The Pacific Northwest likes to read, and what better way to get book suggestions than to ask around? In this monthly feature, we ask prominent Northwest residents what books they’re reading, rereading and recommending — and why.
This month: Seattle visual and performance artist Timothy White Eagle, whose latest work, “The Violet Symphony,” was slated for a highly anticipated run at On the Boards in March that was postponed due to coronavirus precautions. White Eagle, one of the Seattle area’s great collaborators and a massive presence in the the arts scene here (literally and figuratively), here offers a look at his reading list.
Timothy White Eagle
What book are you reading now?
“The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon” by Tom Spanbauer.
I am supposed to be reading “Moby Dick,” as research for a project I am doing next summer at Town Hall, but I can’t seem to fully dive into it just yet.
What book have you reread the most?
Again, “The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon.” I have read this book seven times, since 1995. It’s like taking comfort in an old friend. It is one of my very favorite books and certainly the book I have read the most times. It’s not an easy book, it is sometimes brutal and pain-filled; the pain resolves to a certain degree and life goes, changed.
What book do you recommend other people read and why?
Well same as above, and also on my list to reread is “Almanac of the Dead” by Leslie Marmon Silko; it feels a bit like a “end of world” kind of book, but really is about balance being restored to the world. Also “The Last Report on the Miracle at Little No Horse” by Louise Erdrich, amazing book; one section deals with the outbreak of Spanish flu in 1918. Erdrich is definitely one of my favorite writers, and she is prolific, so I rarely get around to rereading her, because she continues to put out new books often.
I am realizing something as I write this list: These all would likely land in the category of magical realism, with a dash of postmodern literary affectation. I don’t need a happy ending with a bow on top, but I think what I love about these books is that they are not cynical; there is collapse, but there is also resilience, and for the most part the characters in these books are not destroyed by circumstance. Maybe that is what I look for in characters or writing, a sense of resilience, a sense that even if things are terrible, life will go on.
— compiled by Brendan Kiley