From My Bookshelf: Upstream, Lake, Ocean

In celebration of the first month of summer, I’ve pulled three books from my bookshelf that each feature a body of water in their title: Upstream by Mary Oliver, The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Learn more about the From My Bookshelf series here on my blog, and keep reading for some of my thoughts on these three books.

From My Bookshelf | Upstream | Book CoverUpstream
Mary Oliver

I’ve only recently become familiar with Mary Oliver and her work, but my fondness for her words makes me feel like I’ve been reading them forever. Upstream is a collection of selected essays that follows “Oliver as she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, her boundless curiosity for the flora and fauna that surround her, and the responsibility she has inherited from Shelley, Wordsworth, Emerson, Poe, and Frost…to live thoughtfully and intelligently, and to observe with passion.” (from the summary). This book is a recent addition to my shelves, and the first of my future Mary Oliver collection. I would share my favorite essay with you, but I could not pick one – I truly love each one.

From My Bookshelf | The Lake | Book CoverThe Lake
Banana Yoshimoto
(translated by Michael Emmerich)

Another recent addition to my bookshelves, the paperback cover of this book is what caught my attention (I love when the title of a book is the star of the design). After reading the short summary about the author on the back – which states that this is Banana Yoshimoto’s 13th book of fiction – and the first few pages of the story, I knew I had to take it home. The story is written in first person and has a quick pace, and there are no chapters or designated parts/sections/acts; there are clear paragraph breaks but those feel like opportunities to take a breath before continuing to read (in other words, they feel perfectly placed). I look forward to reading the rest of the book (I’m doing so for the #20booksofsummer Challenge).

From My Bookshelf | The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Book CoverThe Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman

One of the long-term residents of my TBR, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of those books with a synopsis that is clear and straightforward, but can’t possibly capture the underlying complexities and magic of the story. At least, that’s the impression I get from reviews and discussions about this book – again, it’s one of the unread books on my bookshelves. This hardcover edition does have deckled edges, but I’m hoping that’s the only thing about this book that disappoints me.


Are you familiar with any of these books or authors? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and let me know if any of them have a place on your bookshelves.

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