It’s DAY TWO of our Week of Wonderful Things so today let’s share the best things you read lately.

I’ve been reading Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers and the FBI and it is so good but it gives me nightmares if I read it too close to bed so I’m breaking it up by rereading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal because it seems seasonal and also it’s one of the wittiest books ever written and I’m incredibly jealous I didn’t write it myself.

I just finished American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures and it was fantastic, but sometimes (not surprisingly) difficult.  But it’s important and I highly recommend it.

Or if your brain is too crowded for anything more than a minute I suggest reading this wonderful moment shared by the amazing Naomi Shihab Nye:  (Taken from Facebook)

Your turn.  What’s something wonderful you’ve read that you want to share?

289 thoughts on “THE BEST THING I READ

Read comments below or add one.

  1. The best thing I’ve read in the last two years is This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. Her storytelling is mesmerizingly beautiful, the kind that makes you reread every page before you move on to the next. The subject matter (a family with a young transgender child) is timely and the novel’s exploration and acceptance of the topic are so necessary. Next favorite, Year Of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. This one helps you kick your fear to the curb and again, the writing is superb.

  2. I read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey and it was like reading pain and joy and love and loss on the page. It’s so good and I cannot wait to read more.

  3. I just finished Stone Butch Blues, which is sometimes difficult but always amazing. And anything by Nnedi Okorafor. 💚 The Binti books are awesome.

  4. Wow, that Facebook post made me cry and laugh at the same time. Also, I will need to let my sister know about the serial killer book, that is right up her alley! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I read and re-read and then listened to The Story of Edgar Sawtell. I don’t know why it affected me so. Every repeat brought something new. It’s still inexplicably in my thoughts after 5 years.

  6. I’ve been reading I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Basically I’m stalling on reading Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick because I know it’ll make me angry.

  7. Love by Matt de la Pena, it’s a picture book but it is NOT just for kids. Every time I laugh, I cry, I gasp, I sigh, and I think “how beautiful”…all in about 20 pages

  8. I just finished a galley of the forthcoming “Daisy Jones and the Six,” the story of a fictional 70s-era rock band as told by the band members and surrounding people. It is fascinating, and read like a “Behind the Music.” It was easy to read in small segments, but I didn’t put it down.

  9. Let’s pretend this never happened is my favorite book and I give it as a gift every year to someone who needs it. After that, I enjoyed GOD IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. Both books are even better in Audible.

  10. One of the funniest/punniest books I’ve read this year is KILL THE FARM BOY: THE TALES OF PELL by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson. Expect such awesome quotes as:


    “Hope it ain’t chickens,” she said. “Never trust ’em, what with their poky beaks. And their buttfruit. I tell you, sire, it’s unnatural, eggs is.”

  11. “Archangel’s Prophecy(A guild hunter novel book 11)”. I actually recommend the whole series, but that’s the latest installment and I went to bed late for almost a week cause I was busy reading it. I like Paranormal Fantasy books and this one makes me happy because it’s got funny and tough as heck female lead characters and a new take on the whole vampire, werewolves and paranormal everything.

  12. When I’m down I like to search my pinterest for funnies. My current favs are comics by Sarah Anderson and the Awkward Yeti.

  13. Embarrassingly, WRECKING CREW: Demolishing The Case Against Steven Avery, by John Ferack. I almost ashamed of how addicted to Making a Murderer I am. Almost LOL
    (Thank you for the beautiful story!!)

  14. My sibling posted that his son said their cat “farted through his mouth.” I laughed so hard that I cried. Apparently the cat yawned and has REALLY bad breath.

  15. I’m a long time reader of this blog, have all your books, laugh and cry with you – but I’ve never left a comment. The story by Naomi Shihab Nye restores my faith in humankind. It was wonderful; it feels good to realize that there are still beautiful, loving people out there. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I love, love, loved Whitney Cummings “I’m Fine (And Other Lies)”. So funny and so relatable. I laughed my way through it three times and will probably read it again before the end of the year!

  17. I highly recommend “Risk a Verse: A Year in Daily Sonnets” by Libby Weber. She has a delicious sense of humor and works in all sorts of brainy word play that is explained in the footnotes.

  18. I just found out I’m pregnant and my hormones plus that story post have me simultaneously crying and laughing. Also, I positively love the Miss Fortune mysteries by Jana Deleon. They are fun and make me laugh out loud

  19. Girls Burn Brighter was a gut punch about an enduring friendship. So good! And Lamb is the selection for my book club. As soon as i finish Educated, another goody, I’ll start it.

  20. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. If you love long, very long, super long, extremely well-written books, this one is for you. LOVED it.

  21. A cross stitch that says “Don’t give up yet, you’ve still got a couple of motherfuckers to prove wrong”

  22. I’ve been reading the new Tom King-scribed “Heroes in Crisis” published by DC – so good! It’s really great insight into the mental health of the classic heroes and villains.

  23. I love reading Letters from Father Christmas, a book of letters from J.R. R. Tolkien to his children. Talking plots bears, a new language and veiled concerns about the war make for a great read.
    I also am reading Thanks a Thousand, by A. J. Jacobs, where he attempts to thank all those involved in providing his daily cup of coffee. Really interesting take on gratitude!

  24. The United States of Absurdity – Untold Stories of American History by Dave Anthony & Gareth Reynolds. Small (hilarious) bits of crazy things that have happened in this country. It’s my go-to for a laugh when things get a little too crazy!

  25. I did recently find an old, used copy of a book I had as a child. I bought it to reread and loved it still. “From The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler”. Still makes me smile and dream.

  26. I’ve been reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, it’s a great read and pretty funny as well. I miss him, his wit and sheer unbridled way of not sugarcoating anything……. 🙁

  27. That Facebook post gave me such hope! Thank you for sharing. I tend to go back to Harry Potter or Little House on the Prairie books when life is hard. The book Caroline by Sarah Miller written from “Ma’s” perspective is really good if you’re into the Little House stuff.

  28. The best thing I have read lately is I am Number 13 by Andra Watkins. I love the way Watkins weaves history into her compelling fictional plots. I have had a crush on Meriwether Lewis since I read her first novel – To Live Forever. And I love the protogonist of this latest, Emmaline Cagney as if she were my daughter. While available from Amazon – I suggest you go here and get here books direct from the publisher:

  29. What a lovely read that was. I’ve been into memoirs that make me giggle lately. My current is Lauren Graham’s “Talking As Fast As I Can.”

  30. I read (awhile ago) Jeannette Walls books. Recommend all three of them: The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses, and The Silver Star. First two are true stories of her life and her grandma’s life. Page turners. The last one is fiction, but is a great story. I just started reading the book about Gloria Vanderbilt and her son, Anderson Cooper. The Rainbow Comes and Goes. So far, so good. I read more in the summer when I have time so I am not very far into it yet.

  31. I just finished Hogfather (Terry Pratchett, Discworld), which was honest and disturbing and hilarious and accurate and wonderfully insightful about the nature of belief.

  32. I always love reading about the witches in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. When I’m feeling especially up against it all, I love Carpe Jugulum.
    Also, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is just so lovely and cozy.

  33. I’m brain dead this morning so I can’t remember the guy’s name or the name of the book but the guy who did Hamilton compiled some of his tweets into a very inspiring book. It was a quick read as well.

  34. Recently mesmerized by Lou Berney’s 1960’s romp through the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. Runaway housewife, charming bad guy falling in love and rethinking his ways, Las Vegas mob days, conspiracy theories and chase scenes. A thriller with heart, soul and the kind of prose that transcends any kind of genre label.
    Recommend following it up immediately with Laura Lippmann’s Sunburn. I lost my two boys, (dogs), in October. My companions and saviors of fifteen years and for the first time I couldn’t read. I picked up and put down dozens of books. I bought Calypso by David Sedaris, and I could not only read it, I giggled. Books, dogs, cats. Do we even deserve them?

