Books Read July/August

I went on vacation a lot in the beginning of August and somehow never posted about the books I read in July, so now I get to do a double post where I write about two months of reading! Summer reading at that! Something I did this summer that this blog nor Goodreads doesn't calculate is reread a bunch. In late August, I finished rereading the Neil Gaiman Sandman series, which I began doing back in February, and I also reread the Harry Potter series this summer, finishing that in July-- literally a few days before the "new" Rowling piece went live via Pottermore and the internet went nuts. It was really special to reread the series, and I was so enamored with it again I intend to do so every 7 years if I remember.

But without further ado...



An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
This was on my list of "Books I Will Read This Summer", so I read it. I bought it after hearing Roxane read from the first chapter. The book was extremely well written and the story was compelling, but at the same time what happens to the main character during her time as the victim of a kidnapping in her home country Haiti is terrifying, just as terrifying as one would expect it to be, and therefore the book at times is extremely difficult to read. Nonetheless, I read the majority of the last third of it rather quickly and liked how it ended.

Rhinoceros and Other Plays by Ionesco
After reading Roxane's book, I needed something more light-hearted in way, so I turned to the Theater of the Absurd, one of my favorite genres. I'd read part of Rhinoceros before but never the whole thing, and I found it extremely strange to the point of slight annoyance at times and humor at others.

Someone Else's Wedding Vows by Bianca Stone
This was also on my must read summer book list I posted earlier this year, and I had a lot of feelings after I read this book. I read it rather quickly, thinking over and over that I would most likely have to read it again. For some reason, I prefer to review books I feel a certain indescribable way about and this is one of those books that makes me feel that thing. So perhaps more from me on this book in the near future?

Increment by Chris Tonelli
I bought this chapbook from Chris at AWP because I wanted one of his books and was trying to choose between a few (or couple?) of them and he told me that this one had the poem I liked in it about murder and the lawn and someone's kid and it kind of turned out that more than one poem stuck out to me as something I remembered from when he read in Baltimore but yes, the poem about the lawn, that poem was in here too and I liked it maybe even above all the others and still.

The Constitution by Brian Foley
I read this book of poetry shortly after reading Bianca's. I bought this from Black Ocean earlier along with another title of theirs I will probably read soon-- I saw Brian read earlier this year at Brickbat Books with Wendy Xu and Luke Bloomfield and enjoyed his reading, though he came off as really... serious. But it's important to be serious about poetry at times, I think. His book was equally serious in a way that makes me think to fully understand it I will need to spend more time with it. Meanwhile, there were bits and pieces of it that stuck out to me as memorable and his poetry, ultimately, is very recognizable as his own, which I think is important.


Don't Kiss Me by Linsday Hunter
I started reading this short story collection while I was down the shore with my family and my cousin Andrew peeked over my shoulder at one point and asked me if the entire book was written in capital letters. It isn't. But it was a good moment to have him peek. He asked if I imagined that the storyteller was shouting at me and I said yes and that it was effective and he laughed a bit and that was that. There is someting distinct about a Lindsay Hunter story, just as I previously noted there is something distinct about a Brian Foley poem, but perhaps even more so with Lindsay. More than anyone else who I've heard read live and then bought and read their book (there are three people in this blog post who fall in that category), I heard Lindsay reading these stories to me in that Lindsay Hunter way and though grateful for it, I imagine this collection would be just as weird, creepy, and wonderful even without that voice singed into my brain.

TweRK by Natasha N. Nevada Diggs
Natasha N. Nevada Diggs is coming to read at Temple this year, and I bought her book thinking I might use it to teach the intro to poetry creative writing workshop I'm teaching there. However, as much as I enjoyed this book, I would have needed more time than I had in August to really think about how to use these poems to teach using it. Either way, I'm glad I read this book, and like I've said about the other two full-length poetry books I read this summer, this book felt like something to come back to. Differently than the other two, though, I feel like when I read TweRK a second time, I will read it differently, I will know something more than when I first sat down to read it. She writes in a wealth of different languages and instead of seeing that as a barrier to my understanding of her poetry, I will use the notes in the back of the book to my advantage, to master these poems, to give light (in my own brain) to the power of languages other than English.

Collected Ghost by Ben Mirov & Packing by Hailey Higdon
To end August, I read two e-book versions of chapbooks, wherein I determined that my attention span for reading books online is limited. This doesn't mean I didn't enjoy both of these chapbooks (the Mirov from H_NGM_N and the Higdon from Bloof), but instead that I felt as though had I been reading physical copies of them, I would have paid more attention. #printisnotdead


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