As I am writing this, the Northeast is again bracing for another winter storm. Yes, it does look like March is going to roar in like a lion. We had a brief, hopeful thaw a few days ago with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. This morning, however, we woke up to below zero temperatures. I certainly do hope that all my friends at AWP are enjoying better weather than this!
I am not sorry to see the last February. This past month has been a month of sick fathers, lost jobs (not mine), and bad news from friends. Obviously, all this has been distracting me, and I have barely made a dent in my to do list. Still, the past weeks have brought some good news (that I can't share quite yet -- no it's not a book) and sightings of the Snowy Owl. Western PA/New York has been one of the hotspots for the Snowy Owl irruption, and when I drive to work everyday, I keep an eye out for one of our new found feathered friends who has been hanging out by the Jamestown Audubon Center (ironically!). I also just recently finished The Thing With Feathers by Noah Strycker, which is a wonderful collection of essays that explore the similarities we have with the birds around us. (See my brief review here)
Safe travels home from AWP, everyone! And may you recover with happy memories and stacks of great reading!
Harpur Palate has posted my review of Neil Shepard's (T)ravel/Un(T)ravel. Take a look at the review, and then of course, pick up this great collection of poetry.
In case you haven't noticed, I have also posted two informal reviews on my website under Book Picks. The first one is Prairie Silence by Melanie Hoffert, a wonderful sense of place, coming of age/coming out memoir. The second book is Scrap Iron by Mark Jay Brewin Jr. Brewin's first collection of poetry is a great exploration of the working-class world of Southern New Jersey. Take a look!
In the blogging world, I have read a lot about book clubs/reading groups/individuals aiming to read 14 books by women in 2014. My initial thought was, wow, I read a lot -- reading 14 books by women in one year should not be hard.
I keep a list of books I read, so I looked at my tallies for this year. So far, in 2014, I have read 18 books and only four have been by women. That surprised me; thus, I decided to take a look at what I read last year.
In 2013, I read 209 books. I read a lot of different kinds of books, so included in that list are novels, literary nonfiction, nature writing, memoir, poetry, and young adult books. Out of 209 books, 126 books were written by women. To break these numbers down even further, 25 of these books by women were novels, 21 were poetry collections (both chapbooks and full-length collections), and 47 were young adult novels (YA novels are my guilty pleasures). The remaining books were memoir, nature writing, and history. So yes, I read a lot of books by women.
However, what I did notice was that while I read a lot of poetry books by women, I don't read a lot of nature books (books that are comprised by individual essays about nature or book length scientific studies) by women. Since I am trying my hand at nature writing/personal essays, I am realizing that I simply need to read more women writers who are exploring this genre.
For more information about this challenge, see Kathleen Kirk's latest blog post.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.