Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Salon: more books in the mail

This week has been pretty good reading-wise. I finished A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray and also read Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, which was just as much fun as I'd expected it to be. After that I could've happily continued reading fantasy but since the end of the month is approaching I decided to pick up my April choice for My Year of Reading Dangerously, Ariel and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I'm now two thirds through The Bell Jar and quite enjoying it but the poetry is a bit beyond me I'm afraid. I wish I could enjoy poetry more and there are poems that I do like but I just can't seem to get my eyes to move more slowly along the words. They race along like I'm reading prose and it's hard to get anything out of the poems that way, they become simply a collection of disconnected words. Sigh. Any suggestions?

Like the title of the post suggests, the last of the books I ordered earlier this month showed up this week. Plus a book I won from Bybee, so it's been another week of good mail. I'm feeling a little bit guilty about my book binge this month but there are worse things to be addicted to, at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
So here are this week's new additions:

Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman (I first heard about this from Nick Hornby in Housekeeping vs. The Dirt).
Tibet, Tibet - Patrick French (I decided to get this after reading Lotus' great review).
The Lady and the Monk - Pico Iyer (I've never read anything by Iyer and only recently realised his connection to Japan so of course I'm curious to read this).
Thousand Cranes - Yasunari Kawabata (I've been wanting to read more by Kawabata since I read Snow Country and The Dancing Girl of Izu last year).
Spring Snow - Yukio Mishima (This had been on my Amazon wishlist for awhile but recently the price went down so it seemed the time to finally add it to my basket).
Marked - P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (Heard about this one from Stephanie and since I apparently like vampire fiction now...)
Korea Bug: The Best of the Zine that Infected a Nation - J. Scott Burgeson (I know woefully little about Korea so I'm really looking forward to reading this). Thanks Bybee!

Who knows when I'll get around to reading all of my new books even though I'd love to read all of them right now but I do hope to start a couple of them very soon.
Have a great week and happy reading!


  1. these look like really good ones, I hope you get a chance to read them soon! It is so fun getting new books to put on your shelves, i love that too!

  2. I used to read poetry while I was travelling. I found it easier to read something short (perhaps not Ariel) and then spend time thinking about it than to try and read a novel where i might have to break off at an exciting bit to get off the bus. It might work for you.

  3. With poetry I have to go very, very slowly, and I also have to be in the right sort of mood, otherwise it's hopefully. Most of the time I need to read a poem two or three times until it makes sense to me. This isn't very useful advice, I know, but at least you know you're not alone.

    Enjoy your new books!

  4. There's nothing more enlivening than a stack of new books! I've had quite a few coming in myself, and I'm busy fighting off the guilt by reading as much as possible. hehe

    Glad you're enjoy The Bell Jar! I've never tackled Ariel, just because Plath's poetry tends to go over my head, too.

  5. I'm not a poetry fan either, I'm afraid, so I can't really help you out there. I'll be interested to find out your thoughts on the Laura Lippman book; I'm not familiar with it, but I do love Nick Hornby, and that recommendation would be enough for me.

  6. So many books and so little time.

    As for poetry one thing that might help is if you read it out loud. Poetry always seems more delectable to me when read allowed. It really makes you slow down and really focus on the words and rhythm of the piece.

  7. I LOVE getting books in the mail! That is my addiction. I'm heading off to check out Kawabata for a new author I may be interested in.

  8. How did you like A Great and Terrible Beauty? I have it in my TBR pile and was a bit curious.
    PS. I changed my screen name,
    I was, love2btekey...different blog different time.

  9. Something that often works for me with poetry: Read it aloud. It forces me to slow down and think about how sound works differently in short lyrics (especially Plath's) than in prose (with some exceptions -like James Joyce).

    Also, if you can get your hands on a audio file of Plath reading her own poetry, it is INCREDIBLY effective and unnerving. I know that the Poetry Foundation's podcast "Poetry Off the Shelf" had a shortish segment on her a few months ago that is definitely worth listening to.

    (With your recent reading, you may recognize the source of my blogging handle, and what it has in common with the name of my blog! ;) )

  10. It always feels like Christmas to me when I get a bunch of books in the mail! Love your stack.

  11. I am super excited, because now I am waiting books in my mail and it's so cool to receive books.

    I have to say that Japenese books have the most amazing titles. I am just drawn to read them. So many books, so little time.

