I didn’t mean to take a mini-vacation from posting, but it took me a couple of days to recover from BlogHer jet lag. I’m ok going from the east coast to the west coast because I’m a night owl, but coming back east after 4 days living in Pacific time–that hurt.
We’re back to our regularly schedule programming today. Author Karen DeGroot Carter is here today to share what’s on her nightstand. I “met’ her online about a year or so ago (maybe longer?). We immediately hit it off, thanks to our love and desire for diverse literature. So I present to you, Karen’s nightstand books!
Stars Go Blue by Laura Pritchett. I love to support Colorado authors and often read fiction that deals with social issues, so buying Laura Pritchett’s current novel was pretty much a no-brainer! Stars Go Blue reveals struggles endured by a caregiver of a family member with Alzheimer’s—and also by the Alzheimer’s patient. This recent Denver Post feature on Laura and her third book reveals how this topic strikes very close to home for the author, who is currently caring for her ailing father. I just started reading Stars Go Blue and am completely enamored by Laura’s writing as well as her ability to capture the spirit of the West and the deep ties ranchers have to their land.
Louise Erdrich’s The Round House. In 1989 I visited a hybrid record store-bookstore in Nashville and came across Louise Erdrich’s The Beet Queen. By that time I’d pretty much left behind my creative writing endeavors. Reading The Beet Queen led me to fall back in love with fiction; eventually I joined a local writing group and started working on a short story that (many years later) became my first novel, One Sister’s Song. Louise Erdrich has written a dozen novels since The Beet Queen. In The Round House, she once again focuses on the lives of contemporary Native Americans while mining aspects of human nature that are universal.
I am avoiding Robin Black’s Life Drawing and it’s killing me! I took a week-long workshop with Robin two years ago at the Lighthouse Writers Lit Fest here in Denver and admire her short story collection, If I Loved You I Would Tell You This. I know when I pick up her first novel I will not want to stop reading!
My interest in social issues impacts my writing as well as my reading choices. One Sister’s Song explores challenges faced by people of mixed-race heritage. My husband is biracial, and we have three children. The main character of One Sister’s Song, Audrey Conarroe, is a biracial woman who returns home to upstate New York (where I grew up) to care for her teenage nephew after her sister dies. A series of discoveries—including the fact her sister’s house was once a safe house on the Underground Railroad—lead Audrey to face some tough decisions as she questions all she knows about love, race, and respect.