February Reads

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I was actually planning on doing a part 2 of my January Reads, but it turns out I didn’t finish any other books! I did read one more book I didn’t review because it was a science, non-fiction ebook with career advice but I had such grand reading aspirations and…it just didn’t happen. But I definitely want to keep up with these posts on a near-monthly basis, so here goes February. Sorry for the lack of photos, 4/5 of these were ebooks.

I have been reading a lot of poetry lately because I’m writing my thesis and they are short, lovely little distractions.

I read the self-published version of The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace, but it was actually recently re-released with additional content by a publisher so I’m curious to pick it up again. I was visiting an awesome book store in St. Louis earlier this month and somebody was also interested in this after having loved Milk and Honey, which I actually also read in February, and I definitely recommended it for fans of Kaur.

Anyway, Lovelace’s debut is a romantic, lyrical collection with a hint of melodrama/tragedy to it that would have been extra appealing to me as a teenager, for example:

i never
expected
death
to be my most
faithful companion,
but she is
the only one
who will come
without
having to be
asked.

But honestly, even though it verges a little on cliché at moments, this is easy-to-read poetry that hooked me with its short and emotional moments. Occasionally it does feel like line breaks in a sentence rather than poetry, but it is both raw and empowering overall. While I can still appreciate many moments of The Princess Saves Herself in this One, I definitely think it’s best suited for a younger audience and I hope the people who could use it, find it.

The only novel I finished in February was Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield, and it was definitely a worthwhile one. I’d had this book on my shelf for…years. I actually wanted to read it since it was first released in 2012 and it’s embarrassing–and my loss–that it took this long.

This is an absolutely beautifully written young adult mystery which is told from the perspective of Becca, a girl spending her last summer at home in a small town with her boyfriend before she goes off to college. There are snapshots of Amelia’s perspective as well, leading up to the moment she is found dead on the side of a dirt road near where Becca lives. The writing is lyrical in a way that is almost mystical, and it gives the whole novel this moody poetic atmosphere.

I wish that I had gotten to know Amelia a bit better, I actually preferred her sections of the book, but overall I fell in love with the story and especially Rosenfield’s words. She has only one other novel so far, a psychological thriller called Inland, and I definitely plan to pick that up in the near future as well.

Apparently I’ve been reading Wheeling Motel by Franz Wright for approximately forever (November 2015…) so in a quest to get a few books off my GoodReads “Currently Reading” list I figured it was time to finally finish it up. This is quiet, reflective collection of poetry, but there’s a formality to the writing that held me at a distance, despite how lovely the words can be. Still, there were moments that capture both my heart and my mind, such as from the poem “Pediatric Suicide”:

Being who you are is not a disorder.
Being unloved is not a psychiatric disorder.

Still, when I read a collection of poetry I really love I instantly rush to pick up the rest of the poet’s work, and that was not the case for me with Wright. Still, Franz Wright did win the Pulitzer Prize (for another collection) and there is a dark power to his writing, so I may give him another try in the future.

While The Princess Saves Herself in this One was a simple but poetic collection, unfortunately The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza just fell into the simple category for me. I really do love raw, honest poetry, but the more poetic moments in this book felt a little too cliche and expected, for example:

Cause why else would you
Walk in and out of my life
Like you were in a revolving door?

I don’t know how old Lanuza is, and maybe I am just too old for her words, but the collection itself reads teenage and full of angst to me. It’s a short, quick-paced book and the poems are easy to digest, but for me, it was just a little too easy to digest and I like poetry that challenges me a bit more.

If there’s one book of poetry I have seen a lot of around the internet over the last year, it’s definitely Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, so of course I had to pick it up. This is an honest, straightforward collection of poetry that is really filled with strength.

you must
want to spend
the rest of your life
with yourself
first

Sometimes it verges into the too-simple, but I guess I just really like metaphors and descriptive language. I really love the messages behind the writing, even if, similar to The Princess Saves Herself in this One, I was occasionally underwhelmed. I think this is a good poetry introduction, that I know I would have fallen in love with as a teenager but still enjoyed now. I think I expected a little more given everything I’ve heard about this collection, but I am glad Kaur’s voice is out there and I would definitely pick up future collections by her as well. I am curious to see how her voice, and words, change and mature over time.

* * *

That’s it for me! So far, I’ve only read one book in March so I’m not sure about doing another one of these posts, but I still have a few days left to finish up one or two more! What have you been reading lately?

Also, just another apology about being so absent on this blog and social media. I am really in the crunch time of my thesis, and I hope to be around a little more often in a couple weeks.

  • Oh man, I applaud you Zoe. It takes me foreeeever to finish a book (slowest reader ever, over here). I’ve heard good things about “Milk and Honey” – is it good for a turtle-style reader like myself?

    • hahah turtle-style, i love you shawna! yes it is perfect for a turtle-style, that’s one reason why i love poetry in general when i have a lot on my plate it’s nice to be able to read something short. i think even if you only read a poem in a sitting you could finish it pretty easily. plus, reading it slowly gives you more time to digest the poems!