Books Read :: March-April 2013

I took the English Lit GRE on April 20th, so my reading was severely limited because I really, truly studied my butt off. The way I count "books read" is by actual BOOKS read, so for instance the fact that I read all of Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" doesn't really get included on my record-keeping of books read. Additionally, books I "REREAD" no longer get counted here either. For the record, I reread The Great Gatsby and Ender's Game along with my Experiencing Literature class. I chose them for this spring semester because they're both coming out in film form 2013. Gatsby actually just came out this past weekend, and I hope Geoff & I get the chance to see it in theaters.

We read this for my book club. This is probably the last book I'll ever say this about since book club kind of dissipated when I took time off to study for the English Lit GREs. I was glad we read it, but mostly because it got me to read some more Austen. See below.

I WAS NOT EVEN BORN by Wendy Xu & Nick Sturm
I bought and read this while at AWP 2014, and I was extremely glad I did. I finished it on a particularly long T ride from Somerville into the great city of Boston and the only thing I could have asked from this book was MORE. Two of the poems in the book, the first two if I remember correctly, were some of my favorite poems that we published in Gigantic Sequins 3.2.

PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Jane Austen
There is a reason that this is the most loved book by Jane Austen, I think. I've only ever read two other of her novels, but this one captures your heart. You are rooting for the right characters, you disdain the right characters, and the pay off is worth the tension that she builds throughout the novel. Her ability to mock a society and still make her reader fall in love with products of it truly is brilliant.

TAKE IT by Joshua Beckman
I dog-eared a number of pages of this book, and after I finished reading it, I went back and reread all of the poems I had dog-eared. And then I wanted to read the whole book again. Something valuable about this poetry book different from others that I've enjoyed recently: I sometimes read the poem I had just read over again just because I wanted to, not because I didn't think I "got" it.

SHOTGUN TORSO by Brian Warfield
Shereen Adel, the Gigantic Sequins Production Editor, wrote a review of this book for me for Boog City. You can and should read this book online. It's exploration of the body is poetically grotesque. It's modern literature worth reading, but I feel like I say this about all of Warfield's work.

THE AENEID by Virgil
I read this because it was the only "epic" I had in poem form in my house. I have a prose version of the Odyssey, and I downloaded an eBook version of the Iliad, but reading a physical book was more appealing to me while I was studying. The eBook Iliad kept putting me to sleep--whereas, despite how long it took me to read Virgil's classic, I enjoyed most of it. Someone on Goodreads gave it a negative review and referred to it as "Homer fanfiction," which I thought was hilarious. At many points throughout the narrative I thought, "JUST FOUND ROME ALREADY, GOD." But in the end, I was glad I read it.

This is a beautiful and slim volume of poetry put out by Monk Books that I picked up at AWP and took along with me to read on various travels throughout the city. I don't want to call the poems in it "list" poems because they are more evocative than what that terminology has come to propose. Each line in these poems relates back to the title in a way that seems personal to the writer of the poem but also in a way that can be personal to the reader of the poem. The connection between the title and following lines, then, creates a series of distinct relationships, almost like each line in itself is a little poem, but much more powerful when connected. Additionally, throughout the book, the poems are connected to each other-- the coherence is insightful, beautiful, and at times even alarming, depending on the connections the reader draws, or assumes the poet is drawing. I really enjoyed this book, and it's one I feel I will come back to a few more times in the near future.

I bought this book awhile ago and let it sit around for some reason without reading it, despite nearly picking it up various times. Had I even read the first two chapters any of those times I considered picking it up, I'm sure I would have been unable to put it down. Something about this novel for me was un-put-downable. I took it with me to the DMV and read over a hundred pages of it while there. They called my number, and rather than being thrilled, I thought, "BUT I JUST WANT TO FINISH THIS CHAPTER." This is an excellent novel that takes the modern war(s) in the Middle East and makes them realistic to a Western reader in a compelling manner. It was put out by Publishing Genius press that I'm extremely glad I read.

POETRY IS NOT DEAD by Dorothea Lasky
Mark Cugini was pretty alarmed that I hadn't read this yet when he started talking to me about it on gchat one day--or maybe he tweeted about it and then we talked about it on gchat? Either way, it's available to read for free online, so before he could continue to be alarmed, I found the link and read it. It made me feel really great bout the trouble I'm having turning the poems I've written into a collection. It made me feel good about poetry and writing in general and the "lit community" and art. You should read it, too.


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