Reading Recommendations: Mountain City, Gregory Martin
Thirty three people live in Mountain City, Nevada, at the outset of Gregory Martin's affecting but clear eyed portrait: by the end of the book there are thirty one, and none of them are children. The town's heyday is long past, its abandoned mines testimony to the cycle of promise, exploitation, abandonment, and attrition that has been the repeated story of the West.
Yet the comings and goings at Tremewan's, the general store Martin's family has run for more than forty years, make the town seem like a more vibrant place than many small cities. The store is a hub for a stoic but close-knit community that includes salty widows. Native Americans from a nearby reservation, and a number of Martin's deeply idiosyncratic relatives, descendants of the Basque sheepherders who settled in this remote northeastern corner of the state during the nineteenth century. Martin observes them as they go about their lives, persisting in a difficult but rewarding existence. Without pity or regret, he celebrates their large and small dramas and their stubborn attachment to a place that seems likely to disappear in his lifetime.
And, The Mighty Queens of Freeville - A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town that Raised Them, A Memoir, Amy Dickinson
"Ask Amy" syndicated advice columnist and NPR contributor.
Millions of Americans know and love Amy Dickinson from reading her syndicated advice column "Ask Amy" and from hearing her wit and wisdom weekly on National Public Radio. Amy's audience loves her for her honesty, her small town values, and the fact that her motto is "I make the mistakes so you don't have to." In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares these mistakes and her remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the people who helped raise them after Amy found herself a reluctant single parent.
Though divorce runs through her family like an aggressive chromosome, the women in her life taught her what family is about. They helped her to pick up the pieces when her life fell apart and to reassemble them into something new. It is a story of frequent failures and surprising successes as Amy starts and loses careers, bumbles through blind dates and adult education classes, travels across the country with her daughter and their giant tabby cat, and tries to come to terms with the family aptitude for "dorkitude".
They have lived in London, D.C., and Chicago, but all roads lead them back to Amy's hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny village where Amy's family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years. Most important, though, her family members all still live within a ten house radius of each other. With kindness and razor sharp wit, they welcome Amy and her daughter back weekend after weekend, summer after summer, offering a moving testament to the many women who have led small lives of great consequence in a tiny place.
And, Condoleezza Rice, An American Life with a new afterword by the author, Elizabeth Bumiller
Condoleezza Rice, one of the most powerful and controversial women in the world, has until now remained a mystery behind an elegant, cool veneer. New York Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller peels back the layers and presents a revelatory portrait of the first black female secretary of state and President George W. Bush's national security advisor on September 11, 2001. Drawing on extensive interviews with Rice and more than 150 others, including colleagues, family members, government officials, and critics, the book relates in more intimate detail than ever before the personal voyage of a young black woman out of the segregated American South, and offers dramatic new information about the events and personalities of the Bush administration. In the process, with great insight, Bumiller tells the sweeping story of a tumultuous half century in the nation's history.
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