Monday, May 9, 2016

Camille Griep

Camille Griep lives just north of Seattle with her partner, Adam, and their dog Dutch(ess). Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Southern California to attend Claremont McKenna College, graduating with a dual degree in Biology and Literature.

She has since sold short fiction and creative nonfiction to dozens of online and print magazines. She is the editor of Easy Street and is a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. Letters to Zell is her first novel.

Griep's new novel is New Charity Blues.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
After I turn a book in, I always reward myself with a big stack of reading. Luckily, this spring has also been filled with a period of enforced rest, aka cold and flu season, so I’ve been catching up. Of late, I’ve been feeling particularly starved for great, narrative nonfiction, so here are four of my most recent reads:

The Worst Hard Time – Timothy Egan’s exploration of the Dust Bowl is a long and worthy read. He gently guides the reader through the scientific causes – agricultural and farming policy, supply, and wartime demand – integral to the land’s dishevelment. The narrative is interspersed with the stories of people who grew up in the Great Plains, watching the land change around them. Some of those people stayed, watching families and fortunes die. Some escaped, having nothing to stay for except land turned upon land. Visual, arresting, and timely, it’s a chapter of Americana that isn’t talked about enough.

On the Burning Edge – For those of us in the West, fire is often threatening something we care about. The Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona ended up deadly, but not for the area burned, rather for the people sent in to manage the blaze. As much as we’ve learned about fire management, weather behavior predictions, and the like, nature still holds an upper hand, particularly when dealing with fire. Kyle Dickman takes an unbiased look at the mistakes leading to the deaths of 19 hotshots, firefighters who make fire breaks in wildland fires, the disasters they should have learned from and the improvements that will be carried forward since their deaths.

When Breath Becomes Air – This memoir, written mostly by Paul Kalanithi and finished by his wife, received a lot of attention earlier in the year. The power of the book is not so much in the story. Though it’s a heartrending journey of a young, talented doctor just starting his career being diagnosed with cancer, the real star here is Kalanithi’s prose. He looks at his life in a careful, well-constructed way and does so with a voice influenced by a true and lasting love of the written word.

A Thousand Naked Strangers – Mostly memoir with a smidge of expose, Kevin Hazzard’s recounting of his life as an EMT is not for the faint of heart. At times bawdy and irreverent, Hazzard does a great job of introducing the reader to a level of empathy few have toward this difficult and seldom rewarding profession. Full of “gallows” humor and self-examination, the writer concludes by explaining that he had become so numb to the work he had to have a career change. It’s a great tale of deliverance, one where you hold the final product in your hands.
Visit Camille Griep's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Camille Griep and Dutchess Marie Siefker-Griep.

The Page 69 Test: Letters to Zell.

The Page 69 Test: New Charity Blues.

--Marshal Zeringue