My Review of A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

One thing I love about living in Grand Rapids, Michigan is the vibrant writing community. Agents, publishing professionals, bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and writers of all sorts reside in this great town.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of these fine Grand Rapidians Susie Finkbeiner and review her new book.

51MVQM1vdTL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_I cannot remember when and where I met Susie. I know it was a few years ago probably around the time my writers group launched the first Jot Conference. At that time she had published one book and was writing another. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading A Cup of Dust, her latest novel.

A Cup of Dust was birthed out of Susie’s love of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, and the Dust Bowl. It’s told from the perspective of Pearl Spence a ten-year old girl who lives in desolate Red River, Oklahoma.

As I read the novel I could not help but think of The Walking Dead. That may sound like a strange correlation, but Finkbeiner’s description of a dull, grey world was incredibly vivid. And this is not dystopian future, it’s dystopian past. The Dust Bowl actually happened.

As a father of four, I imagined how terrible it would have been to raise children in a bountiful environment that turned hostile.

Peal reminds me of Opal Buloni in Because of Winn-Dixie. If you’ve read Kate DiCamillo’s enchanting story you know that means she is curious, clever, and never at a loss for words. Curiosity gets the best of Pearl in several instances and one in particular results in a blood filled face to face meeting with a drifter named Eddie.

Unbeknownst to anyone in Red River, Eddie has a sinister plan to destroy Pearl’s cozy family. I felt like I swallowed an ice cube every time I saw his name on the page.

The Spences are tough enough folk even when tragedy after tragedy befalls the populace of once proud Red River. Pearl is acutely aware of these troubles and her parent’s struggle to keep food on the table.

A Cup of Dust is told through the eyes of a child but this is no kid’s book. It’s a story about hardy people doing their best to keep a good home together during a time when innocence is lost.

I’d recommend you go grab a copy. Not because I know Susie and would support her book anyway, but because she’s a great writer, period.

You can connect with Susie at her website

And you can buy her book for Christmas for your reader friends HERE.

March is Reading Month – Don’t Read the Same Old Stuff

I have a problem. I buy books. Too many books. I measure things I want in books – specifically – used books. As in – I’d love to buy the latest tablet but that’d be like two hundred and eighty used books.

I’d rather have the books.

Thus as an avid book fan and reader and writer of them I submit this thought to you during this beautiful reading month of March.

My Latest Reading Voyage
My Latest Reading Voyage

A lot of luster can be lost on reading when we turn to the same old self-help, western, romance, fantasy, and classic author. Yes, even classics can get dull when that is all we read. I once heard an interview (posted somewhere on this blog) where author Neil Gaiman said Tolkien didn’t read fantasy books, he read books on Old Norse and Finnish philology and it helped him, obviously, write books of his own flavor.

As you think of what book you may devour this month go out of the way. Despise ordinary and go on a distant hunt, far away from your normal go to genre as possible. If you read fiction only by male writers get a non-fiction book written by a female like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet. If you only read romances check out H. G. Well’s The Time Machine.

We all have different tastes but reading the usual suspects is akin to going to the same restaurant and ordering the same thing. There are millions of books out there. Good ones. I wrote an article last year published here about how Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein changed my life. It was pure accident and I am forever grateful for it.

So go out there and read. Challenge your mind with a new flavor of novel. If you want a suggestion ask below. If you have already decided please share. I love learning about new authors.