A Selection of Poetry by John Donne

When I was about 75 pages into my slim, 98-page volume of John Donne’s poetry, I was bored. But then I read the last section of the book: the Divine Poems. After reading that section, I’m pretty sure I’ll be revisiting Donne’s poetry again.

I didn’t hate the beginning portion of the book; I just wasn’t all that interested. Occasionally, a poem interested me, but most of the time I just was not loving Donne’s poems, which often seemed to be well-written yet confusing love poems. I liked the writing style (I like to read it the beautifully written lines out loud) but the poems were complicated and non-interesting to me.

I decided I’d make it to the end. After all, my volume was very short (albeit with very small print). Then I wouldn’t feel bad to admit that “I just couldn’t get in to it.” But then came to the last section of the book.

I truly loved John Donne’s Holy Sonnets. There was something so personal and real about his discussions with God. I could relate on a personal spiritual level.  And since I had just reread the play Wit, in which the main character discussed these poems as she prepared to die, it was emotional to read the poems.Continue Reading

My RIP List for a Lifetime

Before I begin, I should clarify a few things. I hate being scared, and I hate horror. And I don’t dislike: I mean hate. And I don’t really like Halloween because I don’t even like candy (I’ll take it if you give it to me … but I’m not going to go seeking it) or pumpkin carving.Continue Reading

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The narrator of Alice Sebold’s first novel, The Lovely Bones, is dead.

Meet Susie. Susie Salmon was 14 when she was brutally raped and murdered in a cornfield near her home. Now, as her family recovers and learns to live again, she watches them from her gazebo in her heaven and begins to come to terms with her own death. Despite the brutal beginning to Susie’s death, her story becomes one of celebrating life.

By the end, there were a number of things I didn’t enjoy about this book, but overall, I found it more refreshing than that simple (and potentially gruesome) summary may sound. The Lovely Bones focuses on a brutal subject (assault and murder and the aftermath) and yet, from the beginning, the tone was calm.

Because the narrator was the one who was dead, we already knew she was “okay.” In some respects, it took the entire book for Susie and for the rest of her family to come to that understanding: it is okay to celebrate the dead, and it is okay to move on and keep living and loving.

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The Chicago School of Architecture by Carl W. Condit

The Chicago School of Architecture by Carl W. Condit is an academic examination and description of the architectural movement in Chicago after the Chicago fire, from about 1875 until about 1925. Because it was written in 1960s, some of the information may be dated, but it was still an informative introduction to the study of modern architecture, specifically the style prevalent in Chicago during those years. This is the first book I’ve ever read about architecture, and I certainly enjoyed the experience. I’m looking forward to reading more about the subject.Continue Reading