Books Read :: October

Something that has happened in the past: writers who have recommended books have told me that they did not necessarily want me to, after I had already done it, tell the world via my blog (HELLO WORLD!) that they had recommended certain books to me. However, I really can't help myself. So my apologies now and to the future to anyone who gives/lends/recommends a book to me that I "call" them on recommending. When you recommend something, it isn't always because it's your favorite book-- often it's more because you feel that a certain book fits a certain person, is something someone who is a writer/reader/_________ should read, or is something that you want to have a conversation about with someone else whose opinion on books you value. I think this is an important thing to consider when people give/lend/recommend books to you and also when someone asks you for a recommendation! I personally love giving them.

Mission: to read 52 books in 2012
Status: 53/52 
# of Books Read, October: 9 // 7 count

Notes on Books Read:

47) Loud Dreaming in a Quiet Room by Betsy Wheeler
I liked a lot of things about this book of poetry, one of which is the format of it. Something I struggle with as a poet is how to 'group' my poems when putting them into a book-length manuscript. I thought that this book was a good example of how to do that RIGHT. My favorite poems in this book are "Unauthorized Biography of Christopher Sholes", "Cottage Relic II", and "Moon Steady".

48) Zipper Mouth by Laurie Weeks
Sarah Rose Etter let me borrow this novel. It was fast, drug-addled, manic, interestingly written, paced in a zigzag way that makes the title seem relevant. The weird thing about this book was that even when I disliked the narrator (for various, understandable reasons), I still was enjoying this book.

49) Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Adam Robinson and I exchanged books during my Birthday Club exchange, and I read this novel this month. I enjoyed it. It's plot isn't really something that you could explain in a way that would want someone to read it, but this isn't because I wouldn't want to recommend this book. It has more of a play's pacing to it than a novel's pacing. The scenes matter as much as the whole. This book made me want to be a character in this book.

50) The Natural Kitchen by Deborah Eden Tull
I have been reading this book for awhile, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to look into "going green" in a particular way. The good thing about this book is that it gives you goals to work towards. Rather than making you feel guilty for what you aren't doing, it gives you advice on how to work towards bettering your kitchen specifically. I have not only changed things that are easy to change, but the whole idea is to get into a MINDSET where you are paying attention to these things because they are important to your life, and the future of this planet. It gives resources, references, lists, questions to consider, and is written in short segments with design elements that are appealing in a way that makes a non-fiction book easy and fun to read. Again, I want to emphasize how much I recommend this book. It's in the little things.

51) The Game of Boxes by Catherine Barnett
Parts of this book of poems felt maybe too easy, but sometimes I can't tell if I am being overly critical of something because it's similar to how I write or if there is something missing from it that I just can't place. I am always harder on books that feel like I could have written something just as good, but again, I have difficulty telling whether that's a criticism or a compliment. My favorite poems in this book are "Hangman" and "The Modern Period". 

52) Newcomer Can't Swim by Renee Gladman
This was interesting, but I liked some "stories" better than others in this brief, hybrid-genre collection. Some stories were too vague for me. The clearer ones, I liked better. I suppose when I am reading something that seems to have narrative, it's hard to switch over to a story with a similar voice that does not. The writing/style was intriguing though, and the "Weirdness" of these stories truly appealed to me. I think our GS fiction editor, Zach, would like some of these stories, too, despite their "hybridness". They are sort of "up our alley", but then, I don't think we'd like ALL of them. The ones I particularly like were, "Zone" and "Untitled, Woman on the Ground".

RR) 1984 by George Orwell
"RR" stands for reread. Because it's a reread, this novel doesn't count towards my goal (which, BTW, I just fulfilled in the previous book! Hooray!) Anyway, I reread this book for my literature class, as I'm teaching it for the first time. I am not sure if teaching this book right before the election was a GOOD or BAD idea, though. Hm.

RR) Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I decided to reread this series of novels so that I can read the last book in it, which I bought when it came out and never read. I think Wicked is one of those solid "entertainment" reads that makes me sad that the book is over-- especially with this book, where even if you're reading it for the first time, you know what's going to happen. (Ding, dong, the witch is dead.)

53) The Writing Class by Jincy Willett
This was our book club book for this month! I didn't particularly like this novel as a whole, looking back on it. I've read another book by her that I did enjoy. I think a lot of my trouble with this book was more in the editing/distribution of it than in the book, as it was billed as a murder mystery on the flap/description, but the murder took too long to happen. I was anxious for them. The other thing about mysteries, is that you know that the villain you're searching for WON'T be who the characters think it is OR who YOU think it is, most of the time. So I wasted a lot of my time trying to figure out hoodunnit. I think, though, had the book been advertised without mentioning the murder, it would have been much harder to sell. I wouldn't have wanted to read it, even. "What seems at first like another typical writing class turns into a moral crisis for a teacher, who discovers-- she has a cruel student." Yep, no thanks.


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