Next up in our Life in Books series, it’s my turn to share a poem that I loved as a young child. Can you guess which one from the image? Keep reading to find out! Read more
Yesterday we posted a guest review for a Life in Secrets by Sarah Helm. Congrats to Nicole R for winning a kindle copy of the book! I believe I have your email Nicole so I will send that along this evening. For those of you who want to try the book for yourself, you can find it here: A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
In other news, we now have various ways you can follow our blog and we hope you check them out. You can follow the blog in various ways:
- Facebook. We have a Facebook page that you can find here: The Reader’s Room Facebook page . Of course you can also find the link at any time in our sidebar. The Facebook page is mostly just content reposted from the blog although we occasionally add other images and content.
- Pinterest. A supplement to the blog. We just started this but we have posts from the blog in addition to other book-related boards. You can find it here: The Reader’s Room Pinterest.
- Twitter. This is my (Jen’s) twitter account but it’s mostly book-related info. We do post the blog links but also other book related news. You can find my account here.
- Bloglovin – you can follow us there by clicking the link at the top.
And finally, thank you to all our loyal followers! We really appreciate your support and feedback and we hope you have been enjoying the blog. If you have any feedback about types of posts you like most, least, etc we are happy to hear them. Also, if you end up reading a book that you picked up from one of our blog reviews, we hope you stop by when you’re done and let us know what you thought of the book.
As a thank you to all of you we will be starting to award small gift cards to a randomly selected blog follower every 3-4 months (depending on how well our Amazon associates account does).
Welcome to our second guest review. Periodically, we will feature guest reviews and we will try to pick reviews for books and genres we don’t typically feature on our blog. For these posts, we will be picking books that our guest contributors have rated as among their favorites. We hope you that you enjoy these reviews and they lead you to pick up something new that you could also love. I’ll hand it off to Regina who will introduce herself and share one of her favorite non-fiction books. Read more
Pricksongs and Descants by Robert Coover
Published in: 1969
Reviewed by: Jen and Book Worm
Find it/Buy it here: Pricksongs & Descants
Synopsis (from Amazon): Pricksongs & Descants, originally published in 1969, is a virtuoso performance that established its author – already a William Faulkner Award winner for his first novel – as a writer of enduring power and unquestionable brilliance, a promise he has fulfilled over a stellar career. It also began Coover’s now-trademark riffs on fairy tales and bedtime stories. In these riotously word-drunk fictional romps, two children follow an old man into the woods, trailing bread crumbs behind and edging helplessly toward a sinister end that never comes; a husband walks toward the bed where his wife awaits his caresses, but by the time he arrives she’s been dead three weeks and detectives are pounding down the door; a teenaged babysitter’s evening becomes a kaleidoscope of dangerous erotic fantasies-her employer’s, her boyfriend’s, her own; an aging, humble carpenter marries a beautiful but frigid woman, and after he’s waited weeks to consummate their union she announces that God has made her pregnant. Now available in a Grove paperback, Pricksongs & Descants is a cornerstone of Robert Coover’s remarkable career and a brilliant work by a major American writer.
Book Worm and I feel very differently about this book. Keep reading to find out who loved it and who hated it. Read more
It’s time for a Summer Challenge update! Every two weeks or so we will be posting an update on the challenge along with some ideas for book locations. Still want to join? We will keep the challenge sign up open until the end of this month. You can learn more about our summer challenge here.
In each update, we will give an honorable mention to the reader who posts our favorite book-location pairing since time of last update. Keep reading to find out who is in the lead and to get some ideas for your book locations. Read more
We haven’t done one of these in a while so for those of you new to our blog… Our Life in Books is a recurring post where we both take you through books and literature that were either meaningful to us or contributed to who we are as readers today. We are starting with our early reading experiences in a range of genres and we’ll move forward in time with each successive post. You can check out our past posts here. BW picks it back up with poetry
Where is there a better source of morbid material than in the world of poems? My favourite poem of all time is the haunting The Listeners by Walter de la Mare.
I was introduced to this poem as 9/10 year old (lets admit it was so long ago I cannot accurately remember) when an enthusiastic teacher read it to the class and then tasked us with writing a back story for the horse man.
Here is the poem and if you are not intrigued and touched by the traveller then you are not human (just kidding):
by Walter De La Mare
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.
For my back story, I imagined the traveller as a suitor to the lady of the house. Knowing he is not worthy of her, he leaves to make his fortune but promises to come back and claim her as his own. When he returns, she and her entire family have been wiped out by a plague (come on is that not a book you would read?)
The funniest thing I remember about the assignment was the back story invented by a male classmate. He imagined that the traveller was the milkman. Wow that is some dedicated milkman! You don’t get service like that nowadays!
To hear a rendition of this poem, see this youtube clip:
We have returned to Africa for our next stop on our world tour of reading. In scheduling these posts, I have realized that I really like African literature and both of us have read a fair amount of African literature this year. This month we are traveling to Zimbabwe! Keep reading to see which book we picked and what we thought. Read more
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
Published in: 1872
Reviewed by: Book Worm and Jen
Find it here:Erewhon (Dover Thrift Editions)
Synopsis (from Amazon): Erewhon (an anagram for “nowhere”) is a faraway land where sickness is a punishable crime, criminals receive compassionate medical treatment, and machines are banned (for fear they’ll evolve and become the masters of man). Butler’s entertaining and thought-provoking Utopian novel takes aim at such hallowed institutions as family, church, and mechanical progress; its remarkable prescience in anticipating future sociological trends adds a special relevance for today’s readers.
Check out our reviews below:
Have you ever noticed how some books seem to drive a wedge between people? You check the reviews and find almost no middle-of-the-road ratings. Instead people either seem to love it or hate it. Well, welcome to the Love it or Hate it post category! Each month, we’ll pick one book to review and two contributors will battle it out to convince you to pick it up or throw it out. Last month we discussed The Twilight Saga. The votes were closer than I thought. 42% loved it and 35% hated it. Everyone else fell into the “haven’t read it but I’ll pass” category. Many thanks to our Love it reviewer, Nicole R! I (Jen) was the Hate it reviewer.
This month’s selection is on Boxall’s 1001 List of Books to Read before you Die and is considered to be one of the most influential science fiction books ever written. It is also considered to be a highly controversial book for many reasons. So the question is… do you Love it or Hate it? Continue reading to find see our two reviews. Make sure to vote in our poll at the bottom of the post even if you haven’t read it. Read more