Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Into Books

In June, I posted my summer reading Hit List, which, I'm pleased to say, I completed with one exception (I put aside temporarily Anne Lamott's Imperfect Birds). A number of books on my list were poetry collections. I've read all of them, several more than once — I can't say I'm "done" with them, however; poetry books are always beside me. I added several other poetry collections that I also recommend:Dawn Potter's How the Crimes Happened and Mark Doty's Fire to Fire. Of the other books I read, I urge you to find time for Anne Carson's Nox, Diane Ackerman's Dawn Light, Sara Maitland's A Book of Silence, and the extraordinary novel by Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

Over the last several weeks, I've replenished my stacks. Here's what you'll find now on my reading tables (yes, I have more than one, plus the proverbial bed-side stand) for fall:


The Bomb, Howard Zinn (City Lights Books, 2010) ~ Completed a month before Zinn died, this book is a personal philosophical inquiry into moral and ethical issues of war.

The Art of Description: Word Into Word, Mark Doty (Graywolf Press, 2010) ~ I was impelled to order this book on the craft of writing, part of the Art of series edited by Charles Baxter, after reading a quotation from it on a friend's blog. It does not disappoint.


Room: A Novel, Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, 2010) ~ I'm seldom drawn to the overly hyped but friends' recommendations of this widely praised (short-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize), best-selling novel prompted an order. 

Here's a trailer for Room:


Mentor: A Memoir, Tom Grimes (Tin House Books, 2010)  ~ I've just finished this highly readable, insider's view of the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop. It's about more than that experience, however; it also draws a sensitive and telling portrait of the workshop's director, writer Frank Conroy, author of Stop-Time: A Memoir, published in 1967 and still in print. Conroy was a huge presence in Grimes' life.


The Least of These: Poems, Todd Davis (Michigan State University Press, 2009) ~ Peggy Rosenthal's Image Journal post about this collection caught my eye. Davis is, Rosenthal says, "in the tradition of Thoreau-Emerson-Dillard, but with his own special contemporary re-thinking of what Creation can be for a Christian." The collection is deeply compelling, and I plan to order Davis' other work.

Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room, Kelli Russell Agodon (White Pine Press, 2010) ~ I recall first learning about Agodon's poetry from her friend, poet Susan Rich, whose blog The Alchemist's Kitchen I follow (Agodon's own blog, Book of Kells, I now follow, too). I've only just begun to dip into Letters but think I'm safe in saying, this is a wonderful collection. (To hear one of Agodon's poems, "Sometimes I still dream about their pink bodies", go here.)

✭ Harvesting Fog: PoemsLuci Shaw (Pinyon Publishing, 2010) ~ This is Shaw's 10th poetry collection and 30th book. Her "a fore word" to the collection might be reason enough to buy the book, so taken was I with her description of fog as hope-giving, "all those damp little particles waiting to be collected into water for cleansing, for thirst."

On my to-order list or awaiting delivery:

Snow Day: A Novel, Billy Coffey (FaithWords, October 2010)

In the Sanctuary of Women, Jan Richardson (Upper Room Books, October 2010)

I Wonder, Marian Bantjes (The Monacelli Press, October 2010)

What are you reading this fall?


Dawn Potter said...

Thanks so much for the recommendation, Maureen! As far as books I'm reading, I'm still working away at Melville's "Moby-Dick" and Wordsworth's "The Prelude," though I have also just started Sheila Kohler's novel "Being Jane Eyre."

M.L. Gallagher said...

Oh my oh my oh my -- between you adn Glynn, I am building a house of books all around me!

How lovely is that!

Maureen said...


I think Glynn gets the star for amount of reading. I don't even try to keep up with him.


You're welcome. Your poetry is wonderful. I'll have to look into "Being Jane Eyre"; sounds intriguing.

Sandra Heska King said...

My book stack is teetering.

Just finished The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund. Snow Day is next. Still working my way through God in the Yard. Have Harvesting Fog in hand. Now I'm going to have to check out The Least of These--I mean, it's an MSU book.

S. Etole said...

So many books ... so little time! There's some I would enjoy having available though.

drew said...

I always enjoy taking a peek at other writer's reading lists. Thanks for sharing. It seems we have similar tastes, and now I am eager to add more titles to my own list.

I've been reading Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room. I interviewed Kelli and I;m hosting a book giveaway this week:

thelmaz said...

Because I'm preparing to do a widows' group, I'm reading The Five Ways We Grieve by Susan Berger and How We Grieve by Thomas Attig. Recently re-read Replay by Ken Grimwood, one of my faovite books, Handle with Care by Jodi Picault (fair) The True Story of Hansel and Gretel (didn't like it at all). In my TBR pile are Room, Passages in Caregiving, and I think there is a new Ten Poems book by Roger Housden--I'm checking it out.
Thelma Z

Megan Willome said...

Thanks for the list! At the moment I'm reading Wendell Berry's short story collection "That Distant Land" and loving it.

Madame Rubies said...

Oh, what a delicious post.

I just finished 2 volumes of poetry, "Here" and "Anterooms." I also read the first two books in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and YA novel called Elsewhere. I am reading "Poets Against The War" which I snagged at BAM for only $1. And I am reading Anne of Green Gables for the very first time. I know, crazy.

Maureen said...

Love all the variety. Thank you all for your contributions.

Joyceann Wycoff said...

I can't keep up! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a book trailer. Thanks for the great list!

Anonymous said...

great poem! Love the imagery

Graceful said...

I am reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day, but Katrina Kenison. Lovely prose.

Kathleen Overby said...

Isn't the concept of "Harvesting Fog" enchanting? :)
There is one on your list I must read. Guess?

Kells said...


Thanks for the mention-- I'm glad you're enjoying Letters from the ED Room. And so happy to hear you also like Todd's book. I'm a big fan of his work.

Great list you have here. Thanks for this!