Monday, June 27, 2016

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short-story collection Forgetting English. Her writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, Poets & Writers, and many other publications.

Recently I asked Raymond about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m reading three books at the moment, and, probably not coincidentally, they are about the oceans.

The Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard offers a fictional glimpse into the worlds of Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne from the summer of 1850 to the autumn of 1851, as Melville was struggling to finish Moby-Dick and as Hawthorne was in the midst of a productive period of his writing career. This lovely novel tells the fraught, passionate story behind Melville’s dedication of Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, and it’s a fascinating look at the men behind the books, their families, and the struggles of being a writer.

In her poetry collection Hundred-Year Wave, Rachel Richardson had me at the epigraph by Ernest Shackleton. These poems are about many things—from motherhood to marriage to family—and all are steeped in watery metaphor and maritime history. In this treasure chest of poetry Richardson has woven in rogue waves and shipwrecks, lines from Moby-Dick and references to the Californian, the Titanic, and the Essex.

What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe will make everyone think of the seas and its inhabitants differently. It’s a powerful book that takes a scientific look at fish and shows their wonderfully social behaviors. Fish are far more than we humans tend to give them credit for—from what they can hear and smell and taste to what they feel (stress and joy, for example) and how they think (from planning to using tools). I hope this book inspires readers to reevaluate how they see our underwater cousins, so we can take better care of them all.
Visit Midge Raymond's website.

The Page 69 Test: My Last Continent.

--Marshal Zeringue