Author Archive: Donna Seaman

Donna Seaman is adult books editor at Booklist. Her radio interviews are collected in Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books (2005). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Donna.

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Tree People: Annie Proulx’s Barkskins

Tree People: Annie Proulx’s Barkskins

Proulx’s commanding epic about the annihilation of our forests is nothing less than a sylvan Moby-Dick. Barkskins are tree people, which includes not only loggers and foresters but truly all of humankind, given our reliance on these pillars of life. In her copious historical woodland saga, Pulitzer Prize–and National Book Award–winner Proulx tells the stories […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Protected Places: Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land

Protected Places: Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land

The longtime advocate for the environment celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service with a meditative report on her tour of a dozen parks across the country. Williams (When Women Were Birds, 2012), an ardent, often rhapsodic, always scrupulous witness to the living world and advocate for the protection of public lands, celebrates the […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Inheriting Pain and Wisdom: Louise Erdrich’s LaRose

Inheriting Pain and Wisdom: Louise Erdrich’s LaRose

Erdrich has perfected the meteor-strike novel—tales that begin with an out-of-the-blue, catastrophic event, and then track the ensuing shock waves. This dramatic structure shapes Erdrich’s National Book Award–winning The Round House (2012) and takes on even more intensity here. Two neighboring families live in a North Dakota community in which many of the Ojibwe are related, memories […]

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Love Your Mother: 10 Earth Day Reads

Love Your Mother: 10 Earth Day Reads

Every day is earth day for humans, and reading about the state of our planet should be part of everyone’s book choices. Environmentally oriented books include scientific inquiries into climate change, energy sources, extinction, and all the thorny social and political implications of environmental troubles. But reading “green” can also include clever and surprising ecofiction, […]

Posted in: Book Lists
Outstanding Best-Of Poetry Collections

Outstanding Best-Of Poetry Collections

National Poetry Month has reached its twentieth anniversary, a landmark celebrated with the release of a remarkable number of outstanding best-of collections, including Dana Gioia’s 99 Poems. Below we recognize retrospective gatherings by seminal poets of the past (Adrienne Rich, Delmore Schwartz, Stevie Smith) and other judicious combinations of the old and the new by shining […]

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Art and Loneliness: Olivia Laing’s Lonely City

Art and Loneliness: Olivia Laing’s Lonely City

What does visual art tell us about what it means to be lonely? A critic blends memoir and biography to find the answers. Writer and critic Laing searches for answers to the puzzles of her life in the experiences and creative endeavors of others. In The Trip to Echo Spring (2014), she explores the impact alcoholism has […]

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Resurrecting an American Writer: Constance Fenimore Woolson
By February 29, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Resurrecting an American Writer: Constance Fenimore Woolson

A new biography and a newly compiled story collection bring attention to the unjustly forgotten Constance Fenimore Woolson. Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840–94) was once so famous that debates about her intrepid fiction raged in the press on both sides of the Atlantic. But soon after her death, if she was remembered at all, it was […]

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Epic Novel, Epic Theater: Roberto Bolano’s 2666
By February 18, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Epic Novel, Epic Theater: Roberto Bolano’s 2666

The first-ever staging of the challenging and complex novel does it full justice—though you don’t have to read the book before seeing the play. The set is minimal. Three bright green, wheeled chairs are parked behind two white, narrow tables on which stand four name plates. This is an easily overlooked detail, especially for audience members […]

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Shelf Evaluation: Donna Seaman
By February 4, 2016 2 Comments Read More →

Shelf Evaluation: Donna Seaman

In this new feature, we’re asking Booklisters to give themselves a “shelf evaluation.” The rules are simple: pick any shelf in your home library, take a picture of it as is (no alphabetizing, no dusting), and then . . . explain your shelf! I’m not proud of the state of my bookshelves, but I will […]

Destined for Discussion: Sharon Guskin’s The Forgetting Time and Virginia Reeves’ Work Like Any Other
By February 2, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Destined for Discussion: Sharon Guskin’s The Forgetting Time and Virginia Reeves’ Work Like Any Other

Two daring first novels offer rich fictional worlds and meaty themes sure to get book-clubbers talking. One of the many pleasures of reading fiction is discovering a compelling and imaginative new writer. And one of the joys of falling under the spell of an exciting first novel is sharing your enthusiasm. Choosing books by first-time […]

Posted in: Book Groups