Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventures in Reading

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers, by Amy Stewart; Algonquin Books
People around the world buy more flowers a year than they do Big Macs, spending billions of dollars annually. We use them to mark our most important events, to express sentiments that might otherwise go unsaid. And we demand perfection. So it’s no surprise that there is a $40 billion global industry devoted to making flowers flawless. Stewart takes us inside the flower trade, bringing to light the complex life of flowers. Who knows? This book may compel us to return to something purer, more local.

A Hundred White Daffodils, by Jane Kenyon; Graywolf Press
Jane Kenyon died of leukaemia in 1995. Accessible, earnest, and devoid of urbane ironies, the essays here focus mostly on either her small (New England) country community or her garden, examining her growing spiritual life and what it is to live while things are going on inside without one's knowledge or consent. Also covered are notions of writing, and, in one of the interviews, a discussion of her struggle with depression. The book succeeds in illuminating a poet and woman of remarkable presence.

Another Beauty, by Adam Zagajewski; University of Georgia Press
Zagajewski is one of Poland's most important poets. Born as Poland was delivered from Nazism to Communism, Zagajewski became philosopher and poet in a society in which ideology always trumped reality and excellence was not always rewarded. This elegant scrapbook is full of pithy and compelling observations on art and society, of luminous descriptions of Krakow and Paris, where Zagajewski now lives. If not a book for everyone, it will be taken very close to heart by those who decide it is definitely for them.

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