Categories
Reading

My year in reading, 2020

It was a slog to read at times in 2020, so I escaped into other worlds through novels and reread a small handful of favorites, too.

Here are 15 books I read and loved this year, in no particular order:

Long Bright River
Liz Moore

This is Moore’s latest novel, and while entirely different in tone and topic than Heft, it’s just as beautiful. At first glance, Long Bright River is a straight, no-nonsense crime novel, but Moore brings to it her literary approach, and her deep sense of compassion. Her characters, who are enmeshed in Philadelphia’s opioid crisis, made me call my own family members just to hear their voices.

Heft
Liz Moore

I discovered Liz Moore through her short story “Clinical Notes” in The New York Times Magazine‘s Decameron Project issue, and I loved her writing voice and the gentle humanity in it. She reminded me of another favorite author, Brian Doyle. Heft has that same gentleness, with sympathetic characters that leapt off the page and into my heart even after I finished the novel.

The Idea of You
Robinne Lee

I needed this romance novel as an escape portal this year. The Idea of You is a pure joyride, a smutty, unapologetic love story between an almost-40-year-old divorcée and the 20-year-old lead singer of a boy band. I enjoyed this story so much because of its specificity and its pitch-perfect art, travel and fashion references. I couldn’t stop reading.

Nothing to See Here
Kevin Wilson

Such a delight!

This wacky novel about an unmoored young woman in charge of young twins who spontaneously combust when they’re upset is strange and sweet and perfect for a quick escape in a “what do I do with this summer Saturday afternoon?” kind of way.

Uncanny Valley
Anna Wiener

I am already the ideal reader for this book, suspicious as I am of Big Tech and the effect its products have on our lives, yet also thoroughly dependent on it. This memoir is a fever dream of shrewd insight into Silicon Valley and the people who shaped it and were shaped by it. I both laughed out loud while reading this and wanted to hurl it at the wall with anger (over how good Wiener is on venture capitalists in all their self-absorbed smugness.) What a timely, satisfying debut.

Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout

As the internet likes to say, BIG MOOD.

I love quiet stories like these — evocative, expansive and yet uncomfortably intimate. Gorgeous writing. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to discover Elizabeth Strout.

Eve’s Hollywood
Eve Babitz

Babitz’s Slow Days, Fast Company still takes first place for me, but Eve’s Hollywood was still sublime. It felt especially delicious to read about a sunny, druggy, bright LA while mostly confined to my apartment. Eve Babitz is always a jubilant, seductive ray of sunshine.

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language
Gretchen McCulloch

I’m nominating Gretchen McCulloch as the internet’s librarian. Because Internet would have been satisfying as an in-depth look at internet culture and how it has shaped and molded language, but McCulloch reaches a step further and maps linguistic differences onto different internet cohorts and life experiences, giving the reader a chance to broaden her view and have more empathy toward, for example, older bosses, younger cousins and less-extremely-online college classmates.

Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book
Courtney Maum

An essential reference book for anyone new to or curious about the publishing world, even if the journey leans more toward voyeurism than actually taking the steps firsthand. This book is funny, informative and packed with useful advice from dozens of literary writers.

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation
Anne Helen Petersen

I am such an AHP fangirl, and this book solidified my love. Maybe most important in this book is how Petersen calls out approaches to burnout that place the blame on the individual (usually the mother/wife/underpaid woman). We need systemic change in the United States, and Petersen is a vital voice shaping the call for a better, saner, more secure country.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Ottessa Moshfegh

A delicious, perfect little novel. This was exactly what I wanted to read in the week leading up to the 2020 presidential election (if I couldn’t just take an Infermiterol on Tuesday, Nov 3, that is). I love Moshfegh’s dark humor.

The Fixed Stars
Molly Wizenberg

I love Wizenberg’s writing — always have, always will. Her voice is quiet and intimate and unravels ordinary moments in life in a patient, steady way. This book appealed to me for its frank exploration of sexuality and fluidity in mid-life, although I think it would have been a better book if she’d waited another handful of years to write it.

Her Body and Other Parties
Carmen Maria Machado

These stories are brilliant, creepy, sensual and haunting. (A good October read.) I read “The Husband Stitch” on a weekend away for my first anniversary and “Inventory” during, well, a pandemic — the stories were hitting uncannily close to home for a while, but they also lent a sense of wonder and curiosity to the seemingly ordinary.

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close
Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

This sweet book highlights the relationships that rarely get formal recognition in our lives but are often the true bedrock of our identity: friendships. Sow and Friedman excel at telling their story with honesty, wisdom and heart while making the reader want to hold her own friends a little closer. An important manifesto for modern society.

