Friday, May 18, 2012

Native American Novels?

A woman with a leathery face, dark green fleece jacket, and light blue eye shadow came up to the counter. She was holding three copies of a bargain book about Abraham Lincoln.

"I'd like to see any more books you have on Lincoln, where would they be?" she asked.

"Well, Lincoln is one of those who has books about him in our History section as well as our Biography section. I'll show you where those sections are," I said.

"That would be great," she said.

"Anything on Lincoln in History would be in U.S. History. Unfortunately it is alphabetical by author, so it's harder to find books on a specific topic or person because they aren't usually together. Biography is over here," I said, as we walked toward the Biography section. "This section is arranged by who it's about, so all the books on Lincoln are together."

"Okay, that's great. Now I know where they are. I have another question," she said.

"Sure," I said.

"My husband hasn't been much of a reader, but he's starting to want to read. I want to get him something he'll like. He wants to read fiction. Do you have anything on Native American history in fiction?"

Racking my brain, I'm thinking and talking..."Well, there is THE SHADOW CATCHER by Marianne Wiggins...though that is more about Edward Curtis who took photographs of Native Americans than the Native Americans themselves. Sherman Alexie is Native American and he's written some novels, though they aren't necessarily historical, though they are from the Native American point of view." The woman didn't seem all that interested.

I continue, "Um, there is Tony Hillerman, who wrote a series of mysteries with a Native American detective." We walk toward the Mystery section, where we have about two dozen Hillerman titles. I picked up one of the books and read out loud that the detective is Navajo.

"Are they all Navajo? There aren't any about the Cherokee?"

"I'm pretty sure all of Hillerman's books are with the Navajo detective," I said.

"Well, there should be more fiction about Cherokee. My husband is part Cherokee, so he has an interest there."

"I don't know of any novels that have to do with Cherokee history," I said, "I can look on the computer and see if anything comes up."

She seemed disapointed. "No, that's all right. This will be fine. I'll see what I can find on Lincoln. Thanks anyway."

When she came up to the register a half an hour later, she didn't have any of the novels I'd suggested. "I think someone should write some novels about the Cherokee."

"Yes," I agreed. "That would be good."

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1 comment:

  1. Nitwit should have just listened and picked up three Sherman Alexie books. He is a tremendous writer, and it may have opened her husband's eyes to the controversies, and realities of Native American life today. And if she had picked one up and started reading, perhaps she would have recognized it didn't matter if a Cherokee or Navajo had written the book!