Read in July 2010

1. Journalution: Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams, by Sandy Grason
Okay, the title and some of her language is exceptionally self-helpish, but don't be turned off by that; there are some excellent prompts in here as well as motivating and specific advice on how to use journaling to find clarity and work through stuff. I'd even recommend it just for the prompts, if you're not in the mood to read the rest of the text.

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
Compelling, but it's faded pretty quickly from my head.

3. The Artful Storybook: Mixed-Media Artists Create Handmade Tales, by Terry Taylor
Nowhere was the complete text of each of the storybooks featured, and that seems like a ridiculous omission. Some of them were not really my thing; some of them were so great I can admire but never hope to emulate. Good visual inspiration, overall, though.

4. Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems, by Mahmoud Darwish
A lot of the Middle Eastern poetry that I've read has been in a rhythm or voice that hasn't felt quite comfortable to me. It may be that something is missing in the translation, but I think it's probably just the influence of different tradition. This volume fit into that generalization. Very thick with oblique, sometimes mixed (?) metaphors. So this wasn't the easiest poetry to fall into, but when it struck me, it really struck me. As in, I would like to own this book. I might give it a reread next summer.

5. The Heart is Not a Size, by Beth Kephart
Lovely and unpretentious YA novel about two best friends whose volunteer stint in a Mexican border town brings their long-forming tensions and private struggles to the surface. I was so compelled by the two girls, Riley and Georgia. Especially Riley. I wish we could have gone longer and deeper with them, yet I think the smaller frame of the story is probably the right size.

6. Moments: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs, 1942-1982, by Sheryle Leekley
The pictures are so worth looking at and knowing the background of, of course, but the text was laughably bad in places

7. Dear Ghosts,: Poems, by Tess Gallagher
Mm...she does some interesting things with her words, but overall, her poems provoked little response from me, either cerebral or emotional.

8. Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler, by Lavinia Spalding
Great tone and offers so much in the way of ideas, prompts, and guidance. I read this as a long-time journaler looking for some fresh inspiration; I would recommend it to someone interested in starting a journal too. And you absolutely do not have to have globetrotting in your future, near or distant, for this book to be worth reading.

9. The Ghosts of Ashbury High, by Jaclyn Moriarty
Tangly, dark yet humorous, perfectly plotted and told.YA. Slow revelations and you have to wait for the pieces to fall into place, but of course you know it will be perfect when they do because it's Jaclyn Moriarty! One of my favorite books I've read so far this year.

10. Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self, by Beth Kephart
Small and sweet. I enjoyed the meditative mood of this collection of personal essays. Also the relative freedom of length; some were four or five pages, some were only a couple paragraphs long. These sorts of personal, contemplative pieces feel very natural in Beth's voice, especially after two years of reading her blog, which takes the same sort of tone. Beautiful photographs of the title gardens, too.

3 comments:

Smileyfreak 8/12/2010 3:30 AM  

Thanks for the book suggestions :) I really like the banner of your blog :) Very pretty yet thought provoking.

odessa 8/12/2010 8:33 AM  

hey holly, out of topic but did you check this one yet? mori girls
:)

Holly 8/12/2010 7:43 PM  

Smileyfreak - oh, of course. I can't not talk about what I read. and thank you! I'm glad you stopped by. :)

odessa - you're hilarious! as if I check my Facebook that seldomly. yes, I did. so sweet. I like their ideas.

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