The author of "A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You" recommends two books for hard times
Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss (Houghton Mifflin, $12) is spare, grimly funny, and wonderfully descriptive about a woman’s solo homesteading in 1890s Oregon. I sped through the 186 pages, cried once, and longed for more. Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins, $24), Jane Hirshfield’s latest book of poetry, is an uncanny mix of the everyday, the exquisitely subtle, and a splash of bracing wit. She knows about dull dinner parties and middle-aged transformations; she knows about silence and shame and about the texture of our dreams and our desires.