Tag Archives: gifts



1. It’s Black History Month. Read a selection to celebrate African Americans, their history and contributions to society. What about Twelve Years A Slave, the book that inspired the award winning movie? Author Rachel Kushner calls it an incredible document. I also recommend The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkinson’s sweeping, readable history of migration of African-Americans from the South to the North and West. If you wish to listen to a more recent voice, Men We Reap by Jesmyn West is an emotional and riveting memoir. (See readeatlive.com posted January 2, 2014 and accessed through the January archives or search by title for Missing Mississippi.)

2. Honor the work of the late, acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman by seeing one of his movies: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Capote (2005), Moneyball (2011) Doubt (2008) or your personal favorite.

3. Read a good romance, perhaps Anna Quindlen’s new book Still Life With Bread Crumbs. This may be the one for you.

4. Enjoy a pizza! Here are few suggestions: Mellow Mushroom, found all over the south and a few are showing up in the West, Pizzalley in St. Augustine, Buddy’s Pizza, numerous locations in the Detroit area, Rastrelli’s in Clinton Iowa or try the latest light pizza in your neighborhood.

5. House of Cards is available Feb. 14 from Netflix. Watch one of the hottest shows on television as much and as fast as you can. Robin Wright is unforgettable.

6. See an Oscar nominated movie you have missed so far: Philomena, Dallas Buyers’s Club, Captain Phillips, Nebraska, American Hustle or the one you most want to see.

7. Read a new book from the bestseller list. What about Sycamore Row by John Grisham or The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt?

8. Give a gift to your Valentine: flowers, chocolate, a Starbucks date, a romantic dinner, a trip to your favorite museum or a couple’s workout. A bottle of your sweetheart’s favorite wine and a trip to the beach to watch the stars sounds like an exceptional gift for the occasion.

9. Walk a winter trail or a beach. Climb an Arizona Mountain Trail or hike Saguaro National Park. Try the Riverwalk in Detroit or Tulsa’s River Trail along the Arkansas River. Hit the nearest State Park in Kentucky, Illinois, Florida or wherever you are.

10. Learn more about our February presidents: Washington and Lincoln. These recommended books will be well worth your time. 1776 by David McCullough, George Washington: The Crossing by Mark Levin, Writing the Gettysburg Address by Martin P. Johnson, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.



Aren’t we all looking for a special Christmas gift? When you give a slender new volume of poems, the person who receives it is likely to hold it close, then gaze at the cover, and before long turn randomly to a page and take a taste by trying out a line or two. Recently, a good friend sent me a link concerning new releases in poetry.

New releases in poetry, hmmmmm, the perfect way for poetry to grace the home page of this blog. Some suggestions on this list are published by Knopf Doubleday, but I have added others as well. All of the poetry listed here is written by poets I have read and enjoyed, or by poets I would like to explore further. All are recently published. One of them might be the special gift of poetry you are looking to find.

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins.
This poet has broad appeal and this volume is said to include some of his best work.

April Twilights and Other Poems by Willa Cather
This new edition reproduces her early poems and some previously unpublished poems along with a selection of newly released letters. Lyrical poems, ballad, and sonnets were forms she used to communicate her sensitivity to the landscapes in the West that later became such an important part of her prose.

The Crooked Inheritance by Marge Piercy.
Subjects of the poems in this collection range from current events to the poet’s childhood in Detroit. I have always found her poems very accessible and would expect these to especially speak to those familiar with Detroit and those interested in the news of our times.

Poems 1962-2012 by Louise Gluck
This volume includes poems from her book A Village Life (my favorite) spoken in the voices of the people in a Mediterranean town, as well as many of her finest poems from a long and distinguished career.

A Walk with Thomas Jefferson by Philip Levine.
This author is well known for poems about working class life in Detroit. The inspiration for the title poem is an African American living in a run-down area of industrial Detroit.
This poet is a favorite of many readers and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

I encourage you to search for a gift of poetry. What a good excuse to go to your favorite book store. Peruse the shelves. You may well find something that appeals to you more than any of the titles suggested here. Happy hunting. Joy for you and the recipient.