Nina writes, “I use my list to acknowledge at least a few of the great books that come out every year — some of which garner much less than the attention than they deserve and some of which are rightfully lauded by us reading hordes but deserve re-mention nonetheless.”
Given the number of books Nina reads every year, we are thrilled that The Names of Things is among her favorites. Here’s what she writes:
The Names of Things by John Colman Wood: This book tells the story of a man who journeys to Africa to find again the groups of nomads with whom he traveled years ago. As an anthropologist, he was always looking for the names of things as a way to define their meaning in the culture he studied and how such meaning connected to his own way of life. As a man now trying to deal with overwhelming sorrow, he finds that the name of a thing is only the place to start understanding the substance of experience, and that in the end, it is the substance that might sustain him, while the names twist away.
You can read Nina’s original review here — and click here for info on how to get your own copy.
We printed up a whole bunch of ReadVeg stickers to help support Portland’s Northwest VegFest. While there’s a lot of wonderful and important nonfiction about animals, the environment, and other reasons to be veg, we especially love discovering great fiction that tackles these issues, and we decided that these stickers are a great way to get the word out about eco-fiction and veg lit.
Check out our Veg Lit page for great stories that are redefining what it means to be a vegan or vegetarian. (In these novels, vegans are mainstream characters, not fringe characters.)
For example, in Falling Into Green, the main character is an eco-psychologist who believes a vegan diet helps the planet. And in The Dragon Keeper, the main character is a zoologist who does not believe in eating animals.
We also publish a young adult trilogy, and the first two books are currently available: Out of Breath and The Ghost Runner. In these books, not only is the main character vegan, but even the books’ paranormal characters are headed in that direction.
Whether you’re part of an organization or just a veg reader yourself, we’d love to send you a few stickers! All you need to do is send us a self-addressed stamped envelope (address below), and we’ll mail them to you.
It’s been a busy year for our authors, and we’re always glad to be able to post updates from their book tours. Check out our Facebook page as well as our events page for regular updates — and here are a few highlights from what our authors have been up to in 2012 …
John Colman Wood, whose novel The Names of Things was published in April, toured both East and West coasts over the summer, including a fabulous reading at the Ashland Public Library before he headed to Portland and Seattle.
Last week at Gallerie Karon in Ashland, it was wonderful to see more of Pegi Smith‘s beautiful work on display, including the gorgeous painting “On the Wings of Butterflies,” which of course is the image on the cover of Olivia Chadha‘s novel Balance of Fragile Things. Here’s a photo of Pegi with the book and a print of the original painting:
The original (and very large) “On the Wings of Butterflies” is on exhibit at 38 Central in Medford, Oregon, but Gallerie Karon is exhibiting a smaller print as well as many other butterfly images recently created by Pegi.
The display is lovely — and it was wonderful to see so many people out on First Friday who were drawn instinctively not only to Pegi’s paintings but to the book as well (in Ashland, it’s available at Bloomsbury Books).
Ashland artist Pegi Smith created the gorgeous painting that graces the cover of Balance of Fragile Things. The original painting, “On the Wings of Butterflies,” was completed in 2010 and is on exhibit at 38 Central in Medford, Oregon. Visit Pegi’s website to learn more about her work as well as upcoming exhibits…and check out this article in the Ashland Daily Tidings to read more about Pegi and the story of the cover.
Your artistic life began in music—when did you transition to visual art?
Although music was my first “real” artistic venture in life, I always knew who I was from the time I can remember remembering. I wrote and illustrated a book for my mother before starting violin at age eight. I loved creating things out of found objects when I was quite young and still do. My father was a watercolor painter, and my grandfather and one of my uncles played violin in the various symphonies. My mother had an artistic touch herself—her gardens would take your breath away. Art in so many ways is just such a huge part of me life. I began sculpting in the 1980s and then had some sort of epiphany in 2006 when I began painting. This is when I feel I truly came to life.
How is sculpture different from painting?
Painting brings me more into the picture, so to speak … I can engulf myself more in the moment than when sculpting. When I worked in clay, it was quite a process.
What are your inspirations for your paintings?
My inspirations for my paintings come from so many aspects of life … from sorrow to joy to just about everything I see and experience!
How long does it take to complete a painting?
The question of how long it takes to finish a painting is a tough one … it can take from three days to a year, depending on the piece.
What is your favorite aspect of “On the Wings of Butterflies”?
My favorite aspect of “ On the Wings of Butterflies” is the sense of freedom that I get when I look at it. I love painting large format, and this piece is 6’x4’—and that in and of itself is a sense of freedom to me, as I dance around the canvas; I paint on the floor, not on an easel. Butterflies are free, and that to me says it all!
What are you working on now?
I will begin painting again in a couple weeks. I have been doing shows all summer, and it is difficult to do both. I am very excited to see what transpires, as usually when I am off the canvas for some time, something new emerges … as I am but the distant director, I have to be patient with my work as I never know what is coming. The canvas is my palette, and I start with color, whichever combination of color makes me feel something to begin the process … then I listen and begin.