very-bad-poetryThe Petras Siblings

I did so enjoy Here Speeching American that I grabbed another one of the Petras’ books. Through what must have been painfully arduous research, the duo managed to out together a collection of the worst poetry ever. No really, it is that bad. Godawful, in fact. Poems …

here-speeching-american Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras

So enough with the serious literature already.

The Petras siblings came up with a hilarious little collection of horribly, painfully mangled attempts at English from around the world. Fans of engrish.com will recognize some of the old favorites (“No smorking!” )but there is a world …

leaving-the-saintsMartha Beck

I’m not sure really what to classify this book as. After deciding to have a Downs Syndrome baby, Beck describes her decision to leave grad school and Harvard to return to her hometown of Provo Utah and her Mormon family. Through a winding path she describes the friendliness …

the-mermaid-chair Sue Monk Kidd

The third of the “Books by Authors I Really Dig” is Sue Monk Kidd’s new book The Mermaid Chair. Kidd made quite the splash a few years ago with The Secret Life of Bees (so much so that one of my friends left the tech sector to …

eleanor-rigbyDouglas Coupland

Though I’ve never heard him described as such, I also consider Coupland a magical-realist. Mostly he is known as the darling writer of Gen-X, whatever that may be. Coupland does have a knack for creating wholly believable modern characters. Parents and elders are not omnipotent. They are as …

the-ice-queenAlice Hoffman

Hoffman is herself a queen – of magical realism. While spinning her story, she dabbles a toe her in there in pools of the fantastic. You barely notice the ripples here and there, until suddenly the most fantastic things seem totally believable. Sure, I can believe the woodman …

the-blackbird-papers Ian Smith

When the going gets tough, some of the tough read cheesy murder mysteries. I grabbed this one at random (ok, the cover was red and shiny).  Blackbird turned out to be one of the best and most imaginative mysteries I have read in ages. While most mysteries fit …

Loretta Lux

Whoooo, creepy! Remember that little kid that was supposed to be Scully’s daughter in X-Files but everyone hated her because she was so creepy? Well, that little weirdo has nothing on Lux’s models. Lux’s children are how I imagine seraphim would appear – beautiful forms, but also terrible, …

boring-postcards-usa2Martin Parr

Time and time again, I check this book out of the library. There is something incomprehensibly mind-boggling about this book. Perhaps it’s the graphic designer in me, but the scope of work involved in this book just makes me marvel at the stupid things humanity will do. The …

Asleeping-by-the-mississippilec Soth

I had seen the cover of this book in a photography magazine and was intrigued by the cover image – a man in a baggy jumper, balaclava and walrus mustache holding two toy airplanes on a junk and snow covered deck. And you know what? I still …

good-poemsEdited by Garrison Keiller

For regular NPR listeners, Keiller’s poem selections may be familiar. These are not hard poems. They don’t require you to have read English lit at Oxford or to be able to speak olde Englishe. Nor do they span hundreds of pages, warbling on about woe, despair, …