[For the rest of this week, I’ll be providing updates on a few topics from my hometown of Charlottesville about which I’ve blogged previously. Leading up to a special weekend tribute to an influential Cville figure I got to see again earlier this summer!]
I first wrote about the wonderfully-named Proal Heartwell in a tribute post that I’ve re-posted a few times over the years. But while his influences on me, as my favorite teacher and a truly inspiring educator in every sense, were the starting points for my own experiences with Proal, in the years since I wrote that post he has published multiple phenomenal books that deserve attention (and readers) in their own right. Here are three:
1) A Game of Catch (2014): Intimate yet sweeping, funny and moving historical fiction about baseball and race in America—do I need to say any more?
2) Goronwy and Me (2012): You might not think you need to know about 18th century Welsh poet Goronwy Owen, his time in Virginia, and his links to Proal’s own life and story. Let me assure you, for once in your impressive life you are very, very wrong.
3) In Beauty It Is Finished (2021): Both of those books are excellent and well worth your time, but Proal’s newest is his best yet, combining many of the topics of those prior works but pulling them together into a combination of biography, literary analysis, historical and cultural commentary, and autobiography that is truly unique and never anything short of compelling. Yes, the conclusion features some thoughtful and generous shout-outs to me and my work (along with my Dad), but I assure you that this wonderful book would get my most enthusiastic recommendation if every bit of that (again, thoughtful and meaningful) section were cut. Get and read this book, the latest part of Proal Heartwell’s inspiring career!
Special post this weekend,
PS. What do you think? Authors or books you’d highlight?