Educated
Tara Westover

This tale of escape and triumph over adversity is a bestseller for obvious reasons — I simply couldn’t stop turning the pages. I’m a sucker for a story about the power of knowledge, and Westover delivers.

Here are five other books I’d recommend:

That Kind of Mother, Rumaan Alam
The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder, Brian Doyle
Weather, Jenny Offill
The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory

And three worthwhile re-reads:

Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill
Hyberbole and A Half, Allie Brosh
Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri

Categories
Reading

My year in reading, 2019

Here are 10 books I read and loved this year, in the order I read them:

Becoming
Michelle Obama

Yes, this is the story of a First Lady, but it’s also the memoir of a modern mother and career woman. I was moved and motivated by Michelle’s reflections on her career in the nonprofit sector and her growing family. She tells a beautiful story of how she strived for both with grace and determination.

Kitchen Confidential
Anthony Bourdain

The kitchen is a tough place to work and live, and Bourdain doesn’t shy away from the dark side. Knowing that he decided his own fate, in the end, made the darkness in these pages feel more bleak. The book ultimately is about love, though, about a undying commitment to food and the people who make it, to bringing people together despite the abusive veneer of the harsh language that unites them. His voice is singular and I miss it.

Slow Days, Fast Company
Eve Babitz

I love Babitz’s funny, droll, evocative voice. After my first-ever trip to Los Angeles, I wanted to know more about the city — to really get to know the city — and several readers I trust pointed me to her work. She does not disappoint. 

The Golden State
Lydia Kiesling

This voice of this novel is beautiful: tense and distracted, bored and self-conscious, in love and hopeless. I’m recommending it to all of my friends who are parenting toddlers. I loved Kiesling’s expansive, searching internal monologue.

How to Do Nothing
Jenny Odell

This book feels groundbreaking and yet timeless. Deeply helpful in a world that’s constantly vying for my very divided attention and limited energy. This is the kind of practical philosophy I am here for.

Horizon
Barry Lopez

This book is stunning in scope. Lopez is an author whose gentle perspective and lifelong studiousness I have long admired, and this is his opus. His research and wisdom on elders and self-sustaining communities should be required reading for every urbanist and every politician.

Once More We Saw Stars
Jayson Greene

This memoir stunned me. Greene writes with self-love and searing honesty as he works through heartbreak and deep grief. His story helped me to better understand what it’s like to lose a child, as those close to me have. I feel very fortunate that Greene so generously shared his story.

The Book of Delights
Ross Gay

For several months, Ryan and I ended the day by reading aloud a brief essay from this delightful little volume. Gay’s reflections on big and small delights in ordinary life helped us appreciate the ups and downs of our days.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Lori Gottlieb

Written by a therapist about her experiences with therapy patients and as a patient herself, this book is a generous, open-eyed look at the human condition in all of our striving and struggle and confusion and love. I loved Gottlieb’s sense of humor, her humility and her ability to embrace both the light and dark in life.

A Pilgrimage to Eternity
Timothy Egan

Equal parts travelogue and spiritual memoir, with huge dashes of history sprinkled generously throughout. Egan’s voice feels as trustworthy as any, and I loved the way he wrote with perspective on his relationships with his wife, his children and the faith tradition that he lost but can’t quite shake.

Here are ten other books I read and liked:

Keep Going, Austin Kleon
The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang
Like A Mother, Angela Garbes
Tropic of Squalor, Mary Karr
Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino
Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
In Pieces, Sally Field
A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
Good Talk, Mira Jacob
Little Panic, Amanda Stern

Categories
Miscellany

Utilize the public library

 

A curator used to be someone who worked in a museum, but now we all curate our lives. We select and order every aspect of the endless stream of media we consume: our Instagram feed, our news consumption, the brands and styles we shop.

Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to reject curating my experience when I can. I don’t always listen to myself — I spent 45 minutes last week sitting in a Chicago hotel lobby scrolling through Yelp when I could have just wandered into a neighborhood and trusted that whatever I found would be delicious.

Studies show us that “maximizers,” people who feel the need to choose the very best possible option, aren’t any happier for their exhaustive research. (I tried to remember this when I was itching to read Consumer Reports as we began to build our wedding registry last weekend. “It’s your wish list, not your shopping list,” the salesperson told us.)

I went to the library today to pick up one book on hold, and I wandered the stacks and found a handful of other books that I didn’t know I wanted to read this month. It can be good to let fate intervene.

