Memorial Weekend Reading

Today begins the Memorial Day Weekend, here in the United States. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Traditionally, it was also a day where families would visit national grave sites and decorate each fallen heroes last resting place.

As writers, it is always important to remember those who have come before us. They inspire us, give our work meaning and depth, and often provide us with clarity in a very unclear world.

Given this, I have compiled a top 10 books to read this weekend while honoring our fallen soldiers. Each image links to the Amazon page or Goodreads page and most can be found at your local library. Happy reading!

1. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

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2. Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

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3. Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead

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4. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace

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5. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

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6. Homer’s The Iliad

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7. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind

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8. Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities

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9. Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables

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10. Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

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Happy National Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration around the world, with readers young and old marking the importance of poetry in our culture and lives. There are many ways to celebrate poetry (reading, writing, going to poetry events, carrying a favorite poem around with you, etc.) and one of my favorite resources to explore this month, Poets.org, has a list of creatives activities to do during April.

One of their suggestions is to carry a poem in your pocket or share some of your favorite poems with your friends.

Now, having read a lot of poetry books in my days as a graduate dragon, I have a large horde of poems that I call my favorites. However, limiting the list to Rosie’s to 10 Poems for 2016, seems too … limiting. I am a dragon writer, after all, and as such I would be embarrassed to show off only 10 gems when I could display 10 treasure chests.

Without much ado, I present to you, A Dragon’s Top 10 Poetry Books:

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The Lorax taught me that you can tell a story, a sad and thoughtful story, through music. I didn’t know, as a kid, why the music came out of everyone who read the Lorax aloud to me, but the music came all the same. This was my first introduction to narrative poetry.

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I know, I know, technically this is not a poetry book. But there are enough memorable poems here to make my list. Also, I did my undergraduate thesis on the poems held inside this treasure chest. Nonsense poetry that hides depth and meaning while teaching the reader how to read … Lewis Carroll was a genius.

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From Lewis Carroll, I found my way to Edgar Allan Poe, writer of the infamous “Raven.” Enough narrative poem. I became hooked soon after this. Poetry began as necessary to me as water.

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It was in High School that I came to love this poet. Something — about her — struck — me — deeply.

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I found myself craving songs with meaning in my high school life. Songs that changed history and then I found Hughes. “Dream Deferred” still rings in me like an unfinished song or a tune caught in my throat.

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I am cheating here because 1) Carlos Bulosan is a treasure all on his own and 2) for some reason I cannot find a full complete collection of his works on line. I can copies of his poems scattered about my files and I keep America is in the Heart by next to my Bible.

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AUDRE LORDE, ENOUGH SAID, MOVING ON!

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“here yet be dragons”
so many languages have fallen
off of the edge of the world
into the dragon’s mouth. some

where there be monsters whose teeth
are sharp and sparkle with lost

people. lost poems. who
among us can imagine ourselves
unimagined? who

among us can speak with so fragile
tongue and remain proud?

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FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY, BUY THIS BOOK! I was so inspired by Ms. Carmen Giménez Smith that I even wrote her a Facebook fan letter.

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I already reviewed this one, but, as with all the books in this list… READ IT IF YOU LOVE POETRY, FANTASY, AND THOUGHTFUL DISCUSSIONS! … cough… roar…

I hope you enjoyed this list and the books found within. What are your favorite collection of poems? Who are your favorite poets? Please comment down below.

As always, peace, love, and pancakes!