Reading Room Blog

09/11/2009 - 2:13pm

THE LAST SUMMER (OF YOU AND ME) by Anna Brashares covers the themes of sisters and family and love and heartbreak with poignancy and humor.

Two lists with similar stories are "A Friend in Need" and "Dating and other Disasters of Modern Life".

Some other books you may enjoy:

09/11/2009 - 2:21pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Diane Glancy is one of our country’s Native American poets, and I recently judged her latest book, Asylum in the Grasslands, the winner of a regional competition. Here is a good example of her clear and steady writing.

Indian Summer

08/31/2009 - 4:05pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I’ve built many wren houses since my wife and I moved to the country 25 years ago. It’s a good thing to do in the winter. At one point I had so many extra that in the spring I set up at a local farmers’ market and sold them for five dollars apiece. I say all this to assert that I am an authority at listening to the so small voices that Thomas R. Smith captures in this poem. Smith lives in Wisconsin.

Baby Wrens’ Voices

08/25/2009 - 5:01pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

This column originates on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and at the beginning of each semester, we see parents helping their children move into their dorm rooms and apartments and looking a little shaken by the process. This wonderful poem by Sue Ellen Thompson of Maryland captures not only a moment like that, but a mother’s feelings as well.

Helping My Daughter Move into Her First Apartment

This is all I am to her now:
a pair of legs in running shoes,

08/18/2009 - 10:44am

 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

It’s been sixty-odd years since I was in the elementary grades, but I clearly remember those first school days in early autumn, when summer was suddenly over and we were all perched in our little desks facing into the future. Here Ron Koertge of California gives us a glimpse of a day like that.


First Grade

08/20/2009 - 3:26pm

Alastair Reynolds is a Welsh astrophysicist who writes spectacular stories and novels about the future. A future where there are several types of humans, and not all of them get along. Interstellar travel is possible; it will take a while, even on a lighthugger, traveling just under light speed. Orbital habitats form the Glitter Band above the planet Yellowstone in the Epsilon Eridani system, all doomed. They just don’t know it yet. 

08/10/2009 - 12:59pm

 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE 


For over forty years, Mark Vinz, of Moorhead, Minnesota—poet, teacher, publisher—has been a prominent advocate for the literature of the Upper Great Plains. Here’s a recent poem that speaks to growing older.


Cautionary Tales

08/16/2016 - 2:17pm
If you like Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Wilbur the pig is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him. (catalog summary)

 

If you like Charlotte's Web, check out these other classic titles:

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life! (catalog summary)

 

 

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge. The story about eleven-year old Harriet, who is a spy, plans to be a writer, and keeps a secret notebook filled with thoughts and notes on her school mates and people she observes on her after-school "spy route." However, when her classmates find and read her notebook, their anger and retaliation, and Harriet's unexpected responses, explode in a hilarious and often touching manner. (catalog summary)

08/03/2009 - 4:11pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE 

I don’t often mention literary forms, but of this lovely poem by Cecilia Woloch I want to suggest that the form, a villanelle, which uses a pattern of repetition, adds to the enchantment I feel in reading it. It has a kind of layering, like memory itself. Woloch lives and teaches in southern California. 

My Mother’s Pillow 

07/27/2009 - 4:29pm

 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE


Jane Hirshfield, a Californian and one of my favorite poets, writes beautiful image-centered poems of clarity and concision, which sometimes conclude with a sudden and surprising deepening. Here's just one example.

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