I was just tending the blog and cursing slooow dialup when the sound of the radio penetrated my foggy brain. Linda Wertheimer was interviewing Ellen Airgood on NPR Weekend Edition. This is so good.
Ellen Airgood is a thoroughly engaging person. She is smart and funny and forthright. She works hard. She and her husband Rick own the West Bay Diner in Grand Marais, Michigan, and keep it open all year round. Ellen makes pie. As if all of that were not enough to recommend her, she is the author of South of Superior, a novel that I read in one happy gulp. Which brings us back to the interview. Linda Wertheimer! And there she was, Ellen Airgood, fielding questions about her book and the characters who populate it, talking about life in the North Country, being her engaging self. This is so good. People who listen to Linda Wertheimer like to read books, and I hope that many, many people will read this book. (You can listen to the interview later today on NPR’s podcast.)
I hope you will read this book. You will feel right at home in its pages. Whether you live in Torch Lake Township or Detroit or California or North Carolina or Nova Scotia or New York or Denmark or Utah or Scotland or the hills and dales of the north of England, it is filled with people you know. They live their lives with grace or stupendous foolishness, get knocked around and keep going anyway because, well, what else are you going to do? They do their work and their best, which is all we can ask of our neighbors or ourselves. Their stories are a good read, which is a valuable thing indeed.
I read obsessively but I am terrible at telling people about books. I blame it on being forced to do Book Reports in elementary school. Pamela Grath (a/k/a PJ) over at Dog Ears Books in Northport is good at telling people about books. This is why she has the bookstore and I buy books from her. PJ’s review of South of Superior tells you everything I would and does it better than I could.
Ellen keeps a blog where she muses about the diner and writing and launching the book. Her most recent post describes the pain/pleasure of the busy season in a resort community in a way that resonates for anyone who has ever Been There, which covers a whole lot of people Around Here. It is so good.