Poetry

April is National Poetry Month. April 30 is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. At my previous place of employment, I used to do celebrations of poetry, readings in the library and kept a basket of poems out for people to put in their pockets on that day. Lots of promotion of poetry as a literary art form. I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I am a huge poetry fan, but I am a fan of expression and encourage art and literary expression in all forms.

This year, I am not celebrating these events, but I am interested in sharing a little something with you. I stumbled across a poem from a listserv I follow and I enjoyed it. I will reprint it here and you can be sure I’ll have it in my pocket on April 30.

In the Library

by Charles Sivic

There’s a book called

“A Dictionary of Angels.”

No one has opened it in fifty years,

I know, because when I did,

The covers creaked, the pages

Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful

As species of flies.

The sky at dusk

Used to be thick with them.

You had to wave both arms

Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining

Through the tall windows.

The library is a quiet place.

Angels and gods huddled

In dark unopened books.

The great secret lies

On some shelf Miss Jones

Passes every day on her rounds.

She’s very tall, so she keeps

Her head tipped as if listening.

The books are whispering.

I hear nothing, but she does.

And that is your poem for April. Hope you enjoyed it, I think it beautiful. Feel free to share a poem on your own blog in honor of this month and link back to it in the comments.

April Books

April was a particularly productive month for me, book wise. My friend Jan actually told me I need to slow down, because I’m outpacing her guess! It’s funny, because I felt like I read so much last year, and yet, this year, I’m reading way more than last year. I actually hadn’t read this many books until the middle of July….and here it’s the end of April. That’s more than two months of books I’m ahead of last year.

Let’s dive in.

April: (17 books)

1. Dreams of a Dark Warrior – Kresley Cole*

2. No Rest for the Wicked – Kresley Cole*

3. Someday, Someday, Maybe – Lauren Graham

4. Pivot Point – Kasie West^

5. Split Second – Kasie West^

6. The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken

7. Never Fade – Alexandra Bracken

8. Heir Untamed – Danielle Bourdon^

9. King and Kingdom – Danielle Bourdon^

10. Heir Exiled – Danielle Bourdon^

11. King Takes a Bride – Danielle Bourdon^

12. The Wrath of the King – Danielle Bourdon^

13. Secret – Brigid Kemmerer^

14. The Distance Between Us – Kasie West^

15. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

16. Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

17. Don’t Look Back – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Now let’s talk books. I’ve had a rough start to the year, a lot of bad books and times where I simply couldn’t find anything to read, so I fell back on beloved favorites. In fact, that’s how I started out this month. Rereading two old favorites. And then, just like that, the streak was busted.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a first novel by actress Lauren Graham. She currently stars as Sarah in Parenthood, but I first fell in love with her as the incomparable Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. (Fun fact, she is the actress I would like to play me in a movie about my life.) The book was okay. Her humor was there but the story was a bit scattered and overly detailed. Also the ending was pretty blech.

Then I tripped over the digital book, Pivot Point. Easily the best thing I read this month, and Kasie West is one of my new favorite authors. This is a story akin to the movie Sliding Doors (which sucks ass, btw, but people, women in particular, seem to love it). The story is a girl with the mental ability to see how two futures will play out. LOVED, LOVED this book. Split Second is the riveting sequel. Loved it as well, but it was darker and a whole lot sadder than the first one.

She also wrote the standalone, The Distance Between Us. I liked this very much, too. If you’re looking for a good teen romance, I liked this an awful lot. I couldn’t find these in print, but they are all available digitally.

The 5 books by Danielle Bourdon are a series. I had seen the first and marked it as a possible TBR (to be read). My TBR list is scary long. Longer, I believe than the list of last years books….The point is I figured I might get around to reading it at some point, then I was talking to my sister and she tells me “I read this book….” My sister NEVER recommends books to me. Never. So I wanted to know more and lo and behold, it was the first in this series. So I read it. It’s not terrific, the first is eminently likable, but they grow exponentially more ridiculous as the series progresses. What I did like is that the series is the same characters. The story of two people, set over 5 books. Usually they wrap a story in one book and they come back as fringe characters in someone else’s book, not so, here. I liked that a great deal.

