Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of My Ancestors
by Louise Erdrich
(Harper Perennial, 2014, 160 pages)
“I can’t imagine home without an overflow of books. The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough…” (7)
Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite writers and I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of this book. I’m pretty sure I put in a request for it as soon as I learned it existed. This memoir focuses on a road trip that Erdrich takes with her youngest daughter, Kiizhikok, into Ojibwe Country in northern Minnesota and Canada. A big part of the Ojibwe lands are islands interspersed throughout the region. These islands are sacred to the Ojibwe people for a number of reasons, one of which is the rock paintings contained on many of them.
As Erdrich takes us along on this journey we see how important her heritage is to her and also the value she places on books and the role they play in her life. There were so many good quotes that I pulled from this text because I related to so many of the things that she said. Like John Irving, Erdrich is one of those writers I just want to sit and talk with for hours… or just sit and read next to her. Either way, I’d be happy.
Anyway, if you’re an Erdrich fan I certainly recommend this. If you’re a bibliophile, I also recommend this – you’ll be reading along with a kindred spirit.