Surprise !?

Last month I gave away a bag of books. No ordinary grab-bag, mind you, but a carefully selected Surprise Package of Good Books.

And the surprise was partly on me, as the first winner — chosen in a highly unscientific, blindfolded drawing — was a no-show. Oh, Ida, we hardly knew you. In fact, we knew you not at all. Fortunately, the bag of books found a home with our second place winner: Shirley!

And because so many participants have asked (okay, just one) I will now unveil the books you could have won, and could be reading right now. While this tease may seem a bit cruel, do not despair. You can get your grubby little hands on these books; Go to your local library, used bookstore, new bookstore, e-reader — or just hit up Shirley.

Poetry in Person: Twenty-five Years of Conversation with America's Poets
Edited by Alexander Neubauer, this thick volume provides both a historical and insider's experience with a stellar line-up of premier poets.

Pictures of You
The latest novel by Caroline Leavitt showcases the prolific writer's consistent skill at weaving contemporary story with engaging plot.

Living Things: Collected Poems
Anne Porter was 83 when her first collection of poems was published. The book was a finalist for a National Book Award for poetry and was followed by Living Things in 2006. One Minute Book Reviews calls her "an Easter lily in the field of late-blooming poets. . . She describes a world that is, as O’Connor put it, founded on the theological truths of the Faith, but particularly on three of them which are basic – the Fall, the Redemption, and the Judgment . . . Porter transmits her Franciscan joy in created things and reminds us that the idea of the holy is still possible for us."

Haiku Poetry
This slim and unassuming book of poems holds the impressive work of Seattle, Washington-born poet and philosopher James William Hackett, born in 1929. Notable for his work in English, an international award is given in his honor: The James W. Hackett Annual International Award for Haiku, administered by the British Haiku Society.

Waterstone Review
A literary annual published by the Hamline University Graduate School of Liberal Studies, Waterstone published work of all genres as well as essay, reviews and interviews. It's one of my favorite literary journals.


This was fun. Let's do it again soon. In the meantime, do tell, what books have surprised you?