Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Numinous Poems of Billy Collins

His new collection doesn't disappoint. Reading Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins.

My favorite poem so far:

The Chairs That No One Sits In

You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed   
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one   
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It might be none of my business,
but it might be a good idea one day
for everyone who placed those vacant chairs

on a veranda or a dock to sit down in them
for the sake of remembering
whatever it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs   
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is nothing but the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then another, cries of joy or warning—
it passes the time to wonder which.
Source: Poetry (November 2008).

photo from

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

The Intro: My current favorite author is Michelle Richmond. I am reading Dreams of the Blue Room and re-reading The Year of Fog, both of which I will review next week. Recently, I read No One You Know for the second time and I will review below.

The Review: No One You Know is even more compelling on the second read. I could pause and smell the coffee, marvel at how the coffee trader's lifestyle is woven into a suspenseful plot. The settings of this novel in San Francisco, Nicaragua, and more, were enticing. However, the mysterious and powerful relationship between sisters drive the novel. Sisterhood resonates most deeply with me, and I felt like I understood Lila's immersion into her field, her dreaminess yet concentrated focus on pure mathematics, while at the same time, I could relate to her sister's adriftness, search for meaning in life, love, career. 

(this cover is my favorite, from the hardback edition)

The Analysis: Characters who travel, searching for a true home and deeper relationships, are common in Richmond's novels, and I think this is why many young women, who are following careers, moving to new cities, and traveling these days devour her novels. 

Songs to Read by: "Fix You" by Coldplay

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

The Intro: This book swept me up the way 5 hours on a plane, uninterrupted reading, and great literature, truly can. I have read so many books and taken and taught many writing classes; sometimes I feel as though I am watching strings being pulled on marionettes as I read. However, that was not the case with this novel--it was writing magic. (I love this cover of the paperback edition--I love old-fashioned keys!)

The Review:  To me, this book was seamless. The setting was pristine; the shale beaches and indigo water in Lake of Dreams, can be seen and felt by the reader. The sensual descriptions of glassblowing and the artistry of stained glass kept me reading as though it were a suspense novel. The main character's uncertainty resonated with me, and I felt inspired and grateful, as I learned about the suffragette movement and early women's rights in Seneca Falls. 

Songs to Read By:  "The Scientist" by Coldplay 

Update on this Blog's Status

I have not read many YA books lately, but I would like to continue this blog with the theme of book reviews in 100 words or less. The books could be fiction of any genre, such as mystery, thriller or the literary novel, or non-fiction, such as travel essays or books by Malcolm Gladwell, for example. I hope you will still follow this blog!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Sequel to Jenna Fox

The Fox Inheritance is a more complex novel in scope than the first book, The Adoration of Jenna Fox. This story follows Kara and Locke as they wake up 260 years after the Accident in the home of the potentially nefarious Dr. Gatsbro. During the first novel, I feel the character development was more intimate; I felt closer to Jenna Fox, whereas I didn't feel like I could truly understand Locke and Kara's motivations in the sequel. However, the picture of the futuristic world Pearson paints is intriguing enough to fuel the story.

Song to Read by: "Teardrop" by Massive Attack (theme to TV show House, MD)

Watch the book trailer here:
It is a little bit overdramatic. 

You can read a short story written from Allys' perspective here.