Waucoma Bookstore is hosting author Amy Minato and local Gorge artist Jan Muir for a book signing and art display on Saturday, May 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River.
Minato will be signing her new book "Siesta Lane: A Cabin, No Running Water, and a Year Living Green." Muir, a relative of the great environmentalist John Muir, lends her beautiful black-and-white illustrations to the book.
A poet at heart, Minato rejects her life of consumption in Chicago to go back to nature -- specifically, to a commune in Oregon, where she rediscovers herself. She also cops occasionally to the pretentiousness of her mission, and laughs along with the reader at her attempts to be both environmentally-friendly and sane, considering the fact that she's moved in with a bunch of strangers in a remote locale.
Written with a grace and clarity of vision reminiscent of Annie Dillard's prose, "Siesta Lane" is both a practical case study in living green, and the heartwarming story of a modern idealist who dives head-first into the fray and discovers just what it takes to live a year unplugged.
Minato is a poet, writer, and teacher. Her book of poems, "The Wider Lens," was published in 2004. Minato earned her MFA in creative writing and master's in environmental studies at the University of Oregon. She lives in Portland. This is her first book of nonfiction.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest gave Muir a love for the outdoors, the inspiration for her art. Muir worked as a professional graphic artist for an environmental interpretive company for eight years. She moved to Alaska in 1989 and continued her graphics work, establishing her own graphics company. Muir has illustrated several environmental education books and also begun painting watercolors. Since then she has exhibited in several solo watercolor shows and has had her paintings accepted in various juried exhibitions. She relocated back to the Columbia Gorge in 2006 and is reestablishing herself as a Pacific Northwest artist.