Join the Living Book Club as we take on our jam-packed summer reading list. This week we're diving into David Orr's "The Road Not Taken."
Credit: Bryan Gardner

Whether you're a poetry enthusiast or you haven't touched the stuff since your high-school English class, you're bound to remember Robert Frost's most famous poem "The Road Not Taken." From what you might recall, it's a classic poem about a curious man taking the road "less traveled by." But have you -- and the rest of us -- been misunderstanding this poem?

That's the question David Orr is tackling in his new book, "The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong," written and published in time for the poem's 100th anniversary. Orr applies a critical eye to the short poem, revealing its intense complexity. This one will definitely spark some debates and conversation among your book club members. Who knew poetry could be such a hot topic?!


"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood ..." One hundred years after its first publication in August 1915, Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" is so ubiquitous that it's easy to forget that it is, in fact, a poem. Yet poetry it is, and Frost's immortal lines remain unbelievably popular. And yet in spite of this devotion, almost everyone gets the poem hopelessly wrong.

David Orr's "The Road Not Taken" dives directly into the controversy, illuminating the poem's enduring greatness while revealing its mystifying contradictions. Widely admired as the poetry columnist for The New York Times Book Review, Orr is the perfect guide for lay readers and experts alike. Orr offers a lively look at the poem's cultural influence, its artistic complexity, and its historical journey from the margins of the First World War all the way to its canonical place today as a true masterpiece of American literature.

Do you agree with Orr's interpretation of the poem? Let us know in the comments below, and check out some more summer reading list picks!

The Other Goodies We Are Reading:

For our historical-fiction fanatics, "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr is the perfect beach read this summer. Set in France during World War II, this fascinating novel tells the story of how a blind French girl and a German boy's paths cross while battling the destruction of the war.

With the backdrop of Ireland in the tumultuous '60s and '70s, "Nora Webster" transports you into another woman's troubled life after the death of her husband, and we were hooked by Toibin's captivating voice from beginning to end. We're positive you and your book club won't be able to put this one down - or stop talking about it.

Rebecca Makkai's "Music for Wartime" is a diverse collection of short stories, and it's the perfect book to tote along wherever your summer takes you -- you can pick it up for a quick story or let yourself really get lost in it if you If you followed our book club last summer, you might already be a fan of Makkai's, as her novel "The Hundred-Year House" was one of our picks on last summer's reading list.


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