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Books for 2019

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

It’s been cold here, and we had snow between Christmas and New Years (though it didn’t last long). Today was the first day it was warm enough that we wanted to take a good long walk. The sun felt good.

Here is my reading list from 2019. As usual, my favorites or ones I’d particularly recommend are in bold (but with not as much thought to this as usual).

Lots of sci fi this year with an emphasis on series about people colonizing other galaxies and all the attendant challenges of how to organize a society, manage conflict, etc. Both the Expanse series and the Coyote books were very good and helpful to reflect on in light of the current world situation. (The best that I’ve read in this genre is Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series which I read last year.) I also finally read Harry Potter. (I started listening to the ebook with a kid. We didn’t get very far into it but it prompted me to take the books off my shelf and read them.) 

Many of these books I read as ebooks for whatever that’s worth. The fact that I finally got a phone with this century’s capabilities probably affected that.

1. Down by the River by Charles Bowden
2. Letters to a Young Farmer, compiled by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
3. Notes on a Foreign Country by Suzy Hansen
4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
5. Goat Song by Brad Kessler
6. The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko
7. A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin
8. The Power by Naomi Alderman
9. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
10. The Brave Cowboy by Edward Abbey
11. One Life At a Time, Please by Edward Abbey
12. Postcards from Ed by Edward Abbey
13. Into the Beautiful North by Luis Urrea
14. Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe
15. Appetite for Life by Noel Riley Fitch
16. Doing Justice by Preet Bharara
17. The Reckoning by John Grisham
18. Gray Mountain by John Grisham
19. A Call for Revolution by Dalai Lama
20. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
21. Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
22. Abbadon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
23. Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey
24. Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
25. Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
26. Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
27. Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey
28. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
29. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
30. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
31. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
32. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
33. The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez by Aaron Bobrow-Strain
34. Full Circle by Michael Palin
35. The Old Man’s Love Story by Rudolfo Anaya
36. A Stranger at My Door by Peg Bowden
37. Mindfulness for Kids by Carole Roman
38. On the Margins by Johannes Wilm
39. After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
40. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
41. Coyote by Allen Steele
42. Coyote Rising by Allen Steele
43. Coyote Frontier by Allen Steele
44. Spindrift by Allen Steele
45. Galaxy Blues by Allen Steele
46. Coming Home to Eat by Gary Paul Nabhan
47. Coyote Horizon by Allen Steele

It’s done

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Last night, we spent our first night in a couple weeks in our own bed. (While we were finishing the bookcase, the bedroom was a temporary workshop so we slept outside when weather permitted and in the guest room when not.)

The work is finally done now, and all the books are unpacked and on the shelves. I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

And going through and organizing all the books I haven’t seen in 10 years was fun too!

2018 reading

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

As usual, here is the list of books I read in 2018 with my favorites in bold.

Kim Stanley Robinson was a real highlight this year. (The first two Mars books were in 2017.)

  1. Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  2. Tracks by Robyn Davidson
  3. Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez
  4. Mirrors of the Unseen by Jason Elliot
  5. Alburquerque by Rudoldfo Anaya
  6. Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
  7. Good News by Edward Abbey
  8. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
  9. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
  10. Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
  11. Walking Meditation by Nguyen Anh-Huong and Thich Nhat Hanh
  12. Border Walk by Mark Hainds
  13. Zen Under Fire by Marianne Elliott
  14. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  15. Cutting for Sign by  William Langewiesche
  16. Home by Harlan Coben
  17. The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
  18. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
  19. Caught by Harlan Coben
  20. Gone for Good by Harlan Coben
  21. The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson
  22.  The Gold Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson
  23. Camino Island by John Grisham
  24. Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson
  25. Sellers in the Kitchen by Betsy Foster Breault
  26. A Land of Hard Edges by Peg Bowden
  27. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  28. Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
  29. Living on Wilderness Time by Melissa Walker
  30. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
  31. Love, Africa by Jeffrey Gettleman
  32. Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan
  33. How to Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen
  34. Quiet Until the Thaw by Alexandra Fuller
  35. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
  36. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  37. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
  38. Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
  39. Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson
  40. Dear America by Jose Antonio Vargas
  41. A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
  42. Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
  43. Gathering the Desert by Gary Paul Nabhan
  44. Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson
  45. Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson
  46. Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
  47. Digging to America by Anne Tyler
  48. The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler
  49. Bleachers by John Grisham
  50. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Unrelated bonuses: a bobcat that walked by our front door last week…

and a picture from a hike in Portal last week…(there was snow at the top)

2017 in books

Monday, January 8th, 2018

As I usually post each year, below is a list of the books I read in 2017.

The books are listed in the order I read them with my favorites in bold.

I had a goal to read 50 books for the year, but I cut myself some slack on that for a couple reasons. First, Brad and I both did Nanowrimo in November, which took a chunk of time. In addition, toward the end of the year, I started the Red Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson (thanks to MA); these are fairly big books, and I opted for finishing that instead of cramming in a few shorter reads at year end.

