What’s on Your List?

imagesI’ve let too much time pass since I’ve last blogged (blogged? Is this a verb?) Let’s try this again. I’ve let too much time pass since I’ve last POSTED on my blog. That’s better. I can claim busy-ness. There was the week teaching at Wildacres, which was so rewarding and fun and lovely that I had to recover from it, and then the week at a super-special-secret-hideout writing retreat in Connecticut, and then a lovely end of summer here at home that involved hammocks, husband, and I have to think of something else that starts with ‘h’ so I can alliterate.


All this to say that once I emerged from my cocoon, much the world was ugly. You know what I’m talking about: the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, and the echoes of Trayvon Martin’s killing, and backward so many years. There’s James Foley’s killing at the hands of ISIS, there’s suppression of journalists here and abroad, Israel and Gaza and Hamas (again)…


Why does a writer concern herself with these things? Because she’s a writer, and lives in the world. Because she’s a reader. Because of tikkun olam.


My friend Terra McVoy and I were talking about how powerless we feel, and about the power of reading and writing, and how we can try to “repair the world” (see tikkun olam, above) and she came up with a reading list called, “Books are Ammo for Your Brain.”


She’s made a YA reading list to help readers move forward in their thinking in these days. My friends at Charis Books and More have made one called, “The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart.


There are others on the web.  Here is just a sample of mine.

The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson.

Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, by Danny Lyon

Countdown to Eternity, by Benedict Fernandez

The Temple Bombing, by Melissa Fay Greene

Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, by Gary Pomerantz.


What’s on your list? Write me and tell me. I want to know.



Raymond Cothern

Five among many stacks: Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo); Blue Nights (Didion); Life in a Day (Doris Grumbach); Inventing Mark Twain (Andrew Hoffman); and Bad Land by Jonathan Raban.

Jessica Handler

I’m teaching Behind the Beautiful Forevers this semester – good call!

Jessica Handler

Love Thicht Nhat Hahn. Good quote. Thank you! (PS & glad to see you the other day.)


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