Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gigi Amateau

Gigi Amateau is the author of A Certain Strain of Peculiar, Chancey of the Maury River, Claiming Georgia Tate, and the newly released Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, and The Black General Gabriel.

Last month I asked the author what she was reading. Amateau's reply:
Oh, to choose which to share! I have five stacks of books to read in my office and a couple of different stacks upstairs. Being surrounded by books I love makes me so happy. Here are five that I’m enjoying right now:

Non-fiction: No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva by Pema Chodron. I started reading this when I was on a writing retreat at The Porches in Norwood, Virginia earlier this summer. There is so much suffering and violence in the world and it is hard to know how to make sense of our times and, I think, it’s easy to feel like we are small and inconsequential when it comes to making things better. I’m Christian, Pema Chodron is Buddhist, and her heart has something important to say to mine. She inspires me to work with my mind and my heart to ease my own suffering and the suffering of our planet and everyone.

Fiction: The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I’m just starting this novel and the language is such a marvel that even though I know the story will turn dark and mysterious, I also know I’m in the good, steady hands of a masterful storyteller. This book contains my favorite elements: multiple generations of family, sacred places, community, mystery, justice vs. injustice, and mysticism.

Young Adult Fiction: Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull. Ohhhh, sooo delicious. A fairytale! Two sisters searching for their parents who’ve gone missing in a different world. The story unfolds in a lush setting in this world and in an alternate world.

Picture Book: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. I read this picture book, which comes out this month, at the Penguin booth recently in Naples, Florida at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Trade Show. The Penguin reps let me sit down and linger over Each Kindness. I started crying about halfway through it. I think this one is about how hard it is to learn the lesson of kindness. How hard it is on the person you’re ignoring or withholding from and also how, once you realize you want to change and reach out to a fellow human being, you are filled with regret that you could ever have lived without being kind. I so admire the stories of Jacqueline Woodson and the artwork of E.B. Lewis. The two of them together also broke my heart open with their previous collaboration, The Other Side.

Poetry: The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems by Michael J. Rosen, Illustrated by Stan Fellows. This book makes me so darn happy. Michael J. Rosen brings together haiku and birding field notes and Stan Fellows adds watercolor illustrations of common North American birds. It all comes together for one glorious, inspiring field guide!
Visit Gigi Amateau's website.

Read--Coffee with a canine: Gigi Amateau & Biscuit and Cola.

--Marshal Zeringue