October Book Log

November 3, 2015

I read 12 books in October. A lot of it great, great poetry. I’m at 82 books for the years and still hoping to reach 100.

  1. Selected Poems by W.B. Yeats (5/5) – I’ve made a bad habit of not delving deeply enough into canonical poets. That’s fine for the ones I don’t really care for, but for writers like Yeats, it’s just a shame. I’m trying to amend the problem now. This was a great collection and I loved pretty much every bit of it.
  2. Clasp by Doireann Ni Ghriofa (5/5) – Cate has been discovering and introducing me to a lot of new poetry lately. This is, I think, my favorite of the things she’s shown me. Ghriofa is an Irish poet and it shows through in a wonderful way.
  3. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire (5/5) – This is another collection of poetry. Sad and powerfully feminist.
  4. Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee (5/5) – Taught this book and thus read it for (I think) the fourth time. It’s such a beautiful and brilliantly constructed book. It also hits home for me as much as any book I’ve read lately.
  5. Crush by Richard Siken (4.5/5) – These poems are almost terrifyingly dark. I don’t mean that they are gruesome of anything of that type. I mean only that they deal honestly with all of our darkest and saddest places.
  6. Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest (5/5) – As Cate says: Kate Tempest is a genius. Really, really a genius. I don’t know how I can possibly talk about these poems in a way that makes sense. They are wonderful.
  7. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (4/5) – This was a strange little book. It’s historical fiction about the early life of a moderately famous writer. I didn’t love it as I was reading it, but I keep thinking about it. And the ending was so convincing. I’ll probably have to reread it someday to really figure out what I think. Some books are like that.
  8. The Triumph of Achilles by Louise Gluck (5/5) – More poems from Cate. More great poems. I read so much great poetry in October. It’s ridiculous.
  9. Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann (5/5) – This is a novella and three stories and, well, Colum McCann continues to be my favorite living writer. He understands the world and other perspectives so well.
  10. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (5/5) – Taught this to AP lit. It’s one of my favorite by Bill. Shakespeare, yada, yada. All that.
  11. Artemis by Cate Linden (5/5) – So, my wife wrote a book of poetry and she has sent it out. It isn’t published yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real and that I didn’t read it half a dozen times and help with the editing and all that. Anyway, if these see the light of day (and they should), you will get to read them and know that they are brilliant and sad. Cate and I are famously brutal when assessing each other’s writing, so trust me when I say that these stand up against any other poetry being written.
  12. Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta (4/5) – The second-to-last book on Cate’s list for me this year. In general, I liked it very well just one or two stories fell a bit flat. Still, a good read from an unusual perspective.