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Love Is a Dog from HellLove Is a Dog from Hell by Charles Bukowski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A classic early collection of poems from Bukowski. If you've read Bukowski, you know what you're getting with this collection as he pursues his usual themes, in particular, women, drinking, and the creative life.



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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel PowerThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's Squirrel Girl! Lighthearted, silly fun as Squirrel Girl beats Kraven the Hunter, Galactus, and Doctor Doom. This volume includes Squirrel Girl's first appearance in Iron Man. In an age where so many comics take superheroism so serious and dark, this is a fun change of pace.



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Feb. 25th, 2017

Application for Release from the Dream: PoemsApplication for Release from the Dream: Poems by Tony Hoagland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Tony Hoagland's unique vision of the world is on full display in this book, humorous, wry, sometimes confused, sometimes angry. I admit to finding his last two collections a little off the mark, but this one seems a return to form. Sharp poems that stir the mind and soul. Highly recommended.



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Feb. 25th, 2017

A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving GourmandA Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand by Jim Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In addition to being a poet and novel writer, Jim Harrison was a voracious eater and drinker with a passion for food and wine. For many years, he wrote articles and columns about his culinary adventures including the title piece about a 37-course lunch he enjoyed in France (he is quick to point out there were only 19 wines). Now gathered together, these pieces, often filled with humor and passion, are a celebration of a literary life, of poetry, food, and wine.

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



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The Damned HighwayThe Damned Highway by Brian Keene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


(More like 3.5 stars)

In 1972, "Uncle Lono" leaves Colorado headed to Innsmouth to stop Richard Nixon from summoning Cthulhu. Keene and Mamatas do an excellent job summoning the gonzo style of Hunter S. Thompson and the general creepiness of the Cthulhu mythos. It is a fast, fun read and a fitting tribute to both genres.



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Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other PoemsVoyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A powerful poetic voice examines the portrayal of black figures throughout the history of art while also turning a critical eye to her own experiences. Her voice is so strong and developed it is difficult to believe this is her debut collection. Highly recommended.



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Black History in Its Own WordsBlack History in Its Own Words by Ron Wimberly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An art book illustrating illustrious and less-known figures in black history, along with a quote of theirs. Each picture is prefaced with a brief biography of the person. Some lovely art and a brilliant introduction to some of these figures.

[I received an advanced reader copy of this from the publisher.]



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Feb. 5th, 2017

The Beauty: PoemsThe Beauty: Poems by Jane Hirshfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A book of beautiful poems that find transcendence in the subject matter of everyday life and the musings of age and, of course, the inevitable demise of the body.



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Feb. 5th, 2017

Reasons to Stay AliveReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As someone who has long battled depression, I found this memoir of the author's struggles with depression and anxiety hit a lot of familiar territory. He gets it right as he describes what it's like, and he does a great service describing his own continuing struggle and recovery. A powerful, important book that deserves a wide audience.



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How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2002How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2002 by Joy Harjo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Joy Harjo's poetry applies the richness of Native American myth to the often bleak conditions of modern America and its downtrodden minorities, including those of Native American ancestry, struggling to find hope and redemption. This collection captures a huge swath of her career and serves as wonderful introduction to her writing. Highly recommended.



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