The Best Nonfiction of the Month: Haiku Edition

Jon Foro on August 10, 2018
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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 Amazon Book Review, 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.

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Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart by Mimi Swartz

Barney Clark had
The first artificial heart:
A Jarvik-Seven!

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Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology by Lisa Margonelli

Are termites really
a superorganism?
(Don't think about it.)

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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. 

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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 
Seattle SuperSonics.
We won't let it go
.

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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:



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