This Friday sees the start of my efforts to change the balance of my reading from newly published books in favour of books that have been sitting on my shelves for a long time.
I’ve allowed myself one new book, ‘No Fixed Line ‘ by Dana Stabenow (2020) is the twenty-second Kate Shugak book.
‘Kitchens Of The Great Midwest’ by J. Ryan Stradal (2015) has been on my shelf untasted for four years now.
I’ve been meaning to get to ‘The Marrow Thieves’ by Cherie Dimaline (2017) for the past two years. It’s set in a post-climate change world where North America’s indigenous peoples are being hunted for their marrow.
‘No Fixed Line’ by Dana Stabenow (2020)
Dana Stabenow is one of my favourite writers. She writes fiction with strong characters and clever plots that also bring Alaska alive from its landscape through its wildlife and industry to its culture and politics.
I’ve read twenty-eight of her novels and her book of short stories and enjoyed all of them but the Kate Shugak series is the jewel in the crown.
I read my first Kate Shugak novel back in 2012 and had finished book twenty by the end of 2015. I summarised the series in four posts just before book twenty-one was published:
Books 1-5 getting to know Kate and Alaska, Books 6-10 The breaking of Kate Shugak, Books 11-15: Kate comes home, Books 16-20 Kate grows into her power.
It’s almost three years since I read the twenty-first book, ‘Less Than A Treason’ so I’m impatient to spend some more time in Kate’s company.
‘Kitchens Of The Great Midwest’ by J, Ryan Stradal (2015)
J. Ryan Stradal is from the Midwest. He grew up in Hastings, Minnesota. His first book, ‘Kitchens Of The Great Midwest’ won the Indies Choice Book of the Year Award – Adult Debut Winner. His second book, ‘The Lager Queen Of Minnesota’ came out in July 2019.
I’m hooked by the structure of ”Kitchens Of The Great Midwest’ where each chapter in the book unfolds the story by focusing on a character and a dish as it tracks a woman’s progress to becoming a star chef.
I’m hoping for tasty food, interesting people and a strong sense of place.
‘The Marrow Thieves’ by Cherie Dimaline (2017)
Cherie Dimaline is a member of the Georgian Bay Metis Community in Ontario who has published five books.
The premise of ‘The Marrow Thieves’ is that, in a future where climate collapse has already happened, people are going insane because everyone has lost the ability to dream. Everyone that is, except North America’s indigenous population. It is believed that transplanting bone marrow from indigenous people can restore the ability to dream to the masses. So now young indigenous people are being hunted for their marrow.
I’m hoping for a strong First Nation voice and an exciting story.
‘The Marrow Thieves’ won the Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature — text, the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers, the CODE Burt Award for Indigenous young adult literature and the young adult category of the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Cherie Dimaline is currently writing the first season of the TV adaptation of the novel.
Despite all of this, I still can’t find an ebook or audiobook copy of ‘The Marrow Theives’ on Amazon or Audible. I had to go to Tolino (where you have to buy books from Germany or Switzerland) to get the ebook. Kobo offer and audiobook version in the UK.