January, I got my poetry groove back. What a great start to 2016. Before I discuss those books, I’ll mention that I completed the Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wrecker, which I had started last year, and absolutely loved it. I do have a review on it, so I’m not going to be discussing it here. I highly recommend it, though! I also read The Song of Robin and Marion (or, Le jeu de Robin et de Marion) by 13th century writer Adam de la Halle for my MA Report. I also will not be discussing that here, but it was an interesting (and more than slightly ridiculous) medieval play. Now, on to the poetry! (And three novels.)
The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich
I began the year with a poetry collection I’d been meaning to read for a long time, ever since coming across it in Wild by Cheryl Strayed. And what a beautiful collection it is. Some of the poems hit you like a punch to the stomach, and some brush against you like a warm summer’s night breeze. Her language is beautiful and embracing, quiet but also loud. I highly, highly recommend it. It’s a collection that I added swiftly to my favorites shelf, but it also reminded me what poetry can do, and how it benefits our lives. Beautiful. 5/5 stars.
The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
The Gap of Time is a retelling of The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare. It stays true to Shakespeare’s framework in both plot and characters, but takes on a modern twist. I enjoyed the story, and liked the way that Winterson portrayed the play in a modern setting, but I was a bit disappointed that she didn’t give it more of herself. I have a full review here that you can check out if you’d like to know more of my thoughts. 3.5-4/5 stars.
My Mother’s Child by Pamela Taylor
My Mother’s Child is a powerfully written poetry pamphlet rich in detail and its imagery. I throughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to read more by Pamela Taylor. She’s blunt, but her words are beautiful. 5/5 stars.
[Mary] by J. Hope Stein
[Mary] is a pamphlet of poems that discusses Thomas Edison and his wife, and is the third in a multimedia project that discusses the relationship between the two. It culminates in the question over “the inventor’s last breath,” or Edison’s last breath which was supposedly captured in a test tube. It’s an okay collection; I preferred the diary entry portions to the actual verse. It didn’t completely move me. 2/5 stars.
By Light We Knew Our Names by Anne Valente
The first short story collection of the year, and what a great one. Anne Valente explores grief, love, and what it means to be human or alive with some fantastic magical realist moments. It discusses the beauty in the world that surrounds us, but also the challenge and heartbreak. It’s a fantastic collection, and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read it. I can’t wait to read more of Anne Valente’s work in the future. This is a collection I can see myself returning to throughout the years to revisit the stories and characters. 5/5 stars.
Diving Into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
Another great collection by Rich that explores what has been lost, forgotten, or unexplored. Her language is beautiful and concise and builds some great imagery. Not as strong a collection as Dreams of A Common Language, but still wonderful. 4/5 stars.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road tells the story of a father and son trekking across a desolate, burning America. It’s dark, it’s bleak, and it’s incredibly disturbing at moments. I enjoyed it for its imagery and the eco-critical ways one might read the text. I didn’t love this text, and it’s not my favourite McCarthy novel, but I did enjoy it. I’ll be doing a full review on it soon. 4/5 stars
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
This the third book in a trilogy, so I won’t discuss it in detail, but oh my goodness. What an amazing end to an amazing trilogy. I loved it. It’s beautiful, and heartbreaking, and uplifting. I can’t imagine the trilogy ending any other way. I’m so pleased with the way that Sanderson tied up the story. If you haven’t checked out the Mistborn series, please do. 5/5 stars.
And thus ends my January! I’m excited to see what February brings me.
Until next time, happy reading!