Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Pleasure of Reading: 80+ Books I Leaned on This Year

(M.A. Reilly, England, 2012)

I read often.  Daily.

My reading habits give me pause, especially this last year as I consider how reading has been life saving. 

No exaggeration. 


Tonight I am thinking about the immense gift that comes from reading and listening to books. I have turned to books to understand what was happening to Rob and then after his death-- what was happening to Devon and me.  I sought books to think more deeply about spiritual matters and the afterlife, to dwell in essays and think about the way writers compose.  

I sought poetry to say what must be said. 

I read and listened to fiction to escape the confines of this life, to slip loose from what tethered me to sadness. I reread several books--old friends of a sort. I read what Rob had been reading and after he passed I held these close as they had become even more dear.  Eventually, I read professionally when a friend shipped me several new books from a publishing house and I dove in. I read a photography book, dwelling in it for a long while.  Erasure was Rob's last 'book' gift to me. 


Thinking about this reading life has led me to ponder what we teach at school and what is most necessary. 
And so tonight I am wondering do we teach children to love the written word, to want to dwell in the sounds of language?  
Do we clear curricular obligations so that we can apprentice young people in books both heard and read?  
Do we tell them put away those sticky notes and pencils and questions and for goodness sake all of those close reading tasks and urge them to laugh a bit?
Do we share with them the delight that reading creates? 
Do we share our reading lives?
Do we share the importance of books when we are puzzled? Forlorn? Lonely? Happy? Pleased? Wanting?

Do our children know the comfort reading brings? 


Two lists.

During the next few weeks, I will be turning to these books to read:
  1. Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (Patrick Phillips arriving next week)
  2. Commonwealth (Ann Patchett)
  3. An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Danny Gregory)
  4. The Nix (Nathan Hill)
  5. Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue)
  6. Blue Laws (Kevin Young)
  7. Another Brooklyn (Jacqueline Woodson)
  8. My Name is Lucy Barton (Elizabeth Strout)

Since late December (2015), some of the books I have read and listened to (from most recent): 

  1. World of Made and Unmade: A Poem (Jane Mead)
  2. The Laughter of the Sphinz (Michael Palmer)
  3. Rapture: Poems (Sjohnna McCray)
  4. Half Bad (Sally Green)
  5. The Afterlife (not sure of the author. I came home to find this waiting for me from a friend)
  6. Ethan Frome (Edith Wharton)
  7. A Day at the Beach and Other Brief Diversions (Jeffrey Michaels)
  8. The Genesee Diary (Henri Nouwen)
  9. Becoming Wise (Krista Tippett)
  10. Daily Meditation book: Healing After Loss
  11. The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)
  12. The Confident Creative (Cat Bennett)
  13. Flow Magazine
  14. The New Yorker (each week)
  15. Still Writing (Dani Shapiro)
  16. Poem Central (Shirley McPhillips)
  17. Teaching Globally (Kathy Short, et. al)
  18. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig)
  19. Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)
  20. Love and Living (Thomas Merton)
  21. Dialogues with Silence: Prayers and Drawings (Thomas Merton)
  22. In the Dark Before Dawn : Poems (Thomas Merton)
  23. The Battle for North Carolina's Coast (Stanley Riggs)
  24. Hello from Heaven (Bill Guggenheim)
  25. The Inner Voice of Love (Henri Nouwen)
  26. Why Grow Up (Susan Neiman)
  27. A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis I read this over and over..)
  28. When Husbands Die (Shirley McNally)
  29. Yugel: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump (Trudeau)
  30. People's Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice (Nathalie Jordi)
  31. The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle)
  32. Jesus' Son: Stories (Denis Johnson)
  33. The Light of the World: A Memoir (Elizabeth Alexander)
  34. True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling (L.K. Ludwig)
  35. Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Pauline Boss)
  36. Widow to Widow (Genevieve Ginsburg)
  37. The House by the Sea: A Journal (May Sarton)
  38. The Little Paris Bookshop:A Novel (Nina George)
  39. Perseverance (Margaret Wheatley)
  40. The Other Side of Sadness (George Bonanno)
  41. Turning to One Another (Margaret Wheatley)
  42. New and Selected Poems, Volume One (Mary Oliver)
  43. Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
  44. Risking Everything: 110 Poems
  45. The Gene: An Intimate History (Siddgarta Mukherjee)
  46. Pilgrin at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard)
  47. Felicity: Poems (Mary Oliver)
  48. Heartbroken: Healing from the Loss (Gary Roe)
  49. I'm Grieving as Fast as I Can (Linda Feinberg)
  50. Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems (John Keats)
  51. On Grief and Grieving (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)
  52. The Cancer Journals (Audre Lorde)
  53. Mortality (Christopher Hitchens)
  54. When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi)
  55. The Essential Rumi
  56. Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again (Christina Rasmussen)
  57. Getting to the Other Side of Grief (Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge)
  58. Gabriel: A Poem (E.D. Hirsch)
  59. Count on Me: Tales of Sisterhood and Fierce Friendships (Adriana Lopez, ed.)
  60. H is for Hawk (Helen Macdonald)
  61. Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope (Anne Lamont)
  62. Being Mortal (Atul Gawande)
  63. Radical Remissions: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds (Kelly A. Turner)
  64. My Seneca Village (Marilyn Nelson)
  65. The Boys in the Boat (Daniel James Brown)
  66. Last Stop on Market Street (Matt de la Pena)
  67. The Aran Islands (John M. Synge)
  68. Radio Benjamin (Walter Benjamin)
  69. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Walter Benjamin)
  70. Echoes of Memory (John O'Donohue)
  71. The Collected Works of Charles Baudelaire
  72. Erasure (Fazal Sheikh)
  73. Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
  74. A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein (Palle Yougrau)