A number of English major alums have asked the English Department faculty to suggest books that they might read, so Prof. Root has inquired, and the titles are starting to flow in. Below are recent recommendations along with their recommenders (in alphabetical order). Enjoy!
Maura D’Amore: On Immunity, by Eula Biss; The First Bad Man, by Miranda July; The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson. (!!!! THOSE BOOKS MAKE ME SO FREAKING HAPPY)
Greg Delanty: I’m reading Wallace Stevens Collected Poems—from start to finish. He is a must. A Reader’s Guide to Wallace Stevens by Eleanor Cook helps usually when I don’t understand.Also on my desk are an anthology of Cork poetry edited by Cliona Ní Riordain, and I have Stevie Smith there also and Robinson Jeffers (a signed copy of Give your Heart to the Hawks—I’m a little disappointed with it—there are a few great short poems, ‘Triad’ or ‘Shane O’Neills Cairn,’ but many aren’t so good ). I’m also reading poems that people send me to look at. Recommended reading for everyone: The comedies of Shakespeare, especially As You like It, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Much Ado about Nothing. The collected poems of the Australian poet, Gwen Harwood, whose sonnet ‘In The Park’ is something very special. The New Zealand poet James K Baxter, brilliant and not well known. Michael Palma’s translation of Dante’s Inferno is brilliant and very readable. Michael Palmer’s translations of the modern Italian poet Raboni—my favorite modern Italian poet is definitely Saba, who everyone should read. The Poems of T.S. Eliot, Volume One, annotated by Christopher Ricks— there are sides to Eliot not evident in his previously published poetry, for instance ‘The Triumph of Bullshit.’ Also the annotations include quotes from his letters, such as this one to George Barker: “But in publishing poetry you are publishing primarily for the hundred or so best readers–if you get a larger public that is all for the good, but it can’t be aimed at,” or the story behind the poems and books, such as the advertisement for his first book which ran as: “Pinfrock and other Observations.” The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin (many previously unpublished), edited and annotated by Archie Burnett—for the same reasons as the Eliot above.
Liz Inness-Brown: All the books by Carol Shields, but especially Larry’s Party, the two-novels-in-one-book Happenstance, and Pulitzer-Prize winning The Stone Diaries. Shields is a master of characterization, and her sentences are beyond beautiful.
Nat Lewis: Recently I’ve read Richard Ford’s Canada and a number of mysteries (by, e.g., Louise Penny and Jussi Adler-Olsen).
Will Marquess: Four I’ve enjoyed lately: Julian Barnes, Levels of Life; Anne Enright, The Green Road; Jack Gilbert, Collected Poems; and Enrique Vila-Matas, Because She Never Asked.
Bob Niemi: Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails (Other Press, 2016); Thomas Frank, Listen, Liberal (Metropolitan Books, 2016); Diane Johnstone, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (CounterPunch Books, 2016); Adrian Tomine, Killing and Dying: Six Stories (Drawn & Quarterly, 2016).
Christina Root: I always have such a hard time recommending books, because I usually feel several ways about the books I read! Nevertheless! Some of the books I have enjoyed over the past few months have been H.G. Wells, Anna Veronica; Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass; Craig Holdrege, Thinking Like a Plant; Henry James, Portrait of a Lady; Olive Schreiner, Story of an African Farm; and Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks.