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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Over the last few months, we have been bringing you reading recommendations based on the news. It's a series we call This Week's Must Read. Today our dose of literature comes from author Julia Keller who's celebrating not books, but the poetic stylings of one of this country's most creative duos, Rogers and Hammerstein.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN SONG, "JUNE IS BUSTIN' OUT ALL OVER")

JULIA KELLER: Right about this time every year, I get a little lightheaded. There's an extra spring in my step, a gleam in my eye and a song in my heart. That song is "June Is Bustin' Out All Over." It's from the 1945 musical "Carousel." The words are sweet and simple - same as your average summer day.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUNE IS BUSTIN' OUT ALL OVER")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (Singing) June is busting out all over.

KELLER: June is busting out all over. The feeling is getting so intense that the young Virginia creepers have been hugging the bejeepers out of all the morning glories on the fence. There's something corny and wonderful about those lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. They're not slick or hip. They're charming and cheerful and gloriously unsophisticated. We live in the dark and complicated world - a brutal one. And it's a relief to be able to sing, the saplings are busting of sap. Love has found my brother, Junior, and my sister's even loonier. And my ma's getting kittenish with Pap. Poetry has a reputation for being somewhat boring and possibly remote from ordinary lives - a stale relic of the days when flowery orators yammered on for hours. But the truth is we're surrounded poetry on all sides. It comes to us, not only in books, but in song. And those songs syncopate the seasons of our lives. They make the world a little less bleak. After all, it's hard to be too gloomy when you're belting out words like creepers and bejeepers.

RATH: The lyrics are from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Carousel." They were recommended reading from Julia Keller. Her next novel is called "Summer Of The Dead."

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