Five good reads

This week’s list of suggested titles was compiled by Ernestine Hayes. Hayes, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast, is the author of “Blonde Indian,” among other works, a book that appeared on last week’s “Five Good Reads” list.



“The Spell of the Sensuous,” David Abram.

Like “The Art of War” and “Tao te Ching,” I would take this book with me to that cabin where I have now come to realize I will never spend a year in lonely contemplation. Abram reminds us that we share breath with a world that also breathes; he reminds us that everything around us is always and constantly alive.


“The Grass Dancer,” Susan Power.

In this novel, a recipient of the 1995 Hemingway Award, Standing Rock Sioux author Susan Power communicates messages that become more profound with each reading. With precise imagery and multiple perspectives, Power creates characters that emerge from the page and begin living with and speaking to the reader.


“The Truth About Stories,” Thomas King.

With humor, patience, and craft, enrolled Cherokee author Thomas King illuminates the meaning and purpose of stories from a number of cultures in this engaging text based on King’s 2003 Massey Lectures. With a wry, friendly tone, King reminds us that, whether we like it or not, hearing a story makes us participants in the dialogue.


“Haa Shuka,” Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer.

Everyone who lives in Lingit Aani will be enriched by careful reading and thoughtful study of this landmark book, including the introduction and the precise notes that add complex depth to the history, art, and poetry of our beloved place. In all her work, Tlingit scholar Nora Marks Dauenhauer demonstrates the grace and confidence that made her the first State Writer Laureate born in Alaska.


“Boys of My Youth,” JoAnn Beard.

This book, along with Eggers’ “Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and Nabokov’s “Speak, Memory,” are standbys for the Memoir class I teach at UAS. It’s a grand and enjoyable study of the relationship between voice and perspective. Unexpected insights and unpredictable events earn it a place on this list of good reads. Gunalcheesh!


This recurring Arts feature offers short lists of book suggestions compiled by different local readers. To submit your own list of five titles, email the Arts desk at



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