The Best Books and Other Things I’ve Read Lately

Jul 22, 2015

I am an inveterate reader. I travel with a stack of books, even just for the weekend. I do not understand people who get on a plane without two books and a New Yorker. I feel sad when I visit a town and can’t stop by the bookstore just to see what they recommend.

I love stories, I adore learning (even though I forget too much of what I learn), I groove on using language to point to something that is beyond language.

Here is my list of recent compelling reads. I bet you’ll see a few stories you love too and maybe a new one (or three) to add to your probably already dangerously high pile.


Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
Hands down the best book I’ve read recently. Not what it is being marketed as – light romance/fantasy. Be prepared to lose sleep until you finish.

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
I am not a mystery reader, but for Louise Penny, I make an exception. Like my other mystery exception, Donna Leon, Penny uses the murder and the setting of a small Quebec town to reflect on human character, foible, and how love and self-honesty can heal us, even in the face of evil. I particularly loved the new age angle of this one.

Falling From Horses by Molly Gloss
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
I enjoyed the arc of the main character as it is a subtle, realistic change, the kind real humans try to make in their lives. And her writing – so plain, economical, and evocative all at once.

Euphoria by Lily King
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
I devoured this book. Nell Stone sees the world in a way that no other anthropologist ever has (within the context of the story) and my mind grew bigger seeing the world through her POV.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
Where have I been, missing this book all these years? What a delight! And yes, it’s a kid’s book. Even better!


What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
I am on an Abigail Thomas jag. A Three Dog Life (available at Amazon and Powell’s) is also a stunner.

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
Grief illuminated through a celebration of love and magnificent writing.


I am reading and re-reading Joan Didion. Here is a great selection or pick up her collection We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live (available at Amazon and Powell’s).

Handling the Truth by Beth Kephart
(Available at Amazon and Powell’s)
Kephart’s writing is swoon worthy and her insights incisive but what makes this a book worth owning is the way she shares her shivers of insights into how to do the tricky work of memoir writing. She puts into words what feels like the most slippery thing I’ve ever tried to do. 5 stars!


The four-part series on sleep by Maria Konnikova is a must-read for anyone who doesn’t get enough sleep or thinks they do. It starts here.

Climate Change gets compared to nuclear war and yet, “An honest assessment of risk,” the report cited concludes, “is no reason for fatalism.”

Another article on climate change – this one about the scientists who measure it.

There you have it – some recent reads, lopsided and incomplete, but my favorites. Here’s to summer reading pleasure.



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