As a writer and a storyteller, reading is essential—it’s the raw material of my craft. This is a list of books I’m reading and I’ve read since January of 2020. If you’re on Goodreads, you can follow me here. You can check out my posts about books I’ve read here.

 

2020

📖 Reading now

📖 A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams by Michael Pollan. I read this book about a decade ago, not long after it came out. I lent my copy to someone (who knows who) and it turned into another mysterious donation to the great decentralized library system. I just got a new copy and I’m digging in. 4/3/2020

📖 Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas by Stephen Harrigan. The title is right. This is a big, wonderful read. It’s a history of Texas that tells the history of this incredible state through the eyes of those who lived it. It looks at the atrocities and the triumphs alike with sober-minded realism. If you love Texas—or are simply intrigued by it—this is a great read.

📖 Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson. This has been an incredibly encouraging and enlightening read. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts when I’m done.

🎧 The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. After years of getting recommendations for the classic Wheel of Time fantasy series, I’ve decided it’s time to check it out. I can’t write in the genre and not be familiar with such a foundational author and series.

📚 Read

📖 The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley. I read this for a book discussion at work and it was great. I was looking forward to it before the time of shelter in place orders and social distancing, but it was been even better than expected. There is nothing groundbreaking about the spiritual disciplines in this book, but it was the most relatable and practical view of applying them in contemporary life that I have yet seen. It was encouraging, which I can’t say about other books I’ve read on the topic.

🎧 Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I was incredibly saddened in June 2018 when I heard that Anthony Bourdain killed himself. When I graduated college I could barely cook rice. Over the next five years I became a pretty good cook, in large part due to Alton Brown and Bourdain. Though the two could not be more different, they served as my culinary professors for years. I’ve grown from a bachelor who constantly burnt good ingredients into a pretty good home cook who can improvise and create my own dishes, and Bourdain is a big part of that story. The book is certainly for mature audiences, but hearing him narrate his classic is a great experience. It’s really too bad we’ll never see another book or show from him again.

🎧 Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan. With the whole world in lockdown my wife and I found enough time on our hands to finally tackle major yard projects that have been haunting us for years. Revisiting this work from Pollan (one of my favorite non-fiction writers) was a good motivation while working outside. More thoughts to come soon.

📖 Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. This was a quick read an an interesting take on vegetable gardening to feed the family. We are planning on putting a garden in soon after reading this. More to come as well.

📖 Keep Going by Austin Kleon. I don’t know if Kleon thinks of his last three books (Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, and this one) as a trilogy or not, but I do. This was an incredibly inspiring read right when I needed it. It’s somehow practical and inspirational at the same time. I’d recommend Kleon’s creative trilogy to any artist—working or aspiring. You can read my full thoughts in it here.

📖 Endure by Alex Hutchinson. A fascinating survey of the available research on human endurance and told with an engaging voice. If you are interested in the pursuit of human limitations, this is for you.

📖 Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. An okay novel set after the original trilogy. The setting and plot are thoroughly Star Wars, but the characters are one dimensional and not very interesting. It’s the first novel in a series, but I won’t be reading further.

📖 Run Forever by Amby Burfoot. Trying to get back to a steady running habit at 42 is not easy, and Burfoot has been a fixture of the running wisdom that has guided me on and off since middle school cross country. I loved his previous books and his work for Runner’s World, and this book was no different. This book is a delightful bit of wisdom from someone who is still running late into life.