Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Second Grad School Reading List of Second Semester

I know that's is way a month and a half late, but life just keeps getting busier and busier, and it doesn't show signs f slowing down any time soon. Without further ado, here's my second reading list of the semester.

The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux: While this book really focuses on the basics, they also give you recommendations in you want to learn more about a specific subject. But that's also where the problem lies--the content is too general, especially if you have any kind of poetry background.

Bronzeville Boys and Girls by Gwendolyn Brooks, illustrated by Faith Ringgold: This book reminded me of home and was a great example of what makes Brooks such an amazing poet. While I don't feel it's the best sampling of her work nor the best of poetry for children, but I did love reading it.

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small: This is, hands down, my new favorite picture book. I knew I was going to love it from the creative book flap alone, and the story inside didn't disappoint. With an instantly lovable main character, seamless text in illustrations, some of the best dialogue I've ever seen and a surprise ending that will leave you laughing long after you finish, this is a perfect picture book. And the mixed-media illustrations (I believe I saw felt-tipped marker, water color, crayon, paper collage and pencil), I could look at this book for hours.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech: This was my second time reading this book, and I'd forgotten how much I'd liked it when it was first published. With a well-deserved homage to Walter Dean Myers and other great poets of our time, this book manages to be both sweet and totally boy.

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer, narrated by Nathaniel Parker: WHAT THE HECK?!!!! I wanted to hate this book because of the ending, but it's just so, well, Artemis. I am so torn by the final installment of the series that I honestly don't know how to review it without all the emotions tied into the previous books of the series. And I don't want to give away the ending, which means I can't say much about the book at all. Still one of the best MG fantasy series ever written.

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles: It was a little odd coming back to this work after so many years of having studied it so closely during my undergrad. I’d read a version translated by W.H.D. Rouse in high school, another translation I can’t remember my freshman year, and then this same Fagles translation my sophomore year. But reading it as a writer was completely different. I didn’t have to worry about the historical content or its place in history, but instead I got to enjoy the story telling. The strangest thing happened while I was reading it—I’d put it aside to read a more modern work, and the modern voice sounded all wrong in my head. The lack of epitaphs and symbolism and divine intervention was a little disconcerting.

Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski: This is a beautiful book. It's text is soft and lulling, it's illustrations flowing and dreamlike. It reminds me a bit of A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na, but it is uniquely its own.

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown: I just love clever picture books with beautifully simple illustrations. I hope these never go out of fashion.

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd: When I first heard about this book, I knew it was going to be big. And not that I've read the final version, I'm even more excited. It's gripping and sexy, dark and mysterious. This is one you won't want to miss.

Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse: While I loved the first reversion book Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, these poems lacked the unity of perspective and clarity of tale that the original offered, though I believe Josée Masse has taken her art to a new level. I found the title poem confusing at best and "Now It's Time to Say Goodnight" self-indulgent of the author, but I very much enjoyed "Ready, Steady, Go!" and "On With the Dance." I might try my hand at a reverso poem or two, but I don't expect to have the same skill as Singer.

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