The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning, Julene Bair. Viking 2014

the-ogallala-road-coverTolstoy suggested that words are weapons in any fight to change the minds of the masses. Words can also move the heart and draw our attention to the forgotten sublime. Julene Bair’s new book, THE OGALLALA ROAD: A MEMOIR OF LOVE AND RECKONING, proves this truth. Her first book, One Degree West, which won regional awards and was a finalist for the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, began her inquiry into how we are shaped by our childhood landscape. Ogallala Road continues her personal story and reveals some larger truths about ecological degradation unfolding across the nation.

In her new book, Bair writes beautifully and compellingly about her passion for the high plains of Kansas, her concerns about our diminishing water resources, and her search for love and identity. Although she no longer lives on the family farm, each trip back she sees the alarming effects of big agriculture and individual greed—government subsidies and ethanol policies that encourage irrigation of crops such as soybeans and corn and, in the process, are depleting a precious, essential aquifer. [...]

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Welcome to our latest issue of FEAST!

Recently the truth of a line from author Siri Hustvedt struck home: “A book is a collaboration between the one who reads and what is read and, at its best, that coming together is a love story like any other.” Ah, yes, a love story—that shiver of excitement as you read the first page in a long-awaited book and you realize it’s going to be everything you’d hoped. You settle into your chair, and it flits through your head that no one better bother you until you’ve finished the ride. Well, if that’s love, I’ve been truly blessed over the years. I admit it might be passionate obsession.

One of the pleasures of publishing FEAST is that I’m always on the hunt for new discoveries—new loves—that I can share with all of you. [...]

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FICTION: Novels for your reading pleasure. We present books that may have fallen off your radar because they did not have big promotional budgets behind them or the publishing world has moved on to the next crop–leaving behind some jewels to be discovered . . .

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NONFICTION: Often the truth truly IS stranger than fiction–if you wrote a novel that had your hero or heroine doing what some of these people do, a publisher would say “just not believable!” But here are some exciting tales from the edge that will keep you glued to the pages until the final word . . .

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FOOD: Few pleasures in life equal those found sitting around a big table enjoying well-prepared food and good wine with family or friends. Each new issue, we especially enjoy selecting a variety of new cookbooks for you to choose from, particularly those that include the cook’s story as a part of the tale.

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FILM: Films come and go quickly–and too many theaters don’t book indie or art films. Many thoughtful, engaging, and witty movies zoom past us before we even hear of them. Our suggestions are guaranteed to delight, educate, entertain, and provide a respite from the brain drain of too much Hollywood dreck . . .

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ART: Art, artists, museums, galleries, art books–we bring you beautiful images rendered by creative people and tell you where you can see them. Check this section for a few important suggestions–and catch the links to new artist profiles!

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TRAVEL: Fly, drive, swim, or whatever strikes your fancy as we highlight travel ideas or armchair adventures for when the world gets to be too much. This issue: World motorcyclist Allan Karl talks about touring the planet on two wheels!

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