BIC Book Reviews

CTG-high resCloser to the Ground, by Dylan Tomine

Celebrate the coast and its abundant natural resources with Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, in the Woods and at the Table. Dylan Tomine’s memoir is a sometimes serious, sometimes humorous account of one family’s love for their surroundings and a life supported by nature’s bounty – home gardens, fishing, foraging, more fishing, and the tasty results of the family’s labor.

Although set in the state of Washington, Closer to the Ground’s themes resonate with readers living in many of America’s diverse landscapes. Program opportunities could include programs on cooking, working cooperatively with community, parenting, sustainable living, nature, food, and more. Closer to the Ground also provides a great foundation for family programs encouraging participation with parents and children of all ages.

“When we first moved to the Island, one of my earliest and happiest discoveries was a longstanding tradition of generosity from people who live on the water,” Dylan writes, and he continues this tradition as he shares the joys, friendships, and connections he’s gained from living closer to the ground.


Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra9780062218834

Literature allows readers to immerse themselves into a story whether fictional or nonfictional. Gaining an understanding of different backgrounds and people throughout the world enrich the reading experience. Regina Calcaterra brings the reader into her childhood with her recently published memoir, Etched in Sand. Although her background is one of a difficult childhood, dealing with an alcoholic and abusive mother while being shuttled around multiple foster homes, Regina shows the underlying fight for survival her siblings and herself have in Long Island, NY.

Regina Calcaterra illustrates the importance of her siblings relationship and her determination to work on improving government systems that, although were set in place to protect, let her down. Her story will stick in your mind as a reminder that determination and hard work can help anyone overcome horrific situations.

Etched in Sand, had many themes to work into a literary event such as, Child hunger and poverty, Child Abuse, Social Services, Positive impact of educators with troubled children etc. Regina Calcaterra’s memoir opens up many doors for discussions and community involvement.

cover-stSweet Thunder, by Ivan Doig

Mark your calendars for August 1, when Ivan Doig’s novel Sweet Thunder comes out in paperback! Sweet Thunder takes us back to 1920s Butte, Montana, where people from around the world come to make a living: Welsh miners, Irish miners, union organizers, copper barons, ranchers, Chicago mobsters, and Prohibition bootleggers. When the local mining monopoly exploits miners and cheats on property taxes, newly minted journalist Morrie Morgan joins forces with the local miners’ union to break the mining company’s stranglehold on the community.

Sweet Thunder is a stirring story of people coming together for a common purpose and ensuring that everyone, including the Anaconda Mining Company’s owners, contributes to the cities and towns they live and do business in. It tells of a war waged primarily with words, newspapers, songs, and recourse to local libraries and book collections.

Doig writes of a time when a Fourth of July parade meant that “half of Butte seemed to be there, milling into place to march down Broadway, the other half of the populace already lining the blocks ahead in joyous anticipation,” despite the diversity of languages, ethnicities, and origins displayed by citizens. If you’re looking for a common reads selection that celebrates the American spirit, the American Dream, our nation’s combined unity and diversity, and the grit, courage, and stubbornness that built the American West, look no further than Sweet Thunder.

Ivan Doig is one of western literature’s last, great icons, and a charming, popular speaker at standing-room-only events. Now’s the time to host him, if you’re interested in bringing him to your city, as he may not be on the road for too many more years

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