1. Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman (3/5) – This was, obviously, a Simone read. Fun and silly.
2. Parallax and Selected Poems by Sinead Morrissey (5/5) – One of the best books of poetry I’ve read lately. It was a bookstore find (thanks Carmichael’s). Morrissey’s work affirms for me that I prefer Irish poets whenever I can get them. I particularly enjoyed her interpretation of American culture.
3. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon (5/5) – This was recommended by Cate. It’s a wonderful collection of poetry about trying to find a new place and what to do with it when you find it.
4. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (5/5) – A re-read I taught in my AP class. This was our “big” book for the year. it’s always a great read and I continue to be impressed at the delicate construction of this book. Every piece is perfectly in place. I’ve read it four times now and I’ve yet to find a flaw.
5. The Door by Magda Szabo (5/5) – Another bookstore find – this one from a couple of months ago. The Door is a masterpiece of symbolism. It is an achingly sad book, and to talk too much about it would give it away. Let me say, rather, that no matter how much you may doubt it while reading, this work more than delivers on its promise.
6. Meadowlands by Louise Glück (5/5) – I can’t get over Louise Glück. Her work is very nearly perfect and this was no exception. This collection felt almost swampy to me. Fecund and fertile.
7. Everland by Rebecca Hunt (4.5/5) – I must have almost picked this book up four or five times. I was quite pleased with it. I’ve had a minor penchant for polar adventure stories lately and this fits the bill. The writing is also very good with two story lines woven together effectively.
8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (2/5) – Probably my least favorite book of those I’ve read to Simone. Pointless in its silliness unlike most Roald Dahl. I wonder if this book would be forgotten had it not gotten its own movie. Even Simone was confused at it.
9. The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake by Breece D’J Pancake (5/5) – These stories are beyond fantastic. I’d never heard of Pancake before. But he truly does stand with Hemingway in many important ways. His detail is honest and his characters demand attention though they are always the kinds of people who get the least of it.