Written by Wayne F. Burke
Review by Jarad Johnson
I read this little book of poems over breakfast one morning, and I still haven't totally worked out my opinion on it. It certainly left me thinking. After reading the first poem, I could not tell if I was going to be receptive or not. This is not a book of poetry that begs to be liked. Some of the poems are abrasive, but this seems foundational to the poet’s theme.
Today, Jarad is tackling the topic of diversity in literature, the canon, and what makes a book worthy of being canonized. What are the benefits of diverse reading and what can the publishing industry learn from that? We hope you enjoy his thoughts on the topic and happy reading!
I was reading an excerpt from an article in my Feminist Theory textbook last semester. In it, the author talked about how, in college, she only read male authors, and she felt that she was forced to alter her perspective and view the world through a warped perspective, and she didn’t much care for it. I have to admit, my first reaction when I read that was one of irritation. Are we not supposed to see the world in different ways through literature, and are we not supposed to look through another person’s eyes in a novel? Yes, we are, but upon further reflection I don’t think that was her point.
A Song For Arbonne
Written by Guy Gavriel Kay
Review by Jarad Johnson
This book was published in the early 90’s, and while we usually try to review books that are more recent, we also know that recently published books are not the only good ones out there. So occasionally we pick older books that we think are worth re-examining. Or, perhaps you’ve already read this book, but a little reminder will inspire you to re-read it. Either way, enjoy and happy reading!
A Song for Arbonne is a book that is right up my alley: Fantasy, magic, quests- it really is a great book for my summer reading. I mean, I would read it anytime, but it was made better by the season. Fair warning, the book doesn’t shy away from the darker side of things- degradation and violence are an aspect of the book, but it is tempered by the books message of rising above those things. The book is set in a region inspired by Medieval France. The book goes through all four seasons but starts in the summer. The fantasy summer in France makes the hot, humid summer of the South a little more tolerable. Reading about meadows baked in the summer sun, festivals by the river, fields of lavender, The Court of Love and the troubadours, I could almost forget that I was soaked in sweat just from being outside for a few minutes.
Sometimes, when Jarad runs out of room on his bookshelves, little stacks of books will appear everywhere (like on the refrigerator). Here are his thoughts on where and how you should store books.
I was told many times as a child that there was no more room for books in the house. “You have enough, don’t you?” was the question that was (and sometimes still is) asked of me in a fit of exasperation. Well, you see, books don’t work that way. I have a hard time imagining too many books. It’s not like collecting purposeless figurines or kitschy nick knacks. You do not buy books to put them on a shelf or to look at them, you buy them to read them. (Or at least I do, at any rate. I’ve known people that bought books to say they had read them, but never actually did. Steer clear of those kinds of people. They are incredibly boring).
Summer fun for Sacred Chickens. We went on an expedition yesterday! Can we call it team building? We spent the entire morning wandering around the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, getting ideas for our own gardens, enjoying herb gardens, vegetables, lilies, woodlands, and moving rapidly from one ecosystem to the next in the conservatory. Jarad, of course, bought a book.
We discovered that the heat and all the walking fried our brains so instead of a real post...here are some pictures of the garden!
Jarad ruminates on garden maintenance, weeds and other day to day garden things.
When I say the word gardening, people tend to think of planting flowers or trees, pruning shrubs or something of that sort. And while that is a large part of it, an equally larger part of gardening is maintenance. Watering, weeding, pest management and other general care of flowerbeds is a lot of work, and something I didn’t necessarily realize when I began my projects (mulch, or any other weed suppressant, is my new best friend). And really, you are never fully in control of the garden. There’s no way to be, unless you have a hired staff, and then, you’re not really a gardener, are you? But, unlike flowers, one cannot cultivate control. There’s always a stray weed, a dramatic plant drooping in the heat (hydrangeas are the worst of the drama queens), or some other problem that you must troubleshoot on a daily basis.
Here are some of our favorite plays!
Is it funny? Right now that's what I'm looking for. The world is falling apart and I need a laugh. I like all theater from Broadway to community to little kids who write their own. But at this particular juncture on the worst timeline, make me laugh and you can put my butt right in a seat.
Jarad has pulled himself away from his plants and books to muse on his recent distraction from, "important," things.
If you're like me, you're easily sidetracked from, "important," things to things that interest you more. For example, instead of cleaning the house or washing dishes, I'd rather go plant the baby's breath I've been growing from seed or read a book or two. Instead of folding the laundry, I'd rather go check and see if my zinnias have all bloomed yet or find a nice place to finish my book under the apple tree. My mom has told me since I can remember to, "get my priorities straightened out." (Fantasy novels and flowers sound like great priorities to me, but in conversations such as that I've discovered that it's best not to quibble over trivialities).
How thoughts about murder and mayhem in the garden led me to question my intake of caffeine – another random train of thought that stopped at an unexpected station.
by Julie Carpenter
This particular thought train to nowhere was triggered by squirrels. Squirrels seem to be taking up an inordinate amount of real estate in my mental landscape lately, but that’s another story.
I looked out my kitchen window yesterday and I saw a squirrel looking back at me. He was stuffing his cheeks with almost, nearly, barely ripe blueberries. The ones I was going to pick today. I pounded on the window and he shrugged. Whatever. I could see it in his eyes.
Pride month is almost over, and before it ends Jarad wanted to share some of his favorite LGBTQ+ books! There are many more he could spend pages and pages rambling about (and more still that he wants to read)!
Dancer From the Dance - Andrew Holleran
Often referred to as one of the most important gay books ever written, Dancer From the Dance was one of the first gay themed books I ever read. It showcases New York's emerging gay scene in 1978. This was a time after Stonewall and before the Aids Epidemic ravaged the gay community.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home- Carol Rifka Brunt
One of the sweetest and saddest stories you'll ever read, Tell the Wolves I'm Home is the story of a young girl watching her uncle deteriorate after a long battle with Aids. It explores how we treat people with Aids, and the overall stigma surrounding the gay community. Telling the story from the perspective of a young person removes a lot of that stigma. This is one of the few books to make me cry, and one of fewer still that made me cry in public. It's heartbreaking in a very human way.