Darkest Minds was a book I had picked up through browsing. It was not something I was excited to read, but once I started it, I got totally into it. It was gripping. Dark and twisting, but a romance and hero/adventure elements as well. I actually loved it and went back to get the next (it’s a trilogy, the 3rd isn’t out yet). Liked that, too, but so many things changed it was a huge departure, fortunately, the author kept it together. I’m excited for the final installment…in September.

Secret was the fourth in a series I read last year, I thought it was the last one, but, given the way this one ended, I am guessing she is going for a 5 book series. I just thought, since there are four brothers and each got a story, this would be it. I liked it, it was a good book, but a huge departure for the series. It was almost exclusively about this boy’s personal life and none of the others were like that, so I am not sure what’s happening. Maybe it will all become clear in the end.

To All the Boys I Loved Before was a new book/author I came across. The title caught my eye and the synopsis seemed good. A girl writes a kiss off letter to every boy she ever loved after he breaks her heart. Then they accidentally get sent and all the boys then know what she thinks of them, even ones who were just crushes who never knew. It started out super smart and funny (it was the book I was laughing out loud to in this post). But the ending was….well, kind of terrible. Then I found out that it is not a standalone book, it is the first of a series, which makes the ending not so terrible after all. I definitely liked this one.

Don’t Look Back is a new book by an author I like very much. She wrote the Lux series which I liked but didn’t love and the Covenant series which I loved very much. Couldn’t get my hands on those fast enough. This was an interesting book. It was very different from either of those both of which had supernatural elements. This does not. It’s just a dark thriller. And a bit of a romance, but it’s pretty obvious, the romance part, so it wasn’t that great. I did NOT see the ending coming, I was super surprised by it, which I liked. But there was a little too much with the flashback/dream sequences for my taste. I don’t like being pulled out of an engrossing story. Overall, worth the read.

And we end with Dreams of Gods and Monsters. This was the end of a trilogy. The first one, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, came damn close to being the best book I read last year (it was the honorable mention). The second one, Days of Blood and Starlight, was just okay. I didn’t care for that one very much, so I wasn’t sure what I’d think of the end. Turns out, it took her over 650 pages to tell the end of this story. It is an intimidating book, but worth it. So worth it. It was a terrific finale, and it’s so rare for that to happen. It even made the second one better because it explains the poor choices she made. It was a terrific ending and a wonderful trilogy. If you like sci-fi/fantasy/books about angels, definitely read this. It’s pretty great.

And, yeah, this was long, very long, but it’s been so long since I could talk about books I liked! Here’s the standings. Total books on the year? 63 books.

On pace to read 189 books on the year.

Books Books Books – April Edition

April was a pretty good rebound after my slower March. I really only had one epic fail. I started a book, another Lisa recommendation (that’s two fails L!), The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley. I wanted to like this one so much, but the writing was clunky and the story was so convoluted and confusing I just couldn’t do it. I read about 40% of it and had to quit. I hate doing that, because I spend time reading, time that I could have been reading something else. However, I suppose that’s part of life. Or at least reading.

However, in spite of wasting 3 days plugging through that, I still managed 11 books.

April (11 books)

1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

2. I’ve Got Your Number – Sophie Kinsella

3. Skin Deep (I-Team) – Pamela Clare

4. Hard Evidence (I-Team) – Pamela Clare*

5. Breaking Point (I-Team) – Pamela Clare*

6. Teen Idol – Meg Cabot

7. Abandon – Meg Cabot

8. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

9. Unlawful Contact (I-Team) – Pamela Clare*

10. Delirium – Lauren Oliver

11. Underworld – Meg Cabot

As you can see, I was stuck on a couple authors this month. Four books by Pamela Clare, three of which were re-reads. She released a new one in the series and it’s been a couple years since the last. It prompted me to re-read the back catalog. Almost. I have two left to catch up on; they are on my May list.

