Independence Day weekend is here in the U.S., and Canada Day weekend celebrations are happening 100 miles north of my location. There are still a lot of summer weekends to fill with reading at the lake, on the beach, or just on your deck or balcony. And have I got a title for you . . .
My friend, Aaron Poochigian recently published "Mr. Either/Or," a novel in verse (Etruscan Press). Get it online from Powell's http://www.powells.com/book/mr-either-or-9780997745528/62-0 or have your favorite locally-owned, independent bookstore order it through Consortium.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "A novel in verse? How can that possibly be a summer weekend read, Carissa?" Okay, imagine this: A classic film noir (Act I), combined with a super-episode of "The X Files" (Act II), with characters that will make you miss "Alias," and a climax worth of a Marvel movie.
Mr. Either/Or is either an ivy-league college student soaking slacking his way through higher education, or he's a government spook, running business as a secret operative for some shady characters. Well, he's both. And this novel is a pretty rollicking adventure that makes full use of the classic landscapes of Manhattan.
You've never read a novel in verse? Don't worry, I had only read one before this myself (more about that in a future post). You don't read much poetry at all? Well, I won't chastise you for that here. Just let me say: Don't let it stop you.
If you're just getting started with poetry, read the novel sentence by sentence. Don't worry about things your Intro to Poetry teacher insisted you pay attention to - line endings, rhyme, rhythmic feet, caesuras (what the heck were those again?). Poochigian's sentences are not opaque, and you'll feel them fine.
What the verse does here is provide a be-bop jazzy soundtrack to the story. It highlights fun word play and pop-culture references. And most importantly, it keeps the pages turning.
Try "Mr. Either/Or" - you'll like it, and you'll be passing it around your campfire to other readers in your crowd before Labor Day.