Sometimes books shock you. Either by being amazing, what you don’t expect, or what you could never expect.
Never expect would be something like the bizarre genius that is Chris Ware with his very dark, isolationist, morose and brilliant graphic novels. Or something as beautiful as the best book I have read for the first time this year the amazing graphic novel “Daytripper.”
And then you have just fascinating, like something like David Simpson’s “Post Human” about what happens when we are past human and partially cyborg (and a lot of fun), or Hugh Howey’s wonderful novella “The Plagarist”, which I will just say is awesome.
Or the fact that Slaughterhouse Five is very re-readable. And just how amazing something like Cat’s Cradle is. A book where the is a whole religion created that is nothing but foma. Remember friends don’t let friends carry Ice-9.
It’s good to be surprised. Maybe the most surprised I was this year is how much I loved “Slammed.” I usually don’t go for romances and Colleen Hoover’s book just shot above what is often a formulaic genre. In that literally most books are part of the formula.
Books read in the last 2 weeks:
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut: Easily in my top 25 books of all time. I read this last year and it started me on my Vonnegut fall. Seriously amazing. If you haven’t read it you need to. And also silly, wicked silly. Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God – Bokonon. *****
The Plagarist by Hugh Howey: The first chapter didn’t really grab me. The ending made me want more, much more. Would love to see Hugh Howey do some follow-ups to this amazing little novella. ****
Lots of poetry the last 2 weeks:
West Wind by Mary Oliver: Pretty, didn’t grab me. I love how much here poetry inspires others. It doesn’t work for me. So it goes. ***
The Way of the B-Boy by Billy Tuggle: Wicked awesome chapbook. Billy Tuggle is amazing to hear live and one heck of a writer. Highly recommended. Get it if you see him. ***1/2
Gentleman Practice by Buddy Wakefield: Cool ideas. Too clever for it’s own good. Loved seeing Buddy Wakefield live, found this book disjointed and disappointing. ***
She by Saul Williams: Saul Williams is the first person that inspired me to love poetry when I saw him live at Pomona College in 2000. Beautiful to hear live, nice to read in this book. I wish my copy included the CD. ***
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems by Billy Collins: Some gorgeous and amazing poems by Billy Collins. The title poem was in Tuesday’s post. Also love his thoughts of the window as muse for the poet. Great stuff. ***1/2
Other books read/reading:
Dr. Seuss Goes to War by Dr. Seuss and Richard H. Minear: Amazing collection of Dr. Seuss’s war editorial cartoons from the daily newspaper PM from 1941 to 1943. The cartoons are very cool, can’t get into the commentary. A great discovery for fans of Dr. Seuss. ***1/2
City by the Sea: A Photographic History of Portland, Maine by John R. Moon: Excellent work. Wonderful pictures of 19th Century Portland and modern Portland. Highly recommended about what has changed and what has stayed the same in Portland, Maine. ***1/2 (read about 2/3rds)
Bradbury Speaks by Ray Bradbury: Interesting short pieces by the science fiction master. Fascinating that he loves just writing about his passions, not about pieces he has to research. I think that makes sense for a fiction author. *** (Read about a quarter)
Agreeable Friends: Contemporary Animal Poetry (Edited by Alice Persons): Cool book of poems from various poets, mostly from Maine. Good stuff. Reading out of order and read around half. ***
46 Days: Keeping Up with Jennifer Pharr Davis on the Applachian Trail by Brew Davis and Jennifer Pharr Davis: Fun book about what is involved in a record setting attempt to finish the Applachian Trail. A lot about all the support a mission like that requires. Only person I can think who may eat more in Michael Phelps. There is no way I could hike from 5am-10pm for a month and a half. I hike slowly and look up to enjoy everything. *** 77%
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut: Starting over after reading around 10% in the past. One of the Vonnegut’s I want to read the most. 6%
The Way of the Shepard: 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People by Kevin Leman and William Pentak: Good management story about how important it is to know the passions, strengths and interests of those that you manage. People aren’t sheep, and if you trust them they can wow you. *** 38%
On Masturbation by Mark Twain: Very silly and short (only 300 Kindle characters) long lost speech by Mark Twain. Illustrations help the silly. *** (100%)
So quite a few books, lots of poetry this time.