The Year in Books — 2017

Speaking of books. . . here is my year, in books.

I enjoy keeping a running list of all the books I read (or listen to) not just so I am able to recommend certain titles, but also because the list inevitably ends up offering some commentary on my headspace. It’s a nice way to end a year, too, remembering reading say, Galchen with a newborn sleeping on my chest, or Orwell during so much talk of fake news, or Steinbeck in a tent in the rain, or Arden as the snow piled up outside.

For the most part I now only read things I know I will likely enjoy, so this whole list is a recommendation in itself, but my favorites are starred and/or double-highlighted in bold, and you can read a bit more about some of them here, here, hereand here.

*March, vols 1-3, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (GN)
Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple (F)
Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher (M)
*Little Labors, by Rivka Galchen (E)
*Persepolis, volumes 1-2, by Marjane Satrapi (GN)
The Wonder, by Emma Donahue (F)
You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein (M)
Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle (GN)
*Maus, volumes 1-2, by Art Spiegelman (GN)
*Sheriff of Babylon, volumes 1-2, by Tom King (GN)
The Gunslinger, by Stephen King (F)
*When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi (M)
*Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaimin (SS)
*1984, by George Orwell (F)
Reading in Bed, by Brian Doyle (E)
*Children and Other Wild Animals, by Brian Doyle (E)
*Spirited Men, by Brian Doyle (E)
Grace Notes, by Brian Doyle (E)
*Leaping, by Brian Doyle (E)
The Grail, by Brian Doyle (E)
So Much the Very Best of Us, by Brian Doyle (E)
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (F)
*River Teeth, by David James Duncan (E/SS)
*The Round House, by Louise Erdrich (F)
Coming Alive, by Taylor Broby (E/M)
I’m Just a Person, by Tig Notaro (M)
*Earth Again, by Chris Dombrowski (P)
*Gentleman of the Road, by Michael Chabon (F)
Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer (F)
*You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, by Sherman Alexie (M)
*The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (F)
Theft By Finding, David Sedaris (M)
*East of Eden, by John Steinbeck (F)
*The Nix, by Nathan Hill (F)
*Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazanzakis (F)
*When We Were Birds, by Joe Wilkins (P)
*The Shell Collector, by Anthony Doerr (SS)
Eight Whopping Lies, by Brian Doyle (E)
*Hunger, by Roxanne Gay (E/M)
*Red Rising, by Pierce Brown (F)
*Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (F)
*Morning Star, by Pierce Brown (F)
*Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (F)
*Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green (F)
*Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward (F)
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto. . . , by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (NF)
*Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson (F)
*Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan (F)
*Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay (E)
*The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy (F)
*The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden (F)

F – Fiction
SS – Short Stories
GN – Graphic Novel
E- Essays
M – Memoir
NF – Non-fiction


Tremendous book haul this Christmas, even for us…

Sense of Wonder

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year . . . the alienation from the sources of our strength.”

— Rachel Carson, Sense of Wonder

Howl Like a Wolf!

Lo, good people of the interwebs! Today in small, seemingly rare good news . . . I’m beyond pleased to announce my first children’s book, Howl Like a Wolf, has a cover and release date. Look for it in mid-April in independent bookstores near you, or pre-order it now from the publisher site or various internet purveyors such as Powell’s, Amazon, B&N, and Target, if you know a child who loves animals. 







The dry pitch is that it’s a combination of natural history and imaginative exercises revolving around animal behavior. The kid pitch is that in it you’ll meet a passel of awesome animals, and learn how to think and act like them — how to for instance, sneak like a leopard, joke like a raven, defend yourself like a skunk, sing like a whale, and of course, howl like a wolf.

It’s been such a tremendous experience working on this with Workman/Storey Publishing and my good friend and editor Hannah Fries. And the fabulous Kaley McKean’s illustrations are the perfect dreamy mix of artful and whimsical. I cannot wait to hold it in my hands, and encourage children to waggle, pollinate, hop, and echolocate.