  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  2. The Oral History Workshop by Cynthia Hart with Lisa Samson
  3. The Tree Bride by by Bharati Mukherjee
  4. We Are Stories edited by Margarita Ramirez Loya and her students
  5. Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto
  6. Revival by Stephen King
  7. Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry
  8. Heirlooms by David Masumoto
  9. Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Masanobu Fukuoka
  10. Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön
  11. Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
  12. The Innocent Man by John Grisham
  13. One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka
  14. The Nix by Nathan Hill
  15. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  16. The Chamber by John Grisham
  17. The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart
  18. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
  19. Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
  20. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  21. So Big by Edna Ferber
  22. Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer
  23. Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
  24. Public Library by Ali Smith
  25. Four Seasons in Five Senses by David Mas Masumoto
  26. Desert Sanctuary by Hank Messick
  27. Rebel Mother by Peter Andreas
  28. The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan
  29. Andrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow
  30. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  31. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  32. The Postman by David Brin
  33. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  34. The Man in the High Castle by Philip Dick
  35. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  36. Ten Years on the Line by Mike Ligon
  37. Assignment Eternity by Robert Heinlein
  38. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  39. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
  40. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  41. Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  42. India Calling by Anand Giridharadas

What were your favorite reads this year?

As always, I’m on GoodReads. If you’re there, let’s connect!

Free Book Boxes

Monday, October 16th, 2017

I am often looking for opportunities to get involved in positive community building work, and this year has been more a challenge than ever.

A project that I’m now spending a fair amount of time on is the Free Book Box project, sponsored by the Cochise County Library District. This was funded by a grant that I wrote and am now implementing. It involves putting 10 boxes around the more rural parts of the country where there aren’t public libraries to provide free books to people. (You may have heard of Little Free Libraries. This is similar except that our boxes are MUCH larger. Also we aren’t necessarily emphasizing returns or donations, though both are welcome.)

The books include adult as well as juvenile titles, in a variety of genres and in English and Spanish. The boxes are mostly outside and will all have 24/7 access.

One part of the project I’ve really enjoyed is working with community partners to host the boxes and with local artists to paint them.

It’s also been fun to procure the books. We’re getting them from a variety of sources, with some being donated and others being purchased. A great source for books has been various Friends of the Library groups, who operate used book stores.

Our first boxes are being installed this week. I’ll be interested to see what challenges and opportunities pop up along the way.

So far, this project has been very well received and a very positive experience. And it’s books — you can’t go wrong with that.

The year in books

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Here is the list of books I read this year (in the order I read them with the particularly great ones in bold, also shown in the banner above):

  1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  2. Summer of My Amazing Luck by Miriam Toews
  3. The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
  4. Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
  5. A Boy of Good Breeding  by Miriam Toews
  6. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
  7. Born for This by Chris Guillebeau
  8. En Recuerdo de: The Dying Art of Mexican Cemeteries in the Southwest by Bruce F. Jordan
  9. As Aways, Julia by Julia Child and Avis Devoto
  10. Journey through an Arid Land by G. Davies Jandrey
  11. Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
  12. The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
  13. Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
  14. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  15. A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  16. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  17. The Rabbit Back Literature Society  by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
  18. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
  19. The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux
  20. Deep South by Paul Theroux
  21. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
  22. The Empty Mirror by Janwillem van de Wetering
  23. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  24. 10:04 by Ben Lerner
  25. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  26. The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
  27. Arizona Kicks on Route 66 by Roger Naylor
  28. The Land of Open Graves by Jason De León
  29. My Life in France by Julia Child
  30. Alaska by James Michener
  31. The Litigators by John Grisham
  32. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
  33. The Racketeer by John Grisham
  34. Drop Shot by Harlan Coben
  35. Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry
  36. The Oath by Jeffrey Toobin
  37. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  38. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
  39. American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin
  40. Outside 25: Classic Tales and New Voices from the Frontiers of Adventure edited by Hal Espen
  41. The Best American Travel Writing 2006 by Tim Cahill (Editor)
  42. The Backbone of the World by Frank Clifford
  43. Where the Waters Divide by Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith
  44. Going Back to Bisbee by Richard Shelton
  45. Dear Data by by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
  46. Crossing the Yard by Richard Shelton
  47. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
  48. That Distant Land by Wendell Berry
  49. Andy Catlett by Wendell Berry
  50. Whitefoot by Wendell Berry
  51. A Place in Time by Wendell Berry
  52. The Whistler by John Grisham
  53. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

As usual, there were several authors I read several books by — Miriam Toews, Julia Child, Paul Theroux, Wendell Berry. The Berry books were particularly special, and I finished the last of his fiction that I hadn’t read earlier. (I’d been saving them up, and it was a nice way to finish the year.)