Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Books and Recommendations of Books

Did I really let the whole month of June go by without a post? What happened to June anyway?

One thing that happened was the scales of my my love/no-so-love relationship with skiffy tilted back to love. I got a flyer from one of my many alma maters, Clarion West, with a list of this year's teachers and so on. So that got me thinking, and I read a couple of skiffy books, including Karen Haber's Year's Best SF 2003 which collected among several other good stories, Neil Gaiman's Sherlock Holmes-H.P. Lovecraft pastiche, "A Study in Emerald." I liked that so much I decided to give Gaiman's Anansi Boys a try. I finished it, but it didn't really turn my motor over.

In June, I also read Richard Ford's Rock Springs, which was good. But I probably didn't need to read more than the title story, my favorite, which I'd already read several times. Still, you know. Really, really good.

And I'm still working my way through Cleanth Brooks' and Robert Penn Warren's famous text book (look wise guy, if there can be famous poets . . .) Understanding Poetry, which is a good intro, if you ask me. Lots of good poems, and the apparatus (the bits about the poetry) is wonderful. No wasted words. Very chewy. I hate to sound like a backsliding pinko commie, but it's really refreshing to read an old text book like this where the editors feel not the slightest necessity to reflect on identity politics or be representative or anything like that. Not because the poetry is better, but because the apparatus is. I'm just so tired of the race-gender-class stuff w/r/t to literature. I can figure that out myself. Anyone can. It's the poetry that's hard. That's what I want to know about.

And I've had plenty of theory, so I know that argument above can be butterflied easily if you stick the point of the knife right here and flip it just so. Still.

Wouldn't use it in a classroom myself, though. Not without a good deal of supplementary material. I definitely feel the necessity mentioned above. It was last revised in 1976. That was a long time ago.

Now this weekend, we hosted a party for a visiting friend, and many of our mutual VCU grad school buddies attended, which can mean a variety of things. But one thing it means is I got some hot leads on some books to read. And at least one movie too.

Because of Mike, I'm going to be looking for Graham Greene's The Quiet American. Casey has assured us all that Lee Child's Jack Reacher books are quite good, and she told me to look for either Love and Hydrogen or Project X by Jim Shepard. Casey also got me interested in a movie, Love Song for Bobby Long. She told me enough to get me interested but didn't tell me it was adapted from the unpublished novel by Ronald Everett Capps. So. Let's just say expectations are high. Also, Nan left a pile of freebie books like she always does. I picked out Sylvia Nassar's A Beautiful Mind and Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club. More for my pile!

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