Write five syllables,
Then seven, then five again.
You got a haiku!
To paraphrase Miles from the Tom Cruise’s 1983 breakthrough Risky Business, Sometimes you just gotta say "What the heck."
Best of the Month posts are staples of the Book Store PD, and finding novel ways to present our editors’ picks (or avoid writing mechanical blurbs about them, especially on a Friday) can be difficult. So here’s something completely unoriginal, if new to this context: haiku. I’m setting the bar low for this exercise, defining haiku as I learned it in elementary school, in the Seattle suburbs of the 1970s: Three lines—five syllables in the first, seven in the middle, and another five in the third. Also, my haiku will lack any of the complexity, subtlety, and thoughtfulness present in actual good haiku, or just other haiku.
Considering that I’ve already written two terrible examples before I even got to the books, I could probably do this all day. Instead, here are just five.
Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart by Mimi Swartz
Barney Clark had
The first artificial heart:
Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology by Lisa Margonelli
Are termites really
(Don’t think about it.)
Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (and Back) by Mara Altman
The words "Don’t go there"
Are meaningless to Altman.
Because she goes there.
Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding… its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis by Sam Anderson
OKC took the
We won’t let it go.
The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen
Get a load of this…
We are a patchwork of genes…
Of non-human genes…
More of the best nonfiction of August, haiku-free:
- Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love, and Equality by Bonnie J. Rough
- Epic Hikes of the World by Lonely Planet
- Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy
- A Deal with the Devil: The Dark and Twisted True Story of One of the Biggest Cons in History by Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken
- Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift
- Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge by Susan Hand Shetterly
- Devil’s Mile: The Rich, Gritty History of the Bowery by Alice Sparberg Alexiou
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