Sunday, December 17, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Melissa Stephenson

Book Your Stocking: December 17

Welcome back, book lover. Book Your Stocking is a month-long reading series in which an array of readers share their Reading GiveLists/WishLists. 

Please welcome today's featured reader, Melissa Stephenson.



1) The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac : A Novel (Sharma Shields)
My son and I have a thing about Sasquatches. Since he was four and watched a TV show about sasquatch-hunting at a friend's house, he's believed peanut butter is the perfect bait. But mostly, I hear great things about this book and Sharma Shields, and I am in dire need of escaping into a novel.

2) A Home in the World: A Memoir (Joyce Maynard)
As a memoirist myself, I've had some words ascribed to Joyce Maynard pinned over my desk, on a notecard, for the past two years: "Write like you're an orphan." Recently, while speaking in front of a group of people, I referenced these words and referred to Joyce Maynard as J.D. Salinger's former girlfriend. A kind poet laureate in the audience approached me afterwards and said she knew Joyce, and that Joyce was not Salinger's "girlfriend." He was well into his 50's during their relationship, and she was only 18. She was groomed. So, I think it's about time I dig into the real story, Joyce Maynard's story.

3) Whereas: Poems (Layli Long Soldier) 
I'm a poet, too, but I don't read enough poetry. This book is one I've heard about so often that I must get my hands on it. It was also a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award.

4) On Homesickness: A Plea (In Place) (Jesse Donaldson)
I won't lie--the author of this book is a friend, but I am lucky to have a lot of friends who write books, and I am a slow reader, and I don't get to them all. But this narrative explores every county in the state of Kentucky, a state just across the Ohio River from Indiana, where I was born and raised. My son was born in Kentucky, and I have a feeling this book is going to hit home on several levels-- from place, to mid-life changes, to parenting, to my deep affection for lyrical sentences.

5) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Phillip Pullman)
Because I read the entire "His Dark Materials" trilogy while my first child took long nursing naps, and these characters are imprinted in some of my nearest and dearest animal memories, so I am not going to stop following them now.


Melissa Stephenson,
photo used with permission
About today's reader:

Melissa Stephenson’s writing has appeared in publications such as The Rumpus, The Washington Post, ZYZZYVA, and New Letters. Her memoir, Driven, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2018. She lives in Missoula, Montana with her two kids.


Enjoy more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors, here: