My Hierarchy of Reads


One day this week, as I was idly gazing at my bookshelves (aka writing), I began to think about what moves me to buy or read a particular book. Of course, there can be any number of reasons, but as I considered it, several distinctive themes emerged.

Using a few examples from books I read in 2017-2018, here is my personal hierarchy of reads.

Books by writers I admire so much I will read whatever they write forever

Photo: telegraph-co-uk

(Authors in alphabetical order)

  • White Houses by Amy Bloom
  • The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
  • LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay 
  • Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System by Sonya Huber
  • Kingdom of Women by Rosalie Morales Kearns
  • ‘Round Midnight by Laura McBride
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward 

Books recommended by people I respect, and they were right

  • The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
  • Sister Noon by Karen Joy Fowler
  • Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Books whose titles grabbed me and I’m glad they did

Photo: Petr Dosek

  • Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins
  • Where the Jews Aren’t by Masha Gessen
  • No One is Going to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

Books that happen to be about my weird interests

Totalitarian societies

  • Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
  • Shadowland by Elizabeth Kostova

War and its impact 

  • Wolf Season by Helen Benedict

Cold places

  • The Big Bang Symphony by Lucy Jane Bledsoe 

Forthcoming books I can’t wait to read by former colleagues and constant comrades in activism

These books aren’t on my shelves yet, but you can be sure they will be.

Anarchy or hierarchy – what’s your book selection process? Do share.

One thought on “My Hierarchy of Reads

  1. I am constantly amazed at what you think of to write and where you find the pictures and all the books and authors you know and present. I shouldn’t be amazed after all this time.


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