Who reads poetry these days? The answer is a million people! Rupi Kaur’s self-published book has sold over a million copies and has been a New York Times best seller for over 52 weeks. It is modern poetry, from the perspective of the woman of today. The poems are both feminist and reflective at the same time. Like any collection of poetry, it has a few gems – thoughts so engaging, words so beautifully crafted – that the words just roll off the eyes, leaving a strong impact. And then there are those are ordinary and barely poetry. I am not sure if the huge success if fully deserved – the explicit angle certainly helps. An interesting read, overall.
Set in the period just after the civil war, ‘News of the World’ is a sweet story of an old man and a young girl bonding in strange circumstances. Johanna had been kidnapped by Indians as a child, and after years with them, she is being returned to her relatives. Captain Kidd, the old gentleman, who makes his living reading news of the world in small towns, is tasked with taking her to her relatives. Thus begins an unusual journey, where the girl, with no English, and Indian in her ways, and the old man forge a bond that lasts a life time. Jiles does a good job capturing the tumultuous tension of the period, where everything was unsettled and new norms were being put in place (she ignores the race aspect completely though). A little verbose at times with the setting, but a smooth read overall.