Reading Room Blog

American Life in Poetry: Column 262

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

When we hear news of a flood, that news is mostly about the living, about the survivors. But at the edges of floods are the dead, too. Here Michael Chitwood, of North Carolina, looks at what’s floating out there on the margins.


The Coffins

American Life in Poetry: Column 261

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

All over this country, marriage counselors and therapists are right now speaking to couples about unspoken things. In this poem, Andrea Hollander Budy, an Arkansas poet, shows us one of those couples, suffering from things done and undone.

 

Betrayal

Eat, Pray, Love

Check out the trailer for the movie version of "Eat, Pray, Love," in theaters this summer. If you haven't  read "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert yet, you can put it on hold here. It's the story of "a magazine writer's yearlong travels across the world in search of pleasure, guidance, experience and wholeness" (book description).

Irish Stories and Lore

    St. Patrick's Day may have passed, but you can continue to celebrate at home by stocking up on Irish stories and lore from the library.  Edna Barth’s “Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs” provides quirky facts and legends associated with the holiday.  Did you know that St. Patrick was not Irish himself but was born in Scotland?  Or that Americans have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1737?  (That year’s gala was held in Boston, of course.)  Along with fascinating details about Irish harps, Irish poetry and St. Patrick’s Day parades, Barth weaves in much of the history of Ireland for readers nine and up.

If you liked Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Born of Ice"...

If you liked Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Born of Ice" for the romantic SF, see what you think of these selections, which range from the more serious to the lighthearted:

Minion
by L A Banks
"All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a top act ... But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons - predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy. Damali and her team cannot afford such delusions, especially now, when a group of rogue vampires has been striking down other musicians. When strange attacks erupt ... Damali realizes these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. Instead of neat puncture marks in the neck showing where the blood has been drained from the body, these corpses are mutilated beyond recognition, indicating a blood lust and thirst for destruction that surpasses any Damali has encountered before. Soon she discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire Damali has ever met - a seductive beast who is coming for her next...."-catalog summary

If You Like Books by Kurt Vonnegut or Jonathan Safran Foer...

If you like books such as those written by Kurt Vonnegut or Jonathan Safran Foer, satirical, with "beautiful and intriguing use of language," here are some suggestions:

TC Boyle - The Road to Wellville

Great Lives Series: Rachel Carson

On Thursday, March 18, 2010, Mark Hamilton Lytle of Bard College and author of The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement, will give a talk on the scientist. The lecture, part of the University's Great Lives series, is free and open to the public.

Great Lives Series: Queen Victoria

She took the throne as a young and somewhat malleable girl, married for love, and spent the greater part of her reign as the formidable Widow of Windsor. Her children and grandchildren held thrones throughout Europe, and the Age of Victoria was known for both domestic reform and colonial conquest. Her long and fascinating life has been the subject of numerous books, films, and television series.

American Life in Poetry: Column 260

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

These days are brim full of bad news about our economy—businesses closing, people losing their houses, their jobs. If there’s any comfort in a situation like this, it’s in the fact that there’s a big community of sufferers. Here’s a poem by Dana Bisignani, who lives in Indiana, that describes what it feels like to sit through a bankruptcy hearing.


Bankruptcy Hearing

Great Lives Series: James Bond

On Thursday, April 22, 2010, Jeremy Black of the University of Exeter and author of A History of the British Isles will give a talk on the cinematic Cold War super spy. This lecture, part of the university's Great Lives series, is free and open to the public.