As a “regional” writer and booster of Rust Belt writing and writers, I found this month’s book newsletter from Dana Snitzky at Longreads fascinating. Have you read any of these books? And what do you think of this premise: “Paying attention to where we live — attention to where we really very specifically are, in space and in time — might give us the empathetic capacity to save the planet, is basically the idea.” Chime in, if you like, and I’ll be back with a new post in a day or two. ~Rebecca

Longreads

Dear Reader,

This month’s books newsletter is overflowing with regional fiction and travel writing. Kali Fajardo-Anstine and Bryan Washington have both written short story collections set in the cities they are from (in Washington’s Lot, each story is even named after a different street in Houston) and featuring characters that are representative of the communities the authors grew up in. Speaking about her collection Sabrina & Corina Fajardo-Anstine describes her struggle to stake out physical space in literature for herself and for the Chicano and Indigenous community she is a part of:

I’m always writing against this idea that Denver’s a white space … How does my community loom so large in my consciousness and in all the choices I make, but when I talk to people on the street they’re like, “What do you mean you’re from Colorado? What do you mean there are brown people here?”

In…

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7 thoughts on “This Month In Books: Botanize Your Past To Save the Future

  1. Hi, Rebecca! Enjoyed this post — and realized how many books I still need to read (and these all sound so interesting). I know my husband has read Alex Kotlowitz‘s THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER (? I think that’s the title) and liked it very much. As for me … back to the bookstore! LOL Have a great week! Deb

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  2. I agree, writing from where you’re at is beneficial in so many ways. It helps you keep in touch with what matters most to you. I finished reading a couple of novels and now am reading Julia Cameron books. Have you read them? Take care – enjoy finding the words to record the beauty of your surroundings!

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  3. I’m not sure if we have the empathetic capacity to save the planet. But I think being attuned to a sense of place is sometimes a trick of memory for me. It’s something that exists in my mind and my connection to people who once occupied that space with me rather than an emotional calling to a physical environment. I always slightly envy people who have with them that sense of belonging to the environment around them. Of being part of the land and the surroundings in which they live.

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    1. I love that description of yours: “a trick of memory.” I feel that too, and then once in a while I do feel a sensory connection to my environment–and I think, I need to try and hold this (if not in environmental stasis, at least in my mind). For example, the osprey in our area come back to roost in the same places every year, one nest close to our house, and they are screechy and loud but very cool to watch fly. And I think there are more than last year, which hopefully signals something good for the environment around here. Maybe that’s curiosity more than empathy, but I need to feel a little rooted and think curiosity gets me closer.

      Liked by 1 person

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