Prairie Silence


Book Description

A rural expatriate’s struggle to reconcile family, home, love, and faith with the silence of the prairie land and its people Melanie Hoffert longs for her North Dakota childhood home, with its grain trucks and empty main streets. A land where she imagines standing at the bottom of the ancient lake that preceded the prairie: crop rows become the patterned sand ripples of the lake floor; trees are the large alien plants reaching for the light; and the sky is the water’s vast surface, reflecting the sun. Like most rural kids, she followed the out-migration pattern to a better life. The prairie is a hard place to stay—particularly if you are gay, and your home state is the last to know. For Hoffert, returning home has not been easy. When the farmers ask if she’s found a “fella,” rather than explain that—actually—she dates women, she stops breathing and changes the subject. Meanwhile, as time passes, her hometown continues to lose more buildings to decay, growing to resemble the mouth of an old woman missing teeth. This loss prompts Hoffert to take a break from the city and spend a harvest season at her family’s farm. While home, working alongside her dad in the shop and listening to her mom warn, “Honey, you do not want to be a farmer,” Hoffert meets the people of the prairie. Her stories about returning home and exploring abandoned towns are woven into a coming-of-age tale about falling in love, making peace with faith, and belonging to a place where neighbors are as close as blood but are often unable to share their deepest truths. In this evocative memoir, Hoffert offers a deeply personal and poignant meditation on land and community, taking readers on a journey of self-acceptance and reconciliation.




Prairie Silence


Book Description

A rural expatriate’s struggle to reconcile family, home, love, and faith with the silence of the prairie land and its people Melanie Hoffert longs for her North Dakota childhood home, with its grain trucks and empty main streets. A land where she imagines standing at the bottom of the ancient lake that preceded the prairie: crop rows become the patterned sand ripples of the lake floor; trees are the large alien plants reaching for the light; and the sky is the water’s vast surface, reflecting the sun. Like most rural kids, she followed the out-migration pattern to a better life. The prairie is a hard place to stay—particularly if you are gay, and your home state is the last to know. For Hoffert, returning home has not been easy. When the farmers ask if she’s found a “fella,” rather than explain that—actually—she dates women, she stops breathing and changes the subject. Meanwhile, as time passes, her hometown continues to lose more buildings to decay, growing to resemble the mouth of an old woman missing teeth. This loss prompts Hoffert to take a break from the city and spend a harvest season at her family’s farm. While home, working alongside her dad in the shop and listening to her mom warn, “Honey, you do not want to be a farmer,” Hoffert meets the people of the prairie. Her stories about returning home and exploring abandoned towns are woven into a coming-of-age tale about falling in love, making peace with faith, and belonging to a place where neighbors are as close as blood but are often unable to share their deepest truths. In this evocative memoir, Hoffert offers a deeply personal and poignant meditation on land and community, taking readers on a journey of self-acceptance and reconciliation.




A Book of Silence


Book Description

A personal and cultural exploration of silence and its value in our lives—“[an] artful book, mixing autobiography, travel writing, meditation, and essay” (Independent, UK). In her late forties, after a noisy upbringing as one of six children and adulthood as a vocal feminist and mother, Sara Maitland found herself living alone in the country and, to her surprise, falling in love with silence. In this fascinating, intelligent, and beautifully written book, Maitland describes how she began to explore this new love, spending periods of silence in the Sinai desert, the Scottish hills, and a remote cottage on the Isle of Skye. Maitland also delves deep into the rich cultural history of silence, exploring its significance in fairy tale and myth, its importance to the Western and Eastern religious traditions, and its use in psychoanalysis and artistic expression. Her story culminates in her building a hermitage on an isolated moor in Galloway. “Her book is probably unique in its subject, and timely, because good, healing silence is becoming hard to find, and we may not know we need it” (Guardian, UK).




