Showing posts from March, 2014

Mis-Titled Books: An Epidemic

In a few short months, I have encountered more than one a book that was completely mis-titled, and that completely changed my expectations, and enjoyment, of the books. Let's take Caleb's Crossing , which I thought was one of Geraldine Brooks' least successful novels. I couldn't quite understand what was wrong: I thought the narrator brought interesting perspective to the story, which itself was interesting... and yet — My friend Carole suggested the title was misleading, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Had the title included "Martha's Vineyard," "woman" or "Harvard," I would have been better prepared for the lack of Caleb in the story. I can't say I would have liked it better, but I would have approached it differently. Then came Philomena . This book club selection seemed pretty straight-forward: it was about an Irish woman named Philomena and her search for the son she gave up for adoption in Ireland and the British journa

Poetry Wednesday: Long Island Sound

Poem in your Pocket Day is April 24 — are you ready? Here's a poem that will fit in your pocket — and start looking for others! Long Island Sound I see it as it looked one afternoon In August,—by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown. The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon, A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon. The shining waters with pale currents strewn, The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove, The semi-circle of its dark, green grove. The luminous grasses, and the merry sun In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide, Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide, Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon. All these fair sounds and sights I made my own. — Emma Lazarus  Courtesy

Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game is no Bridge to Terabithia — but it's darn close. And no, that's not a compliment. Unlike Bridge , I did not wish to throw Ender's Game across the room. Instead, I wrapped my arms around myself and let the tears come. Had I read this as a child, I probably would have grown up jaded and mistrustful of all adults. However, as an adult, I thought the observances by both adults and children were cruel but brilliant. Ender is the third child living in a future dystopia in which Earth was on guard for attacks by an extraterrestrial species that were similar to insects, or "bugs." Andrew is the youngest child in a family of particularly brilliant children who were nurtured (or bred) to cultivate  the "stuff" to become brilliant bug-fighters. The eldest was too cruel, the second was too empathetic. The third, however, was perfect — and herein lies the story. Ender is the perfect child and almost the perfect fighter. All he needs i

Review: American Decameron

Take a stroll through the twentieth century courtesy of Mark Dunn and his brilliant short story collection, American Decameron . Based on Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron , Dunn tells a story for every year of the century. Every state is represented, as well as at least one location outside the country. The author suggests only the first and last stories be read in order, and the rest could be read in any order. I read the stories in chronological order, and I am glad I did. The stories progressed linguistically and tonally: the formality of the language and story tone evolved with the century, as did subjects, which also were very enjoyable. On the whole, the stories were successful. Some were steeped in history, others were absolutely original. Many were rooted in fact (I plan to search for clues on the more obscure stories). Not all are stories in the traditional sense, and the imaginative approach to storytelling was revolutionary, entertaining and, at times, compl

Poetry Wednesday: After Love

After Love Afterward, the compromise. Bodies resume their boundaries.   These legs, for instance, mine. Your arms take you back in.   Spoons of our fingers, lips admit their ownership.   The bedding yawns, a door blows aimlessly ajar   and overhead, a plane singsongs coming down.   Nothing is changed, except there was a moment when   the wolf, the mongering wolf who stands outside the self   lay lightly down, and slept.  by Maxine W. Kumin from Selected Poems, 1960-1990 . Copyright © 1970 by Maxine Kumin.  Courtesy Poetry Foundation