  35. I just finished a lovely kind of memoir by Louie Anderson called “Hey Mom; letter so my mom, but you can read them too.” More heartbreaking than funny, but also sweet. It’ll make you want to call your mom (or write her a letter in the afterlife…or wherever).

  36. I’ve been in desperate need of distraction from the world burning all around me, and I couldn’t have picked anything better than VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. It is riveting. And I am sad there are only three books.

  37. First off, I am SOBBING at my desk after reading that incredible story by Naomi. It’s only Tuesday and my week is complete trash, but that made my heart so incredibly full and happy.

    I am rereading the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. I restarted it because she recently released the final book of the series, but I couldn’t remember all the characters and I’m SO GLAD I started over because THESE BOOKS GET ME SO HYPED. I finished the second book Sunday night and I had goosebumps and my blood pressure was up FROM PURE EXCITEMENT. I couldn’t go to bed for at least another hour because I was jumping around the room.


  38. Hank Green’s new book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, is excellent. I know it sounds super cheesy, but the book itself genuinely is an absolutely remarkable thing.

  39. Bahamas Gita: A new translation by Stephen Mitchell. I have it on audio book, so if I can’t sleep or I wake up in the night, it calms me and puts me to sleep.

  40. II have been reading all the T Kingfisher lately. I started with Summer in Orcus – it’s YA fantasy. I enjoyed it so much I picked up the 7th Bride next, and am now on the Raven and the Reindeer. Highly recommend,

  41. I recommend “Does it Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence” by Dani Rabaiotti and Nick Caruso

  42. Chasing Light: Michelle Obama through the lens of a White House photographer by Amanda Lucidon. Beautiful pictures and inspiring stories about both the former First Lady and the photographer herself (one of the few female White House photographers in history).

  43. The Murderbot series by Martha Wells: funny, delightful, good plot and wonderful characters. I am lending people my kindle to make them read it; no higher commendation is possible.

  44. Currently reading or have just read:
    “Reel of Fortune”, Book 12 A Miss Fortune Mystery, by DeLeon, Jana I love this series, set in Sinful, Louisiana.
    “The Drunkard’s Walk”, eBook
    How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Mlodinow, Leonard
    “The Wisdom of Crowds”, eBook
    Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations by Surowiecki, James

  45. I’m a broken record with this one, but I loved (and can’t stop recommending) “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson.

  46. I’ve read, reread and listened to the Chronicles of St Mary’s over and over. It’s about time travel and witnessing historical events. There are dinosaurs, intrigue and some romance. I love the books. I also love everything written by Ann Charles. She has made her own genre with books that are part murder mystery, comedy, romance and paranormal.

  47. I’m reading Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges (25th anniversary edition). I just finished Dana K. White’s Decluttering at The Speed of Life, Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Prophecy, having reread the entire series this year, and Catherine Egan’s The Witch’s Daughter trilogy.

  48. I know I’m like more than a decade late to the party, but I finally got around to reading the Eragon books, and I’m completely loving them. Highly recommend if you like fantasy type stuff.

  49. I’m reading Neurotribes by Silberman. My son was recently diagnosed as autistic, and it’s a fantastic book designed to look at autism differently than we have before. Basically the message is “Autistic people are made of awesome. Get out of their way and let them SHINE!”

  50. I was on a major Star Wars kick this year so I finally read the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig and kicked myself for not reading them sooner. They were absolutely brilliant. I’m also finally getting around to listening to Lore (I know, I’m late to everything) so I read the first book based on that series and loved it too. I love history and folklore and cryptozoology and creepy real life stories so this kind of hit all my buttons. 🙂

  51. I am in love with the young poet Chen Chen’s first book of poetry, “When I Grow Up I Wan to Be a List of Further Possibilities”. Hilarious. tender, piercing, hopeful, easily read in small bites. Here’s a sample:

    I am trying to be marvelous.

    & to make my enemies throw up.
    —from “Winter”

  52. Another endorsement for Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It was such a compelling take on social media and culture, plus just a riveting sci-fi mystery- I couldn’t put it down. I also just finished Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Racing to the Finish- and if you have any interest in neuroscience, traumatic brain injury, and its treatment I highly recommend it.

  53. I love “Lamb.” One of my favourites. I just finished reading “Educated” and I will be thinking about it for a long time.

  54. I seem to have lost my reading mojo, along with my writing mojo. I’m trying to slog through a history of the Romanovs but it’s slow going and it’s probably going back to the library. Since I’m #419 on the list for Michelle Obama’s book, it’s going to be a while before I try to tackle another book.

  55. I can’t handle anything that would make me sad right now, but I’m reading a fun new series by Annette Marie. The first one was Three Mages and a Margarita, which I loved. Right now I’m reading the second book, Dark Arts and a Daiquiri.

  56. The other day, my friend posted that his daughter hid from Santa because she was sure she was on his “naughty” list!

  57. The best book I’ve consumed has been an audiobook, “The best audiobook of the year 2018” by the No Such Thing as a Fish elves from QI.

  58. This is exciting! All sorts of great books in the comments. But what held my recent attention was a classic: The Hobbit. It couldn’t be helped. Fantasy always sucks me away from harsh reality, which is sometimes necessary. But now I’m on the hunt for something less demanding of my short attention span. Something along the lines of a novella, or maybe some creepy pastas.

  59. The Family Tree by Sheri S. Tepper. Wonderful, marvelous, magical. Two separate stories that come together in an amazing way, with a wonderful surprise about the characters in one of the stories.

  60. I just finished The Hate U Give. It was hard, and I cried more than once, but it is also important. I’m in the middle of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It’s so-far hilarious, and Eleanor is so perfectly awkward as she navigates how to connect with people.

    I’m trying to ween myself off my self-help book addiction, so I’ve now got Lamb in my queue.

  61. I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. The main character makes me feel normal, and the books make me laugh out loud in inappropriate places.

  62. I have read your before bed book. It’s pretty damn awesome. But my fav thing lately is listening to your audio book. I clean houses so you know wet hands and paper books don’t mix. I have a paper copy of all of your books including the coloring book but it’s even more fantastic listening to you ramble at the end. I have quite a few of the same conditions as you , and I too am a Jennifer, so I just get it. I laugh I cry and I build blanket forts and color.

  63. I’ve been recommending this one everywhere I can since it came out — The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson. I love all of her writing — she’s incredibly evocative and writes the most beautiful weird and broken and lovable characters — but this is a really special book. It’s about nerds and family and history and the South and race, and it is seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  64. The entire Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Can’t go wrong with any of them.

  65. Lamb is a great book but if you want Christmas read try his Stupidest Angel. I read this every year it always makes me smile.
    This blog is another happy read i always look forward to.

  66. Gotta read the FBI book, it’s right up my alley. Thank you for the suggestion. A wonderful book I read just recently was “Nine Strangers” by Liane Moriarty. She is SUCH a good writer. I have very much enjoyed all of her books, and this was no exception.

  67. I picked up a copy of “The Happiness Hypothesis,” which is very readable, even though it folds together philosophy and psychology and neurology at the same time. I was enjoying it so much that I bought a copy for my son (mistakenly thinking it was a new book). When he was home for Thanksgiving he saw my copy and thanked me for giving it to him TEN YEARS AGO. I am either senile or a time traveler and I’m not sure which I prefer!!

  68. The Witch Elm by Tana French was a GREAT story, but more importantly, B-E-A-Utifully written!!

  69. The autobiography of a one year old! Is my favorite book. Quote from it “ you can keep your zippo lighters and coke bottles. I just found out my finger fits up my nose!”

  70. I am reading Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, and it is really compelling but also sad and difficult.

    I recently read A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux, which was purely for entertainment, and I really loved it!

