Well, normally we like to share this list just around the holidays. 2020 being what it was, I suppose it’s not surprising that this list should show up as we get closer to the end of January 2021 than the end of last December. Anyway, here’s a list of some of the stuff we were reading at the end of last year and might still be reading now.
Juan Carlos Perez
I just picked up a copy of Margaret Atwood’s Dearly. It is one of the most beautiful and moving books of poetry I’ve ever read. There are a few poems in which each word is so perfectly balanced and necessary that it’s impossible not to feel the weight of emotion behind it. A perfect book of poems for these times. (You can hear Atwood read a couple of the poems here.
I’m reading A History of Love, a novel by Nicole Krauss. There is a subtle sadness in the story that leaves an ache each time I set the book down, but the little bits of humor in the characters’ idiosyncrasies make me laugh.
I’m reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin now, enjoyable new fantasy, a quite well-written tale in a richly imagined setting.
Oneness Embraced by Dr. Tony Evans gives a history and influences of the black church in America, how it grew in spite of racism in the white church, and how to leverage the strengths of both to bridge divides and demonstrate a biblically focused united church. I’m also working on Jefferson: the Art of Power by Jon Meacham, a very interesting look at the life of our 3rd President.
I’ve been dipping into some classic M. R. James short horror fiction, including Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. He read these aloud on Christmas Eve to a room full of friends at Cambridge University, and you can feel the warm glow of a candle-lit English evening at the college, as a backdrop to the creepy stories.
I’m currently reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Book Two of The Stormlight Archive). I find this series very entertaining, engaging, and thought-provoking.
Les Damnés de la Terre by Franz Fanon. This powerful collection of essays by Fanon describes in various ways what colonization does to people–both colonized and colonizer. The clinical tone of the writing makes it easier yet in some ways more disturbing to read than a more emotional style.
I recently finished Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. An incredibly detailed and well-researched examination of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster (and, unavoidably, a scathing comment on just how broken the Soviet Union really was…).
Also lots and lots of Pete the Cat.
The Garden of Peculiarities by Jesús Sepúlveda, an argument for humanity’s survival through differences.
The Murmur of Bees, Sophia Segovia. So very rich and just enough history to take your breath away including how the 1918 Spanish flu unfolded. Exquisite! Also, The Vision-Driven Leader, by Michael Hyatt, which offers little ground-breaking but is helpful in providing food-for-thought coming into 2021 and off of an unprecedented year.
The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data by Gene Kim
fine, ..I might be reading the Harry Potter series yet again.
Starting Stone of Farewell, the 2nd book in the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams.
Uh, does the daily NY Times Coronavirus Briefing count?