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text 2018-04-20 19:08
Please Bring Poetry To My Mom's Bookclub
Tiny Footcrunch - David Wasserman

I wrote this post for my Tiny Footcrunch publisher (Unsolicited Press!) to post during National Poetry Month:

 

 

My mother was so excited when I told her Unsolicited Press was publishing my book of poetry - excited and proud and just over the moon in that special motherly way. She immediately started listing everyone we needed to tell. 

“Your father! Mama and Papa! Cousin Laura down in Tennessee!”

“And hey, Mom, you could even read it with your book club!” I chimed in.

Awkward silence. “Mmm, maybe . . . hey, let’s FaceTime your brother!”

Even with the most exuberant and joyful of parents behind it poetry couldn’t quite sneak into The Book Club. Perhaps it’s due to post-traumatic stress from high school english class, a fear of not understanding the work or just an unease about change. Whatever the case, poetry is not a staple of most book clubs.

To be fair, there are some dedicated poetry book clubs (including some online - do a quick search and you’ll find some fantastic choices!) but they are the exception, not the rule. So then, why and howshould you add poetry into your book club?

The why is easy. It will break up the routine of novels, allowing your members to experience something different and unique. Poetry is usually a shorter read (time for reflection notwithstanding) and, in this fast-paced world where everyone has a million things to do, your members might just feel relieved to ditch those 400 pages of prose. Remember those “choose your own adventure” books? Each book club member can bring a different book of poems or single poem to the meeting, either their choice or guided around a certain theme. Putting poetry on the plate makes for a more complete dish.

How is a little trickier. The discussions you have (sprinkled in around the gossip and wine, I know) can be guided or more organic. I will use my upcoming book, Tiny Footcrunch, as a template for some possible exchanges:

  • -Which one line did you get stuck in your head?
  • -What does the key on the cover symbolize to you? Why the yellow background?
  • -Pair a poem with a food or drink, and tell why it works!
  • -Pick a poem: what TV show does it binge watch?
  • -Which poems are in the wrong sections of the book? Where would you put them?
  • -Did a certain poem resonate with you? Why?
  • -Which poem would you love, marry, kill?


You get the idea. The questions range from the standard tell your favorite poem and why to something more fun like what television show a certain poem might enjoy. All of these aim to break up the mundane and everyday - the monotony - a book club might develop.

So the next time it’s your turn to pick a book for book club, remember that a collection of poetry is out there waiting for you. 

Oh, and please recommend it to my mother’s book club.

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review 2018-04-20 15:58
Bleaker Island, by Nell Stevens
Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World - Nell Stevens

Going to the ends of the earth (in this case, the Falklands) to write a novel in isolation, with no distractions, sounded like the kind of thing I might do (except for the novel part), which is why I was interested in reading Bleaker Island. Despite a charming start and some genuinely laugh out loud moments, I wasn't consistently invested in Stevens's account of her writing (and romantic) life. I don't read many contemporary memoirs because they can feel self-indulgent, and there's been such a boom in them that it makes me wonder whose lives warrant a whole book. Though Stevens is, in the end, self-aware about her self-indulgence, it doesn't make the book more appealing to me. 

 

In addition, I didn't understand why she included a few of her short stories. The novel excerpts made more sense, though I felt they might have been integrated better, perhaps in smaller chunks?

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text 2018-04-20 11:27
Book Mail!

Many thanks and much love to WhiskeyintheJar for my awesome book! : )

 

 

I know what I'm reading this weekend! 

 

Thanks again!!

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quote 2018-04-20 11:00
Rory shook his head and sighed. “And what I want hasn't changed, either. My heart still beats faster when I'm with you. I still want to get on my knees and do anything you ask of me. I'd still, proudly, be your slave, at your beck and call. But there's only one difference between then and now.” Then he turned and met his gaze across the bed. “Now, I can say no to you.”
Bradley blanched in surprise.

The One That Got Away, by Elaine White

Source: smarturl.it/TOTGA.EW
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review 2018-04-20 03:03
Heroes of the Frontier
Heroes of the Frontier - Dave Eggers

This was tough for me. I love Eggers' work, and so much of this is what I would expect from him, but there are parts that just left me irritated, confused, or extremely stressed out for this unprepared, ill-equipped, mother of two, who displays an almost stunning lack of judgment when she takes her children on an inspired but completely unplanned trip to Alaska. The children, of course, are perfectly sweet, beautiful, wise little Yodas, who manage to charm even when they are at their worst.

 

Despite this, I was rooting for Josie. I bookmarked my audio-book and listened to one part several times — describing how we went from 4 parent visits a year at school to 46-hours' worth of recommended involvement (in a month). So, I cheered for Josie, even when she did some super questionable things (did anyone besides Josie not figure out the jumpsuits immediately?). And I almost made it all the way through. With about an hour or so left, Josie composes some music, and the story went from completely unrealistic yet kind of sweet and brave, to you have got to be kidding me. I considered Josie's musical scoring a charming affectation, a cute little character trait, but this was completely bizarre and almost offensive (to all musicians, everywhere, and I am not a musician). It went right off the rails for me after that.

 

There are some awesome, radical, refreshing ideas here about parenting and life, and it would have been so great if the rest of it had measured up to that great promise. Based on some other comments, I am guessing the geography is not well-researched, which seems a shame, and also easily avoidable. Any Eggers fans out there? Curious to know your thoughts.

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