Saturday, April 2, 2016

recently read

still that guy who's in the middle of three books at a time? yep.  here are the things I've been taking on the trains or to office hours or to starbucks or to bed.

1. crush, by richard siken.  a PG-13 book of poetry by a non-dead writer, full of panic and angst and thinly, if at all, veiled obsession.  several genius, genius, genius passages, turns of phrase.  a more vibrant, youthful desperation than franz wright's work, but if you liked him, you'll like this.

2. mystery and manners: occasional prose, by flannery o'connor (selected and edited by the fitzgeralds).  a beautiful, masterful, refreshing collection of essays and lectures on fiction writing, southern writers, the fiction of the South...rearrange and recombine those words at will.  her first essay, about her peacocks, is alone worth the price of admission.  even more riveting and emotional if you've spent any time in the South.  it makes me nostalgic in the edifying, thought-provoking, unblinded, unsentimental sense, if that makes any sense.

3. mortal beauty, god's grace, by hopkins.  this is one that I've been re-reading in a more dedicated manner than usual (as in, I "re-read" donne by flipping through out of order, whereas here I'm reading everything again).  it's lovely and in general beautiful.  oddly enough, I'm not a huge fan of the famous hopkins poems, such as "as kingfishers catch fire" and "pied beauty."  rather, I recommend "nondum," "no worst," "(carrion comfort)," and "heaven-haven."  the preface and chronology of this book are equally excellent.

4. the martian by andy weir.  I saw the movie before I read the book, and found both extremely enjoyable.  the book is hilarious, really capitalizing on the various narration styles.  rated PG-13 for language, let's say.  a little juvenile in places, with the telltale marks of a new writer making up for it with enthusiasm, the story is clever and uplifting in general, and the characters are more developed than the occasionally superficial dialogue makes them sound.  altogether a very enjoyable read, and a good piece of fiction to round out this roundup. 

now, what have you been reading lately?