Meg Cabot is an author I never really read. She writes a TON of stuff, but, I’ve never really been into her. Now I realize why, turns out she’s not really a very good writer. Good story teller, sure, but not that good of a writer. I did, however really enjoy Teen Idol. It was pretty much like every fantasy I ever had in junior high and high school. The other two are a series, a re-imagining of the Persephone myth. I recently read the Goddess series by Aimee Carter, which was better, but this one was pretty good. Turns out there is a third coming.

Delirium was a book I wanted to read for a long time, I’ve heard how good it is. And it sounded good. But, well, it was kind of boring. It did pick up the pace a LOT toward the end, but only the last 10%, which was almost too late. I finished it and I’m thinking about trying the next. If it starts off at the same pace as it ended, I could do it, but I’m afraid she might just be a boring writer.

The best thing I read this month was probably I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. It was campy and British and fun and I laughed out loud several times while reading it. It was predictable and kind of crazy at the end, but I so thoroughly enjoyed the story it didn’t really matter.

The worst thing I read (aside from the one I couldn’t finish) was Beautiful Creatures. I wanted to like this. Elena recommended it, and the movie looked good, but the book was just…not. The story was interesting enough but it was so involved and over dramatic while….nothing happened. A 500+page book and there were maybe 3 chapters where something actually happened. Meh. I might still see the movie though, it could actually be better than the book.

And there you go, my April list. I’m pretty excited for May. I have several books I’m excited about in the queue. I am, however, busier than average in May, so I might not get through as many. But I’m starting with the sequel to one of my favorite books from 2012. That was Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. The sequel, which was published yesterday, and I bought on my way home from work, is Sweet Peril. Pretty psyched about that.

The grand total for the year, to date, is 39 books, which puts me on a pace for 117 for the year. I’ll keep plugging away.

Snow Buddies

And then, perhaps because she could sense what I was writing, my mother just sent me a photo.

And if this doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.

photo

I can’t believe she can even LIFT that heavy wet snow. And I love their identical poses. Weight on the same leg, bent at the same angle, hands in the same position.

But I can’t help wonder why she isn’t wearing gloves? Or mittens? Don’t be fooled by the date on the calendar, it’s COLD outside!

A Thousand Miles

It’s April 23. Aside from the fact I’ve been a bit slackery here in blogland, let’s talk about the weather. I’m not a weather complainer. It just IS, you know? I can’ t do anything about it, so just shut up and deal. That’s pretty much my philosophy.

However, I’m drowning in thoughts of despair and irritability. It is April 23. We just got hit with another snow storm. SNOW storm. While it CAN snow in April, it is rare. By April, the skies are sunny and the temperatures start to climb. We get a lot of rain to wash away the last vestiges of snow and to make the air that sweet smelling air that can only be spring. Our average daily temperature is about 62°.

At this exact moment, it is 34°. Close to thirty degrees below average. It’s still cold. It still snows. Last night we got another four inches.

Driving home from work last night in a gray and dreary snowstorm, a good solid month or so past when we ought to be having snowstorms, this was my world.

Fat, heavy, wet, sloshy snowflakes. The kind that flop out of  the sky and hit your skin and stick.

Chunks of snow, almost.

I was so discouraged when I went to bed last night. And yet, I woke up to a most beautiful morning.

Good morning.

The air was still, a whisper through the sunbeams. It smelled of snow and cold and damp, but it was crisp and refreshing. It reminded me of how much I like it when it snows. I feel so ready for spring, I’ve forgotten how beautiful a snowfall can be, even in April.

Perhaps the worst part is that in between snowstorms, it melts and I begin again to feel hopeful.

I just read this poem the other day. April is National Poetry Month, don’t you know.

April Snow by Caroline Spencer

The green was creeping o’er the brown,

The skies dropt bluebirds yesterday;

Again today the snow is down,

And spring a thousand miles away.

 

The poem goes on from there, but that was the part that struck me. I’ve been feeling every inch of that thousand miles lately, but today, this morning, spring feels a little closer.