  12. about reading poetry... i agree with a couple of other commentators that reading aloud helps. also reading it when you're in the mood. and i'd add - don't ever approach reading poetry the way you approach reading a novel. in a poetry collection, there's usually a few really amazing poems, and the rest are okay but not great. so what works best is to flick through - go forwards and backwards, read what catches your attention, skip what doesn't - and don't every try to read it all in one go...

  13. Oh, yeah!! If you like vampires, Marked is great!! Glad you decided to pick it up. I have the Libba Bray book here. One of these days.....

    Isn't getting books fun?

  14. It looks like you have enjoyed some good books this past week, Tanabata. And the books you added to your TBR pile are impressive. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by my desire to read so many of my books right now. Other things, especially work, keep me away more often than I'd like unfortunately. I keep telling myself that I must read more.

  15. Bethany- Getting new books is always fun! The only problem is figuring out where to put them..

    Table Talk- I never think of taking poetry on a trip but I'll have to try that sometime, thanks.

    Nymeth- Yes it's nice to know that I'm not alone. I think you're right about needing to read the poems over several times for them to make sense.

    Andi- Well if Plath's poetry goes over you head then I don't feel so bad! :P

    Florinda- I'm thinking of picking up the Lippman book as soon as I finish 'The Bell Jar' which will be very soon.

    Irish- I've heard that before about reading poetry aloud and I should try that, thanks.

    Juli- Getting books in the mail is the best! Hope you enjoy Kawabata if you decide to read something by him.

    wisteria- If you click on the link in the post above it takes you to my review but basically I thought it wasn't as good as some other YA fantasy like His Dark Materials or similar but it was fun, enough so that I'm curious to read on and see what happens in the other 2 books in the trilogy.
    BTW, I like the new name. :)

    Pour of Tor- I've been reading a poem or two at night in bed so haven't wanted to disturb H by reading aloud but I have thought I should try that. Thanks for the suggestion of hearing Plath read her own poetry. I'll see if I can find something. That would help a lot I'm sure.
    And yes, when I read that line in the poem, I realised that was where your handle came from. A little lightbulb moment!

    LisaMM- So true! The last 2 weeks have felt very much like Christmas!

    daydream- Yay for getting books in the mail! I'm drawn to any title relating to snow but JLit does have some great titles.

    Meli- Thanks for the suggestions. I have been reading just a poem here and there but none of them have really caught my attention so far. I think I may look up some study guide material to help me understand them a bit better.

    Stephanie- Getting books is always fun! I look forward to reading 'Marked'. If not now hopefully for R.I.P 2008. :)

    Literary Feline- I really should stop adding to the TBR piles/mountains but I know you understand the inability to stop acquiring more books. I sometimes feel overwhelmed too when I look at my bookshelves and see oh so many that I'd like to be reading.

  16. I have the same problem with reading poetry (Tanabata, you described it perfectly) so I was really interested to read the comments. I do like to read out loud so maybe I'll try that. And I was also glad to hear what Meli said about flicking through. I've always done that and felt guilty because I wasn't "getting" all the poems.

  17. Julie- It's nice to know at least I'm not alone. Yes I'll have to try reading them aloud and see how it goes.

  18. Yay for new books. I will be very curious to hear what you think of Thousand Cranes. I read that some years ago and while I liked it, I also felt as if I missed quite a bit - lost in translation maybe?
    Regarding the Plath poetry, I loved The Bell Jar but have never really gotten into Plath's poems. Again, just feel like I'm missing something.

  19. I really enjoyed The Bell Jar, but don't "get" Plath's poetry, either. Glad to know you and Andi don't either!

  20. Iliana- I remembered you saying that about 'Thousand Cranes' and I felt that way a little when I read 'Snow Country' by Kawabata last year. I'd like to read a bit about the tea ceremony beforehand and maybe that will help.
    As for Plath's poems, they seem to be rather beyond me I'm afraid.

    Les- Seems there are a few of us who don't "get" Plath's poetry. I do feel much better though knowing that it's not just me. :)


Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you and I read every single one!

P.S. In an effort to eliminate spam, I moderate all comments, so there will most likely be a delay between when you submit the comment and when it appears on the post. Please let me know if you have any trouble leaving comments here, and you can also chat with me on Twitter, if you prefer. Happy Reading!