The Review consulted with the best sources in town for some holiday reading recommendations for you book lovers out there and for you book gift givers alike! Here’s a few suggestions from Eileen and Marcella at Rebel Heart Books in downtown J’ville!
Retablos, Octavio Solis—This is a straight-to-the-heart-of-the-matter memoir told as a collection of vignettes, named for the classic art forms of Mexico with which people memorialize the life events that shape us. If you’re tired of the political polarization but want to understand the hearts and minds of those living on the border, this is the read for you. Written by beloved playwright, Octavio Solis (Mother Road, OSF 2019 Season), this is the kind of book that speaks to hearts and minds.
Upstream, Mary Oliver—”I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods it the door to the temple.” One of her final publications, Mary Oliver’s essay collection Upstream is a blend of cultural and literary criticism drawn from her famously-inspiring connection to the natural world—itself the dynamic and lifelong love affair she cites as the wellspring for her creativity, the drive of her call to writing life, and the context from within which she made sense of a chaotic world.
The Music Lesson, Victor Wooten—A must-read for music lovers and non-lovers alike, Victor Wooten’s, The Music Lesson, is a profound exploration of music and how creative pursuit both reflect and shape a life. One need not be a musician to appreciate the gorgeously stated, straight-to-the-point, and universal lessons to be gleaned from tuning into the Music that lives within us all.
Be Frank with Me, Julia Claiborne Johnson—For fans of dark comedy in the vein of Maria Semple’s popular, Where’d You Go Bernadette, Julie Claiborne Johnson’s Be Frank with Me, is sure to hit the spot. Opening with a station-wagon fire and a child who wears a top (but never indoors), Be Frank with Me tells the story of creative genius interrupted, the love between a mother and her son, and this strange, quirky adventure that is life.
A Cup of Holiday Fear, Ellie Alexander—The latest in Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery Series, A Cup of Holiday Fear, is ready-made reading enjoyment for the most wonderful time of the year. Dive into this cozy murder mystery filled with the sights and sounds of the season as well as all of the Southern Oregon names, places, and faces you’ve come to know and love in this popular series!
Murder on the Red River, Marcie R. Rendon—If you like your mystery best when it provides the chilling backdrop to the literary exploration of one woman’s connection to the earth, to the community, and history. With gorgeous elements of magical realism, Murder on the Red River is a powerful own-voices narrative about the life and death experiences that force us to grow, change, and evolve, showcased through an extraordinary woman’s coming into her power in order to heal her community.