So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
So for this month’s edition of “So You Want to Read…”, I’ve decided to focus on Federico Garcia Lorca, another Spanish artist but from the early twentieth century. It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten now as to how I first stumbled across his works but I haven’t looked back since; I’ve read both his poetry and his plays and I consider him to be my absolute favourite poet. I love the feelings he evokes through his imagery, his use of words, that sense of duende. If you’ve never read any of his works, here’s the three I recommend starting with:
- his early poetry (review) — He’s written a number of collections, but I love his early works the most, his ghazals. Honestly I could just say pick up his poetry, period, but I do find my least favourite are his poems from New York; they’re a little longer, he was trying a different form, and it just didn’t quite work for me compared to his other poems. But do check the review link I posted there and the one over here for a sampling of some of his poems.
- Blood Wedding (review) — From the four plays I’ve read by him, this one stands out the most in my memory. The tragedy is on a number of different levels, that sense of inevitability in the decisions that these characters make, and the imagery evoked here is just fantastic. Re-reading the plays again two years ago this still stood out for me.
- Yerma (review) — This play was depressing but it’s quite a study in a marriage lacking in communication, lacking in direction where both parties have different outlooks and goals in life, gender roles and personal fulfillment. My heart really went out for Yerma.
And that’s my list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Federico Garcia Lorca! Have you read any of his works? If so, which one is your favourite? Which titles have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
By: Kimberly McCreight
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.
An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.
Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.
Yeah, I was on a bit of a roll reading all of these thrillers some time ago. And I had been curious about this title for a while, it kept cropping up on Kobo whenever I was browsing over there. So I finally decided to check it out.
I feel like this post is a long time coming, lol. Anyway, I’ve been talking about it for months over at my Bookish and Not-So-Bookish posts that I’ve been working to self-publish some of my poetry. Well, it’s finally here.
Shall I Be a Poet Instead? is my debut poetry collection. I think I mentioned it here that I started writing poetry again last year, this time on a more regular basis, and this is the culmination of that. Back in January I started sorting through my poetry (actually sorting into two chapbooks; I meant to release the second one later this year but that got pushed back as I need to reshuffle/add/remove poems into the current line-up) and went through a few rounds of editing and moving around, trying to get a feel of the book. Not to mention endlessly reading up on copyright rules regarding font (ended up using a font that’s generally available on all word processors to avoid any kefuffle, as well as my own handwriting for the titles 😛 ) and other fine print.
By the time I left for my trip I had a good feeling about the line-up but didn’t get down to the nitty-gritty of the details to upload to Lulu until I got back. Then, as I mentioned in a post before, there was the details about getting an ISBN with the Canadian government before I finally uploaded my baby to Lulu for proofing. The proofing came back and I was pretty happy with it (a bit bigger than I had expected, dimensions-wise, but I can live with that, lol). Just the fact that it’s in my hands was quite something, really. Took me a bit more time between the time that I got the proof to posting about it because of some details about the approval; I’ve sent it to be included in the search over at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., but it won’t be showing up over there for up to 6-8 weeks (boo).
But! In the meantime you can purchase it directly from Lulu.com: Shall I Be a Poet Instead? 🙂 My understanding is that it does ship worldwide but do let me know if it doesn’t. I admit, I’m not quite so organised just yet, I haven’t ordered a crate of copies myself to distribute or whatnot but I hope to do so shortly. But expect a little more activity on my end in the coming days and weeks as I get up to speed on that end and get the word out! I just wanted to share with you all in the meantime what I’ve been up to all this time :3
I’ll be posting more of my poetry over at my Instagram as well but there’s a bit of a preview of what’s inside 😉
Leonardo and the Last Supper
By: Ross King
Format/Source: Hardback; my copy
Early in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history’s most influential and beloved works of art-The Last Supper. After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at forty-three, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza’s father: His 75 tons of bronze had been expropriated to be turned into cannons to help repel a French invasion of Italy. The commission to paint The Last Supper in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it were not promising: Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size-15′ high x 30′ wide-but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco.
In his compelling new book, Ross King explores how-amid war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations-Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting. Examining who served as the models for the Apostles, he makes a unique claim: that Leonardo modeled two of them on himself. Reviewing Leonardo’s religious beliefs, King paints a much more complex picture than the received wisdom that he was a heretic. The food that Leonardo, a vegetarian, placed on the table reveals as much as do the numerous hand gestures of those at Christ’s banquet. As King explains, many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is ever more interesting. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Ross King presents an original portrait of one of the world’s greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.
I read Ross King’s Brunelleschi’s Dome a few years ago (review) and greatly enjoyed it; it was an informative book that left me with a new appreciation of the dome in Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore. I had been meaning to read more of his books so here we are 🙂
By: Robert Harris
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
The Pope is dead.
Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.
They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.
Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.
Firstly, my edition has a different book cover, but anyway, I’ve been eyeing this book since I first heard of it last year. I came across the mass market paperback whilst I was in Reykjavik and decided to pick it up immediately (luggage space will be made) as I had a feeling it wasn’t going to come out in that format in North America (I was right). Moving along in my thriller reading spree, I decided to read this book next, and during break at work (format and everything is best to unwind with).