Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.
This week’s theme: Poetry
Unfortunately, I am not much into poetry. Except for one poetry collection I read in high school, I have never touched any poetry collections. Because of this, I have instead decided to pursue what I have already started last week, which is to feature works of American literature. But American literature, on its own, is vast. As such, I have divided it into parts. Last week, I featured works of Asian American literature and for this week, I will be featuring works of American Indians. Unfortunately, apart from one book each by Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie, I have not read that much work of American Indians. But I know there is quite a lot out there just waiting for me to read them. Without more ado, here are works of American Indian literature I can’t wait to immerse myself in. Happy Monday and happy reading!
5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!
Title: House Made of Dawn
Author: N. Scott Momaday
Publishing Date: 1994
No. of Pages: 212
Synopsis: House Made of Dawn is about the struggle of a man who cannot understand or be understood, a man who is integrated with neither the traditions of his Indian heritage nor the ways of the white world. When Abel, a mixed-blood Indian who does not even know the tribe of his own father, returns to the Walatowa Pueblo reservation after serving in WWII, he feels removed from the traditions of the reservation. He drinks, kills an albino Indian who has humiliated him, and is promptly sent to prison by a court that has no understanding of his motives or his cultural identity.
After his release from prison, Abel begins a difficult emotional journey that takes him from an assembly line in Los Angeles back to the reservation – and to a reunification with the customs of his ancestors.
In 1969, House Made of Dawn became the first novel by a Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize; it is considered a classic of the Native American renaissance.
Title: Love Medicine
Author: Louise Erdrich
Synopsis: The first book in Louise Erdrich’s highly acclaimed “Native American” trilogy that includes “The Beet Queen,” “Tracks,” and “The Bingo Palace,” re-sequenced and expanded to include never-before-published chapters.
Set on and around a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine is the epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.
With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses with the drama of life.
Filled with humor, magic, injustice and betrayal, Erdrich blends family love and loyalty in a stunning work of dramatic fiction. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: There There
Author: Tammy Orange
Synopsis: Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American–grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong
Author: Stephen Graham Jones
Synopsis: The Fast Red Road—A Plainsong is a novel which plunders, in a gleeful, two-fisted fashion, the myth and pop-culture surrounding the American Indian. It is a story fueled on pot fumes and blues, borrowing and distorting the rigid conventions of the traditional western. Indians, cowboys, and outlaws are as interchangeable as their outfits; men strike poses from Gunsmoke, and horses are traded for Trans-Ams. Pidgin, the half-blood protagonist, inhabits a world of illusion—of aliens, ghosts, telekinesis, and water-pistol violence—where television offers redemption, and “the Indian always gets it up the ass.”
Having escaped the porn factories of Utah, Pidgin heads for Clovis, NM to bury his father, Cline. But the body is stolen at the funeral, and Pidgin must recover it. With the aid of car thief Charlie Ward, he criscrosses a wasted New Mexico, straying through bars, junkyards, and rodeos, evading the cops, and tearing through barriers “Dukestyle.” “Charlie Ward slid his thin leather belt from his jeans and held it out the window, whipping the cutlass faster, faster, his dyed black hair unbraiding in the fifty mile per hour wind, and they never stopped for gas.” Along the way, Pidgin escapes a giant coyote, survives a showdown with Custer, and encounters the remnants of the Goliard Tribe—a group of radicals to which Cline belonged.
Pidgin’s search allows him to reconcile the death of his father with five hundred years of colonial myth-making, and will eventually place him in a position to rewrite history. Jones tells his tale in lean, poetic prose. He paints a bleak, fever-burnt west—a land of strip-joints, strip-malls, and all you can eat beef-fed-beef stalls, where the inhabitants speak a raw, disposable lingo. His vision is dark yet frighteningly recognizable. In the tradition of Gerald Vizenor’s Griever, The Fast Red Road—A Plainsong blazes a trail through the puppets and mirrors of myth, meeting the unexpected at every turn, and proving that the past—the texture of the road—can and must be changed. (Source: Goodreads)
Author: Leslie Marmono Silko
Synopsis: Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo’s quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair. (Source: Goodreads)
Author: Linda Hogan
Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Omishto, a member of the Taiga Tribe, witnesses her Aunt Ama kill a panther-an animal considered to be a sacred ancestor of the Taiga people-she is suddenly torn between her loyalties to her Westernized mother, who wants her to reject the ways of the tribe, and to Ama and her traditional people, for whom the killing of the panther takes on grave importance. (Source: Goodreads)