The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac

By John Hildebrand

Hardcover: $22.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-672-6

200 pages, 5.5 x 8,5 E-book Edition Available


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"I've never believed that living in one place means being one thing all the time, condemned like Minnie Pearl to wear the same hat for every performance. Life is more complicated than that."

In this remarkable book of days, John Hildebrand charts the overlapping rings--home, town, countryside--of life in the Midwest. Like E. B. White, Hildebrand locates the humor and drama in ordinary life: church suppers, Friday night football, outdoor weddings, garden compost, family reunions, roadside memorials, camouflage clothing. In these wry, sharply observed essays, the Midwest isn't The Land Time Forgot but a more complicated (and vastly more interesting) place where the good life awaits once we figure out exactly what that means. From his home range in northwestern Wisconsin, Hildebrand attempts to do just that by boiling down a calendar year to its rich marrow--weather, animals, family, home--in other words, all the things that matter.

John Hildebrand is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is the author of Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon, Mapping the Farm: A Family Chronicle, and A Northern Front: New & Selected Essays, and his articles and essays have appeared in Harper’s magazine, Audubon, Sports Illustrated, Outside, The Best American Sports Writing-1999, and The Missouri Review. He has been awarded a Minnesota Book Award, Banta Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, Bush Fellowship, Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, and a Friends of American Libraries Award.

"Throughout these essays—rooted in Wisconsin but relevant the whole world wide—the heart wrestles the mind, and both emerge strengthened. We are lucky to have this man writing on our behalf." -Michael Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Visiting Tom and Population 485

"In the tradition of Annie Dillard and Aldo Leopold, the elegant chapters of John Hildebrand’s The Heart of Things comprise a spiritual autobiography set forth in terms of nature and community. Full of peace and notice and quiet moral authority, this beautiful book demonstrates what it means to pick a world and become a citizen of it." -Lorrie Moore, New York Times bestselling author of A Gate at the Stairs and Bark

"With little fanfare and tons and tons of beautiful adjectives, Hildebrand shares his journeys of being so present in the moment I found it hard to stop reading...It's what brings this book together, the weaving of sight and sound, of water dripping off oars, eagle's wings taking flight, of a river flowing away, how the horizon sits low and hope is found in every sunrise." -Jay Gilbertson, Dunn County News