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Grant Barber RSS Feed (scituate, MA)

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fungus skull eye wing: Selected Poems of Alfonso D'Aquino
fungus skull eye wing: Selected Poems of Alfonso D'Aquino
by Alfonso D'. Aquino
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.50
43 used & new from $9.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Mexican poet worth knowing, January 4, 2014
We're in the midst it seems of hearing important, new-to-English readers translations of Latin American literature. If Gander is the translator, you already know to pay attention. D'Aquino brings sophisticated, idiosyncratic, and profound joining of poetic concerns with the natural world. This is a poetry volume that bears repeated readings; Gander's translations of the Spanish text, provided in the facing pages, are fascinating.

Microsoft Surface RT (32GB)
Microsoft Surface RT (32GB)
Offered by DIGJUNGLE
Price: $229.99
240 used & new from $156.89

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Headache, September 1, 2013
It's my own fault: didn't do the research ahead of time. Got this instead of a laptop. Does come with Office. It's shiny. But can't download iTunes; the RSS feeds I can use won't take tumblr addresses; and I couldn't get it to accept USB stick transfer of pictures and documents from old laptop. Much harder to navigate than seems necessary, in part because of the Microsoft 10 business. It shouldn't be such an ordeal to figure out basics like how to turn the sound off.

Ghost Lights: A Novel
Ghost Lights: A Novel
by Lydia Millet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.45
82 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writer, but too rich a diet for me, November 28, 2011
This review is from: Ghost Lights: A Novel (Hardcover)
Millet in the first five pages packs more witty, original, insightful observations and metaphors than most writers might do in an entire novel. After a steady diet of such fare, paragraph after paragraph, with no nuance between what merits such deliberate treatment and what might just move the story along: well, it felt to me like sitting down to a dinner where every dish is loaded with buttery contrast of flavors. That's my main quibble with the book. A minor one is how Millet gives the protagonist first a job of drudgery, a wife who might be having an affair--who is certainly distant emotionally--then a damaged car from hitting a curb, an adult daughter who is a parapeligic from a childhood accident--who then Millet has to make into a phone sex worker, which the dad discovers by overhearing conversations? That last bit is where I felt like things had gone plot-wise over the top. When Hal the protagonist breaks free of such a heavy gravitational pull--he heads to Belize to find his wife's missing boss/maybe lover in a modern knight errant, quixotic mission of discovery then the sometimes painful humor zings.

The Sisters Brothers: A Novel
The Sisters Brothers: A Novel
by Patrick deWitt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.43
101 used & new from $0.01

65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Run-amuck Imagination, April 26, 2011
This deWitt is someone to watch out for. Liked his first, Abulutions, although I had an acquaitance going through the DTs and rehab just about the time it came out; deWitt was a bit too spot on for me, given the timing. Now here comes a book do people come up with this wildly imaginative, unique, witty characters, plotting, tone? The novel is episodic, but hangs together well. There is a bit of archetypal skeleton under the book: quest into new territory by protagonist(s), allowing for new experiences, encounters, growth into self, some moral decisions to be made, and then return in the aftermath. There is a fun-house hall of mirrors similarity here to McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. This novel is darkly comedic though. I've hit a string of books recently that have had interesting style, but predictable plot...once you get down the literary tricks and style (when I start a book I like to immerse myself into the first 1/3 to 1/2), no need it seems to finish; just read the last couple of pages to confirm what you already suspected. Not here. Great wedding of plot to style to imaginative twists and turns. The book gets even stronger as you go along. One of the highlights of the year so far in reading for me. If deWitt has staying power he'll be his own version of Delillo or Stanley Elkins; I really, really hope this is so.

Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems
Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems
by Charles Wright
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.50
49 used & new from $6.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master at work, April 17, 2011
I am embarrased at the memory of being a grad student invited to join Charles Wright for dinner with my prof and a few other grad students before a reading: I was unexperienced in much of life, wishing to impress, but not with equipment to have any real conversation. I'm now an Episcopal priest, seen a bit of life...maybe the same age now that Wright was then, at that dinner table. How I wish I could repeat the opportunity. Wright was then and is now a master of tone, substance, art. I've followed his ruminations about matters spiritual/religious/metaphysical. I still don't share his interest in Asian poets and poetic matters, and probably never will, but have brought his poems with me on several trips to Italy. Wright has entered a third stage in his writing--I'm not stating anything earth shattering here, as anyone who is familiar with his 'trinitarian' publishing history knows. My time as a grad student came at the conclusion of his vatic, short poetry. His period of long forms--long lines, long journal poems--was a satisfying turn. Now he is more, hmmm, 'quotidian' isn't the right word....grounded in the personal and natural though (where so many poets start off, w/all the attendant shallowness that Wright transcends). If I were ever to get ambitious, I think I'd like to take one of his predominating images/concepts...say 'stillness' or images celestial, perhaps the color white ("White ants, white ants, and the little ribs" was almost a religious chant we grad students took up) and follow it through the first two Selected collections: Country Music and World of Ten Thousand Things, into this third selected poems.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2011 10:31 PM PDT

The Tiger's Wife: A Novel
The Tiger's Wife: A Novel
by Téa Obreht
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.69
370 used & new from $0.01

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagination, April 17, 2011
No need to repeat the plot. I found all three strands--the narrative grounded in reality as doctors go on a medical mission, the fellow who reads death in a tea cup, and the tiger's wife--effective. I want to now how someone comes up with these ideas, how s/he understands them woven together. I also want someone to tell me if the author really ever resolves the question of why the grandfather travelled to the far away villiage to die.

Abbott Awaits: A Novel (Yellow Shoe Fiction)
Abbott Awaits: A Novel (Yellow Shoe Fiction)
by Chris Bachelder
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.82
36 used & new from $3.08

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot on, April 17, 2011
I know it won't say much to some, but my first response to the book is a simple, "Yes." That's a fairly all encompassing affirmation: style, substance, insights, tone, voice, structure. And I am so glad to be older now, past the stage in life so ably captured. If I were to start a men's reading group, this would be the book I begin with...hmmmm.

The Diviner's Tale
The Diviner's Tale
by Bradford Morrow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.77
130 used & new from $0.01

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely satisfying read, December 24, 2010
This review is from: The Diviner's Tale (Hardcover)
Here is an author whom I have dearly missed. I'm so glad he is back. Morrow is an author here in masterly control of plot, character, tone; at an even more basic level, he is using words within the time proven tradition of telling a tale well. What he is doing, by my best lights, isn't writing a gothic novel, nor a thriller, and not a mystery. He's telling the story of a woman and her family who live on the edge between the mundane and the profound. He tells a story of good facing evil. He is telling a story about reality.

The Best Spiritual Writing 2011
The Best Spiritual Writing 2011
by Philip Zaleski
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.40
93 used & new from $0.01

0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great essay selection....but Billy Collins?, December 11, 2010
As usual with this series, the essays represent both conservative (First Things) and progressive (Orion); a breadth of spirituality and religious perspectives.

But...Billy Collins?

Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture
Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture
by David Stephenson
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from $124.16

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has to make 'best of' lists for 2010, November 1, 2010
Amazing, moving, profound, wonderful....I can easily continue until I run out of adjectives. I bought this book with the plan to enjoy it for a while then pass it on to a friend as a gift; I am now quite ambivalent about this plan. The photographs (HOW did he take them?) cover the vaults of Gothic churches in at least England, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Italy...? I've seen first hand maybe a handful of those he's pictured, although I question now whether I've truly 'seen' them. In addition to now making a life list of churches I want to see if I have the chance to return to Europe, I found several ways to enjoy this collection. First, flip through from front to back slowly, get a feel for the range of colors and designs. Then take them one by one, staying with those which really move you. Hold the book within 12 inches of your eyes and stare at the center so that your vision takes in the whole. Look at each picture noting its three dimensional quality. Look at each picture as if it is two dimensional. Pick out component details of the vault. Repeat.

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