On my blog, I reflected on how my #nerdlution (read more poetry) has been going, participated in #Celebratelu for the first time, and shared some interesting online reads.
I read a lot last week, but you wouldn’t know it from this weird collection of books I’m putting today. I didn’t finish much. I’m in the middle of reading Donna Tartt’s massive (nearly 800 pages!) novel, The Goldfinch, and also gathering stray books that got set aside at some point during the year at some stage of completion and attempting to finish them in time to go on 2013’s reading list. The last couple of weeks in December are always very random when it comes to reading.
Two books I’ve been reading at for awhile and decided to finally finish:
James Pennebaker’s Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions is a book I read for possible inclusion on the syllabus of a new course I’m teaching next semester, a freshman seminar on Happiness. The book didn’t actually fit for the course, but it was so interesting, I did want to finish it. Pennebaker writes about all kinds of different experiments and surveys he and other psychologists have done that show how healthy it is to express the emotions related to traumatic events. I often wonder about this with my older son, who works very hard to suppress all emotion connected with her early-life traumas. The chapter on writing about traumatic events was especially interesting to me.
Sharon Olds’s most recent collection of poetry, Stag’s Leap, just in time for my #nerdlution. This collection explores the break-up of her marriage after her husband’s infidelity. I liked many of these poems individually, but well before the end of this slim volume, I was thinking that Olds needed to build a bridge and get over it. I began to feel so trapped in this psychological state of spending years–years!–obsessing over the ex-husband and unable to move on. I had to go read some Billy Collins and Ted Kooser the second I finished. Some birds, a lanyard, a prairie wind….. ah!
The Big Snow won Caldecott gold in 1949. The pictures are realistic and detailed. The story follows a group of woodland animals preparing for winter, then experiencing winter. The descriptions were a bit overlong, and the writing overall wasn’t special, but the art was nice.
Working Cotton, written by Sherley Anne Williams and illustrated by Carole Byard, was a Caldecott Honor in 1993. The text was poetic and restrained, and the art really gorgeous. I liked this quite a lot.
Good silly fun.
Grandpa & Bo is a very quiet but lovely story by Kevin Henkes with attractive pencil illustrations. Henkes in quiet mode works so much better for me in the picture book format.