continues a tradition begun by a reader-neighbor who, years ago, asked for my favorite book of the year as a possible gift to give likeable but unknown newcomers in her large and growing extended family.  My first favorite was Thornton Wilder’s Theophilus North, about the currents of a town, in this case Newport, RI.  I still like it — or what I remember of it.   This was a more successful suggestion than a later one: Larry Woiwode’s Beyond the Bedroom Wall which, though grimmer, is also about people and place, in this case Wahpeton, ND (my home) and environs — at least that’s how I read it.  I redeemed myself a few years ago with Bernd Heinrich’s The Snoring Bird: My Family’s Journey Through A Century of Biology yet again about people and places and so much more.  I sense a theme here.



Books and friends and Roseledge, too; these are a few of my favorite things.


For sailors who sail solo and who  have only about 20 minutes between duties and therefore need something complete to read in a short time  (as I recall from Minnesotan Gerry Spiess who sailed across the Atlantic in little more than a bathtub and who read Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, and wrote about it in his book, Alone Against the Atlantic), Roseledge Books suggests a look at Dwight Garner’s annual (?) list of  “bathroom books.” wherein I thought I found poet Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack and Honey, which has short, unexpected notes from her annual, obligatory lecture to undergraduates, but I guess not.  I liked it, though.   Another book worth dipping in and out of is Sara Nelson’s memoir, So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading. I loved reading about why she chose each book and if her reasons held up after reading.   Great good humor and wide-ranging taste, too.


For unwilling down-sizers, a growing group of people we all know and maybe are part of, Roseledge Books suggests Leanne Shapton’s Invented Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry. This invented auction catalog of photographs recalls — and indirectly reconstructs — the life or lives of the people who collected the memorabilia pictured.   Think of the fun those (of us) choosing will have as they decide what, from among their many things, matter most.  The “auction catalog” — or album they then create will be theirs to enjoy and use to enlarge forever the smaller surroundings they more equably move into.  Personally, mine would be a catalog of the art all over  my studio apartment and Roseledge walls.  Who needs wallpaper?



Sailors and foodies, friends and the strange, Roseledge Books has something for each.


For the person who is interested in food or who should be  — surely that is Everyone  —  RB suggests Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, always good, but now in paperback and even better with Maira Kalman’s cheerful, germane illustrations. His 64 suggestions — pithy, sensible, often funny, and adaptable — accommodate his earlier, broader principles:  “Eat food; not too much; mostly plants.”  This is so good, I have already given it in hardcover.


For the person you may or may not want to see more of if he or she likes coastal Maine as much as you do, Roseledge Books suggests the following (plus conversation afterwards):

Jim Sterba’s Frankie’s Place (rustic cabin, romance, summer rituals, Midwesterner’s perspective);

Robert McCloskey’s One Morning in Maine (if he or she thinks nothing happens herein, you are in trouble);

Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea Wind (birds, the sea, naturalist on an island).


It’s always your turn to remember the perfect book you chose for an intriguing friend and pass it on with why it was perfect.  Friend, I say, because it’s hard to believe we know acquaintances well enough to choose the anomaly that works.

More suggestions from RB when November becomes normally cloudy and I have more than an hour a day to work by a window with tolerable glare.  Here’s hoping that a salty Thanksgiving left you intolerably thirst only for good books.

This entry was posted in General Discussion. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *