Tuesday, 3 May 2011

of books and roses

Today is the day of the book and the rose in Finland. Traditionally, women would on this day give men a book in exchange for a rose, but these days it is mostly a celebration of literature. Accordingly, I spent the day at a bookstore writing custom poems for members of the public with our creative writing class.

(The way it works, you fill in a poem order, wait for thirty minutes while it gets written, then collect it and admire. Free of charge, too! Writing them is brilliant fun but utterly exhausting.)

In celebration of this day, let's discuss books, shall we.

What was the last book you read? (I just finished Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel.) How did it make you feel? (Enlightened, surprisingly. Also annoyed.)

What was the last book that made you cry, and why? (The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. I keep rereading it and falling more and more in love with it every time. I think I wept mostly because the language is so beautiful, and also for the unfairness of love.)

Do you read poetry and if so, who is your favourite poet? (I do, my favourites include e.e. cummings, Aila Meriluoto, Pentti Saarikoski, Ema Saiko, Hafiz, Allen Ginsberg, Kirsi Kunnas, Sappho, W.H. Auden and many more.)

Recommend me something to read! (I recommend If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. Ja teille, jotka puhuvat suomea, Harry Salmenniemen runokokoelma Texas, sakset on pirun hyvä.)

Also, I seem to have lost the source of the photo above. If you recognize it, please link me to the source. Much appreciated!


  1. The last book I read was Snow Angels by James Thompson, crime fiction, set in Finland incidentally!

    I don't cry very easily at all, the only thing I'll ever cry at apart from things that happen in my own life is music. If literature makes me sad I feel more... numb inside. I don't think any books have made me feel like this but poems certainly have.

    My favourite poet is Thomas Hardy. I also love certain lyricists.

    I would reccommend Wuthering Heights if you haven't read it already.

  2. what a gorgeous day! the last thing i read was a separate peace for the second time and i found the whole thing really lovely.

    my favorite poet: jeffrey mcdaniel. period. done.

  3. I'm almost done with American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, which - I can almost guarantee - is totally not something you would be interested in ;) It's quite the satire on 80s American culture, and the humor in it is amazingly dark and gruesomely violent. I find it pretty hilarious in all the wrong ways.
    I don't remember the last book that made me cry. At least, recently. Where the Red Fern Grows is definitely a tear jerker. But I read that when I was 8.
    My favorite poet is - without a doubt - Brian Patten. His collection of love poems is so beautiful. My blog is named after one of his poems, and I put the poem on the side bar of my blog if you want to pop over and read it.
    I highly recommend Gone With the Wind, as it is probably the most beautifully written book I've ever read. Also the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. His writing in in a league of its own, and reading his endless, meandering sentences it is like sipping fine wine.

  4. Thank you all for your recommendations! So many books, so little time, as Frank Zappa said, but I'll be looking into these.

  5. i LOVE this. i've never heard of that holiday!!!!! but i amd for sure going to start celebrating it. mays are just packed with good stuff.

    also, sadly, i can't remember what i read last (SAD), but i am currently reading anne of green gables, which i LOVE. if you've never read it, you MUST. anne is such an adorable little character. i seem to be caught up in children's literature these days.

    current favorite poet would have to be langston hughes......how could i not want to read about harlem nights, love, and dreams?......he was a dreamy man.