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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

April Book Reviews Are IN!

This month I bring 2 exciting new releases to your attention by poets Nicholas Trandahl and Melissa Jennings, and an old classic by a fabulous fiction writer, Zadie Smith.

Poetry Reads:

Think of Me


Nicholas Trandahl

Blurb: Nicholas Trandahl presents a stark and authentic work with his newest collection, Think of Me. Stories and observations rife with melancholy, adventure, and naturalism are displayed in the simple and honest verse he’s known for. Through this sincere poetic style, Trandahl informs us all, no matter our background, that the ordinary is actually quite extraordinary.

Nicholas writes with an appreciation of the world around him, details which others may miss. The imagery in this book is truly impressive: 'Thick soupy dog 'Sliver of dawn 'Sunlight is splattered ' Descriptions which leave images very clearly in my mind! It is refreshing to here love in the word 'wife' and the way in which Trandahl writes about his relationship is raw and stripped back which, in itself, creates beauty. Sometimes there is a cynical feel to the writing, or a certain sadness, but if we can't express this in our writing, where can we?

The Body Remembers


Melissa Jennings

Blurb: In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, the short poetry collection will address sexual assault, drawing on the author's own experience by examining what happens to bodies and minds after being assaulted.

My review: I was excited to be given an early reading copy of this book. I am a big fan of Melissa's other poetry books and I was very much looking forward to what I knew would be both a painful and rewarding read.Melissa navigates that which their body cannot forget: the pain of feeling powerless and disconnected from one's own self, one's own body.A difficult but necessary read in which Melissa tells their story in their own way and no doubt, brings power and strength not only to themself through writing this book, but to readers who need to know they are not alone.

Fiction Reads:

On Beauty


Zadie Smith

Blurb: Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering professor at Wellington, a liberal New England arts college. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths: Levi quests after authentic blackness, Zora believes that intellectuals can redeem everybody, and Jerome struggles to be a believer in a family of strict atheists. Faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Or the encore.

Four dimensional, complex characters, who I feel so in love with, that the plot simply being their lives unfolding, was perfect in itself. There is a theme of coming to love your own body and your own life (as you get older) which I believe is an important message for so many. Kiki and Howard's marriage falters constantly as they change perceptions of themselves and each other - getting old is not kind to either, but somehow they fall back together and somehow, despite myself, I don't judge the characters for this. I can't believe this is my first time reading Zadie Smith but now I will just have to read all of her books!

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