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text 2018-06-21 13:48
Reading List Alert!
How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry - Duke University,Edward Hirsch

I have been obsessed with reading lists ever since I was a kid. All the Newberry winners on a bookmark? Yes, please. "100 Essential Novels?" Sign me up.


I'm much more critical of reading lists these days, now that I have read more widely and studied literature for so many years. But that's part of the fun. (Don't get me started on PBS's "Great American Read" thing. Seriously. What's going on there? Never mind. Another post. 


I read Edward Hirsch's "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry" recently, in anticipation of seeing him read at the Northwoods Writers Conference in Bemidji, MN. It was last night - he was wonderful - witty, self-depricating, erudite. Wonderful. 


I recommend the whole book unreservedly, but the first essay, "Message in a Bottle," I'm sure will stand as a classic statement about poetry in and of itself. 


Now, to get to the point: The book closes with the 24-page "A Reading List and the Pleasure of the Catalog." Having read this book, and other Hirsch volumes, I know he's both a scholar and an artist. I was afraid, even at my age and stage of self-education, that I'd be out of the conversation.


I am so satisfied to say that yes, I found many books on Hirsch's list that I have read. Thank goodness. I'm "in the conversation," as we used to say in graduate school. Of course, there are hundreds of volumes on Hirsch's list I haven't read - so off to the library! 



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text 2018-06-06 17:15
Defying Henry VIII: Edward Stafford

Did the Duke of Buckingham really commit treason?


Source: samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2018/06/defying-henry-viii-edward-stafford.html
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review 2018-05-26 19:17
In A Cream Packard - Edward Hackemer


This is #1 in the Throckmorton Family series. I had initially read #6Sangria Sunsets gifted by the author, and he sent the series for me to read. So, from the onset, I was familiar (to some extent) with a few of the characters, or those mentioned in passing.
This book centers on Alexander "Alex" Throckmorton, son of Nick and Nora Throckmorton. His mother has died, leaving her estate to him, and he must travel up to Wisconsin to handle the legal matters from the home he has made in Florida. On the drive up his car dies and he buys a brand new Packard Patrician 400, and meets a waitress Annie who he falls instantly in love with. The attraction is not one-sided, and a whirlwind romance ensues. They end up getting married a week later, and make the drive back to Florida along the famous "Hillbilly Highway", U.S. RT. 23, from Michigan to Florida. The book is set in 1954, before the modern highway infrastructure existed, so there was much passing through towns to get to a final destination. 
On the way to their new home, the newlyweds make a couple of detours to investigate some mysterious things inherited from Alex's mother found in a safe deposit box regarding his father, who was reported killed in the line of duty overseas after WWII. In some ways, the answers they discover lead to even more questions. They also encounter small town crooked cops and judicial system, wrongly spending time in jail. I liked this first installment in the Throckmorton series and getting to know Alex and Annie.... I look forward to continuing the journey in #2. 
I received this book in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!

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text 2018-05-23 02:29
Summer Reading List 2018
Pete Rose: An American Dilemma - Kostya Kennedy
First Love, Last Rites - Ian McEwan
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket - Edgar Allan Poe,Richard Kopley
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld,Keith Thompson
Three Tall Women - Edward Albee
Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

I'm well behind pace in my reading this year. I always say I "average" a book a week, for 52 or so books a year, but I usually exceed that by a fair margin. This year, I'm quite slow. Only 16 so far - even though at least two were "doorstops."


So two weeks ago, when I realized I hadn't even considered my summer reading list, I was worried. But when I finally sat down to compose it, the list came flowing straight out. Easy-peasy, less than an hour's contemplation, for sure.


The fact I've been using the same nine categories for years, I'm sure, helps considerably. Three books for each month of summer. Things that make me happy and better-rounded. Plenty of room left for serendipity and other titles. Here goes:

The list.


1. A baseball book - "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma" by Kostya Kennedy. Reading a baseball book - fiction or non-fiction - is a summer tradition. Thanks, Casey Awards for the ready-made list. 


2. A Michael Chabon book - "Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces." This was both tough and incredibly easy. I've read all of Chabon's books, except some very hard to get screenplays and graphic novels. Luckily, he has a new book out this month. It's an anthology of his magazine essays, in the mode of "Maps and Legends," but it's better than none!


3. An Ian McEwan book - "First Love, Last Rites." I've read all of McEwan's recent stuff, so I have to reach way back into the Ian Macabre phase, which I like less, but it needs to be done. At least there's a new McEwan adaptation coming out in theaters soon.


4. A Neglected Classic - "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket," Edgar Allen Poe's only novel. Not one that was really on my radar, but read entry five for more "why." 


5. A recent "big" book - "Pym" by Mat Johnson. I have the opportunity to hear Johnson read in June, and I think it's time to read his novel, inspired by Poe's, as listed above. 


6. A YA book - "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld. A steampunk, World War I revisionist novel? Yes, please. 


7. A Play - "Three Tall Women" by Edward Albee. It's in revival on Broadway right now with Laurie Metcalf. You know I won't make it to Manhattan, so I'd better finally read it.


8. A Recommendation from a Friend - "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi. My friend, Laura, suggested it. She didn't have to suggest very hard, because I was already meaning to read it. And she loaned me her copy!


9. The book I didn't read from last year's list - "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Bronte. There's one every year. This year's will probably be the Chabon, just because it's new and might be hard to acquire through library means.


Well, that's it. I'll post a list on the booklikes list app. Will you read along with me? What's on your list for Summer '18? 



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review 2018-05-08 23:14
The Black Train - Edward Lee

Man, this is a freaking horror book! I read it originally back in 2009 when it came as part of my subscription to the Leisure Books Horror Club. I'm happy to report that eight years later, this book is still one of my all-time favorites. Great characters, fantastic story, and some of the most horrifying scenes I've ever read.


The story of Justin Collier, a Food Network star looking for the final entry to complete his new book on America's best craft beers. When he lands in Gast, Tennessee, and checks in to Ms. Butler's bed-n-breakfast, the true madness begins! Sex, violence, all of the most disturbing scenes I've ever read in a novel, and a fantastic and terrifying ghost story make Edward Lee's THE BLACK TRAIN an unforgettable trip.


Just a note here: The most impressive thing about this book might be how Lee uses these "disturbing" scenes and gets away with it. He earns the right to show you each and every nightmare within these pages. Despite the depravity of many of the scenes, each and every one serves the story and only intensifies the fear factor.


I give THE BLACK TRAIN 5 stars! I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone that might be easily offended or disturbed. Definitely more of a hardcore horror book, but one that is so much more.  

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