Thumbs up for A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle & Muddle of the Ordinary by Brian Doyle.

Plain-language ecumenical prayers in gratitude for everyday ordinary things. Hard to review, because I think you will either love it or hate it. Test paragraph: the first half of “Prayer for Cashiers and Checkout-Counter Folks”:

Who endure the cold swirls of winter from the sliding doors that are opening and closing every forty seconds; and who endure pomposity and buffoonery and minor madness in their customers; and who gently help the shuffling old lady in the ancient camel coat count out the right change for her load of bread and single sad can of cat food; and cheerfully also disburse stamps and cash along with bagging the groceries and even occasionally carting them out swiftly for the customers they know are frail and wobble; and who must sometimes silently want to scream and shriek in weariness and wondering how it is that they are here for eight hours at a stretch; and who do their jobs with patience and diligence, knowing the price of every single blessed thing in the store;…

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Thumbs up for The Epiplectic Bicycle by Edward Gorey. Poetry.

Marvelous. I love the way the characters appear to be continually in a state of falling over, regardless of whether they actually are or not.

They took a wrong turning and before they knew it, were entering a vast barn;it was too dark to hear anything;it fell down as they came out the other end.

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Thumbs up for The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas by Edward Gorey. Poetry.

Well, it’s Edward Gorey. You know who he is, right? Twisted, clever, hilarious, unique? Again, as always.

‘I am the Spectre of Christmas that Never Was,’ it muttered, ‘and I have come to show you Affecting Scenes.’

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Thumbs up for The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. Literature/poetry.

I loved this. It’s one of my favorites so far this year. The easy summation is Tales of the City told as a series of sonnets…and we’re going to go with that, because that’s exactly what it is, San Franciscan setting, soap-opera plot and all. But it’s the writing that makes it so effervescently delightful.… >> Read more