books & reading

The birds and the trees

I’ve been trying, with limited success, to include a quarterly reading update here on the blog. In real life, talking with people about what they’ve read recently is one of my favorite ways of connecting, and I hope that my evolving reading habits over the course of a year – and over the years – reveal some things about me to you. Perhaps you’ll even find a good read or two that you otherwise might not have considered, or share an undiscovered gem with me.

In the fall of last year, I both went on an October vacation and spent most of December sick and laid up on my couch, so my reading list was longer than usual. It was also an unusual season of reading in that in the span of these few months, I read two of my favorite books of all time. Two struggled-to-set-them-down, heart-racing, thinking-about-them-all-day-long kinds of books, that both found me at once. Was it just good luck? Has the time I now spend around librarians begun to sharpen my selection abilities? Or am I just a victim of the cognitive bias known as the “recency effect?” Maybe all of the above. But whatever the reason, I’m grateful beyond words that Kira Jane Buxton’s Hollow Kingdom and Richard Powers’ The Overstory made it into my life in 2019.

Was your life changed by a book recently? Tell me all about it! Here’s what I read between September and December of 2019:


Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone, Brene Brown (2017)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian history of the American West, Dee Brown (1970)

How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi (2019)

The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News remade American politics, Gabriel Sherman (2014)

Relax, We’re All Just Making This Stuff Up! Using the tools of improvisation to cultivate more courage and joy in your life, Amy Lisewski (2016)

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big questions from tiny mortals about death, Caitlin Doughty (2019)

Wordslut: A feminist guide to taking back the English language, Amanda Montell (2019)

Fiction – Adult

Bunny, Mona Awad (2019)

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)

Good Omens: The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (1990)

Hollow Kingdom, Kira Jane Buxton (2019)

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng (2017)

Orange World and Other Stories, Karen Russell (2019)

The Overstory, Richard Powers (2019)

The Power, Naomi Alderman (2017)

Trust Exercise, Susan Choi (2019)

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens (2018)

Fiction – Children & Young Adult

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling (2004)

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