What do Butler's A Small Hotel, Louv's The Nature Principle, and Abram's Becoming Animal have in common?
Well, for one thing, the first two book titles made the list of Oprah's top 27 summer reads . The third, Becoming Animal, should have, but didn't. A Small Hotel, Robert Olen Butler's latest work of fiction, is an unapologetic romantic story of a couple in love for nearly 25 years but now in the throes of separation and divorce. (I first met Butler about six years ago at a Narrative Magazine fundraising dinner in Santa Fe, New Mexico.) Butler read from Intercourse , his 2008 collection of irreverant short stories that, through humerous paired dialogues, allow the reader to romp through imagined sexual moments of some very famous characters. It's a very "fleshy" book, but more about "connections" than separations, which is the theme of A Small Hotel. Richard Louv's latest book, The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature Deficit Disorder is also about separation (you'll have to look a little harder for the sexualit