books I have read in 2020

  1. Once More We Saw Stars – Jayson Greene – Jan. – heartbreaking memoir of a father who lost a two-year-old daughter; the description of their subsequent pregnancy made me remember the quiet secret joy of my own and made me want to have another baby
  2. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know – Malcolm Gladwell – Jan. – I was disappointed in his writing related to racial profiling and injustice toward black people…I felt he gave white people even more reason to explain away racial profiling as something other than what it is
  3. The Magic of Motherhood: the good stuff, the hard stuff and everything in between – Ashlee Gadd/Coffee + Crumbs – Jan. – I thought this book would be too cheesy for me, like a floral devotion for mothers. Thankfully, it was just what the doctor ordered! Read this on mornings our baby was sleeping and I was sneaking in my breakfast in the bathroom where I slept on a mattress. Ha. I did relate to the authors.
  4. The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 – Garrett M. Graff – Feb. – ABSOLUTELY RIVETING and could NOT put it down – heartbreaking and haunting, chilling
  5. Boys and Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity – Peggy Orenstein – Feb. – riveting and worrying as I try to parent a daughter in the 21st century
  6. Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community – Anna Carter Florence – March – started in March 2019 and finished in March 2020…she did an enthralling conference where she had us playing with the texts and hearing them afresh
  7. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon – Mar.
  8. Highway One, Antarctica – Justin Herrmann – Mar. (second time reading it)
  9. Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again – Kimberly Williams-Paisley – April
  10. This Life That Is Ours: Motherhood as Spiritual Practice – Lauren Burdette – April
  11. After This – Alice McDermott – April – such gorgeous prose! McDermott really excels at the craft of writing…enjoyed reading this during meals
  12. Shameless: A Sexual Reformation – Nadia Bolz-Weber – April – helpful as I think about what parts of Christian teaching will be conducive to a positive body image + sexuality for my daughter, and which parts will be harmful
  13. Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace – Robert Farrar Capon – June – WOW! Recommending this book to EVERYONE. I need to reread it and try to let it sink in. Turns my understanding of grace, faith, Christ, Christianity, and me…upside down.
  14. What Now? – Ann Patchett – June
  15. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Daniel James Brown – July – absolutely loved this book! great for traveling
  16. The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – July – pretty good collection of stories and made me want to try my hand at the genre
  17. Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting – Jennifer Traig – July – super quirky 
  18. Cowboys Are My Weakness – stories by Pam Houston – July – loved this book (despite the female protagonists’ poor taste in men)! Superb craft in writing! Have to read more of her.
  19. The Sun is a Compass: A 4,000-mile Journey Into the Alaskan Wilds – Caroline Van Hemert – Aug. – just okay
  20. Wiving: A Memoir of Loving Then Leaving the Patriarchy – Caitlin Myer – Aug. – started out riveting but then grew tiring…too much drama and frustration…pretty disturbing book, too
  21. Contents May Have Shifted – Pam Houston – August – She claims it’s a novel, but I have no idea how. Tale of travels and relationships.
  22. An American Childhood – Annie Dillard – August – for the second time! Looooooove this memoir. It transports you.
  23. The Nanny Diaries – Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin – August – for like the eighth time…guilty pleasure
  24. Waltzing the Cat – Pam Houston – September – just love her
  25. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country – Pam Houston – September – now I want to take classes from her and be a ranchsitter for her…she’s my idol
  26. Dear Parent: Caring for Infants with Respect – Magda Gerber – September – at least my second time, perhaps my third time, reading this book…and always recenters me!
  27. 1,2,3…The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents & Caregivers – Irene Van der Zande – September – despite many typos/grammatical errors, a fairly helpful book
  28. Valentine – Elizabeth Wetmore – September – riveting and suspenseful, but I found a few mistakes/inconsistencies, and there were a few parts that felt inauthentic…otherwise a fine read
  29. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo – September – certainly not an easy read!
  30. How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids – Jancee Dunn – October – made me more affectionate and grateful toward Jordan!
  31. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid – October – de-LISH-ous, so juicy, so compulsively readable…wasn’t sure about it at first (whether it felt genuine), but was hooked before long…among the many things she captures perfectly, the guilt of a white woman’s psyche is one of them
  32. Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon – Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa (with Mim Eichler Rivas) – October – read this book to help Jordan with a Spanish project and found it blessing me!
  33. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool – Emily Oster – October – demonstrates that no matter what you do as a parent, basically it doesn’t affect how your kid will turn out
  34. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist – Adrian Tomine – October – graphic novel about all the most cringe-worthy moments of his life…the part about having diarrhea while an interviewer sat just outside the bathroom door made me laugh and laugh and laugh
  35. Comfort: A Journey Through Grief – Ann Hood – November – memoir of a mother who lost her five-year-old daughter to a virulent form of strep
  36. Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith – Henri Nouwen – November – seemed quite fitting for my questions, wonderings, discernment during this time
  37. The Long Winter – Laura Ingalls Wilder – December – I’ve read this many times and still adore it (though I am newly aware of its white privilege/-centeredness)
  38. Little Town on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder – December – I’ve read this many times, just like the former, and still adore it, just like the former…but wow…their depiction of a minstrel show was pretty rough to read…especially to realize how I didn’t clue in about the craziness of it till now
  39. These Happy Golden Years – Laura Ingalls Wilder – December
  40. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett – December – for the second time, and it’s still divine!
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had – Claire Lombardo – 380 pages of it – I got tired of the unrealistic dialogue – do people really begin so many sentences with “Jesus Christ”? Or use “Viol” as a nickname for “Violet”?
  • Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) – Eve Rodsky – most of it…
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the world, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla F. Saad – 69 pages of it
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown – 134 pages of it
  • Just Us: An American Conversation – Claudia Rankine – 175 pages of it
  • Dreyer’s English – Benjamin Dreyer – 200 pages of it

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