Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Valerie Miner

Valerie Miner is the award-winning author of fourteen books. Her new novel is Traveling with Spirits. Other novels include After Eden, Range of Light, A Walking Fire, Winter’s Edge, Blood Sisters, All Good Women, Movement: A Novel in Stories, and Murder in the English Department. Her short fiction books include Abundant Light, The Night Singers and Trespassing. Her collection of essays is Rumors from the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews and Reportage.

About a month ago I asked the author about what she was reading.  Miner's reply:
I’m always reading at least one book. When I don’t have a good book, I feel oddly lonely—although I have a wonderful partner and lots of great friends. I need the literary companionship. Right now, I’m raving about Trans-Atlantic, by Colum McCann. I also liked Let the Great World Spin. We share an interest in writing literary fiction with a strong sense of geographical place and historical moment. I love his use of language.

I do a lot of reviewing and am enjoying the two books I’m currently reviewing, but can’t tell you what they are until the reviews come out.

One of the pleasures of the last three years is participating in an Islamic World Reading group. We’re a group of friends—a composer, filmmaker, historian, philosopher, sociologist, etc. who all felt too ignorant about the histories and literatures of the Muslim world. Over the years, in addition to history, we’ve read novels, books about theology, the Koran, memoir, poetry, drama and we all feel a little less ignorant than when we began. We start our fourth year this September.

I had the good luck to be at several artists residencies in the spring—including Fundaci├│n Valparaiso in Moj├ícar, Spain and the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy. This left me time to read some longer books. I really enjoyed Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke. I tried (hard) to like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, but decided one book was enough for me and did not read the sequel.

Among books I’ve recently reviewed, these are some highlights: Louise Doughty, Whatever You Love, in Boston Globe, 5 April, 2012; Tahmima Anam, The Good Muslim, in Los Angeles Times, 14 August, 2011; Jeremy Page, Sea Change in Boston Globe, 19 December, 2010; Joyce Carol Oates, Sourland, in Boston Globe, 19 September, 2010; Howard Norman, What Is Left The Daughter, Los Angeles Times, 18 July, 2010 and Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand That Last Held Mine, Boston Globe, 25 April, 2010.
Visit Valerie Miner's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue