Thursday, August 20, 2009


Finding new non-fiction can be a challenge. There are certain subjects about which I happy to read regardless of author. When considering a book outside of my have to read subject zone, I generally rely on past experience. Certain authors, like Ted Conover and John McPhee, cover subjects in such an engaging way that I am to pick up any book with their name on it. Finding new highly reliable authors is always a treat. Thanks to Citizen Reader, I found Michael Perry. Perry lives in rural (very rural as the title of his book Population 485 attests) Wisconsin and writes thoughtful essays about work, community and life based on his own experiences as an volunteer fireman/EMT, a brother and a husband.

His book Truck: A Love Story does not fall into my obvious must read category. Cars are a complete mystery to me and I cross my fingers whenever I visit the shop as I am incapable of intelligently discussing service options. Perry makes the story of his year long effort, with the help of his brother-in-law, to rebuild his 1951 International Harvester pick up truck compelling by staying humble and by breaking down the story with lots of context. It helps to that this book is about a lot more than rebuilding a truck. It is about learning how to grow your own food, finding love in unexpected places, and building a relationship (with a person as well as a truck).

The slow breaking down, cleaning, repairing and rebuilding of the truck is a nice metaphor for the reflective style of essay writing that Perry adopts. If the unexamined life is not worth living, Perry has every reason to enjoy life. Perry's prose is a pleasure to read. On to Coop.


Citizen Reader said...

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I always love helping people find new NF authors, but when it's Michael Perry, I feel even better about it. I haven't gotten much else done this year but introducing you to Perry really feels like an accomplishment. Yay! Enjoy Coop.

Tripp said...

Thanks again CR, this one was really worth it! No doubt your other readers have been pleased to learn of him.