Emily Dickinson On Reading

By Alison June 7, 2010 10 Comments 1 Min Read

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire could ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off I know that is poetry.”
You know it’s been a long time since a book made me feel like as if the top of my head were taken off. Weeks go by and I sense the vacuum a truly absorbing, all encompassing book usually fills.
Tell me now, what have you read recently that you want to tell the world about? Which is the book you regard as poetry? Do tell, because there is nothing quite like a recommendation from a friend is there?


  1. madhu, kathmandu says:

    If you are courageous enough to enter an entirely different world of beauty, chivalry, passion and poesy, read Guy Gavriel Kay's books such as "A Song for Arbonne" or "The Lions of Al-Rassan". His characters come alive, his prose is exquisite, the breadth of his imagination sublime – historic fantasy at its very best !
    madhu, kathmandu

    1. Brocante says:

      You know what, I do believe I am feeling courageous! And after reading the rave reviews on Amazon about "A Song for Arbonne" I couldn't resist ordering it, cos I am in the mood for traversing a whole new path and occasionally only fantasy truly fits the bill.
      Thank you so much for the author introduction…

  2. Gena says:

    I know the feeling! the trouble is,I am a fickle reader,I hover between trashy novels and delightful prose! there are a few books I am waiting to be published,firstly on my wish list is;furious love,the love letters of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton,in the same vein;Damn you Scarlett O'Hara,(vivien Leigh/Laurence Olivier) I notice the new Bill Bryson is out,my last real good read was a Marian Keyes novel,The brightest star in the sky,because she always makes me laugh and cry in equal measures,when I am really struggling for something to read,I often re read one of my favourite books,Behind the scenes at the museum by Kate Atkinson,if you havent read this,then you must,it is one of the most well written books I have ever read and it still delights me.

    1. Brocante says:

      Oooh now then: The Brightest Star In the Sky… my Mum loved this and though it's been sitting at the side of my bed since Christmas, two chapters in and I'm really struggling, and yep I usually agree that Marion Keyes is a guaranteed good read, so I'm going to try again. If you love it too, I'm bound to aren't I? It's just the fairy/ghost thing was freaking me out…
      As for Scenes At the Museum, agreed- it was utterly wonderful and highly recommended to anyone seeking something truly absorbing…
      And the Hollywood books sounds fab! Two more for the wishlist…
      Thanks Gena!

  3. Annelie says:

    The danish author Carsten Jensen has written an epic story about the fisher men and sailors in the danish town of Marstal. It is a magic but still harsh realistic novel of the lives of people who are dependent on an unpredictable sea. The book is called "We, the Drowned" and is especially suited for summerdays, since it is long and quite easy to read while not compromising with the quality of the text and it is divided into smaller sections, so it is no disaster if you need to leave it for a while.

  4. madhu, kathmandu says:

    Hi Alison – it's Madhu from Kathmandu again – you might also like to check out Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel novels on Amazon – adult reading only – I'll say no more !!
    Love your web site – have been an avid follower for some time – it's a lovely link to my once home country – haven't been back to UK for 18 years !

  5. Gill says:

    I was well caught up by Winter in Madrid by CJ Sansom, set in post civil war Spain. But mostly recently I seem to have been scraping the bottom of the barrel/bookshelf and am dying to see what your readers recommend…

  6. Laur says:

    Never in a Hurry by Naomi Shihab Nye–a poet's essays on her life as a Palestinian-American: food, culture, history. The best book I've read in months!!
    I'm also reading The Revolution from Within–Gloria Steinem & The Miracle of Mindfulness–Thich Nhat Hanh. (I couldn't put Nye's down last night!)

  7. fromthepines says:

    The Help and Winter Garden. I have read both of these a few weeks ago and they are still with me and yes I did feel like my head popped off!

  8. Lissie says:

    Speaking of Emily Dickinson "Afternoons with Emily" by Rose MacMurray is a treat. Though the title is a slight misnomer, the first portion of the book doesn't include Dickinson at all; however the book is chock full of Victorian domesticity.
    "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield was utterly absorbing. My favorite passage comes almost at the beginning of the book – about absorption in reading in fact – "I was spellbound. There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic. When I at last woke up to myself, I could only guess what had been going on in the darkness of my unconsciousness."

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