Hi, readerly folks.
I’m an Instagram convert, and occasionally I talk there about the books I’m reading. Usually it’s a lovefest, because I just can’t stand NOT to share the stories which change me. Margaret Renkl’s debut book of essays, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss (Milkweed Editions, 2019) is just that kind of book.
Here’s my MBR (mini book review, because you have to be pithy on Insta), via my Instagram account:
I always read several books at a time. Usually I’m all up in a novel (or two, depending on style or genre), a history or biography, a book of essays, and a book of poems … plus the articles I tend to consume daily. Earning two graduate degrees in books was hard, but the amount of reading required was catnip to me–even with babies and small children in the mix. Honestly, it may be my only superpower.
But this book: Margaret Renkl’s book of essays, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, made me put everything else away. This is a debut book from Renkl, who’s a native Alabaman and an opinion writer for The New York Times. It’s more than a modern Walden, more than a bit of a suburban Southern girl’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, more than a book of mothers and daughters, grief and constancy. And yet … different. None of these comparisons quite do it justice. Because, of course, it’s a book for everyone and anyone longing for the mystery, wonder, and salve that is the natural world. Missing it, perhaps, without knowing.
I only make comparisons to try to connect. But Late Migrations spoke to me on many levels, including being a writer. It’s the kind of book which makes me physically want to write–stirs me to move, to put pen to paper, to jot notes into my phone. (That’s not the norm, even for a word addict.)
I checked this book out of the library, but I’m also going to buy it–for myself, and for my loved ones. Late Migrations is that kind of book.
P.S. This book is a family thing. The chapter illustrations by Billy Renkl are just plain gorgeous.