Monday, March 7, 2011

February, Belatedly

I know we're well into March by now, but I feel like I have to post at least something on my February book selections.

For the 2011 TBR Pile Challenge, I finally read Songs and Stories of the Kojiki by Yoko Danno, which deserves far better than the length of time I put off reading it. The book is a retelling of Japanese myths and legends. I found that enough of the names were familiar (the sun goddess Amaterasu, Susanowo, etc.) it made it easier to hook into the stories. The author gives us literal translations of the names, too, which provide some insight into the cultural symbols in the stories. While myths are generally not known for having well-developed characters, many of the images and events (particularly the frequent tragic or self-sacrificing deaths) have stuck with me for the past few days, making me think about things I might do with them.

The poetry collection I read for Poetry x 12 was Radi Os by Ronald Johnson. Absolutely, an interesting project, and after reading it I am made more aware of the how silence can function in a manuscript. I would call it completely lyric, as it has no characters or storyline of its own, save for 2 things: first, the storyline and characters of Milton's Paradise Lost, from which its words are excised, and second, the movement of the words' music, which is admittedly lovely. As an idea of a project, it is fascinating, and I think much can be learned from reading it. However, it doesn't give me back enough for me to say it can stand on its own.

My March Poetry x 12 selection is Pablo Neruda's Residence on Earth, for a collection of poetry written by a poet who has been featured in a movie. Il Postino is a lovely movie, one of those that I immediately get sucked into when I watch any of it. That book is a reread for me, and I have been thinking a lot lately about what we gain from a second or even a third read and beyond. While there is a lot to be said for reading widely and taking in many books, we should not ignore the idea of reading deeply as well, reading a variety of books from one author, as well as rereading some books to get more out of them on a second read.

I've tagged Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffengger as my 2011 TBR Pile Challenge choice. Honestly, I'm in the mood to read trashy SF or fantasy, and I picked that one as being the closest option. I'm reading a couple books for fun in between, though I need to make myself get through these before March 31, or I'll continue to run a month behind.

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