Add This to My “To Read” List

26 January 2014
8:07 PM


I need to catch up on my reading. I had a plan for this month to finish a lot of books, including a reread of Wild by Cheryl Strayed (I really want to continue my notes and send it to you and the group) and the first three books from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, in preparation for Season 4 of the show. Instead, most of my reading for the past few weeks involved poems by Rae Armantrout, as I joined the Kelly Writers House book group, moderated by Al Filreis.

(Hang on–why do I feel like I’ve talked about this before?)

Next month it’s going to be Gwendolyn Brooks, the discussion to be led by Julia Bloch. I am quite excited for that–I have Blacks, a compilation of Brooks’ poems, and it would be great to be able to discuss these with other people.

The Armantrout book group has given me so much. At first it was hard to navigate, because of the e-mail format. Aside from our own group discussing Wild, and another email group that discusses stories by Sherlock Holmes, I was never part of any listserv that actively discussed literature, and it can be pretty overwhelming when you receive 50+ emails on a single day, talking about a single poem. But oh, M. The insights you get. It was one of the good things about my day–allowing this small space for myself to think deeply about things.

Anyway, apart from our reading list (which I’ve yet to update, sorry about that!), here are two more that I want to read, after I saw this post: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Also, this one from The Millions:

… in a world with no unknown lands, where the finger tap of a smartphone locates us in the centre of our Google mapped world, is it still possible to get lost? This is the question posed by Where You Are, an anthology of sixteen maps by an eclectic mix of writers, artists, and thinkers that delights in leading the reader astray by blowing up the conventional conception of the map. Tao Lin offers a playful and ironic rendering of a future lunar hamster colony, Valeria Luiselli charts through words and Polaroids the “Swings of Harlem” and her relationship with her young daughter; there’s a map of impossible things, an ode to childhood atlases and a meditation on a South African road trip anaesthetized by a GPS with the voice of Kate Middleton.

Created by London-based Visual Editions, the anthology is striking and texturally sensuous. (The free digital version is its own curious interactive and communal experience.) But the physical object, the individual, hand-folded maps blooming out in endless variety, re-instills the pleasure of the paper map. The result is an exploration of the map as a storytelling form, one that questions how stories create meaning and offers up possibilities to navigate the more ethereal terrain of day-to-day life.

What’s the most memorable thing you’ve read this month?



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