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Pay The GhostPay The Ghost by Tim Lebbon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A short story to be sold as a Kindle Single. A year after a young girl goes missing, her father has abandoned hope of ever finding her when her mother returns, saying she knows where she is. What they find is horrific and gruesome. This story layers on a lot of creepiness and horror in a short span, but I felt it would have been more effective if it had been flushed out even more. A movie starring Nicholas Cage has been made (I haven't seen it and do not know if I will).

[I received an e-galley of this book through Netgalley.]



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Jul. 13th, 2016

Grief Is the Thing with FeathersGrief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Two young boys and their father cope with the sudden unexpected loss of the mother/wife. They are visited by a crow who assists them in coping with their grief. This brief novel reads fast and the chapters do have almost a poetic quality, but I found little resonance with the characters or their grief. The whole novel feels more conceptual than real, some beautiful writing rather than a story.



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Times Alone: Selected PoemsTimes Alone: Selected Poems by Antonio Machado

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Antonio Machado holds a special place in the world of poetry and the literary culture of Spain. This book, translated and with remarks by Robert Bly, includes a selection from each of Machado's books, in Spanish and English. A wonderful introduction to this important poet of nature and the working class of his culture.



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Shrill: Notes from a Loud WomanShrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Lindy West writes poignantly and strongly about the issues closest to her - feminism, fat acceptance, social justice, and humor - as well as a particularly strong essay about the death of her father. There are laugh-out-loud moments here as well as moments that tug at the heart, and this is an excellent entree for anyone not familiar with West's passionate writing.



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A Question

What's your favorite underrated book? #underratedbooks

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The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don"t Have with People You Don"t Like Doing Things You Don"t Want to DoThe Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do by Sarah Knight

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Ostensibly a parody of the popular book about tidying up, this book intends to help the reader clear out space in his/her life for the things that are consuming time, money, and energy that he/she does out of obligation rather than desire. The "humor" in the book mostly comes from the plethora of f-bombs littered throughout (think a Tarantino script) and while there are some funny lines, I found most of it flat, particularly as its intentions as a self-help book are genuine. Some people might find it useful or funnier than I did.



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Catalog of Unabashed GratitudeCatalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The joyfulness of this book, as evidenced by its title, is contagious. A book of poems celebrating all life has to offer, including finding the good in experiences that might not seem good at the time.



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Seven Brief Lessons on PhysicsSeven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An introduction to history and theories of contemporary physics. Thought some of the ideas are complex, the language is very accessible and it is clearly written for a lay audience (like me). I sometimes felt like I was expanding on the information I learned from watching Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos. Recommended.



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May. 18th, 2016

Then Come Back: The Lost NerudaThen Come Back: The Lost Neruda by Pablo Neruda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Twenty-one previously unpublished poems discovered by the Neruda estate. Any book like this is always questionable, as the translator points out, as it could simply be notes or ideas marketed as lost work, but that's clearly not the case here. While Neruda may not have felt these poems complete and a couple of them indicate that by ending in commas, the poems are beautiful and touch on Neruda's themes. The book includes the poems in both English and the original Spanish, along with some scans of some poems in Neruda's own handwriting. A very worthy addition to Neruda's oeuvre and highly recommended.



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Something old, something new

Crow With No Mouth : Ikkyu : Fifteenth Century Zen MasterCrow With No Mouth : Ikkyu : Fifteenth Century Zen Master by Ikkyu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A collection of the poetry of the 15th century Zen poet who mocked other practitioners of Zen while frequently sake houses and brothels. His poems are at times bawdy, at times full of wisdom, at times simple reflections on a simpler way of life. An excellent introduction to this important and influential poet.

The Rain in Portugal: New PoemsThe Rain in Portugal: New Poems by Billy Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A new Billy Collins collection is always cause for celebration. The poet's trademark humor and spirit are in evidence here, particularly when he talks about his own work (the title is a hint of Collins's not being a rhymer) but there's a bit of long windedness here and less of the humor than usual. A good collection as Collins is a great poet, but not his best.

[I received an advanced e-galley of this book from Netgalley. This book is due to be released October 4, 2106.]



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