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Moominsummer Madness
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton

The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients (Audio)

The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients (Audio) - Irvin D. Yalom Listened to this audiobook prior to starting a degree in counseling. I don't think I have enough of a professional perspective to have a personal opinion on the quality of this advice, but it was helpful in terms of giving me the opportunity to think about therapy as a prospective therapist, rather than a client. Not sure what to make of Yalom, not being familiar with him from his other writing - but I really disliked the narrator for this audiobook & it's hard to differentiate two. I was not at all expecting to find so much philosophy in this book, for some reason. It was a sweet surprise to hear about my fav Spinoza at the end of this book.

Among Others

Among Others - Jo Walton This book's protagonist is a big sci-fi/fantasy reader and I am absolutely not. I probably have not read a single one of the books discussed, which means that I didn't follow the characters' discussions of those books, either. I'm sure that this would have been a richer experience for me if that weren't the case, but I really enjoyed myself regardless, and there were only a few things that I needed to look up.

I had one quibble about how teens, especially young women, in this book with more conventional interests were frequently written off as being altogether stupid, which is internalized misogyny! Don't do that shit!

Still, I loved this coming-of-age story that's very concerned about shaping your own perspective, and sense of self and ethics, quite intentionally through reading. & about building a community of readers. I loved the magical elements of this book, and how reasonably and thoughtfully the protagonist considers them.

Fair Play (New York Review Books Classics)

Fair Play (New York Review Books Classics) - Tove Jansson, Thomas Teal, Ali Smith A small & very precious book. Heartfelt, tender, fiery, inquisitive. For everyone - especially every creative person - who wants to grow old with their best friends.

I don't know Tove Jansson except as a writer of short stories and she is absolutely worth getting to know this way. If you're one of my best friends, please read this immediately.


Stranger - Albert Camus, Matthew    Ward Couldn't remember if I read this in one of my undergrad philosophy classes. I hadn't, but now I can say that I have.

I'm sure so many people have written about how ~problematic~ this book is, so I won't repeat them. It felt to me like this book conflates existentialism with treating people as disposable, which I never got from my own philosophy teachers.

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty - Dorothy Roberts At times this book made me feel so angry I felt like my blood was literally boiling. I'm definitely interested in finding out what's changed - or more likely, what hasn't - in terms of reproductive freedoms for black women in the years since this book was published.

Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties - Carmen Maria Machado This would be a 5 star if not for the SVU story which I really didn't care for.

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington - Leonora Carrington, Kathryn Davis If you're in the mood to get weird, this is a perfect read. I read a story a night before bed for awhile.

Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive

Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive - Kristen J. Sollee Read this in one sitting, & by the end, I was mostly skimming it.
Not sure who this book is for - it's a survey, but most of the information in it I already knew just by virtue of being a feminist online. It feels incredibly dated for being in print just a couple of years. I don't know who I could recommend this book to who would be interested in the topic, but not familiar with the information covered.

The concept of linking witches, sluts, and feminists together doesn't develop much further than to outline the fact that both witch & slut stereotypes are patriarchal in nature.

This book has an extensive works cited, & it mostly made me wish that I had chosen to read one of the other books mentioned instead.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith - Anne Lamott Probably this is more like a 3.5 or 4 star read but I am deducting a star because I feel strongly that white people shouldn't have dreadlocks.

There are many asides in this book that equate thinness with goodness, or naturally thin women with bitchiness, that make sense when you hear about her own eating disorder - but I wish they weren't there.

However, I love listening to her talk about sobriety, faith, community, love, and writing. All my perpetual faves.

Witch Baby

Witch Baby  - Francesca Lia Block Revisiting a problematic fav from my youth.

The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family - Eleanor Payson This one was homework from therapy. I actually would recommend against reading it if you are not actually in therapy if you believe you have a narcissist in your life.

Four stars because there is no mention of queer relationships, and also because the examples she uses (including the Wizard of Oz) feel so out of step with life in 2019. I would love a new edition that is speaking more directly to today's readers.

Men, Women & Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough

Men, Women & Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough - Brené Brown This is a 2 part audio lecture from Brene for Sounds True. I thought it was fantastic. If you think Brene's work is irredeemably corny, though, you won't like this either.

One of the things this book does is make the case for how & why women need to allow men to have safe spaces in their relationships to communicate their fears & feelings. As someone who feels, on the whole, totally done with the idea of centering men or men's perspectives, this helped me to see where & why I should do better - at least for the men in my life who I've come to love & trust.

There's lots in this book that's valuable, but one thing I wanted to flag that was a big insight for me was that whatever way trauma expresses itself in your body, shame feels the same way.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - Carol S. Dweck The ideas here are solid but there are way too many lengthy examples about "impressive" people that left me cold. Read this with one of my departments at work.

Heavy: An American Memoir

Heavy: An American Memoir - Kiese Laymon Kiese Laymon is one of the best contemporary writers that I know of.

It was a challenge to stay present for this narrative & to let its painful moments settle into my body & my understanding. But this is a book that mattered to me instantly & I think you should read it.


"Nothing I'd read in school prepared me to think through the permanence of violence in Mississippi, Maryland, and the whole nation. After school, I kept reading and rearranging the words I'd written, trying to understand what the words meant for my understanding of violence. For the first time in my life, I realized telling the truth was way different from finding the truth, and finding the truth had everything to do with revisiting and rearranging words. Revisiting and rearranging words didn't only require vocabulary; it required will, and maybe courage. Revised word patterns were revised thought patterns. Revised thought patterns shaped memory. I knew, looking at all those words, that memories were there. I just had to rearrange, add, subtract, sit, and sift until I found a way to free the memory. You told me in Mississippi revision was practice. In Maryland, I finally believed you. The truth was that practicing writing meant practicing sitting down, sitting still, and my body did not ever want to be still. When it had to be still, all it wanted to do was imagine dunking with two hands or kissing a girl who loved me. Sitting still, just as much as any other part of writing, took practice. Most days, my body did not want to practice, but I convinced it that sitting still and writing were a path to memory."


"'My job as a teacher was to help them breathe with excellence and discipline in the classroom. The ones that love you, they become what you model. Don't forget that. Help them breathe by modeling responsible love in the classroom every singe day. The most important thing a teacher can do is give their students permission to be loving and excellent.'"


"No matter what, I would always come back with the stated intention of winning, and the unstated intention of harming myself."

Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience with Trust and Courage

Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience with Trust and Courage - Pema Chödrön This is a perfect first read for a new year. But also the kind of book where you begin to live differently once the lessons start to sink in for you, new year or not. The first half of this text is a lecture and the second half is an interview with Tami Simon & both felt very tender & precious. Thanks Pema.

I bought this one on the Sounds True app, but didn't see that option in the editions settings on goodreads.

The Break

The Break - Katherena Vermette This is one of the most traumatic stories I think I have ever read. It is also one of the best books about how families can love & support each other that I have ever read.

I listened to the audiobook & the way the narrator is able to voice each of these characters was art in itself.