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Billy Collins: Picnic, Lightning

Here is a light review on the United States’s day of Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago when I reviewed Lolita I remembered this delightful book of poetry, Picnic, Lightning (1998), titled after a line from Lolita.  Billy Collins served two terms as the United States Poet Laureate from 2001-2003, and it…

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Knut Hamsun: Hunger

Several months ago I experienced a sudden urge to go to the bookstore and buy Hunger (1890) by Nobel Laureatte Knut Hamsun.  For some strange reason, when I returned home with the book I no longer had the urge to read it, and it sat on my shelf until the other…

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John Knowles: A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace (1959) might be the first book that made me recognize the deep potential of books.  I still remember where I was when I read it - the lighting, the temperature, the silence.  Since then, when asked what some of my favorite books are, in my very long reply I…

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Milan Kundera: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Here’s another book I’ve often pulled from the bookstore shelf, only to put it back, sometimes even after I’ve already gotten in line to purchase it.  There just always seemed to be another book that felt more urgent and more likely to be missed if not purchased instead.  Consequently, I’ve…

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Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited

My reading Brideshead Revisited (1945) was not inspired by any viewing of the 2008 film adaptation.  Let’s just make that clear.  And now that I’ve read the book and watched the trailer to the 2008 film adaptation, I’m certain I’ll never watch it.  It looks atrocious and like the makers took some characters…

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Tom Stoppard: The Real Thing

While this blog has primarily reviewed novels (and will continue to do so), I thought it might be a nice change of pace to throw in a play every now and then (and maybe a book of poetry, just for kicks).  I don’t pretend to be really knowledgeable about plays, especially…

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Marilynne Robinson: Housekeeping

I hadn’t heard of Marilynne Robinson (a fellow native Idahoan) until sometime in 2004 or 2005 when she won the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her second novel Gilead.  That I had never heard of her, despite our stepping into this world in the same state, is understandable: between…