That Time of Year


Book Description

With the warmth and humor we've come to know, the creator and host of A Prairie Home Companion shares his own remarkable story. In That Time of Year, Garrison Keillor looks back on his life and recounts how a Brethren boy with writerly ambitions grew up in a small town on the Mississippi in the 1950s and, seeing three good friends die young, turned to comedy and radio. Through a series of unreasonable lucky breaks, he founded A Prairie Home Companion and put himself in line for a good life, including mistakes, regrets, and a few medical adventures. PHC lasted forty-two years, 1,557 shows, and enjoyed the freedom to do as it pleased for three or four million listeners every Saturday at 5 p.m. Central. He got to sing with Emmylou Harris and Renée Fleming and once sang two songs to the U.S. Supreme Court. He played a private eye and a cowboy, gave the news from his hometown, Lake Wobegon, and met Somali cabdrivers who’d learned English from listening to the show. He wrote bestselling novels, won a Grammy and a National Humanities Medal, and made a movie with Robert Altman with an alarming amount of improvisation. He says, “I was unemployable and managed to invent work for myself that I loved all my life, and on top of that I married well. That’s the secret, work and love. And I chose the right ancestors, impoverished Scots and Yorkshire farmers, good workers. I’m heading for eighty, and I still get up to write before dawn every day.”




Back to the Prairie


Book Description

The New York Times bestselling author and star of Little House on the Prairie returns with a hilarious and heartfelt memoir chronicling her journey from Hollywood to a ramshackle house in the Catskills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Known for her childhood role as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the classic NBC show Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert has spent nearly her entire life in Hollywood. From Dancing with the Stars to a turn in politics, she is always on the lookout for her next project. She just had no idea that her latest one would be completely life changing. When her husband introduces her to the wilds of rural Michigan, Melissa begins to fall back in love with nature. And when work takes them to New York, they find a rustic cottage in the Catskill Mountains to call home. But “rustic” is a generous description for the state of the house, requiring a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for the newlyweds to make habitable. When the pandemic descends on the world, it further nudges Melissa out of the spotlight and into the woods. She trades Botox treatments for DIY projects, power lunching for gardening and raising chickens, and soon her life is rediscovered anew in her own little house in the Catskills.




Nîtisânak


Book Description

"This book is about relatedness. Using a form of generative refusal towards western writing practices, the text works with the idea of kinship that derives from the author's Plains Cree and other kinship teachings. It also examines how queer kin were some of their first experiences of reciprocal relationality and care"--




The Grace of Silence


Book Description

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, Kansas City Star. A profoundly moving and deeply personal memoir by the co-host of National Public Radio’s flagship program All Things Considered. While exploring the hidden conversation on race unfolding throughout America in the wake of President Obama’s election, Michele Norris discovered that there were painful secrets within her own family that had been willfully withheld. These revelations—from her father’s shooting by a Birmingham police officer to her maternal grandmother’s job as an itinerant Aunt Jemima in the Midwest—inspired a bracing journey into her family’s past, from her childhood home in Minneapolis to her ancestral roots in the Deep South. The result is a rich and extraordinary family memoir—filled with stories that elegantly explore the power of silence and secrets—that boldly examines racial legacy and what it means to be an American.




Into Great Silence


Book Description

Science entwines with matters of the human heart as a whale researcher chronicles the lives of an endangered family of orcas Ever since Eva Saulitis began her whale research in Alaska in the 1980s, she has been drawn deeply into the lives of a single extended family of endangered orcas struggling to survive in Prince William Sound. Over the course of a decades-long career spent observing and studying these whales, and eventually coming to know them as individuals, she has, sadly, witnessed the devastation wrought by the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989—after which not a single calf has been born to the group. With the intellectual rigor of a scientist and the heart of a poet, Saulitis gives voice to these vital yet vanishing survivors and the place they are so loyal to. Both an elegy for one orca family and a celebration of the entire species, Into Great Silence is a moving portrait of the interconnectedness of humans with animals and place—and of the responsibility we have to protect them.




Prairie Fires


Book Description

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books Millions of readers of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls—the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true saga of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series—masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder’s biography. Revealing the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life, she also chronicles Wilder's tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books. The Little House books, for all the hardships they describe, are paeans to the pioneer spirit, portraying it as triumphant against all odds. But Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier than that, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty. It was only in her sixties, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a celebratory vision of homesteading—and achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters. Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.




Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life


Book Description

Charlotte struggles to adjust when her mother moves the family to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, the small, boring town where pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up, in hopes of finding inspiration for her writing career.