Books read, mostly poetry

  • 36. There are no coincidences by Ruth Salmon (self-published, 2016) is a travelogue of best-of stories. Oddly it and Cardinal Divide both had a scene of feeling safe in a log cabin, of seeking a sense of home and the phrase, “there are no coincidences”. It’s a fun ride and we read it all aloud. ****
  • 37. Cardinal Divide by Nina Newington (Guernica, 2020) is a book I came across via recommended by Amazon. It is a stunning book and I hope it sweeps awards. There is complexity, nuance and a good story. It is about a person working in a dry-out shelter as she navigates who she might be. The blurbs I saw presented it as a woman finds out her dad is a woman which is misleading in a way. It is not a story of being trans so much as the grey areas of expectation and gender. Recommended! *****
  • 38. Leave it to Psmith by PG Wodehouse (audio: https://classictales.libsyn.com) 1923. Hearing a book read is a great perk of our time in history. Stop and go when sleepy or needing a break. It’s fluffy but amusing. The narrator of Classic Tales, B.J. Harrison, can do an amazing number of voices. He has new material up each week from out of copyright stories. The Great Gatsby is now up. ***
  • 39. Less Dream by N.W. Lea (above/ground, 2021) has dense complex poems. Time does go on. I workshopped with him probably 15 years ago. It’s good to see what he’s doing now. I liked it better than his last full collection so we’ll see what comes next. ***
  • 40. The Tradition by Jericho Brown (2019) is probably the best book of poetry I read this year. Some of his poems use repetition in a way similar to a renga with an overlap and pivot. The poems are rich and rewarding. I’ll re-read it a couple more times. *****
  • 41. Crow Gulch by Douglas Walbourne-Gough (Icehouse, 2019) stood out to me in the poems that were tributes to family. The shining love in those were worth the book. ***
  • 42. Fl├ęche by Mary Jean Chan (faber & faber, 2019) is a gorgeous find, on the shelves at Perfect Books ottawa where we don’t often get graced by faber & faber. I often tend to like the publisher. Honed controlled poems with a punch. I love her safety poems and her poems that wrestle autonomy against mother’s expectations. ****
  • 43. Subversive Sonnets by Pamela Mordecai was a mix of many voices of poems, but I’m not sure what makes them subversive. It wouldn’t cause me to hiccup under a different title. The poems were enjoyable. ***
  • 44. The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse (audio: https://classictales.libsyn.com) is vintage nonsense. I thought it was about the upper class but snuck in there is that the sympathy always is with the working class. The barbs at buffoons are the hapless foolish rich.***
  • 45. Beloved by Toni Morrison (Vintage Books, 1987) is not a book that needs my fresh take but this is historical fantasy with ghosts and poltergeists. Why was that hook never shown me? It is unlike any other book I’ve read. I will never get out of my head the image she painted of Black men hooked up to reins and bits and getting a wild look in their eyes afterwards that never went away. It is a hard painful read but at the same time, a masterwork. *****