I Am Very Far

Author: Will Sheff Type: Fiction, poetry Full title: I Am Very Far: The Lyrics Published: 2011 I read it: May 2011 Up front: this is an actual book, not just the liner notes to the Okkervil River album. Sheff’s book is a beautiful hardcover, with a golden inlay of Will Schaff’s dog duo from the…

Come On All You Ghosts

Author: Matthew Zapruder Type: Fiction, poetry Published: 2010 I read it: March 2013 Zapruder uses a flowing, circling, just-dancing-away style to contribute to poetry’s primary aim: connect the biggest ideas with the tiniest of moments. This poet’s odd corridors sometimes stray a bit past the accessible, but then stunners like “Dobby’s Sweatshirt” or “Automated Regret…

Ballistics

Author: Billy Collins Type: Fiction, poetry Published: 2008 I read it: July 2011 It’s clear why Billy Collins is comfortable wearing the helm of the common man’s poet. He toes that line between sly and weighty, clever and conversational. A lot in Ballistics is a bit reflexive, with many poems inspired by books or paintings…

Collected Poems

Author: Philip Larkin Type: Fiction, poetry Published: 1988 I read it: September 2010 All streets in time are visited. Such is written by Larkin in “Ambulance,” which could be a prophecy that yes, one day his poems were bound to be read, bound to be bound. Apparently only a few were published in his lifetime,…

A Coney Island of the Mind

Author: Lawrence Ferlinghetti Type: Fiction, poetry Published: 1958 I read it: August 2008 The first Ferlinghetti I have read, and I’m glad Andy left it at my place or else I might not have. The first third of the book is the titular section, each poem about a page long, printed in a recurring jumping…

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012

Author: Dave Eggers (series editor), Ray Bradbury (introduction) Type:¬†Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, poetry, humor (anthology) Published: 2012 I read it: August 2013 Another expectedly excellent collection. The only bummer is no front section for “Best American New Band Names.” Boo! I looked forward to that part every year. Well, at least it contains……

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011

Author: Dave Eggers (series editor), Guillermo del Toro (introduction) Type:¬†Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, poetry, humor (anthology) Published: 2011 I read it: December 2012 What makes it immensely readable: The ever-entertaining front section, including portions of a fax by Don Delillo, an essay on musician M.I.A., the nouns, verbs, and adjectives used to describe…