Category Archives: Memoir

Recommendations from My Summer Book Bingo Reading

Summer’s over in Seattle: it’s gone all cool and drizzly except sometimes, I now want to eat things with lots of cinnamon, and I turned in my Book Bingo card. I didn’t quite make it to a full Blackout this year by the Labor Day deadline, alas, but got a couple bingos in there. Here’s a rundown of what I read (typed, to save you from my squinting at my handwriting and saying “huh…?”) with quick thumbs up thumbs down recommendations.

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How to Go All Poetry for #BookBingoNW2016

Suggestions for books of poetry and books by poets for all the #BookBingoNW2016 squares

Well except the Re-Read, Recommended by a Librarian, and You’ve Been Meaning to Read squares of course, but totally including Non-Fiction, Short Stories, and Novel.

It’s Summer Book Bingo time again! The awesome Seattle Arts & Lectures + Seattle Public Library summer reading fun for grown-ups*.  And you don’t have to live in Seattle to play along and stretch your reading wonts a bit. 

If you want to read poetry for more than just the Poetry Collection square, here is a list of suggestions for collections and books by poets that’ll X off this year’s squares, compiled with some brainstorming help from poets Joannie Stangeland (who you could read for Local Author), Alexandar Moysaenko (who works at Open Books: A Poem Emporium) and Billie Swift (soon-to-be-owner of Open Books: A Poem Emporium, where you can of course both pick up these books and get recommendations for lots more).

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*Click on the image for more info, and to download a square to get started!

COOKBOOK OR FOOD MEMOIR

Seasoning: A Poet’s Year by David Young is a beautiful book, and I often give it as a gift. David Young is a fine, fine poet whose other books (and there are many) I recommend highly. In Seasonings he combines memoir, poetry, food writing, nature writing, and recipes organized by month to talk about place,  time, loss, sustenance, and cycles of all kinds of seasons. Joannie and Billie both immediately thought of A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo which is described as combining “high art, pop culture, practical resource, and fantasy zodiac to make a collection of facts both real and imagined about pie” which sounds awesome. Also The Immigrants Table by Mary Lou Sinnelli—from Madeleine DeFrees’ blurb: “In this collection, Mary Lou Sanelli brings poems out of the ivory tower, straight to the family dinner table. No fast-food substitutes here, as the poet recreates a culture in which food preparation is a cherished ritual. Sanelli’s clear-eyed, yet loving, awareness of family members’ foibles, including her own, provides the reader with a menu that nourishes both body and spirit, a gourmet treat for the imagination.”

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Poetry Suggestions for Summer Book Bingo

As promised, a list of a few suggestions for poetry collections that satisfy the Seattle Public Library & Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Summer Book Bingo squares:

You Finish Reading in a Day

Geography III, Elizabeth Bishop — only 10 poems, and some of her best. (Also works for Published Year You Were Born if you were born in 1976.) “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”

Woodnote, Christine Deavel —an utterly lovely book. It brings you right in and doesn’t let you go, in ways you possibly don’t expect. Also works for Local Author; she is co-owner of Open Books in Wallingford. “caraway     caraway”.

From Your Childhood

Shel Silverstein — “listen to the mustn’ts, child”. Continue reading

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Independent Bookstore Day Adventures

Oh what a glorious day we had yesterday! My mother and I met the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day Challenge and went to all 17 participating stores, got a fabulous haul of books, and had a blast all day long.

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Proof! (with a funny note from Phinney Books who momentarily caused PANIC when I thought we’d forgotten to get a stamp from them and that they were already closed. But no, they had extended hours yesterday, and we had only gone one store on so we rushed back – turns out they had stamped it, just in the wrong place. Phew! And hey what’s a Challenge without a little adrenaline rush somewhere. I did have a receipt so probably could have proved our visit with that, but I wanted a complete passport and no chance of a technicality problem!

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Briefly Reviewed: the Catch-up Edition

Briefly reviewed: City Boy by Edmund White (2009) | Almost Invisible by Mark Strand (2013) | Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger (1990) | The Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten (2010) | A Lady’s Life in the Mountains by Isabella Bird (1870s)

I’m behind on my what-I’ve-been-reading posts (moving+new job = such things!) so here’s a catch-up Briefly Reviewed, briefer than usual. This list includes two of the best-written non-fiction books I’ve ever read, and some really excellently executed prose poems.

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Briefly Reviewed: Satan is Real and Suzy Zeus Gets Organized

I picked up Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers by Charlie Louvin (and Benjamin Whitmer) off a random shelf because of the totally amazing cover, was intrigued by the blurbs even though I didn’t know who Charlie Louvin was, started reading and then realized I totally should have known who he was because I know his songs, which folks like Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Alison Krauss have covered (“I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby,” “If I Could Only Win Your Love” etc.). The Louvin Brothers’ swooping, interchanging harmony inspired the Everly Brothers and others, and they were reportedly Elvis Presley’s favorite gospel duo (and the reason why Presley, despite this, never covered them is herein explained). Continue reading

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