Old Favorites: Sylvia Plath

We’re focusing on newer books, movies, and television shows for 2018, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely ignoring old favorites! After all, what’s that saying–what’s old may just become new again (or something like that)?

I’ve been a Sylvia Plath fan since I was a teenager. The first poem of hers that I ever read was “Daddy,” and it was so powerful, so unsettling, so very different from anything else that I had ever read, that it always stayed with me. Later, I read her novel The Bell Jar and her other poems, and they all had a similar effect on me.

Sadly, this month marks the 55th anniversary of Plath’s suicide, but there are numerous ways to remember Plath, including revisiting her work.

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David Carlson’s The Hunting Accident: A True Story of Crime and Poetry

The Hunting Accident

Charlie Rizzo has spent his life thinking his father was blinded in a hunting accident as a child. Not that it has stopped his dad from living his life or enjoying one of his greatest hobbies — studying poetic masterpieces of world literature. It’s an unusual hobby to have in their 1960s working-class Chicago neighborhood, but Charlie never suspects anything out-of-the-ordinary with his dad. That is, until Charlie finds himself in trouble with the law. He then learns that his mild-mannered father was blinded in a botched robbery and did time for it in the Illinois State Penitentiary, where he was cellmates with Nathan Leopold. As in, Nathan Leopold of Leopold and Loeb thrill-killing infamy.

I had this book (a nonfiction graphic novel that combines true crime and poetry appreciation) recommended to me recently by one of my undergraduate English professors. I always enjoyed the books I read in her classes, so her suggestions are ones I always try to follow up on. And I was not disappointed. Thanks so much for the great suggestion, Leslie!

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Books Abuzz: Family Secrets, Aging Nomads, and Amish Firefighter Romances

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For February, we’re looking at a tense suburban family drama, an investigative nonfiction book about modern American nomads, and a contemporary Amish romance.

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What are Your Reading Goals for 2018?

scrabble-resolutions

It’s that time of year again, where people are making resolutions and breaking resolutions. I tend to be more interested in and successful at book-related resolutions, which are more fun than regular resolutions, anyway.

For me, I have a few random literary resolutions this year. I always hesitate to pre-plan my reading too much because, quite frankly, I flit from one interest to another fairly quickly, so I know I am just setting myself up to fail if I have an overly rigid agenda of what I want to read for even a couple of months, let alone an entire year. But I have developed three that I think are achievable.

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Family Dysfunction, British-Style

Did you know that when you’re in the mood for a good view, your library also has you covered!  And if you need help finding something new and interesting to watch, I am here to help . . . at least once a month when I review a TV show or movie on this blog.

One of the great joys in watching television shows about dysfunctional families is enjoying their antics without personally having to deal with the repercussions. They’re fun to hang out with for a few hours at a time, but there is also something immensely reassuring in knowing that you don’t have to deal with these characters in real life.

And that is exactly the appeal of two British imports I recently watched and enjoyed–The Durrells in Corfu and Blandings. Both are about zany British families in 1920s/1930s, and both are delightfully charming and hilarious. Thanks so much to Julie for adding them both to the library collection!

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Old Favorites: Edgar Allan Poe

We’re focusing on newer books, movies, and television shows for 2018, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely ignoring old favorites! After all, what’s that saying–what’s old may just become new again (or something like that)?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

Whilst I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. . . .

I was first introduced to Edgar Allan Poe as a child. I don’t remember how I acquired it, but somehow I got my hands on a collection of his poems and short stories, and they became instant favorites. For many years afterward, when I was feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, I would flip to “The Raven,” and despite the fact that it is not in any way intended as relaxing, I always found it therapeutic.

Well, this week (January 19th) marks his 199th birthday, and there is no better way to celebrate the wonderfully unusual, macabre, and creepy world of Edgar Allan Poe than by revisiting his work.

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Gabrielle Zevin’s Young Jane Young

Young Jane Young

Aviva has a seemingly bright future ahead of her, circa 1999/2000. She’s doing well in her classes at the University of Miami, working toward a degree in political science and Spanish, and has recently been promoted from her position as an unpaid intern to a paid job working for her local congressman. It’s all going so well — until her affair with said congressman is made public. Aviva quickly finds herself with no job, no friends, and no prospects. Years later, she has made a life for herself, far away in Maine under a new name, working as an event planner, when she decides to run for mayor. But in the online age, her old scandal is just a Google search away. . . .

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