Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Coffee: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Looking Back

The school year is wrapping up, and I'm feeling busier than ever. I want to look back at April, which slipped past me while I was stressing out over grades, testing, and other stuff.

So April is National Poetry Month, but in my world it also seems like it is always National Testing Month. My students, juniors in high school, are so inured to testing that it is almost distressing. I was an administrator for two days of testing, and boy do our kids know how to roll up their sleeves and fill in bubbles. The first day of testing I spent five hours in one room with one very quick restroom break. No one ever tells you that a "bladder of steel" is a requirement for teaching.

Just before testing we finally had Spring Break--so late! Want to know why it was so late? Because: GOLF.
Yes, when you teach in or near a resort community, your school calendar can revolve around golf. My husband actually works right behind the golf course in the picture above (there's a dock back there behind the smoke). For some reason the gold tournament is kicked off with a cannon. Also, that red and white lighthouse in the background: totally not real. However, you can pay a couple of dollars to walk to the top and take a picture. That used to be free....

One very nice thing that happened during spring break was this:
I received an entire stack of JoJo Moyes novels from the folks at Viking/Penguin. So fantastic! I love being a book blogger! This will be heavenly to start off my summer reading.

Anthony Trollope: The 200th Anniversary

April 24, 2015 was the 200th anniversary of Anthony Trollope's birth, and I've been enjoying the posts on the Anthony Trollope Society facebook page. The 200th has reminded me of my commitment to "Our Author" as Society members refer to Trollope. I have read many of Trollope's major works: the entire Barsetshire series, the Palliser series, The Way We Live Now, and The Prime Minister.

Our Author wrote 47 novels, so I definitely won't run out of Trollope novels to read. I decided to go through by bookshelves to see which Trollope novels and books I own but haven't yet read, and selected a couple to read again:

I've already started the Autobiography, and plan to reread The Warden and some of the other Barsetshire novels, since I read them all several years ago. And I will probably read Victoria Glendinning's Anthony Trollope soon.

There has never been a better time to get started on the novels of Anthony Trollope, if you haven't read him already, or to rediscover this amazingly prolific author. One thing I have noticed: you will have an easier time finding Trollope's books in used bookstores than in bookstores that specialize in new books. That just seems wrong: after all, you will certainly find Dickens on the shelves of any bookstore and I would argue that Trollope is just as good, as relevant, as entertaining as Dickens.

Here are a couple of websites to explore:

Looking Ahead

I went a little crazy accepting review copies recently. There were just so many enticing books. June is packed with good books, and it will be all I can do to keep up with reading and reviewing so many books. And I accepted my first review copy of a coloring book! The only problem is, the coloring book has been delayed because the phenomenon of adults using coloring books to de-stress has really caught on, and the book is sold out!

My reading has been all over the place, because I've been alternating between reading for school and reading for reviews. I've been averaging two books a week, which is pretty amazing when you consider that I'm quite busy with my day job! 

Some of the books I've read that deserve their own post:
Black Boy and Native Son by Richard Wright (both of which I have read before)
Passing by Nella Larsen (another reread)

The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass  
I absolutely loved the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

Right now I'm reading The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (for the second time), poems by Langston Hughes, Geraldine Brooks, and Claude McKay, and occasionally dipping into a Zora Neale Hurston reader: I Love Myself When I Am Laughing....and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive.

Oh, and Mother's Day

Of course my Mother's Day included a trip to the bookstore. I picked up these two books. I'm pretty much incorrigible.

I admit to being extremely eclectic in my reading habits right now. Sometimes I think it would be nice to just focus on one author or one genre for a month or so. That doesn't seem to be possible at the moment, so I'll go with being eclectic and just love it.

What are you reading on this Sunday? 


JoAnn said...

Wonderful post... hardly know what to comment on first!

This is my year of Trollope. A group of us are reading the Barsetshire novels (one every couple of months) and the Glendinning bio is on my nightstand. I'm almost done with Doctor Thorne now and will need to exercise some restrain if I'm to wait until July 1st to begin the next one. I'm just loving these novels!

My book club read Behind the Beautiful Forevers two years ago and then we went to hear the author speak at a nearby university. Quite an experience!

bibliophiliac said...

@JoAnn-What I really need right now is a healthy dose of Trollope! He really soothes the soul. Love that you are reading with a group. I remember really loving Dr. Thorne the first time around, and it is on my list to read again....

Lisa said...

Hey, I've got to take a book back to the bookstore and I couldn't imagine how long it was going to take me to go through the whole decision process again. But now you reminded me that I've been wanting to pick up Behind The Beautiful Forevers, well, almost literally, forever. Decision made. Moyes will make for perfect summer reading and a great foil for Trollope.

Iliana said...

Sounds like you are keeping very busy! Love the Jojo Moyes bundle you got - how wonderful. Have you decided which one you'll start with first? I vote for Me Before You :)