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.

Breaking Poster

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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