Beauty in the short form

A review of Roughneck Grace: Farmer Yoga, Creeping Codgerism, Apple Golf, and Other Brief Essays From On and Off the Back Forty by Michael Perry

Michael Perry’s latest book, Roughneck Grace, is a compilation of his weekly Wisconsin State Journal columns of the same name. He treats us to an inside view of Wisconsin farm life; life on the road as an author/entertainer; relationships with friends and family; reflections on aging; and gratitude for life’s experiences. For those who have trouble committing to novel-length text--good news! There is no story in this book longer than 3 pages. But Perry makes masterful use of the short form, finessing the language he loves for a wholly delightful reading experience. He has a way of drawing readers in with familiar topics and a charming down-home humility. His love of words adds dimension and texture in a way that makes you feel part of the conversation--to the point that when you discover no more pages left in the book, you kind of want to call Perry up to continue chatting. If you haven’t discovered Michael Perry yet, this is a good way to introduce yourself. And continue the conversation with his recent Wisconsin State Journal pieces. This book also makes a great Wisconsin-themed holiday gift for the readers on your list.