Reading Room: June

 

**Every year I do a reading challenge through the site Goodreads. For the last few years, I’ve set my goal as 365 books for the year. It’s not something I realistically think I can achieve, but there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment in striving.**

Ten books read in June. I would have posted this at the end of June or first of July as I’ve done with the other Reading Room entries, but I was in northern Minnesota enjoying a vacation with friends at an in-laws’ lakehouse. Getting the chance to actually have ‘beach reads’ was interesting. Although, in this case it would be more accurate to say ‘boat reads’ or ‘deck reading.’ Regardless, I was able to finish some books that a friend had given me and was able to hoist Moby-Dick upon another. Good month.

The playlist for June is a bit punchy but then again, why shouldn’t it be? Summer is a wretched time.

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Breaking The Surface by Matt Hebert

The second book in a sci-fi action adventure series dealing with humanity living in the oceans and trying to return to the land. This was a commissioned review and a very action-packed book.

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Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations by Peter Cole

I most enjoyed the new poems, so I base my rating on the pleasure of those poems. For those who haven’t read Cole before this is a great access work that surveys an impressive career that avoids the dour boredom of formalism and the myopia of the Ashbery-esque.

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Shadow of Death by Jean Sorrell

A commissioned review, the setting of Shadow of Death gives us nuns, doctors, and lepers in backwater Louisiana as suspects making it seem impossible there could be a murderer among the residents much less anything nefarious enough to warrant such an act.

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The Senate Intelligence Report on Torture by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

This isn’t light reading. In fact, it feels like the ultimate TL;DR document but this alongside the 9/11 Commission Report make up some of the most important historical and government documents concerning the War on Terror.

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Walking On Glass by Iain Banks

I keep trying to get into Banks’ work but every time I fail. Good writing but the story seems to get away from him or, rather, not go where it felt like it ought. I can comfortably call this speculative fiction, but I don’t think Banks is for me.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Read after watching the film version. While well structured and written, I found it less compelling than the film and, honestly, the tone in my mind as I read was that it kept feeling like prose that wanted to be translated into a script.

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The Waking Land by Callie Bates

While built around an interesting magic system, having relatable woman protagonist, and a slew of political intrigue, this story never elicits any emotion. It has no spark and reads rather dead pan.

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Inverted World by Christopher Priest

Impressively imaginative hard science fiction. The direction the plot takes is stirring & genuinely surprising. The only flaw is the unnecessary sexual chauvinism.

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Away From Home by Joanne Clairmont

A collection of prose poems and poems centered around runaway children and/or street kids finding a home. This was another commissioned review. Clairmont’s intent is commendable even if the poems themselves might be a bit uneven or overly earnest.

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The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons, Robert M. West, editor

I got this sampler of the immense double volume of Ammons poems and was in heaven. There is a lyricism to Ammons making the poems, which are frequently long and narrative, feel intimate. He’s also a subtly challenging poet.

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