Sunday, February 17, 2013

Books I Read in 2012

In 2012 I read 55 books, just barely making the 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge I signed up for, since I read 53 books in 2011. Here they are by genre. (*indicates re-reads)

Q, Evan Mander
22 Britannia Road, Amanda Hodgkinson
Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson
In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O’Brien
Keeping the House, Ellen Barber
Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell
The Beginner’s Goodbye, Anne Tyler
Home, Toni Morrison
Vaclav and Lena, Haley Tanner
Lone Wolf, Jodi Picoult
*Saint Maybe, Anne Tyler
*Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
*The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
*The Road, Cormac McCarthy
*The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender
*Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Daj Sijie
*The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffeneger
The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey
A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Ega
The Hypnotists Love Story, Liane Moriarity
The Master’s Muse, Varley O’Connor
Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brun

White City, Mark Irwin
The Eternal City, Kathleen Graber
Interloper, R.S. Klatt
Veil, Rae Armantrout
Long Division, Alan Michael Parker
Every Riven Thing, Chris Wiman
*The Assumption, Bryan Dietrich
Core Samples from the World, Forrest Gander

*Antigone, Sophocles
*Alcestis, Erupides

Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
The Art of the Poetic Line, James Longenbach
Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman
C.K Williams on Whitman
Responding to Student Writers, Nancy Sommers
*The Lost Art of Reading, David Ulin
*The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, Alan Jacobs
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

*A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Jeanette Winterson
Poster Child, Emily Rapp
The Dirty Life, Kristin Kimball

Young Adult
Legend, Marie Lu
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collin
*A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engl
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collin

*Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott
Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott
Acts of Faith, Eboo Patel

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, Bob Spitz

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Read-a-Thon Questionnaire

Read-a-Thon Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Southwest Michigan

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Hershey Bliss chocolates.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm a poet and I teach college.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I'm not grading papers today, which I had to do during the last read-a-thon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

Tomorrow is Dewey's Read-a-Thon, where readers around the Internet spend 24 hours, well, reading! I'm going to read as much as I can tomorrow, though I will have to take a break to take my son to a birthday party, and to do mom kind of things like feed my kids lunch. And also to sleep at night. My daughter is a big reader and will participate too, and my son, at 6, is a new reader, so I'm hoping he'll do some reading as well.

On my blog I'll document our progress as we read tomorrow. Here are some books I'm planning on working on:

1. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender (I have to read this one for a class I'm teaching. I've read it before, and it's a strange and fascinating book.)
2. Every Riven Thing: Poems, by Christian Wiman
3. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, David Ulin (I've read this one before, and am thinking of using it in a class next semester.)
4. Core Samples from the World, poems by Forrest Gander
5. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Since I'm reading several different books, I'm still working my way through the books on my list from last week. I also read another book yesterday, though: Antigone, by Sophocles. I had to read this play for a class I teach. I love how Greek tragedies are able to make me think deeply about my life and about the world that I live in, so I try to get my students to connect the text with modern life. To that end, I've come up with a list of questions for the text, and I use these as springboards for talking about current issues: 

-What can we learn from Antigone about how to govern well? In what ways does Kreon govern well? In what ways does he not govern well? What mistakes does he make in governing his kingdom?

-How does Antigone participate in nonviolent resistance? Are the laws she breaks unjust? Would MLK approve/support her resistance? Is her cause in any way important to the community? Or is her cause more private/personal?

-How much of Antigone’s disobedience/protest is for religious reasons? How much of MLK’s protest is for religious reasons? Is it okay to stand up to the government/to break laws for religious reasons?

-Who is a better citizen? Antigone, for breaking the law? Or Ismene, for obeying it?

Click here to participate in It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hot Cocoa Mix

I try to make as many things from scratch as possible (though I do so more in the summer when school is out, than when I am teaching during the school year). I recently made an adaptation of this hot cocoa mix from the Food Network, that tastes better than any mix I have bought. It's rich and delicious! Here's my version:

2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. cocoa (dutch process if possible)
1 t. salt
2 t. cornstarch

Directions: Mix all ingredients together well, and store in an airtight container. To use, heat one mug of milk until hot. Add two heaping teaspoons hot cocoa mix and stir well (I use a small wire whisk to stir). Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Here's what I'm reading right now. I've always got several books going at once:

1. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them, Francine Prose. I like this book so much that I ended up copying the first chapter and bringing it to school for my creative writing class to read. Prose is an advocate of close reading, which is reading slowly and carefully, noticing every word and sentence. I tend to read very quickly, so this is inspiring me to slow down and pay more attention to language.

2. In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O'Brien. Last year I read his book The Things They Carried for a class I was teaching, and I loved it, so I thought I'd try another book by him. While this doesn't focus on the Vietnam War, like The Things They Carried, the main character is a veteran of the war, and his experience there has created a lot of problems for him.

3. Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading the New Poetry, Stephen Burt. In an age where poetry reviews tend to be rather wishy-washy (mostly friend reviewing each others books positively), Burt is a rigorous and intelligent critic. In this book he discusses many poets, mostly contemporary, who, on the surface, may seem rather difficult to read. I've only read the introduction to this so far, but I'm excited about the poets he is treating in here: people such as Rae Armantrout, John Ashbery, and Donal Revell.

4. The Eternal City, poems by Kathleen Graber. I'm very picky about poetry. I have a stack of about 10 books of poems on may desk that I really love, and I'm going to add this one too it. These poems are amazing! Graber uses language in such a fresh an interesting way, which I appreciate, but what I most love is her ability to leap between the concrete and the abstract, between images and ideas, and between past, present, and future in a way that really makes me think but doesn't lose me. And she manages to weave seemingly disparate things together beautifully.  A new favorite poet!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Top 10 Books of 2011

Here are my favorite books of 2011, in no particular order.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender
State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson
The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
Why Read? Mark Edmundson
The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, Alan Jacobs
Farm Together Now
In a Beautiful Country, Kevin Prufer