Books & Authors

I nor­mal­ly have at least three or four books in progress at any giv­en time—a nov­el, an anthol­o­gy, at least one non-fic­tion book, and some poet­ry. The non-fic­tion is often an audio­book that I lis­ten to while dri­ving or doing hand­work. There are only a few authors whose works I read and re-read, and some of those have had quite an influ­ence on my life. 

If you’ve been here before, you may have noticed that this page got a lot short­er. Some of the items had got­ten pret­ty dat­ed, so I removed them. While I’m still read­ing vora­cious­ly, I keep track of what I’m read­ing over at GoodReads, occa­sion­al­ly review­ing books here on my blog.

Also, because the sci­ence fic­tion and fan­ta­sy books and authors were tak­ing over the page, I’ve giv­en them to their own place.

Books

I’ve been enjoy­ing Mary Roach’s books late­ly. Bonk: The Curi­ous Cou­pling of Sci­ence and Sex, in par­tic­u­lar, was infor­ma­tive and amus­ing. She has a gift for keep­ing all man­ner of sub­jects interesting. 

Anoth­er favorite non-fic­tion author is Dr. Hanne Blank. Vir­gin: The Untouched His­to­ry is the fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry of the social con­struct of vir­gin­i­ty. Next up on my read­ing list is Fat.


I read Pos­i­tiv­i­ty: Ground­break­ing Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hid­den Strength of Pos­i­tive Emo­tions, Over­come Neg­a­tiv­i­ty, and Thrive and Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emo­tion Affects Every­thing We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Dr. Bar­bara Fredrick­son last year and great­ly appre­ci­at­ed the sci­ence-backed approach to the pur­suit of happiness. 



I final­ly got around to read­ing Non­vi­o­lent Com­mu­ni­ca­tion: A Lan­guage of Life by Mar­shall B. Rosen­berg. It’s only been 20 years or so since my broth­er-of-choice rec­om­mend­ed the book to me. I intend to read more of the selec­tions from The Cen­ter for Non­vi­o­lent Com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

I’ve read (or lis­tened to) sev­er­al of Bart Ehrman’s books over the last few years. Mis­quot­ing Jesus: The Sto­ry Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why was high­ly infor­ma­tive regard­ing what made it into the Bible and why. Forged: Writ­ing in the Name of God taught me that I was whol­ly mise­d­u­cat­ed regard­ing the authors of the New Testament. 

Cover of Obsidian Butterfly
After read­ing the first book of the Ani­ta Blake series by Lau­rell K. Hamil­ton out of sheer bore­dom, I had to go out and get every oth­er vol­ume, and devoured them in no time at all. I want more. Right now. I don’t even like hor­ror in gen­er­al, but I’d have to say that these books are more dark fan­ta­sy than hor­ror, and they’re always spiced with plen­ty of humor. (Lat­er note: Obsid­i­an But­ter­fly was the last book of the series that real­ly focused on plot more than sex, so those who don’t want to read about Ani­ta’s increas­ing col­lec­tion of lovers should stop with this vol­ume.) I think I enjoyed her Mer­ry Gen­try series more than the Blake series (more fan­ta­sy, a lit­tle less hor­ror). That starts with A Kiss of Shad­ows.

No Fixed Line is the lat­est of Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series. It was an excel­lent read, though it did­n’t hit me as hard as an ear­li­er vol­ume, Hunter’s Moon, did (if you’ve read the oth­er books in the series, I’ll warn you—Hunter’s Moon one will tear you up). I cried, and that just does­n’t hap­pen often—I can’t remem­ber any oth­er book of fic­tion that’s pro­voked tears from me. I enjoyed the Liam Camp­bell series as well (lat­est is Bet­ter to Rest), but I relate to Shugak more than Campbell.

Rick and I read Nao­mi Shi­hab Nye’s Words Under the Words to each oth­er, one poem a day. There are some tru­ly beau­ti­ful pieces here. 

Authors

Madeleine L’En­gle was one of my heras. I love every one of her books, fic­tion, poet­ry and prose, but The Order­ing of Love: The New and Col­lect­ed Poems of Madeleine L’En­gle is a spe­cial delight. She was sim­ply an incred­i­ble lady. 

I used to have most of C.S. Lewis’ books, and re-read them every few years. I’ve heard an audio ver­sion of The Screw­tape Let­ters record­ed by John Cleese that is absolute­ly side-split­ting, but I don’t own a copy (yet). The Great Divorce is the only book I’ve ever read that pre­sent­ed any the­o­ries about hell that I could rec­on­cile with the con­cept of a lov­ing deity.

Leslea New­man is a joy, but it’s often hard to find her books. Her vol­ume of poet­ry, Love Me Like You Mean It, is one I near­ly wore out before it dis­ap­peared. I wish I could find a hard­cov­er edi­tion, but I would set­tle for get­ting it in paper­back again. Most peo­ple know her as the author of Heather Has Two Mom­mies, and she has pub­lished quite a few chil­dren’s books–in fact, Belin­da’s Bou­quet was one of Katie’s favorites when she was younger. Fat Chance is an excel­lent book for teens.

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