2019 Reading List

I use asterisks to rank the books on a scale from 1 (*) to 5 (*****).  These are purely my subjective sense of how much I enjoyed the book, nothing more.

Fiction

  1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera****
  2. Faust: Part One,  J. W. von Goethe, Tr. David Luke****
  3. Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe****
  4. The Resistance Man (Bruno, Chief of Police), Martin Walker*****
  5. The Children Return (Bruno, Chief of Police), Martin Walker*****
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez****
  7. The Dragonbone Chair: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Book 1, Tad Williams****
  8. Stone of Farewell: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Book 2, Tad Williams*****
  9. To Green Angel Tower: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Book 3, Tad Williams****
  10. What I’m Going to Do, I Think, L Woiwode****
  11. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson****
  12. Everything and Nothing, Jorge Luis Borges***

Poetry

  1. River Inside the River, Gregory Orr****
  2. The Bat Poet, Randall Jarrell****
  3. The Gingerbread Rabbit, Randall Jarrell***
  4. Selected Poems, Randall Jarrell, Ed. William H. Pritchard****
  5. Soul Over Lightning, Ray Gonzalez**
  6. The Collected Poems, Stanley Kunitz***
  7. Renunciation: Poems, Corey Marks****
  8. Seven Sermons to the Dead, C.G. Jung***

YA Fiction

  1. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster*****
  2. Matilda, Roald Dahl****
  3. Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor*****
  4. Harriet The Spy, Louise Fitzhugh*****
  5. Alice In Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll***
  6. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, Karina Yan Glaser*****
  7. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling**
  8. Stuart Little, E.B. White**
  9. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverly Cleary****
  10. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl****
  11. How to Eat Fried Worms, Thomas Rockwell**
  12. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke, Roald Dahl***
  13. Runaway Ralph, Beverly Cleary**
  14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban*****
  15. The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl***
  16. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket*
  17. The Birchbark House, Louise Erdrich****
  18. The Town Cats and Other Tales, Lloyd Alexander***
  19. Moo: A Novel, Sharon Creech*****
  20. The Book of Boy, Catherine Gilbert Murdock*****
  21. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, Leslie Connor*****

Non-Fiction

  1. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, C.G. Jung*****
  2. I and Thou, Martin Buber, Tr. Walter Kaufmann****
  3. The War of the Gods in Addiction, David E. Schoen****
  4. How to Break Up With Your Phone, Catherine Price****
  5. The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton***
  6. The Tragic Sense of Life, Miguel de Unamuno****
  7. Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress Free Productivity, David Allen****
  8. Ready for Anything: Productivity Principles for Work and Life, David Allen***
  9. GTD with Things 3, Eric A. Bowers****
  10. The Paradox of Love, Pittman McGehee**
  11. Jung’s Map of the Soul, Murray Stein****
  12. Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer**
  13. The Courage to Be, Paul Tillich****
  14. The Courage to Create, Rollo May****
  15. Man’s Search for Himself, Rollo May*****
  16. Love and Will, Rollo May****
  17. Poetry as Survival, Gregory Orr****
  18. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown****
  19. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day, Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky****
  20. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, David Grann*****
  21. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—And the Unexpected Solutions, Johann Hari****
  22. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari***
  23. The Examined Life, How We Lose and Find Ourselves, Stephen Grosz***
  24. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek**
  25. Men, Women, and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough, Brené Brown*****
  26. The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection, Brené Brown*****
  27. Rising Strong as Spiritual Practice, Brené Brown*****
  28. Knowing Jesus, James Allison O.P.****
  29. Buddhism Without Belief, Stephen Bachelor****
  30. Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life, Dr. Laura Markham***
  31. The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage, Brené Brown*****
  32. The INFJ Personality Guide: Understand Yourself, Reach Your Potential, and Live a Life of Purpose, Bo Miller****

To fight aloud is very brave

To fight aloud, is very brave —
But gallanter, I know
Who charge within the bosom
The Cavalry of Woe —
Who win, and nations do not see —
Who fall — and none observe —
Whose dying eyes, no Country
Regards with patriot love —
We trust, in plumed procession
For such, the Angels go —
Rank after Rank, with even feet —
And Uniforms of snow.

In this short Life that only lasts an hour

In this short Life that only lasts an hour
How much — how little — is within our power

The Same and the Other

in each hand a disparate dream: in all dreams                                                                                                                                                another far
            too quiet: delirium
                                     of the mask and God behind it: paradise
had no winter like
                          this: this
            is the one where the infant sleeps in the dirt
                                                                                the sleep
of a dreamless mind so far from home
                                                           he no longer resembles anyone:
            his mother, thrown
                                        down, hunted, sick 
with fear, sleeps next to him among the filth of animals: his father
              watches (the imperative
                                                       that love
—not solace—
                      demands), for there is no room for another
              sleeper: the desert will keep
                                                         bringing its mirage,
no doubt:
             the child will walk in his shimmering garden, says

the wilderness, if you just get across:
                                                          motes in the light rise and rest:
             sole face left (remember you are dust)
                                                                       of our first lost image:

–Gina Franco

Ghandi on the Chain of Positivity

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Cage

In a world of loss
     gratitude is what 
          I demand for keeping 
     precious catch
within my reach.
     No one despises 
          the shepherd for
     collecting his flock. 
No one accuses 
     the watchman of 
          making a captive 
     of his charge.
I’m like a holster, 
     or sheath, all function 
          and no fury. Don’t 
     you worry as I 
swallow you whole. Those 
     ulcers in my gut 
          are only windows,
     the stoma punched 
in my throat is just 
     a keyhole. Don’t be shy.
          Hand me the rattle 
     of your aching heart
 and I’ll cradle you, 
     bird with broken wing. 
          Let me love you. I
     will hold your brittle 
bones together. I’ll 
     unclasp your beak
         so you can sing.
     It’s a world of always 
leaving but here
     you can always stay.

This is the closest I could get to the stark reality of children separated from their families and kept in cages. I tried other ways into the subject, but it always rang false, especially the versions I tried writing in the point of view of a child. I realized that these children have their own voices. But we are not listening. So I wrote a persona poem in which the villain tries to obscure the travesty of incarceration of minors with seductive, gas-lighting language.

—Rigoberto González

Magnitude and Bond

More than anything, I need this boy
so close to my ears, his questions

electric as honeybees in an acreage
of goldenrod and aster. And time where

we are, slow sugar in the veins
of white pine, rubbery mushrooms

cloistered at their feet. His tawny
listening at the water’s edge, shy

antlers in pooling green light, while
we consider fox prints etched in clay.

I need little black boys to be able to be
little black boys, whole salt water galaxies

in cotton and loudness—not fixed
in stunned suspension, episodes on hot

asphalt, waiting in the dazzling absence
of apology. I need this kid to stay mighty

and coltish, thundering alongside
other black kids, their wrestle and whoop,

the brightness of it—I need for the world
to bear it. And until it will, may the trees

kneel closer, while we sit in mineral hush,
together. May the boy whose dark eyes

are an echo of my father’s dark eyes,
and his father’s dark eyes, reach

with cupped hands into the braided
current. The boy, restless and lanky, the boy

for whom each moment endlessly opens,
for the attention he invests in the beetle’s

lacquered armor, each furrowed seed
or heartbeat, the boy who once told me

the world gives you second chances, the boy
tugging my arm, saying look, saying now.

—Nicole Terez Dutton