Friday, April 04, 2008

Recently Read, Slightly Reviewed

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
Loaned to me by my daughter Helen, and stamped on the inside with her school's address. As I read it I wondered how many germy fingers touched it before me. Why don't I think that of library books as much? Steinbeck sure knew how to do foreshadowing and character development. The morning after I finished the book, I kept thinking about it all and had many "aha!"moments. I loved Lennie in the very first pages, and knew it wasn't going to end well for him. I was right. Bugger. Now I have to put the book in the freezer.

Blue Ruby, Heather Thomas
A full-length collection of poems that float in and out of the political and the domestic. A language of wounds and cleaving. Not light, but infused with light, intelligence and beauty.

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure Writers, Smith Magazine
Read it in an hour. Loved it. See two posts below.

Cherry Ames Army Nurse, Helen Watts
This is the book series I can't stay away from and I don't really want to admit to reading at the same time - sort of the same appeal the "bad boy" has for most women. In this 4th installment to the series, Cherry finds herself in the Army Corps of Nurses during WWII. Curiously, the mystery never starts until about three-quarters of the way through the Cherry Ames books. In this case, it's all about tropical fevers, bungling corpsmen, and the just-right serum. Parts read like an ad campaign for the war machine. I was really expecting Cherry or one of her pals to say "Gee, isn't the war just swell?"

I Marry You, John Ciardi
On loan from a student in a workshop I'm teaching, and wow am I grateful for the loan. I've put my friend Andrea on the search for a copy of this book for me. Ciardi had a hell of an ear - the music in each line is almost Shakespearean. I've been reading the poems aloud in the morning, after I write a bit. This particular collection of poems is personal too - at a time when revealing the personal wasn't fashionable in poetry. Twists of language, and the occasional word I don't know (delicious!).

Three Books I'm Working On Now:

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days, Viki King
Terminally perky "survival guide" that promises to give the aspiring screenwriter the shortest distance from blank page to completed script. I lost it for two weeks, and found it on my desk. So much for shortest distance.

Naming the World, Edited by Bret Anthony Johnston
Exercises for the creative writer. I tend to read these in spurts. Worth it for the advice of Tom Robbins alone.

Wakefield, Andrei Codrescu
A funny, deadly-serious and brilliant novel. Poor Wakefield has a year to prove to the Devil his authentic life, or it's curtains for him. Codrescu's Beelzebub is a fun and quirky character. Unfortunately, I put the book down and haven't picked it up so I could finish all of the above. (Yes, I put down Codrescu to read Cherry Ames!) I plan to get back to this book today.


Susan said...

I loved Cherry Ames! Haven't thought about her in years. I'll bet she knew how to fold a nurse's cap. Cherry knew everything.

Talia Reed said...

I'm a big Steinbeck fan. I think, after F.Scott Fitzgerald, he's my favorite American writer.