New & Noteworthy Book club discusses Johnny Appleseed

“I used to dream about a dress that had the colours of the medicine wheel: black, white, yellow, and red. I finally made one from some clearance clothes I found at the Sally Ann: I ripped out the stitches down to the original panels, cut out pieces from a McCall’s pattern I found at Value Village, and restitched them back into a dress that drapes over my body like a second skin. I hole-punched recycled soup can lids and sewed them to the dress instead of bells. It jingles gloriously when I dance around my living room in it. The dress is lovely and makes me feel like an NDN Sally Finkelstein.


I am my own best medicine.”—from Jonny Appleseed, by Joshua Whitehead


It’s been tough for me to put together thoughts on Jonny Appleseed this week—I am engrossed and fascinated by this short, gut-wrenching novel, a treatise on living from the mouth of a queer Native American. I have so little experience with the life and world of native peoples in the United States, for me to comment feels like I’m talking over authentic voices, rather than amplifying them. So, for this month, I’ve put together a list of native voices published in recent years for further reading. (You will not find Sherman Alexie on this list.)

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Mailhot

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo

People of the Whale by Linda Hogan

The Round House: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

Whereas: Poems by Layli Long Soldier

There, There by Tommy Orange

Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir by Deborah Miranda

Heart Berries: A Memoir Cover Image

The Round House: A Novel Cover ImageThere There Cover Image









I will be reading at least a few of these listed books before the New and Noteworthy book club discussion. We meet at 7PM next Thursday, July 26th, at BookPeople to discuss Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead—I hope to see you there.


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