• On Death and Dying

    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    This book is the classic work dealing with the psychology of death. The five stages of grief were first outlined here, though they are focused more on those dying then the people grieving after they are gone. Kübler-Ross interviewed terminally ill patients as part of an...more

  • Bill Peet: an Autobiography

    Bill Peet

    One of my favorite books as a kid was Jennifer and Josephine, and though I never read any other of Peet’s many children’s books, I considered him a favorite writer. I spotted this book at the library — an illustrated autobiography! His insight into the early...more

  • One Writer’s Beginnings

    Eudora Welty

    For some reason I had the expectation that this book was more specifically about writing, but instead it is a loosely sketched memoir of how honing in on her senses led her to be a writer with a lot of family history. It was far more interesting as a memoir than as any kind of guidance for fiction writing....more

  • Letters to a Young Poet

    Rainer Maria Rilke

    It’s hard to read a book like this for the first time, after hearing so often what an amazing read it is. I felt kind of disappointed in it until the last few letters, which are just plainly beautiful.

    I believe that nearly all our griefs are moments of tension. We perceive them as crippling because we no

  • Persepolis 2

    Marjane Satrapi

    The highly anticipated follower to Persepolis!; I am very lucky that Steve had requested it from the library early and then let me read it first when he got it. This book starts with Marjane arriving in Vienna, the first one having ended with her leaving Iran, and her transition into a life...more

  • We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families

    Philip Gourevitch

    the may 2004 issue of harper’s included a letter from Congo titled “In the Valley of the Gun: A massacre unfolds in eastern Congo” by Bryan Mealer — a very intense witness of the violence in the Republic of Congo. in talking to my roommate about it,...more

  • About This Life

    Barry Lopez

    an excellent collection of largely personal essays, the topics run from traveling to memories to animal studies. the introduction alone is worth a read by itself — an explanation of sorts of Lopez’s background, as context for the essays that follow.

    there were a few parts that i wasn’t so into, but “A Short Passage in...more

  • The Poetics of Space

    Gaston Bachelard

    this book wasn’t exactly what i was expecting; it’s not so much “one of the most appealing and lyrical explorations of home,” as the 1994 Beacon Press edition describes it. there is a lot in here about images of home but the focus is more generally on “intimate spaces” analyzed through (mostly French) literature/poetry.


  • Girl, Interrupted

    Susanna Kaysen

    while i was reading Wintering, i had a few conversations about books about young women in mental institutions. i think i read The Bell Jar once, but i read this book a few times, drawn to the...more

  • The Book of Tea

    Okakura Kakuzo

    i loved this book when i read it several years ago, using it as a first page for the last issue of my zine pink tea (see below); it was a nice counterweight to Catch-22 to read it again now. it’s a very layered look at the history of tea and tea ceremonies, digging deeper than one may expect in...more