I picked up War Dances on the recommendation of a librarian who, in my effort to complete Seattle Public Library's Summer Book Bingo, suggested Sherman Alexie for the 'Local Author' square. When I revealed my dirty secret - that I'd lived in Seattle almost ten years and never read any of Alexie's work - she grabbed the first book of his within reach and forced it into my hands. After only a few pages, I got it. Alexie's writing is just as remarkable as his reputation would suggest. He's the kind of writer that critics describe as fearless because his stories confront often-sidestepped forms of pain; in particular, pain as experienced by often-sidestepped peoples. I couldn't stop reading War Dances. Even at a blood drive. Later, I ran into Sherman at a bookstore and mentioned that I'd given blood while reading War Dances. He laughed. He said that he'd shed blood writing it.