Why is poetry ignored by most Americans? And what if Jay Whitman read more poetry on the CBS drama "Madam Secretary"?
Here are six books I selected and wrapped with a bow to surprise and delight my friends.
"Time Present and Time Past" is a slim novel about an ordinary man in Dublin, Ireland, who experiences hallucinations that warp his sense of time. It's a rewarding story with the message that time is much more than the thing we measure with clocks and calendars.
A Merry Christmas wish via poet W. H. Auden, whose "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio" is available in a new edition from Princeton University Press. I so loved this discovery.
Here's some insight into what can happen to a book lover in a giant room filled with exhibitors of used and rare books.
Molly Peacock's "The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72" is more than a great biography about an 18th century woman. It's a meditation on late-bloomers and the significance of choices made throughout one's life. Molly Peacock is an award-winning poet, and her "leaps of the poet's mind" transport us into wonderful places, real and profound.
John Gardner published "Grendel" in 1971, eleven years before his tragic death at age 49 in a motorcycle accident. The story is a spin-off taken from the medieval epic poem "Beowulf," giving us the viewpoint of the monster Grendel, whom the Scandinavian hero Beowulf slays. A rare acquisition of the book's ARC brought Gardner's novel to my attention again.
Peter Sis' new book, "The Conference of the Birds," is based on an allegory about the search for divine truth written in the 12th century by a Sufi poet. It's richly illustrated and provides an encouraging story for the determined traveler.
"Give Over, Graymalkin" is Gaylord Brewer's eighth collection of poetry, but it's the first I've read of his work. Here's a glimpse into Brewer's new poems that take us to India, Spain and France, and also celebrate the "dead metaphors" of life.
A collection of short stories by a Canadian author arrived in the mail this week, and I couldn't put it down. Then, I found my nose deep into Newfoundland territory as I read reviews about Michael Crummey's new novel. Amidst the Canadians, also, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Here's what I know of these three upcoming books.
The National Book Awards for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people's lit were announced Wednesday night. Here's the list of winning books.
A random mention of this book lead me on a library search for it -- the letters exchanged between poet Charles Bukowski and artist Sheri Martinelli in the 1960s.
United States Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin read from his work at The Kenyon Review Literary Festival, and I was there, at his feet.
First Britain's Man Booker Prize winner is announced, delivering comedy (for the first time), and then the finalists for the National Book Award, delivering omission (shock!). The NBA finalists are listed here, providing good selections for your Reading Table.
Michel de Montaigne provided answers in his famous essays to the universal question of how to live. Sarah Blackwell's biography of the 16th century philosopher weaves those answers into his life story. Also in this week's literary encounters, a memoir of piano lessons, some poetry and even an illuminated breviary.