Reading in Autumn

It’s late autumn now, and Rhode Island got its first snowfall last night. So it’s time for more reading, for longer stretches of pages and replacing the lightbulbs in the lamps by my reading chairs as they fizzle late at night. My reading always gets darker and more contemplative when the nights get longer, and the following grouping of books is moody and delicious.

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Ada Limón – Bright Dead Things

I picked up this book of poetry as a treat for myself at my local bookstore. I’ve been a fan of Ada Limón for a little while and decided to invest in her work. With the book in my hands I can trace the journey that goes through groups of her poems (Part I, in which I’m immersed now, is about her move to the Kentucky countryside). It’s interesting to think about how if my poems are ever published in a book, they might be grouped according to the story of life running through the background of the time in which I wrote them.
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Hannah Kent – Burial Rites

This book is a true historical fiction gem; I feel the Icelandic chill in the air as I read, and I’m learning about life on a farm; making hay, sleeping in a room with householders and servants and farmhands alike with hay poking through the gaps in the wooden rafters. The story follows Agnes Magnusdottir, a real woman who was condemnded to death in Iceland in the 1820s. She’s a fascinating tangle of darkness, and the book is an easy, compelling read which makes me think about goodness, darkness, and the desperate acts of the powerless.
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Umberto Eco – Six Walks in the Fictional Woods

This one’s for the true literature nerds out there. Eco originally delivered these chapters as lectures. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a diagram this much. I find that I’m agreeing with him almost all the time — the interaction between author, text, and reader always intrigues me, especially because I’m attempting to teach kids to write with an audience in mind and read perceptively. Recommended reading for any English teacher out there.
I guess I should take more walks in the woods this fall, and spend more time out on my balcony watching the snow fall while wrapped in blankets. Tell me your wintry book lists!

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