(listed chronologically by when I read them)
Watch Graham Moore's Oscar acceptance speech (for penning The Imitation Game), then pick up this novel that only increase your affection for him & his extraordinary talent. It was a really great read; and this, coming from someone who is not inclined to historical fiction. I am shocked that it didn't blow up in popularity when it was released.
Good ole Jenny from Dinner: A Love Story! This book was the perfect primer as I head from the I'm-in-the-trenches-with-toddlers years to the braces-tightening-soccer-game years. She demonstrates what a life looks like full of family ritual, those events & moments whether commonplace (Thanksgiving) or unique (Friday pizza or Saturday summer walks to the market). It also woke me to the most genius ever donut birthday cake (you'll have to look it up in the book).
A memoir of growing up poor & white in America, but this book is more informative, entertaining, & enlightening than it is a downer.
Well, this one was a downer. But, it is my #1 recommend of the year. It is hard & emotional — written by the mother of one of the perpetrators of the Columbine school massacre — but, what she shares about brain health & suicide should be required reading for every parent. When a recent family friend took his life, I thought often of what I learned in this book about the unhealthy mind from which he was operating.
Reading this book wasn't like gawking at an accident, and it wasn't, in my opinion, a self-indulgent pet project for a woman seeking freedom from the world's scorn. It was a hand-wringing grief, full of opportunities for empathy. A good, worthy read.
I have previously mentioned this book which I listened to, read by the author, on Audible (it is their exclusive audiobook) using the free 30-day trial. A friend to whom I recommended it found Trevor Noah's story jumpy, disjointed, and was always waiting for him to talk about his career! A fair assessment, but I found his South African childhood compelling, and his stories both powerfully & hilariously told.
This is not a novel for everyone, and not just because of its girth at 700+ pages. It is full of dark, upsetting subject matter & brokenness so raw & deep that it is quite overwhelming. I don't think it is a perfect book, but I can swallow a grain of salt (for her limited, artsy NYC environment) to bask in the beautifully written prose and the extraordinary, unforgettable characters she has created. If you like "dark matter" and character studies (I usually like the former, but not the latter), this book is for you.
As Modern Mrs Darcy wrote, "I wouldn't have "gotten" this at 22, but adored it in my 30s." As the subtitle indicates — Time, Memory, Marriage — this is a grown-up book, for readers ready to accept the imperfections, compromises, & tensions of joy & sorrow intermingled in a mature life.
Late to the party here. Like, waaaayyyy late, like midnight buffet late. Nonetheless, it is just as its reputation claims: excellent, beautiful, must-read.
The list above reveals my proclivity for the memoir genre! I have learned that not everybody loves memoirs as much as I do (hard as it is for me to believe).
I did read some great fiction this year, too, but apart from the couple mentioned above, the novels just didn’t have the same impact on me as the nonfiction above. I also spent way too much novel-reading energy on Justin Cronin’s The Passage (which was a zillion pages long).
Anyhow, I do also recommend The Dinner, Beartown, Commonwealth, and Anne of the Island ;)
This is a motto I've been replaying lately in my mind.
For me, one of the *necessities* to sustain energy for this work is to embrace joy, celebration, & fun. But this year, those things have felt pretty elusive. The past 16 months have enriched the depth of my close friendships and have brought maturation & focus to my time; these have been invaluable gifts!
But... I feel like I need to learn all over again how to have fun!
Here are some of the ways I've been thinking about, or practicing, fun lately. I would also love to hear about how you find joy & energy to recharge for everything else that life brings at us!
Basha Boutique is the name of the organization in Bangladesh where all of our beautiful products are made.
Yes, *all* of our products, every item of kantha we sell. This was... ill-advised by our banker. But, a personal working relationship, excellent partnership, and the literal best quality products have kept us together for nearly 9 years! dignify is yoked to Basha, and we have zero regrets.
If you've been around dignify for a while, you've heard plenty about Basha and likely have a good familiarity with how they (and we) operate. But, if not, here is a bit more context!
I’ve written before about taking the time to think about our spending habits. We are in a particularly unique situation in this current moment; in March 2020, there was a dramatic interruption to our everyday spending and consumption habits!
Some patterns have remained interrupted over the year. Some rhythms are, or will be soon, returning to a closer resemblance to pre-covid. Regardless of our specific situation, interruptions make great opportunities to re-assess! Do my choices reflect my desires, my values, my priorities?