LLA Reads: Beneath the Ordinary Surface
At Louisville Literary Arts, we all love to read. But our interests in literature are as varied as hats on Derby Day. Some of us gravitate toward poetry, while others prefer an epic novel. A few of us love reading creative nonfiction. In this space, we recommend recent books we've read, and hope that you'll find something just right for your reading list.
Adam recommends: NATURAL HISTORY by Dan Chiasson (Knopf, 2005)
"Dan Chiasson’s NATURAL HISTORY blew my mind. The genuineness of that text’s irony, visceral nature, raw emotion, and linguistic play set Chiasson apart from a flurry of younger poets trying to sing similar songs. Then I read the title poem of his third volume, WHERE'S THE MOON, THERE'S THE MOON in the Spring 2008 issue of THE PARIS REVIEW and found myself absolutely absorbed in the long poem. Needless to say I’m scratching at the walls to get my hands on the full book in February. People say a lot of things in blurbs of praise, but I believe Chiasson, more so than almost any other poet of his generation, might be a poet whose books will be eagerly anticipated far into his career."
Amy recommends: THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll (Margaret K McElderry, 2015)
Genre: Graphic Novel
"Completely chilling and gorgeous, Carroll’s stories will haunt you long after reading them. These stories, which are set in a land of villages and deep dark woods, have ambiguous endings that resonate to nightmarish effect. Carroll’s tales are wonderfully heightened by her imagery, which is both beautiful and creepy at the same time. Carroll’s use of color, stains of red and blue, serve as sharp contrast to the darkness that permeates her world. As the wolf advises the young girl who has just made it home safely after journeying along a long and dark path, he didn’t get her this time. But she has to walk that path every night, and he only has to attack and devour her once… (shiver)"
Alice recommends: WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple (Little, Brown, 2012)
"This was a book with a lot of well-deserved hype surrounding it. Bernadette is the ultimate stay-at-home mom who gave up her stunning career as a genius in her field after her much-beloved daughter, Bee, was born. That's about where the predictability ends (and even that is not at all as simple as it sounds), as Bee picks through the details of her mother's life to determine why she left right before Christmas, and how to find her. From the house supported by wild tangles of blackberries to the Russian mafia pretending to be a personal assistant from India, this book took me to the far reaches of my imagination in a wry and absurdly funny way. I was not surprised, after finishing the book, to see that Semple has been writer for the TV show ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. She has a gift for believably weaving the absurd into an average family home."