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April’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 11th April 2023

In April’s stories and extracts, we discover that what we see on the outside doesn’t always reflect what is happening for someone in their lives. There are ways in which we can help someone, or indeed ask for help ourselves, and sometimes this may prove to be more of a dilemma than at other times. Reading these pieces of literature, we can find moments that challenge us to look at different perspectives other than our own – something we often need to do in Shared Reading – as well as finding that there is hope and beauty, as well as things that can be considered extraordinary, to be taken from the most trying of times.

April’s selection features a first preview at The Reader Bookshelf 2023-24, which has the theme ‘Weathering The Storm’. The full list of Bookshelf texts will be released later this month, so keep your eyes peeled! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy delving into selections from two of the texts, the short story collection Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and A Year with Rilke, a collection of Rainer Maria Rilke’s writings, translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.

April’s stories and extracts are:

‘Silences’ (extract from Go Tell It on the Mountain) by James Baldwin

‘Cathedral’ by Raymond Carver

‘Something Like Happy’ by John Burnside

‘What shall I do?’ (extract from The Pilgrim’s Progress) by John Bunyan

‘Interpreter of Maladies’ by Jhumpa Lahiri

There is a certain sense of universality to be found in this month’s selection of poems, but once more, we’re reminded of how a singular thing which can be perceived by many and appears the same for all, such as the song of a bird, can evoke different feelings and individual memories. As with all really good poems that work well in Shared Reading, April’s choices encourage us to explore and celebrate differences, as well as search for common experiences and feelings.

‘These things I know as much as you’ by Kei Miller

‘Originally’ by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Bach at St David’s’ by Gillian Clarke

‘The Soul as Thought Experiment’ by John Burnside

‘Endlessly Offered into Life’ by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

If you're a Reader Leader head to the Online Community Hub to download this month's selection.

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