Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Women reflecting on their lives

I just read two memoirs by women. Dewey by Vicki Myron is by a librarian, who writes about her life and intertwines it with the life of Dewey, the library cat. Heather Lende lives miles away from Iowa, but also lives in a small town... in Alaska.

Dewey was shoved into a book return at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. Myron and her co-workers fix the half frozen, frostbitten kitten out of the book drop and a love affair begins. Myron chronicles her own life and her life with Dewey. She tells of the difference she feels this cat made to a town in an economic depression and recounts Dewey's growning fame as a library cat. I recently reviewed two other library memoirs, where they were cynical Myron's book is sweet and poignant.

If you lived here, I'd know your name is Lende's story of moving to Haines, Alaska as a young bride and building a new life. Lende is raising several kids with her husband in this small town, where she is also a reporter and obituary writer for the small town paper. The span of her writing extends out to the people she writes about, so it is a little broader than a memoir. Life in Haines is rewarding, but it isn't easy. For every older person, who might die, there are young people earning a living fishing and losing their lives at sea. She focuses too on joyful things like berry picking, flying to adopt a daughter, on faith and much more. At the end of each chapter are selections from the short notices about the community that she writes for the paper. An enjoyable read.


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