Reading

Often, I get emails asking me how to write. The only reasonable (though common) answer is to read. Here is a list of everything I’ve been reading the last few years. Books that are bolded, I highly recommend. RR stands for re-read

2018

  • The Half That Was Never Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

  • Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

  • Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • The Modern Library: Writer’s Workshop by Stephen Koch

  • Daybook by Anne Truitt

  • The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

  • The Self Unstable by Elisa Gabbert

  • A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

  • Down Below by Leonora Carrington

  • Counting Descent by Clint Smith

  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

  • Melville by Jean Giorno

  • Footsteps by Richard Holmes

  • The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

  • The Potlicker Papers by John T. Edge

  • The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross

  • Love Affairs of an Old Maid by Lilian Lida Bell

  • Frantumaglia by Elena Ferrante

  • Ties by Dominico Starnone

  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle Eileen McNamara

  • Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright

  • The First Time by Kate Monro

  • The Pisces by Melissa Broder

  • Zoo: or Letters Not About Love by Viktor Shklovsky

  • The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

  • Les Femme des Giles by Madeleine Bourdouxhe

  • Trick by Domenico Starnone

  • Counting by Jayne Anne Phillips

  • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

  • Back to Texas by Bobbie Louise Hawkins

  • (RR) Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

  • Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

  • Giant by Edna Ferber

  • Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset

  • People in Glass Houses by Tanya Levin

  • Open Up the Doors: Music in the Modern Church by Mark Evans

  • In the Distance by Hernan Diaz

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

  • The Waves by Virginia Woolf

  • Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

  • The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

  • Sky Burial by Xinran

  • Fat City by Leonard Gardner

  • Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

  • Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball by Jennifer Ring

  • Women in Baseball: The Forgotten History by Gai Ingham Berlage

  • A Game of Their Own: Voices of Contemporary Women in Baseball by Jennifer Ring

  • Bloomer Girls:Women Baseball Pioneers by Debra A. Shattuck

  • Girls of Summer by Lois Browne

  • When Women played Hardball by Billie Jean King

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

  • Sleepless Nights by Elisabeth Hardwick

  • Less by Andrew Sean Green

  • The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

  • Autumn by Ali Smith

  • Crudo by Olivia Laing

  • Educated by Tara Westover

  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison

  • The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemison

  • Heartburn by Norah Ephron

  • Normal People by Sally Rooney

  • Summer by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression by Nell Casey

  • Thistle Hill: The Cattle Baron’s legacy by Rose McCoy Porter

  • The Sea Change Elisabeth Jane Howard

  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemison

  • Cowboy Up: The History of Bull riding by Gail Hughbanks Woerner

  • Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies & Bull Rider by Josh Peter

  • The Good Women Of China by Xinran

this list was last updated on November 12, 2018

2017

  • The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

  • A Separation by Katie Kitamura

  • The Time of Man by Elizabeth Maddox Roberts

  • What it Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

  • Top 40 Democracy by Eric Weisbard

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

  • Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller

  • All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

  • So Much for That Winter by Dorothe Nors

  • The Fundamentals of Extremism edited by Kimberly Blaker

  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman

  • Blue Horses by Mary Oliver

  • The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

  • Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

  • I was Wrong by Jim Bakker

  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

  • What is not yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi

  • With God On Our Side by William Martin

  • More Than I Could Ever Ask by Lori Graham Bakker

  • Literally show me a Healthy Person by Darcie Wilder

  • The Balloonists by Eula Bliss

  • The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

  • Startup by Doree Shafir

  • Pretending is Lying by Dominique Goblet

  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond

  • Family Lexicon by Natalia Ginsberg

  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

  • One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

  • Too Much and Not in the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose

  • Valley of the Dolls by Jaqueline Susann

  • Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

  • (RR) Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

  • (RR) All the Living by C. E. Morgan

  • Mary by Vladimir Nabokov

  • Hill by Jean Giono

  • No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

  • The Blue Fox by Sjon

  • Despair by Vladimir Nabokov

  • My Struggle Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

  • My Struggle Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • New People by Danzy Senna

  • My Struggle Book Three by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • Why Did I Ever by Mary Robinson

  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

  • Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

  • My Struggle Book Four by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • News of the World by Paulette Jiles

  • My Absolute Darling but Gabriel Talent

  • My Struggle Book Five by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

  • Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.

  • My Life with Picasso by Francoise Gilot

  • Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard

  • In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

  • Olive Kitteridge by Elisabeth Strout

  • Interourse by Andrea Dworkin

  • A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes

  • A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century by Jerome Charyn

  • Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe

  • The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

2016

  • The Narrow Door, by Paul Lisicky

  • Under the Udula Trees, by Chinelo Okparanta

  • Baltimore Blues, by Laura Lippman

  • The Silent Woman, by Slyvia Plath

  • The Song Machine, by John Seabrook

  • Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner

  • The Gilded Razor, by Sam Lansky

  • Milk & Honey, by Rupi Kaur

  • Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

  • The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang

  • After Birth by Elisa Albert

  • Problems by Jade Sharma

  • Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

  • The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang

  • So Sad Today by Melissa Broder

  • The Beauty of the Husband: a fictional essay in 29 tangos by Anne Carson

  • There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Family by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

  • the Way Forward is with a Broken Heart by Alice Walker

  • Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

  • The Mothers by Britt Bennett

  • I Love Dick by Chris Kraus

  • How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

  • The Girls by Emma Cline

  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

  • The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

  • Pond by Claire-Louise Bennet

  • Varieties of Exile by Mavis Gallant

  • Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

  • American Sweethearts by Ilana Nash

  • I Must Be living Twice by Eileen Myles

  • The Revolutionaries Try Again by Mauro Javier Cardenas

  • Citizen by Claudia Rankin

  • Wrapped in Rainbows by Valerie Boyd

  • Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

  • Abba Gold by Elisabeth Vincentelli (33 1/3)

  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith

  • Love Story by Erich Segal

  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

  • Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman