If You Like… You’ll Love: Discover New Authors
We’re just reminding you now: February is a hard month. By February, you’re already slipping with your New Year’s resolutions to get out there and see more art, to be part of more community conversations. You’ve got Valentine’s Day gift-giving panic and that what-do-I-have-to-look-forward-to-now? slump on the wrong side of the holiday season.
Luckily, SAL has a stockpile of February events—and now we have “If You Like… You’ll Love,” a list of winter recommendations that pair the books, films, podcasts, and comics you’re already a fan of with what’s coming up on our calendar, so you can find new gems in one of the coldest months of the year. . .
Eagle Huntress (movie) because if you’re impressed by Aishol-pan, the young Kazakh girl who tamed a three-foot-tall, six-foot-winged Golden Eagle against the odds of 12 generations of tradition, you’ll also be amazed by Helen Macdonald. This British memoirist seized upon an opportunity to raise and train a goshawk, a notoriously hard bird to tame, and also scrutinized the gender and class norms that have played into English falconry for centuries in H is for Hawk.
The Once and Future King (book) because maybe you, like Helen Macdonald, grew up with this fantasy classic that pits a young King Arthur against the “might makes right” attitude of his kingdom. H is for Hawk beautifully knits T.H. White’s journals and letters into Macdonald’s own story and the story of English natural history, stripping back the mystery surrounding White’s astonishingly painful life and revealing the unexpected ways it gets reflected in The Once and Future King.
Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden (podcast) because this NPR radio show captures how gardening is integral to cultural literacy, much in the same way gardens are an essential part of Ross Gay’s poetry. (In fact, he’s a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project.)
Miracle Fruit (book) because Aimee Nezhukumatathil is similarly lush and accessible as she describes food and landscapes, and because she called Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude “a powerful collection that fireworks even the bleakest nights with ardency and grace.”
We Live Here (podcast) because it explores the issues of race, class and power that led to the emotional eruption in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death in Ferguson. St. Louis Public Radio reporters explore how systemic racism impacts people, much in the way that this special event with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin will give an opportunity for Seattle come together to remember, to mend, and to help create change.
Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil (book) because if you were heartbroken by Lezley McSpadden’s memoir -which chronicles her love for her son, Michael Brown, and her unsuccessful quest for justice within a law enforcement culture – Sybrina and Tracy’s book Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin provides another example of hardworking parents whose powerful love for their lost child has emboldened their fight against an indifferent system.
Pastoralia (book) by George Saunders because if you like the incongruous pairing of Saunders’ gritty surrealism and moving morality, you’ll also like Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Swamplandia! for the same reasons.
Here’s the Thing (podcast) because if you like Alec Baldwin’s podcast that captures intimate conversations between the actor and an array of greats, you’ll love watching a live recording of A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment, the podcast that features Pacific Northwest authors Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter as they have funny, honest, and provocative chats with guests.
Men Explain Things to Me (essay) because alongside Rebecca Solnit’s viral essay on the experience the Internet now calls “mansplaining,” it’s also good to also have Roxane Gay’s brash, hilarious, and fiery voice take apart modern culture in what could be called, refreshingly, “femsplaining.”
Black Panther #1 (comic) because Ta-Nehisi Coates’ revival of Wakanda, Marvel’s fictional African nation protected by a royal line of superheroes called the Black Panthers, is now spotlighting women in its companion series World of Wakanda, written by Roxane Gay herself, a newcomer to the genre.
Selected Poems of Anne Sexton (book) because this groundbreaking confessional poet taught Ellen Bass to “say what you have to say.” Bass and Sexton possess a shared interest in capturing an ordinary life, rendering its darker spots, and making even those livable and beautiful.
Tiny Beautiful Things (book) because reading Cheryl Strayed’s advice column on love and life, much like a poem by Ellen Bass, uses compassion, humor, and honesty as a balm for everything life throws our way.