Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Am Reading -- Book Recommendations for Spring:



When things feel hard in my life, I turn to books.

Here's a list of all the books that have been keeping me company and why I like them.  All of these books come with my recommendation, and maybe one with a warning.

So this is what I've been reading and a few thoughts--

Spring Reading Recommendations--

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavich (memoir):  Susan Rich loaned me this book and I have not been able to put it down.   I fully recommend this book, but with a warning if you do not like books that deal with everything and tells it as she says-- "straight with no chaser."  Lidia does not hold back in this memoir--it deals with sexuality, stillbirth, childhood, drug and alcohol abuse, family issues, the writing life, bisexuality, love, rage, and each section is ultimately connected to the other in voice and the theme of water.

What I appreciate about it?  Her writing style, it's poetic.  She's honest to point of being raw and coming across as damaged and out of control.  Parts of it are painfully beautiful.  Other parts are too much information and yet, I haven't stopped reading.  She does not paint herself as the hero, but as a disaster and that was refreshing to me.  I appreciated a woman not being afraid to tell the truth, no matter how ugly it may appear to others.  Some may say "sensationalized," but I will say "sensational."

I still have a few more sections yet and I look forward to each day when I can pick up the book and disappear into someone else's drama.

Listening Against the Stone by Brenda Miller (selected essays/ creative nonfiction):  What I love about Brenda's book is how she links spirituality into her life and writing.  Brenda's creative nonfiction essays are different than Lidia's in that they reflect on everyday, ordinary life.  Brenda's gift is that she can find deeper meaning in a story of a cherry tree being taken down or a new dog.

She does not write to shock, but to connect.  Her style invites the reader in and where I'd compare Lidia's writing to a shot of vodka, Brenda's essays remind me of flowers on the table, a full moon held up by constellations, and herbal tea.  All essays are beautiful written and writers who want to learn how to write an essay well should read her book just to understand the crafting of work as her essays are exquisitely crafted.

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle (nonfiction/self help/spirituality):  You have probably already read this poem a dozen times, but I am just finding now.  After my doctor gave it to me as a prescription for "feeling a little anxious," so I bought the audio book and I am appreciating this idea of staying in the now.

I am terrible at it and realize I will probably need to listen to this book about 5 more times to really get in the habit of now, but hearing the author's voice with these little savasana gong sounds between chapters helps ground and center me when my mind is racing to an unknown finish line.

The Frugal Book Promoter: SECOND EDITION: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher (nonfiction) by Carolyn Howard-Johnson:  I've mentioned this book before, but is has so much information I am reading through it and finding interesting tips, ideas, and thoughts from Carolyn.  One things that this book has done for me that other marketing books have not, is to make "branding" not sound as terrible to make it out to be in my head.  I appreciate how she looks at marketing, as she's strong and smart, but also has a light touch, which is something missing in the voice of many books on marketing.  And she really does stick to the *frugal* element, which I was thankful for.

Note:  If you do get this book, make sure to get the SECOND Edition.  I've linked it up (by the way, Amazon had some excellent reviews on it as well), but it sounds if the second editions covers a lot more than the first!

For poetry books, my two favorite new release's are--

Kathleen Flenniken's (our new Washington State Poet Laureate) PLUME: which deals with her childhood of growing up in Richland, Washington and working at the Hanford Nuclear Site.  The poems are not all memoir, but researched as well and deal with the lives and history of that area.  Martha Collins writes about the book:  Moving deftly between haunting lyric and disturbing documentary, Kathleen Flenniken packages recent history in a wide variety of poetic forms and styles. Plume raises the bar for documentary poetry, moving us with its timely and important subject matter as well as the meticulous craft of its poems.

Molly Tenenbaum's The Cupboard Artist-- Molly is an incredible craftsman with words and this book is a delight for anyone who enjoys music in their poetry.

~

On my TOO READ List this Spring:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

IMAGINE: How Creativity Words by Jonah Lehrer




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4 comments:

renee said...

sounds interesting! i'll have to add those to my to-read list--right now I'm reading Seamus Heaney's Human Chain and the 2011 Best American Poetry anthology

drew said...

Kelli -

We have Book List overlap.

- The Frugal Book Promoter is good. I bought it after you mentioned it here a few months ago.

- Just heard the "Fresh Air" interview on NPR with Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine, and I can't wait to read the book.

As always, thanks for the suggestions.

Brenda Miller said...

Thank you SO much for the shout out Kelli! It makes me smile to think of keeping you company from afar; you've done the same for me.

Kells said...

Brenda-- You're welcome!

Erin-- I accidentally hit "delete" instead of "publish" on your comment. But I got it and here it is--

Hey Kelli,

Hey, make sure you have tissues when you finish Lidia's book - I cried for a half hour. Wonderful wonderful writing. And Brenda, well, hard to decide which of her books is my favorite - words to savor.

Im getting ready dive into Houses Are Fields by Taije Silverman. I'll let you know how it goes.

take care,
Erin

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