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July 13, 2010


This list includes three of my favorite books, plus one of my favorite essays and something by one of my favorite science writers. It goes without saying that I have to read the Erdrich book now.

I recently read a book that I would add to this list: Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators by Jeff Klinkenberg. Klinkenberg is a feature writer for the St. Petersburg Times, and this book is a collection of essays he wrote about living in Florida. They aren't these huge journalistic undertakings, just little slice-of-life writings and profiles that have the cumulative affect of making a reader understand what life in Florida is like. If I taught feature writing in j-school, I'd make my students read this book as an example of how to make something lovely out of a little effort and a lot of curiosity.

I'm going to look that book up ... It reminds of how the parts I loved best about Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief were the early sections on the utter strangeness of Florida, both as a landscape and historically.

Oh god, I love Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief SO MUCH. It is one of my favorite books, because she weaves in so much about the strangeness of Florida and the people who live here, quirky history and personal meditation on obsession and desire and passion. The love I have for that book is TREMENDOUS.

I'm going to go watch your review of Notes of a Native Son. Now I really have an urge to re-read both of these books.

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  • Isak is a space to celebrate tales and truth in the curious, joyful way embodied by the writer for which it is named. The name "Isak," after all, means "laughter," as she was fond of pointing out.

    By tales, I mean fiction (especially short fiction), as well as other literary and artistic narratives. By truth, I mean the world in which we live. I especially have my eye on creative social justice.

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