Reading next: Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing.

 

Categories
Reading

My year in reading, 2018

10 books I loved this year, in the order I read them:

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

This book is an insightful exploration of loneliness and urban living through the lives of artists like Edward Hopper and David Wojnarowicz.

Sherman Alexie, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

I read this book before the news broke that Alexie was accused of sexual harassment, but that fact makes this piece of work all the more heartbreaking, sad and raw. A searing memoir.

Mary H. K. Choi, Emergency Contact

Utterly charming and smart, with the right dash of zeitgeist. This YA book addresses tough issues and true diversity without feeling heavy-handed.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

This novel is a powerful look at Black American life, heartbreaking in its honesty about how we can never truly know all the intricacies of another person — or another relationship.

Min Jin Lee, Pachinko

An epic novel, sprawling across generations and countries. This opened up a history I didn’t know enough about and an immigrant experience that feels all too relevant today.

Meaghan O’Connell, And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready

Meaghan’s self-deprecating, shattering honesty is just what I needed to read, and it’s what all my mommy friends need to read, too. 

Lauren Groff, Florida

This story collection is rich with strong female characters, with the tension of life as it comes to us, with the singular moments that feel like they can change our trajectory forever, and maybe do.

Porochista Khakpour, Sick: A Memoir

Porochista’s voice is a light in the forest of chronic illness, muddied by medication and sleeplessness, resilient in her ability to finish another essay, make another move, fall in love again.

David Sedaris, Calypso

In Calypso, we get Sedaris being his funny, wacky, obsessive self, but also going broader and deeper on important topics: death, grief, addiction, aging. This book is entertaining and important.

Rebecca Traister, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

This book is relevant, edifying and dotted with hope. It also made me want to punch all the comfy, rich white guys seated around me on the plane as I read.

Here are ten other books I read and liked:

Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know

Olivia Laing, Crudo

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Ali Smith, Autumn

Evan Connell, Mrs. Bridge

Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

Scaachi Koul, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

Dorothy Day, The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus

Categories
Reading

My year in reading, 2017

10 books I loved this year, in no particular order:

Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship

A vital book in these polarized times. Boyle’s stories about his work with gang members in rehabilitation sing with joy and awe.

Emma Cline, The Girls

This book was sexy and gritty and earnest and deeply unsettling. I loved Cline’s deft use of language.

Molly Wizenberg, Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

Intimate and easy, Wizenberg’s writing always nudges me to realize what food is really about: connection and love and nourishment.

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

An important look at the dysfunction and discrimination in the American justice system. Stevenson’s work is making a difference for those on the margins. 

George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

The gorgeous writing in this short novel is Saunders at his best and most human. A lovely, strange, and daring take on a moment in history. 

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

The title of this encyclical has become my favorite catchphrase. Walking a block to recycle my cardboard? Laudato Si’! An important message from a compassionate world leader.

Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

This book made me want to be alone on some drippy, green part of the coastal Pacific Northwest. Or in Japan again. 

Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing

This heartbreaking novel opened up Black history, weaving two branches of a family tree until they’re interlocked and yet continents apart. 

Tanner Colby, Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America

Colby studies systemic racism in real estate, the workplace, education, and church. He makes me want to spend more time east of Troost.

Stephanie Danler, Sweetbitter

I gobbled this book down in a few days. It’s a messy, sexy, smoky romp through New York’s restaurant industry.

    I escaped through books a lot in 2017. Here are ten more books I read and liked:

    Categories
    Reading

    My year in reading, 2016

    10 books I loved this year, in no particular order:

     

    Brit Bennett, The Mothers

    A lovely debut novel in which a church community and an abortion have equal heft and importance in three young black lives.

    Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior

    A memoir of the modern relationship. Melton writes about her history of addiction, disordered eating, and intimacy issues with a lucid, loving voice.

    Ann Patchett, Commonwealth

    A gorgeous family epic that makes me feel like maybe I could write a sprawling story with such economy and beauty.

    Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

    I chose this novel because it won the Pulitzer the year I was born. It’s a beautiful American origin story. I wanted to be outdoors and horseback the entire time I read this book.

    Rebecca Traister, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

    This is a book that ought to be read by all women in their twenties (and thirties). We’re unmarried and childless or maybe feeling pressured to have kids or thinking about adopting solo or tired of crappy first dates or secretly enamored of our solitary lives, and this book tells us that we are not alone.  

    Michael Zielenziger, Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation

    A fascinating look into the cultural malaise that runs rampant among Japan’s young adults, particularly the hikikomori, young men who shut themselves in their rooms and withdraw from society. 

    Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club

    A fierce, unsentimental memoir from the woman who brought this genre to its current staggering popularity. Recommended for anyone who wanted to escape their hometown.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

    The work that we need in these times. Required reading for all Americans.

    Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

    A surprisingly engrossing and richly researched novel. This feels like a book Liz Gilbert wrote for herself, which made me love it all the more.

    Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

    Oh my god, this novel blew me away. I loved the flawed characters and the lush writing. Scenes from this book still play across my mind months after I closed the cover.

    Here are ten more books I read and liked, any of which could probably go in the list above:

    Categories
    Miscellany

    Read the newspaper daily

    Age nine: I read the newspaper for entertainment. I sit at the kitchen table with my dad in the mornings as he reads the sports pages of the Statesman Journal and I read the living section, laughing at the black-and-white strips about vikings and talking crocodiles, a hapless cat owner and some fun-loving Army soldiers. I am obviously steeped deep in my nerdiness, but I hardly notice. I just want to read. I’ll take the backs of cereal boxes or any book on the bookshelf. All I need are words. 

    Baby Blues teaches me that kids are exhausting and messy and funny. Zits teaches me that teenagers never grow up. Sally Forth teaches me that pop culture is fun and my parents can be my friends unless they’re trying. Comics open up a world larger and more diverse than my hometown, and I tumble in headfirst.

     

    Age sixteen: I read the newspaper to know what’s important. A precocious and diligent student, I’m trying to wrap my head around the war in Iraq and an upcoming election. My grandpa decides to talk politics after a glass of wine at the Thanksgiving table, and I’m ready to engage him, spouting jobs numbers and arguing for my candidate like I understand what I’m talking about. 

    I want to be informed, to be able to respond with intelligence when my government teacher puts forth a debate topic, and I find answers and perspective in the newspaper.     

     

    Age nineteen: I read the newspaper because it’s shaping my career. A college sophomore and declared journalism major, I am now not just a reader of the newspaper but also a writer for a newspaper. The Gonzaga Bulletin runs my first article, a feature on Spokane’s Centennial Trail and surrounding recreation. Seeing my byline on the page sends thrills up my spine. 

    I marvel at my own wit after I pen a headline for my second article, this one on seasonal affective disorder: “Feeling SAD? It could be the weather.” I unfold the issue only to note that my editor swiftly dispatched my clever creation for the droll alternative, “Lack of sunlight may cause mild seasonal sadness.”

    I festoon the bulletin board in my dorm room with passionate op-ed columns and the clever weather squares that run on the front page of the Spokesman-Review, giving a cheeky little summary like “Plenty of clouds” or “Clearly a sunny one.” My college roommate comes back to our dorm room one day and shouts, “Ew! What’s a newspaper doing on my desk?!” I dissolve into giggles and tell her to read it for the twelfth time that semester

     

    Age twenty-one: I read the newspaper to learn what’s hip. My girlfriends and I sit around an oversized wooden table at a downtown coffee shop on Sunday mornings, eating toasted bagels and drinking giant Americanos. We pretend we’re there to study, but we tend to page listlessly through The Inlander instead. We know we should be writing term papers. Instead, we’re trying to finish the crossword puzzle. 

    We laugh as we read aloud the I Saw You submissions, we place too much importance on our silly horoscopes, we read movie reviews and ask each other what we would say in response to the On the Street question. Bonding over the alt-weekly paper, we affirm that we are finding ourselves in this world.

    I have just finished a semester-long internship writing for this very paper, and now I Know Things. I have spoken with citizens at the voting booth and panhandlers on freeway exits, affluent couples pushing acai juice products and indie filmmakers. Newspapers continue to expand my perspective.

     

    Age twenty-eight: I read the newspaper to understand the world. I didn’t become a journalist immediately, despite my earnest efforts. The magazine I interned for after I graduated from college ceased publication at the end of the summer, right when I was hoping to get a job.

    Recently, I’ve been freelancing for my college’s quarterly magazine and submitting creative nonfiction pieces to far-flung literary journals. I am one of the few people I know at any age who subscribes to the newspaper, which has dropped home delivery to four days a week. My office receives the New York Times on weekdays and I gobble it up over lunch. If I’m traveling or at a meeting, it remains largely untouched.

    I read articles about gender-fluid fashion and profiles on Syrian refugees. The New York Times writes a lot about the pope and my city. I read it all. I tear out recipes and drop pertinent articles on my coworkers’ desks. The newspaper helps me to form opinions, to empathize, to take a breath, to escape.