  71. the absolute best thing i’ve read lately is Station Eleven by Emily St. john Mandel. post apocalyptic but not super dark and depressing. so so good!

  72. See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng for middle readers but good for anyone. You wouldn’t think a story about an 11-year-old space-obsessed kid with a long dead dad and a troubled mom would be this charming and uplifting.

  73. The best thing I’ve read recently is “Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It’s the book the movie “Love, Simon” is based on. There are several differences between the book and movie, but both are wonderful.

    We’ve come a long way since I was a teenager in the mid-eighties, and I love that this book (and movie) are a part of mainstream culture. While there are some troubling recent developments in anti-LGBT sentiment, books like this in times like these give me hope.

    Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

  74. Just finished Rising Out of Hatred The Awakening of a White Nationalist by Eli Saslow. Picked up Political Tribes by Amy Chua. For a little lighter reading, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Just got my bifocals so I can binge watch comedy on Netflix while reading.

  75. I finished “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari a couple months ago and it was life-changing for the way I think about mental health and depression/anxiety. I’m also loving “Body Positive Power” by Megan Jayne Crabbe (which has been out in the UK for a while but was just released in the US)… she does a great job breaking down diet/beauty culture.

  76. All the updates from Suncoast Animal League (who take in the toughest cases of animal abuse, in addition to pets from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, adoptable pets from shelters needing to clear space for pets from people who have lost homes in other disasters, pets people can no longer keep or whose owners have died, and wildlife that needs rehabbing) on Denali, an American Staffordshire Terrier who got caught in the middle of a terrible divorce. The wife was cleaning her stuff out of the house when she put two of the seven dogs in crates in the house (the others were left in the back yard), poured an accelerant on Denali (her husband’s favorite), and set the house on fire. Poor Denali had third-degree burns, was in tremendous pain, and was close to not making it, but her will to live was strong. She has now almost completely recovered and is again a happy and sweet dog. In the latest update, she visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, specifically one who is involved with a campaign against animal abuse:

    Denali Update: Two Softies

    Last week, after hearing about Denali’s story, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invited Denali and her foster mom Karey to 1 Buc Place. During the mid-week practice, Denali met several former and current Bucs players. Shelton Quarles, 11 year star linebacker and current Director of Football Operations, spent quite a bit of time loving on Denali, and vice versa. Quarterback Jameis Winston gave her some extensive back scratches and was perfectly on target, hitting all the right spots.

    After that, she got to the main person she was there to meet, Buccaneers center, Ryan Jensen. Ryan is 6’4″, 320 lbs and is known for his long, flaming red hair and also for his self proclaimed “nasty” style of play. But off the field, Ryan has a soft side. Ryan is the proud dad of two rescue dogs and is part of an anti-animal abuse campaign called “Show Your Soft Side.”

    Ryan is literally one of the “softies” of the educational campaign, and Denali IMMEDIATELY recognized his soft side and then showed him gratitude. Undaunted by Ryan’s larger-than-life stature, Denali tackled him and smothered him with hugs and kisses. The two “softies” became fast friends as Denali showed him her happy dog, wiggle butt dance.

    After meeting her new hero Ryan and touring the facility, Denali was presented with a beautiful gift basket filled with toys and Buccaneer swag, including the special doggie jersey. Denali will also be part of the December 2nd “My Cleats, My Cause” game which features causes that are close to players’ hearts such as Ryan Jensen’s cause “Show Your Soft Side.” We could not be more proud of our Denali for charming Ryan and everyone else she met at 1 Buc Place last week.

    Thank you Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ryan Jensen for being a part of getting word out about animal rescue and for backing the campaign against animal abuse. And thank you for making Denali sooo happy!

    (You can read all the updates on their FB page.)

  77. If you like atmospheric horror, I highly recommend Mira Grant’s novella “Rolling In The Deep”, which is now in development for a movie that will keep you out of the ocean for YEARS! The novella can be hard to find, but the ‘sequel’ (first actual no el) “Into The Drowning Deep” is more widely available. Mermaids are real, and they eat your face if you’re dumb enough to poke them.

  78. I read and review a ton, so I have a few: My Life as a Country Album by LJ Evans was my favorite read this year. I cried so hard, and it felt so good to cry like that. For laugh out loud funny, Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse by Jack D. Mclean, witty, hilarious.
    Side note: I love this post so much, I’m finding a ton of new books to add to my TBR <3

  79. I highly recommend “The Sun Does Shine” by Anthony Ray Hinton, its a really heartbreaking story of a man who was wrongfully convicted – I know that seems like a downer, but just his way of dealing with this is incredibly uplifting but be prepared to feel like we need to burn down the justice system

  80. I’m usually all about the escapist fiction (I’m definitely reading HP on repeat while trying to finish my dissertation). But my mind has been blown and my heart changed by Layla Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy” workbook. She did an Instagram challenge this summer, and just released the workbook for free this week. Such important self-reflective, thoughtful, journaling work to help white people move from guilt/shame to action by recognizing their own racism, taking ownership, and committing to daily anti-racism work. I’m not associated with Ms. Saad just amazed by her incredible work. Link to the free workbook through my name on my post here.

  81. I finished “Beartown” by Frederik Backman. It was only 8:00 at night but went immediately to bed. I didn’t want to shatter the joy of a good book by doing anything else that evening.

  82. I always recommend “Neurotribes” by Steve Silberman. A great read about the history of autism. Not an easy book to read; very emotionally exhausting and also a lot to absorb so it takes time. But very informative. Excellent, excellent read.

  83. The picture book “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” about a young dinosaur’s first day of school. Everyone else is human. This is funny, gross (the dinosaur has to spit out kids she has eaten and they are covered in slime), and charming.

  84. I’ve just finished reading and listening to the audiobook for “This Messy Magnificent Life” by Geneen Roth. It is a wonderful book!

  85. Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, his life was so hard as a child and yet he has such great humour and such a great outlook on life.

  86. If you like Lamb and are looking for something more christmasy check out The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. Zombies, a warrior woman, and a miracle, what more could you ask for. I always recommend my fave book, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. Awesome coming of age story in the same vein as Stephen King’s The Body (movie Stand By Me).

  87. Lamb was great!
    Anything by David Sedaris.
    Anytime he’s in town I must go see him read.
    I can’t help it, his voice, affect, and mannerisms make the story a million times better.
    He my male version of you.

  88. Just enjoying the hell out of the Children of Earth series that started with Clan of the Cave Beat

  89. I haven’t been reading anything thoughtful or helpful or earth-shattering, but I have been lucky in the ARC department lately so I’ve got thrillers galore at my fingertips, waiting to be lovingly read and reviewed. <3 <3

  90. I always recommend Angela’s Ashes. It’s a true story, written by a son as a love letter to his mother, who went through all kinds of hell (extreme poverty, drunken husband, death of a child) while raising him and his brother in Ireland. It a tough read – but I have never felt “poor” or “hungry” or anything but blessed since reading this book.

  91. Eleanor Oliphant is the best book I’ve read in a long time. The main character is so endearingly broken, and lovable, but doesn’t know it. Her journey (which takes place in Scotland), is so heartwarming and funny as she moves past a horrific childhood tragedy to find her way to love and acceptance. I guess I could relate a bit, so may be predisposed, but critics loved it as well.

  92. The memoir Flat Broke with Two Goats. It’s really quite sweet and hopeful. And I’m introducing my husband to Terry Pratchett’s disworld series by reading Night Watch together.

  93. The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon was amazing and I keep lending it out so everyone I know can enjoy this amazing book

  94. All the Light We Cannot See – written like music! Thank you for the story you shared. Just beautiful!

  95. One of my favorite books this year was Okay, Fine, Whatever. As an incredibly anxious person I was really able to resonate with her reasoning of pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. It was both funny and insightful. I would recommend everyone read it!

  96. My favorite book this year and most any other year for that matter is Douglas Adams The hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I love it. Anytime I need a good laugh or the world is creeping in to close I’ll break out this book and slip into Adams far fetched reality and laugh with them.

  97. I will never not recommend The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s such a lovely, cozy, feel-good book. The audio version is amazing too – the narrator is perfect.

  98. A pinterest post that says Your mouth makes the same motion as your butt when you say poop and when you poop.

    Other than that, a young adult book series by Jonathan Stroud called Lockwood & Co. It’s about a version of England with ghosts terrorizing the population but only kids and teenagers can see them, when you get too old you can no longer see or sense them. So very very good, and I’ve heard they’re making it into a tv series.

  99. I’m currently reading Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, teen fiction about a high school girl who secretly does a popular webcomic and the new boy at school, who she becomes friends with and learns he writes fanfiction based on her comic. It’s really good so far.

    I’ll always and forever second The Night Circus, print and audiobook. Wondrous and delicious.

  100. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – the humor in it is not laugh-out-loud-ish (okay, except a couple of the footnotes – footnotes! – got me), but it’s an incredibly deft and quiet exploration of the boundaries (and un-boundaries) of a life with unusually tight restrictions. As someone who is limited by a capricious, obscure, and frankly kind of mean illness, I found it highly relatable, even though my illness is definitely not the early-20th-century Russian government.

    (and thank you for sharing that airport story. I love that these things happen.)

  101. That Facebook post is beautiful! I just finished A Spark of Light by Jodie Picoult, and really enjoyed it.

  102. Lamb & American Like Me are both awesome! I concur!

    I love How To Invent Everything by Ryan North. It starts from the premise that you are a time traveler from an alternate near future trapped somewhere in the past, and proceeds to tell you how to make … well, everything from first principles! It is witty and wise and makes me really appreciate modern technology.

  103. Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber. She is an irreverant, tatted, foul-mouthed (which is why I like her) Lutheran pastor but adamant and heartfelt in her belief in the grace of God. Or a higher power of some sort. She tells stories from her life as a pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints – a welcoming church whose members are unlikely attendees of mainstream churches.

    I, too, read the story you shared. It is so powerful, and reinforcing of the hope for the good in womankind out there!

  104. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo changed me. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby made me laugh so hard I almost died. Worth it.

  105. One of the best things I’ve read lately was a book about Santa’s beard to my one year old nephew; it was one of those touch and feel books. The fun he had feeling every different version of Santa’s beard was joyous to watch.

  106. I have a tendency to be very jaded, so in all honesty, that story is probably the best thing I’ve read in quite a long time.

  107. I just read “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh. I laughed out loud–a LOT. Allie is my spirit animal. When she said she would like to be able to shove people out of her way and scream at them for not doing what she wants, I was so happy to find out I’m not the only one! LOL

  108. This post by Anna Trupiano on Facebook:
    Today in 1st grade one of my Deaf students farted loudly in class and other students turned to look at them. The following is a snippet of a 15 minute conversation that happened entirely in American Sign Language among the group of Deaf students and I.

    Kid 1: Why are they looking at me?
    Me: Because they heard you fart.
    Kid 1: Whhhhat do you mean?!?!
    Me: Hearing people can hear farts.
    Kid 2: Totally horrified Wait, they can hear all farts?!?!
    Me: Well no. Not all farts but some of them yes.
    Kid 3: How do you know which farts they can hear and which farts they can’t?
    Me: Hmmm….you know how sometimes you can feel your butt move when you fart? A lot of those they can hear. But if your butt doesn’t move it’s more likely they didn’t hear it.
    Me: Hearing kids can’t stop hearing farts, it just happens.
    Kid 2: I just will stop farting then.
    Me: Everyone farts, it is healthy. You can’t stop.
    Kid 3: Wait. Everyone? Even my mom?
    Me: Yep.
    Kid 2: My dad?
    Me: Yep.
    Kid 1: ……You?
    Me: Yep.
    Kids: Laugh hysterically
    Kid 1: …So you can hear and smell all the farts?
    Me: Some of the farts yes. Not all of them.
    Kid 2: Can hearing people see farts?
    Kid 3: Yeah. Green smoke comes out of their butt, I saw it on TV.
    Me: That doesn’t happen in real life.
    Kid 1: What?! Ugh. I don’t understand farts.

    ……I went to college for 8 years to have these conversations.”

  109. I finished Waterlily by Ella Calla Deloria. Deloria was an anthropologist who wrote Waterlily, a novel, about the ways of the Sioux just about the time whites started moving in. Then I decided I should check out Jane Austen once more before finalizing my opinion that I really don’t care much for her, so am into Northanger Abbey. “Lamb” was achingly funny, I am glad you enjoy it.

  110. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I read a lot! It’s about Captain Hook and the power of love and redemption. You will never look at Peter Pan in the same way again. A beautiful book.

  111. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. It’s short but powerful. I can’t wait to read the sequels.

  112. The conversation about the farts is cracking me up so much.

    Back in September, on my birthday, when I showed up at work (I’m a school lunch lady), one of my coworkers had placed one of those big gaudy dollar store tiaras on my work station that said “Happy Birthday” with the number 40 on it (I turned forty this year. Ugh.) and as a joke, I decided to wear the damn thing while I served.

    During second lunch, one of the louder kids shushed everybody else. Then she came and got me and dragged me by the hand out to the cafeteria. 200 7th and 8th graders sang Happy Birthday to me.

    It was kind of awesome. 😀

  113. OH that facebook page made me cry and laugh. I loved it, thank you SO much!! Love you!

  114. Thanks for sharing. Best thing I’ve read in a long while! Haven’t read anything particularly worth sharing in a while, but something I read again and again and love every time is Lisey’s Story (Stephen King). It’s beautiful – it delves into the intricacies of the relationship between husband and wife and women and their sisters. I never get tired of it. Not sure that it fits with this conversation, though!

  115. Just finished Uprooted and Spinning Silver, both by Naomi Novik. They are wonderful. That was after re-reading The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemison — so, so good.

  116. Patrick Rothfuss’s King Killer Chronicles books, both. I reread them often. I love to live in his beautiful world, trying to unravel all of the mysteries within.

  117. I haven’t had much time to read lately. I have been reading my bible and doing a lot of reading for homeschooling. Lol been wanting to soak in tub with a great book .

  118. I have so many books I could recommend, but let’s go with a fun one for the holidays- David Sedaris’ Holidays On Ice. His description of being a holiday elf had me cracking up!!

  119. I like cozy mystery’s that make me laugh like from sofie kelly or sofie ryan (both the same author) or the Stephanie plum series

  120. Thanks for that facebook story. It’s awesome because you can tell it really happened…. thank goodness there are still real people in the world.

  121. I’ve read 2 great books over the last few months: Still Me by Jojo Moyes and Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

  122. Two books I loved this year: AnAbsolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green and Noir by Christopher Moore (same author of Lamb – one of my all time favorite books!)

    Thanks recommendations everyone!!

  123. Before I opened the magical, infernal web, I’d been thinking of your blog, Jenny.
    “I wish I could share my wonderful thing; the spectacular, life-changing article I’d read on Mr. Rogers, written by Tom Junod.” It had appeared in Esquire’s 1999 “Heroes” edition and there were many other people profiled but Mr. Rogers was on the cover. I xeroxed Tom’s story about Mr. Rogers and shared it with my co-workers. All cried.
    Tom’s article was the impetus for the documentary that I hope you’ve seen and it changed Tom’s life, too. He’s in the doc…

  124. Recent releases Transcription by Kate Atkinson and Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver are extremely timely (although they both also have a historical fiction setting) and very moving, for me at least.

    I’ve also found a lot of comfort in hearing other women’s stories and was hugely impressed by Busy Phillip’s memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, and Phoebe Robinson’s latest book, Everything Is Trash, but It’s Okay.

    If you need a mystery/crime series, run to your nearest bookstore and get Into the Woods by Tana French. I read a ton of mysteries and this one blew me away. I had to start the next book in the series immediately.

    Happy Reading!

  125. Thank you for sharing that story from Naomi, I needed it today. Feeling rather depressed about how things and people are in our country right now (damnit, why did I read the news?!?) and that story reminded me of the good that still exists.

  126. If you like “Biff” by Christopher Moore be sure to read “Sacre Bleu” by him. Actually all of his books are hilarious but that one has lots of great art stuff in it along with the humor.

  127. The best things I’ve read lately: The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland, From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty, The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdoch, Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee, How to be Famous by Caitlin Moran, Snake by Kate Jennings, Shrill by Lindy West, Parsnips Buttered by Joe Lycett. When I’m really struggling I go back to old favourites I know really well like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen’s novels. I love hearing people’s recommendations – yay for books!

  128. “To See and See Again” by Taranah Bahrampour. She writes of growing up the child of an Iranian father and an American mother who met during college. The title refers to a ritual initiated by parents to learn if their marriageable children are suitable. It was published in 1999 and tells the story of fleeing Iran- and going home to it as an adult herself. She gives phonetic translations to Persian phrases so you can be drawn right into the language. Lyrical. I’ve hoped and hoped for a sequel.

  129. I’m reading it now, and it’s enchanting: “The Keeper of Lost Things,” by Ruth Hogan. I think you’d love it; there are quirky characters, themes of love and family and what’s lots/regained, and there’s a PUG!!!!!!!

  130. Behind A Mask, by Louisa May Alcott. It’s a collection of her early, stories that she actually preferred to write. Murder, deception and intrigue.

  131. For inspiration: We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride. Our lives are interwoven. It’s all about relationships–each of us can positively impact others. ( You have to stick it out for several chapters before the book starts to fold together. ) For lots of laughs: Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson. Dated, for sure, but I enjoy that book as much now as I did years ago (maybe because I’m dated, too, lol).

  132. The collection of Mary Oliver poems called “Devotions” has me bookmarking every other page. Joy and wisdom and god-ness in nature

  133. And the #1 best thing I read lately that I have saved an image of on my phone to look at all the time, is a quote by Tennessee Williams:

    “The world is violent and mercurial–it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love–love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.”

  134. Totally in love with Rachel Morgan. She is a witch, in a partnership with a pixy and a vampire. Her author is Kim Harrison, who has written about a dozen Rachel books, the first of which is Dead Witch Walking. VERY well-written!!!

  135. I’ve recently discovered Neil Gaiman (late adopter doesn’t even begin to describe me, haha). I finished American Gods and am almost done with Good Omen, Bad Omen. His writing is quirky and hysterical, and it’s really nice to escape into a good fantasy book!

  136. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai – so good I had to read her book The Borrower which was also excellentl. Borne, by Jeff VanDerMeer – great sci fi book by the author of the Project X trilogy. (the first book. Annihilation, is like a sci fi book written by Shirley Jackson). Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – THAT ENDING! Loved it! And A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline, largely based on the real life of the woman who inspired the Wyeth painting “Christina’s World.” Wonderful!

  137. I love The Murders Of Molly Southbourne! She gets doplerganers every time she bleeds and has to kill them before they kill her.
    Also, tea is awesome.

  138. I just finished “Motherland,” a novel by Maria Hummel, which delves into Germany toward the end of WWII and whether citizens knew about the extent of the horrors Nazis inflicted on victims. I don’t watch WWII movies or read related books because it’s too close to home; my father was captured by the Germans and held as a POW until the war ended (he died last year at 97 but still suffered PTSD from that time). This was so well written that I could finish the book.

  139. Read Whoever Fights Monsters on beautiful Salt Springs Island in the amazing San Juan’s. A dichotomy I know, but no nightmares.

  140. Somebody already recommeded Binti, which I was also going to recommend. I will add Zarah the Windseeker, which is Nnedi Okorafor’s middle grade adventure.

    And SPACE OPERA by Catherynne Valente is just amazing. Funny, poignant, wise. Exactly the tonic for our times.

  141. That Facebook post was wonderful.

    I’m just finishing up “Once Upon a Town” by Bob Greene — I don’t think he’s the greatest writer, but the story is so lovely and uplifting! It tells of a small town in Nebraska (North Platte, my father’s home town, which is why I picked it up) that banded together during WWII to make their stop the best on the troop train trip. I’d never heard of it before, and it was a delight to read.

    In the realm of popcorn reading, I really enjoyed the heck out of “Crazy Rich Asians.” It was funny and poignant and very real.

    I’m going to have to pick up “American Like Me” – it looks amazing.

  142. I just read “The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert, Aged 19 Going on 91” by David Barnett. I really enjoyed it.

  143. Anything from the Vinyl Cafe series by Stuart McLean. Beautiful short stories about life in a small Canadian town.

  144. I recently read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and it’s such a great read. I really want to be friends with Eleanor.

  145. The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. A historical fiction series that can be kind of tough going initially, but is so, so worth it in the end.

    Also, a Captain America fanfic called Not Easily Conquered by dropdeaddream, WhatAreFears. The whole three-part series is good, but the compilation of the letters in the second part of the series are what I tend to reread when I want a good cry. The love expressed in the letters is just so beautiful.

  146. In Impossible Darkness by Kim Rosen
    May 14, 2012By Pól 0 Comments Posted in: Faves
    Do you know how
    the caterpillar

    Do you remember
    what happens
    inside a cocoon?

    You liquefy.

    There in the thick black
    of your self-spun womb,
    void as the moon before waxing,
    you melt

    (as Christ did
    for three days
    in the tomb)

    in impossible darkness
    the sheer
    of wings.

    –Kim Rosen

  147. Best reading lately: Naomi Shihab Nye’s writing that you shared.
    My “favorite” Christmas book: Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry.

  148. It’s hard for me to read because my anxiety and depression are making life hell. I just watched season one of Fearless on Amazon. It’s spectacular and Helen Mccroy slayed.

  149. The best things I’ve read lately are the letters my son has sent from boot camp. He left 2 weeks ago and I won’t see him until February. I miss him so much but the letters really help.

  150. The best thing I’ve read is probably The Accusation, by Bandi, but that’s a bit morose if you’re looking for something to cheer you up. The Accusation is a collection of fictional short stories written by a North Korean man about other North Koreans. It’s deeply critical of the Kim regime, and had to be smuggled out of the country, to be published anonymously abroad. It’s harrowing, and I like that it’s literature about Korea written by an actual Korean person. I tried to read The Orphan Master’s Son when it was getting all that praise, but it felt so condescending that I couldn’t finish it. Bandi’s characters are full people, not robots who exist to serve the regime, or flat sketches who exist solely to be tormented by it.
    If you want something peppier, every Christmas my family reads Treasures of the Snow out loud. It’s quite a Christian book, and we’re all non-religious, but the themes about forgiveness and repairing wrongs you’ve done have always really spoken to me.

  151. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. Set just after WWII, an American college coed travels to France to search for her cousin that disappeared during the war. Along the way she is helped by a cranky old woman, that used to be a spy during WWI. Throughout the book, you learn about both women. Based on true events. So, so good.

  152. I am now crying- happy tears, of course. I am reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. It is a beautiful book, although hard to read at times, but I love it.

  153. Sam Lamott quotes

    “Being unstoppable has nothing to do with speed”
    “It probably isn’t completely fucked & doomed, at worst it is only slightly fucked and doomed” 😂#namaste

  154. I read that same post the other day on FB. It definitely lifted my heart.

    Just now, I read a post by Bunmi Laditan about needing a community, and it made me realize I need to reach out/get out more.

    Also, I posted on FB asking friends if they have any old Garfield comic books they’d be interested is selling to me, because it’s basically the only thing my 9 year old wants for Christmas. One friend in MO said she might have some in storage in CA. Another friend in CA said that she could go to MO friend’s storage unit and get them for her to send to me. These are ladies I’ve never met in person, but we’ve been online friends for almost 10 years. The whole comment section on my post made me realize I’m so lucky to have such a widespread community…I do wish we were closer (physically) though.

  155. The FB post from Naomi Shihab Nye is the best thing I read today. Thank you.

    The less-inspirational, but so incredibly wonderful thing I’ve been reading is Martha Wells’ MURDERBOT series. It’s space opera and it’s about becoming what we are, how we get there and the connections we make on the way. So maybe inspirational after all.

  156. LAMB is one of my favorite books, too. I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Christopher Moore over the phone when he was promoting his book, Fool, in NPR. I only wanted to talk about Lamb. It was a short conversation.

    Thank you for sharing the story of the worried woman. We all need to remember kindness all the time and so often it is forgotten, especially in airports where all we are concerned about is our own hustle and bustle.

    My husband and I flew just the other day. We passed our airport time by day drinking and people watching trying to find just the right person to buy a drink. We found him. An old Army vet, traveling alone back to his house after visiting his family. The melancholy melted off his face when we, slightly buzzed, bounded up to him and started animatedly chatting him up. All of our waits were greatly brightened.

  157. I haven’t really read much since my mother passed away .. we use to read a lot before we went to bed ..I miss reading with her. I’ve been wanting to read one if your books…. Furiously Happy and just haven’t been able to buy it yet. I love your posts. Some make my day way happier and I may even get a giggle after ready comments. Please keep blogging you make a difference in some people’s lives.
    Love you

  158. The best thing I’ve read lately…..easy…..this funny little book I picked up of Amazon because I loved the cover.
    Furiously Happy.
    And in it’s pages I found honesty and laughter and ridiculousness an a whole lot of myself. And just as fast as Prime could fly I devoured Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and You Are Here. Connectivity is a powerful force for bringing understanding and acceptance to the masses. Thank you.

  159. Lamb is my favorite Christopher Moore!
    (I’m gonna request that serial killer book from my library)

  160. My dog walker just wrote a book and asked me to read it, which I did with trepidation. I mean, she comes to my house and takes care of my dog every day – I don’t want to tell that person that her book sucks, right? Especially when that book is about serial killers and ghosts. But it didn’t suck. It was amazing. Fast-paced, compelling, and I haven’t stopped talking about it. My husband read it in one sitting over the weekend. It’s called The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson. Go read it, if you’re so inclined. But don’t ALL of you go read it and make her famous. I’m still going to need her to walk my dog. 🙂

  161. Well being an elementary school librarian I’ve mostly been reading picture books. Full disclosure I work at a Catholic school, so of course I’m reading them Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Using the common bridge of the Jewish faith to talk about how we go to a Catholic school but we have students of many different nationalities and faiths. We discussed Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Mawlid. I love using books to bring the whole world to my kiddos in small town Vermont.

  162. The Ocean at The End of the Lane – Neil Gaimen
    This one took my heart and soul and wrapped it around its finger. It made me wonder and it made me WONDER.

  163. The Ocean at The End of the Lane- Neil Gaimen. This one took my heart and soul and wrapped it around its finger. It made me wonder and WONDER.

  164. Fiction: I am eagerly awaiting Guy Gavriel Kay’s next book. In the interim, if you haven’t read him, go out and get a copy of Tigana, one of my all-time favourite books. It will break you and then mend the break in the way the Japanese mend pottery with gold, so you never forget that which was broken.

    Others have mentioned Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe stories. They are fine to read, but there is nothing like hearing him tell them. Many recordings are available. A We lost him too early.

    Non-fiction: Just finished Music for Silenced Voices, a biography of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich through the lens of his string quartets. A bit of a niche read, but it, too, will break you a few times, especially if you listen to the quartets while reading.

    I will also read anything by Erik Larson.

  165. Just re-read the beautifully written Raven Boys and the other three books in Maggie Stiefvater’s series and totally loved again the beautiful and unique characters living and loving and learning in a fine fantasy.( and I am not a teen, and my curmudgeon husband loves them too!) For a new thriller– Lee Child’s new Reacher book, where an average couple,, both the woman and the man, prove super resourceful in the face of villainy.

  166. I’ve been reading the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn. Veronica is a “Victorian adventuress” who solves mysteries with her best friend Revelstoke Templeton-Vane. The books are as amusing as the characters’ names, that’s for sure. They are quick reads and very diverting.

  167. Last book I read was “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara. Great book, but probably not the best read for when you’re up in a cabin in an isolated part of the Sierras. I would recommend it for reading during the day light hours, but it is excellent.

  168. Love Love LOVE The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Women through history and a “what if” we knew more about women in biblical times. Fascinating story. Gorgeous writing!

  169. My husband lost his fight with depression this year, and a friend gave me a book called “No time to say goodbye” by Carla Fine. It’s about dealing with the suicide of a loved one, and I’ve never been a person to rely on books, this one has helped me immensely, I recommend it to anyone who’s lost a family member, or anyone to this disease.

  170. I always find something to be inspired by when I open Dungeon and Dragons books, actually. In the book Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, there’s a lovely quote. I feel less like the world is doomed when I know there are people out there writing stuff like this in games. Games! Things children consume and adults share. Messages which will be spread by no one individual’s agenda, purely because the game itself is beloved.

    “A Wondrous People:
    Whenever you find yourself in a bustling city, you’re likely to spot a wonderful variety of folk. You hear words in languages utterly foreign to you and you smell dishes both delectable and strange. Waterdeep is the ultimate city of such delights, and before long, the alien thing becomes familiar to you, and the stranger becomes your friend.

    The people of Waterdeep are among the greatest of its splendors. Fashion, comportment, love—these things are practiced with an art and a zest in the city uncommon elsewhere. Visit a festhall or festival and see for yourself! And don’t miss the cross-dressing performers who regale audiences with humor and song. Fabulous—that word doesn’t begin to describe it, especially when they enhance the merriment with magic.

    The city is also a haven for those who define for themselves what it means to be a man or a woman, those who transcend gender as the gods do, and those who redefine entirely who they are. What confidence! I never tire of witnessing it. I have seen folk in Waterdeep whose lives are more magical than the marvels possible with spell.”

  171. My kids and I listened to the Wedgie and Gizmo books on audio and even though it is for kids you guys will LOVE it. LOVE. Same with The True Meaning of Smekday. Hilarious, with social/political commentary, for kids.

  172. I adore Lamb and anything by Christopher Moore. The Ravenmaster was really interesting – about being the ravenmaster at the Tower of London. Martha Wells’ Murderbot is great! And I just finished Texas Blood which wasn’t quite what I expected but was and interesting look at Texas’ borderlands’ history. And anything by Nnedi Okorafor too. So many good things to read.

  173. My local bookstore thanks everyone for growing my “want to read” list.

    Jenny: Nye’s story is the best thing I have read in a long time. Like many others, it brought tears to me eyes and hope to my heart. Thank you for sharing it.

    Here are a couple favourites:

    Her Kind
    By Anne Sexton

    I have gone out, a possessed witch,
    haunting the black air, braver at night;
    dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
    over the plain houses, light by light:
    lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
    A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
    I have been her kind.

    I have found the warm caves in the woods,
    filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
    closets, silks, innumerable goods;
    fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
    whining, rearranging the disaligned.
    A woman like that is misunderstood.
    I have been her kind.

    I have ridden in your cart, driver,
    waved my nude arms at villages going by,
    learning the last bright routes, survivor
    where your flames still bite my thigh
    and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
    A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
    I have been her kind.

    Anne Sexton, “Her Kind” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr. Reprinted with the permission of Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

    Thyself and thy belongings
    Are not thine own so proper as to waste
    Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
    Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
    Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
    Did not go forth of us, ‘twere all alike
    As if we had them not.
    — William Shakespeare, Measure For Measure I.i.29-35

    Books: I just finished Sometimes We Tell the Truth by Kim Zarins, a very clever “retelling” of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It turned out to be a YA novel, but I was impressed by the way Zarin wove together the strands of the tales from CT and modern tales such as fan-fiction. You don’t have to know anything about Chaucer to enjoy the book.

    And a good friend (great friend really, because the best friends are the ones who give you books you actually WANT to read) just gave me Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London, which Diana Gabaldon bills as “What would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz.” I’m only about eighty pages in, but the style is wonderfully deadpan. And I’m learning a whole lot of London slang.


  174. Not a read but a watch, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the wonderful doctor mentary about Fred Rogers reminds us that the best thing you can be is kind.

  175. I’ve been rereading the Book of Awesome, I love it because it always reminds me to find the littlest things that make me happy or smile and that changes my whole outlook on my day.

  176. I’ve been sucked into Laurie King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series and I’m kicking myself for being so late to the game! I also just finished The Tiny Book of Hygge which filled me with the warm fuzzies and now I want to make Danish meatballs. And I just started Lianne Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers because who doesn’t love witty, snarky, deep, and sinister writing??

  177. I’m a sucker for well-written fantasy, but even so – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is the only book I have literally turned the last page and gone right back to the beginning. I read it 4 times in a row the first two weeks I had it.

  178. I’ve just finished Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal by Forthright which is a sequel to Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox. Recommended by Ilona Andrews in their blog and I’m passing on the recommendation here. It’s not my usual genre and I’ve really enjoyed them both. Also if you want a free but awesome read then Ilona Andrews is currently serializing their next Innkeeper book Sweep of the Blade (links on their blog). It’s nearly finished so you could read it in one big gulp.

  179. A magnet on my fridge – Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

  180. I’m currently reading Shopping for a Billionaire. It’s one of those mind numbing you know how it’s going to end (because it’s a trilogy) and I’ve been trying to stay focused for a month but I’m only 1/3 of the way through book one. I have no attention span these days. Normally I would’ve read this in two days.

  181. Just finished The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan. A gut wrenching read: not for the faint of heart or those bothered by constant swearing intermingled with Scots dialect. I did find it easier to ken if I read the strange words out loud to myself – dinnae for did not or urnay for or not. Figured out choring was stealing, the game was prostitution. If nothing more, it will make 99.9% of people glad they do not have the life circumstances of the book’s narrator.

  182. I have been told by one of my best friends that I have a sense of whimsy about me, and this book feeds that whimsy very well.

    The Stranger and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – Lesley Walton

    As the title suggests though, there are some dark parts, but it is a very unique read.

  183. I hope no one on my holiday gift list is reading this.

    I just finished an amazing collection of stories and illustrations by Shaun Tan, Tales from the Inner City. My favorite story is about a family trying to make a living by catching the fish who swim through the sky.

    And I just read The Library Book by Susan Orlean, about the fire that destroyed the LA public library, and the man who may have set it. The book tells the entire history of the library, so it convinced me that everyone connected with that library system is insane, and that I must visit it immediately.

  184. You are the maamoul of the blog world.
    Even though I am craving many cookies now, I still thank you for sharing this fabulous post.

  185. Art Matters, by Neil Gaiman. I love all of his work, but as an illustrator, Art Matters really spoke to me. It’s definitely a book I will give as a gift, again and again!

  186. Lamb and Good Omens are annual re-reads. Almost anything Terry Pratchett, and Mercedes Lackey’s Fairy Godmother. You have to make your own magic.

  187. I listened to the Audible rendition of Lamb. Fisher Stevens did a really great job with it, and I find the whole thing surprisingly warm.

  188. I am an English teacher bilbliophile and proud of it. They actually pay me to read, and then I get to have my own book clubs with adolescent thinkers all the time 🙂 Here are my most recent reads or Audible listens that merit two thumbs up.

    Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation
    Mark W. Muesse, The Great Courses (Hoping to meditate ASAP)

    Have a Nice Day
    Billy Crystal, Quinton Peeples, Justin Bartha, Annette Bening, Dick Cavett, Auli’l Cravalho, Rachel Dratch, Darrell Hammond, Christopher Jackson, Kevin Kline, Robin Thede, full cast, Audible Studios -Audiobook — Oh my my! LOVED!

    It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered (also reread her book Uninvited — life changing)
    Lysa TerKeurst

    All My Friends Are Dead
    Avery Monsen, Jory John (Funny in a morbid way)

    The Travelling Cat Chronicles
    Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (JENNY, I think you would love this one!)

    The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel
    Elizabeth Berg – (Sweet)

    The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy
    Rainn Wilson, Penguin Audio – (Great memoir)

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    Rebecca Skloot – (Wow! I had no idea)

    Bird by Bird; Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers; Stitches; Small Victories
    Lamott, Anne (ordered a class set of Bird by Bird for my creative writing students – LOVE her!)

    Zen in the Art of Writing
    Ray Bradbury, Jim Frangione, Recorded Books (Love Bradbury and his techniques)

    On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
    Stephen King, Simon & Schuster Audio (I love Stephen King’s fiction, and beyond, as this is one of the best memoirs on writing ever.)

    Turtles All the Way Down
    John Green, Kate Rudd, Listening Library (LOVE John Green – Amazing young adult author)

    We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel
    Lionel Shriver, Coleen Marlo, HarperAudio (Oh my my! – Story told by school shooters mother – fiction, but haunting)

    Pizza Bomber: The Untold Story of America’s Most Shocking Bank Robbery (Berkley True Crime)
    Jerry Clark, Ed Palattella (This happened 30 miles north of where I live.)

    Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present
    Lex Williford, Michael Martone (Read for MFA course. Amazing collection of essays.)

    Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Tilar J J. Mazzeo, The Great Courses (The Great Courses are amazing. There are so many to pick from. I use Audible credits and listen to them)

    The Pencil Sharpener
    Lucas, D.S. – A novelette by yours truly. Working on a Mitzi Miller series 🙂

    Anything by David Sedaris (who is coming to Pittsburgh this spring!)

    You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds
    Lawson, Jenny, Lawson Jenny (I bought four of these, one for me and three for gifts — LOVE)

    Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
    Lawson, Jenny (Bought two – one to listen to and one to read LOL)

    Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
    A Mostly True Memoir
    By: Jenny Lawson Narrated by: Jenny Lawson (Love this listen; I feel like I know you 🙂

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Harper Lee (coming to Broadway!!!)

  189. I read books that I can escape into and have become a purveyor/saver of quotes and thoughts:

    There is too much on my plate,
    I cannot clean it, so I move it around
    with my fork, making it look like less.
    Hoping some of it goes away on its own,
    it’s too hard for me to swallow it all.
    Feels heavy on my shoulders, like one
    blow after another, and I am tired.
    Fed up with what each day tries to
    force feed me when I’m already full
    with too many problems coming at me
    like weapons I cannot hide from,
    I am loaded. Mouth filled with the
    wondering of what tomorrow will try
    to choke me with and I’m not hungry.
    I am stuffed with the bad luck
    aiming for me and never missing.
    Ready to catch a break, exhale it all
    like I never tasted it to begin with.
    Spit out the metallic that lingers
    on my tongue, push the plate away
    and finally be free to move on to
    another chapter that doesn’t weigh
    me down with too much all at once.
    ~Stephanie Bennett-Henry

  190. This is something my mom wrote. She was a professional quilter. I miss her so much. I wish I could upload a photo of the quilt. She lost her battle with cancer on March 12, 2013.

    “Working on this quilt made me think about the decisions we make in life and how those decisions take us down one road or another. Along each road there are many lessons to be learned, some easy, some hard. I wondered about the lessons I might have learned had I chosen different roads to travel, and that led to ‘pearls of wisdom’ in the name of this quilt.

    Sometimes roads are chosen for you, and that happened to me. I completed this quilt in November 2010. In January, 2011 I was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma and had a below the knee amputation on February 1. This is a road I definitely would not have chosen for myself, but even this road has taught me valuable lessons. I’ve learned much about myself, my family, and my wonderful community of friends. ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ found along a difficult road.”

  191. I love the Inspector Gamache series written by Louise Penny. Her latest volume came out yesterday “Kingdom of the Blind” I highly recommend any of her books, and it’s the perfect time of the year to imagine yourself in snowy Quebec.

  192. I hope this counts–I recently read a bumper sticker that said:” My Zombie Child ate your Honor student’s brains.”
    and a tee shirt that said: “I will wear black until they make a darker color.”

  193. The best comic books and graphic novels for laughs and memorability I’ve read over the past few years: You’re All Just Jealous of My Jet-Pack (and anything else by Tom Gauld); I’m a Rocker – I Rock Out; A Game for Swallows; Double Fine Action Comics (Vols. 1 and 2, I wish there were many more).

  194. The First Time She Drowned, by Kerry Kletter. Beautifully tragic and heartbreaking, lyrically written. A story of a young woman who overcomes more than most of us could ever imagine, even though her worst nightmares are still buried deep inside her head.

  195. My four year old’s preschool class is focusing on kindness right now, and they each drew a picture of something kind they can do for someone. My son’s picture was of him visiting a friend who was sad to cheer him up – complete with phallic-looking necks and big, round bellies with belly buttons. The drawing is HILARIOUS. But I also love that he got it. AND when he cheered his friend up, it made him “smile in his tummy”, which I think is a pretty astute observation of emotions for a four year old!

  196. I just finished Carian Cole’s No Tomorrow and it is one of the most moving and subtle depictions of mental illness ever put on paper. As a retired doctor, I was looking at every page for clues, thinking, “There’s a diagnosis here somewhere, but what is it?” thinking it was substance abuse, etc, and the reveal just pours off the pages like a dam bursting.

  197. My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food
    by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

    A memoir by one of the chefs we know from public television… I heard an interview with her and got in line for the audiobook at the library. She was born in a section of Italy that was abruptly transferred to Yugoslavia. After years of Tito’s Communism and worsening conditions, her family escaped. They left everything behind. They spent 2 years in a refugee camp before having a chance to emigrate to the United States.

    A very very good reminder of the hardships people can be escaping when they risk all to come to the United States.

  198. Lamb is hilarious! I laughed out loud so often my husband asked if I was okay. I just kept telling him “It’s this book!”

  199. Hmm… The best things I’ve read in the past… three years:
    1. A Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
    2. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
    3. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
    4. Architect of Song (really all in the series) & Roseblood by AG Howard
    5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    6. A few different stories by David Sedaris

  200. Best Christmas book Connie Willie A Lot Like Christmas. Also Coalwood Way by Homer Hickam.

  201. I’m also reading Whoever Fights Monsters! And Devil’s Knot (the True Story of the West Memphis Three). And I just finished Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. All 3 are amazing in their own way.

  202. I’ve been in a reading slump lately because of school but I did manage to read some good kids books over the past few months. I often find middle grade novels to be a good reading choice (even for adults) because they’re short, and sometimes when my brain is full of grown-up responsibilities I can only focus on something brief and geared towards a more innocent audience. My recommendations are:
    1. Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
    2. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
    3. Breakout by Kate Messner

  203. It’s hard to pick just one! Water for Elephants Sara Gruen, The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah oh and how can I forget,Furiously Happy, and Lets Pretend This Never Happened, The Little Prince Atoine de Saint Exupery,The Harry Potter series

  204. husband enters the bedroom
    Me in bed,iPad on chest,both hands fanning my eyes
    Husband who knows me too well- “What got to you?”
    Me- “The Bloggess….snif
    Husband “Tell me”
    Me- paraphrases the airport story and dissolves into snot and tears by the end
    Husband- “That’s a good one….snif
    Thank you for sharing that story so we could have this moment. Stories are magic. You’re a fucking magical being!!! snif where’s a damn tissue when you need one?

  205. The Wealthy Barber 2 (non-fiction) was absotively posilutely hilarious and everyone should read. Anything by Lindsay Buroker (steampunk) and either Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber or Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series (Fantasy genre).

  206. I loved Lamb! I’m hanging out to read East of Eden again. A book that changed the way I view the world is Confessions by Kanae Minoto, and the award for the Most Beautiful Book Ever goes to The Selected Works of T S Spivet by Rief Larsen. It’s full of beautiful diagrams and maps to go along with the story.

  207. Best thing I read lately was David Sedaris’ book, Calypso. Next on the reading pile by my bed: The Hidden Lives of Trees (recommendation from my daughter); Eric Idle’s Always Look On The Bright Side of Life – A Sortabiography (Monty Python – it’s gotta be good); and Every Note Played by Lisa Genova because Still Alice made me cry and I’m hoping this will be just as good.

  208. The other day I read online Find Out Who You Are And Do It On Purpose. Totally brilliant. Thanks Dolly Parton. I think I have just found my mission statement.

  209. Christopher Moore is a genius, how is it you read the same authors as I do. Do people with mental illness find the same type of writing soothing or humerous? Neil Gaiman, Carl Hiiaasen, and now I’m reading a new author for me. His book is The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and his name is Stuart Hardcastle. It’s a mystery and so far I like iLaren

  210. My hold list at the library is now bulging!

    I just tonight finished Letters to the Lost and cried my way through the last 200 pages. Beauyifully written! Recently read and loved The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I also always recommend Laurie King’s Sherlock series, the Outlander series and Phryne Fisher murder mystery series.

  211. The Lost City of the Monkey God. Non-fiction about the expedition to find a rumoured lost city in the Honduran jungle.

    The Dirty Dust (Cré na Cille). A hilarious fiction book set in an Irish graveyard. Written in 1949 in Irish, it was only translated to English in 2015. I recognized so much of my family in the characters.

  212. It seems that none of your amazon links are working for me =[ The sweater from the other day, or your links here.

  213. Best thing I read this year has to be a tie: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. Both are so excellent I can’t stop thinking about them.

  214. I can and have reread that post a few times. It breaks my heart happy every time….thank you.

  215. Life’s Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker is amazing.

    Mercy Rule; which is a great YA book by Tom Leveen, also incredibly good (actually all of his books are great and YA)! If you are looking for YA books I can’t recommend them enough.

    I am a biological anthropologist, so I read a TON of books about bones, forensic science and forensic anthropology, all for fun!

  216. I don’ t often have the attention span to read, but loved your books. The others I cherish are Philip Pullman’s trilogy The Golden Compass/ The Subtle Knife/The Amber Spyglass, Donald McCaig’s Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men about going to Scotland for a Border Collie, and anything by James Herriot. Also, The Horse Whisperer for Nicholas Evans perfect description of trail riding in the snow, which was so real I felt the accident. All somewhat dated and dog-centric, but that’s me.
    And Naomi’s post- I have had experiences like that. It’s the world we can make, not just believe is possible.

  217. The best book I have read is Wonderful Tonight by Patti Boyd. It helped me realize the issues in my own relationship, and inspired me to reclaim my independence. Also, I have the title tattooed on my wrists and the song Wonderful Tonight was my wedding song when I finally found the right guy.

  218. Thank you for sharing the piece writtwn by Naomi. It brought me to tears of joy. I too would love to live in that world. Thanks again.

  219. Thank you so much for sharing the piece by Naomi. It brought me to tears of joy
    I too want to live in that world. Thanks again.

  220. What a lovely post. The best thing I’ve read lately is a text message from my niece and my sister-in-law, saying that the Christmas crochet projects I’d sent out had arrived. Whew!

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