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
(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
- 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
- Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
- Shadowland by Elizabeth Kostova
War and its impact
- Wolf Season by Helen Benedict
- 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.