    Last week, I accepted a job offer with a newspaper. As the engagement editor for National Catholic Reporter, I will be helping the 50-year-old paper reach new audiences and expand their storytelling efforts. I’m going to be learning about global initiatives and social justice efforts in serious detail. I am going to help others understand the world. I can’t wait to bring the stories on the page to life in conversation. 

    Categories
    Reading

    Read more books

    I don’t know how I first learned to read. My parents won’t take credit. My kindergarten teacher can’t claim she helped, because I was reading before I ever walked through the classroom door. I have no memory of how it started, so I hardly have the right to an opinion, but it’s a story I know well.

    Sitting in the backseat at age two, I looked out the window at a sign and said, “Car!” My mom laughed, thinking I was mimicking her. “Wash!” I said. She stopped laughing.

    When we stopped at a red light, she looked back at me. “Brittany, what does that sign say?” she asked, pointing. “Sale,” I said. 

    She took me to her parents’ house that evening. “Mom, I think Brittany can read,” she said. My grandma took out a small chalkboard and wrote simple words. I read what she wrote: BOY. CAT. DOG. MOM. No one could understand it, but there I was, a reader.

    – – –

    Often during the holidays, my family sits down to watch a favorite video on VHS of me reading to my sister Erika. On film, I am four years old and she’s two. We’re wearing matching nightgowns and sitting by each other on the couch, although she keeps twisting around to ham it up for the camera. The Christmas tree twinkles behind us. 

    My lispy voice squeaks as I read a Little Critter book, my delivery like a freight train. Nothing can stop me, not even Erika’s protests: “I wanna sing Jinga Bells!”

    “‘Twas da night befoah Chwistmus and allll fwoo da house,” I lilt, charmed by the story. I am a reading machine.

    My mom tells me how I used to plow though books sitting in the exam room at the pediatrician’s office. I’d happily oblige her, reading a Berenstain Bears book aloud, but once Dr. M walked in the door, I clammed up. “Brittany, please read a page for Dr. M,” my mom would ask, but I would stay silent, acting like I wasn’t in the room. I read for the books, not for other people.

    – – –

    In grade school, I had moved on from Bookmobile to school library, gladly devouring random selections from the shelves. I scared myself reading Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians in seventh grade and relished it from cover to cover. Later that year, I joined my friend Justine’s family for a road trip to Boise, where I learned to ski, but what I remember just as vividly is when we finally arrived at her brother’s house and I refused to socialize or go to sleep until I had finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

    I’ve rarely let my social life keep me from reading, for better or worse. I was the girl on the hallway couch in high school who was reading during a free period. Maybe early on it was mostly the latest offering from Nora Roberts or Danielle Steel, but even the glittering, impossibly perfect lives in those novels taught me to think about what I truly want in life. Later, it was Literature, and I would have been happy to tell you why that was important if you asked. I thought I was a charming little scholar.

    – – –

    Books are a delicious escape from the world and a new horizon unfolding. They bring comfort and reality. They nurture and challenge. Even now, when I tell myself I’d rather be watching the latest episode of SNL or lying on the couch as I binge on an entire season of Orange Is The New Black, when I choose a book instead, I never regret it. Books help me understand other people and myself. They let me feel things. They help me seize possibility and growth.

    Whether it’s a used paperback or a brand-new first edition, something I’m reading for the third time, or a book on the Kindle, I’m with Borges, who said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

    – – –

    A sampling of favorite books, in rough chronological order

    1 Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss 

    2 Corduroy by Don Freeman

    3 Richard Scarry’s To Market, To Market 

    4 Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

    5 Snuggle Piggy and the Magic Blanket by Michelle Stepto

    6 Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

    7 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    8 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

    9 The Giver by Lois Lowry

    10 The BFG by Roald Dahl

    11 The Saddle Club (series) by Bonnie Bryant

    12 Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples 

    13 The Babysitters Club (series) by Ann M. Martin

    14 Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

    15 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    16 Joyride by Gretchen Olson

    17 The Gift by Danielle Steel

    18 Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

    19 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    20 East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    21 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    22 Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

    23 All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

    24 Spartina by John Casey

    25 Mink River by Brian Doyle

    26 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

    27 The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

    28 Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

    29 Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

    30 Light Years by James Salter

    31 Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

    32 The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

    33 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    34 Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

    35 Yes Please by Amy Poehler

    36 The Dream of A Common Language by Adrienne Rich

    37 Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

    38 An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

    39 Lit by Mary Karr

    40 All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr