Read without prejudice

I have been somewhat tangled up in thorns of late, both metaphorically and literally. But, today is a day to celebrate, because it is #BookGivingDay. And I would like to give everyone a book, but then in a way I do, as all of my books are available through public libraries, those treasure-houses of culture.

I am sending out 3 books to friends, wrapped in finery. Two are second hand books that I read and loved, now out of print. One is one of mine that is heading to Kate of Turtledoves, to say thank you for the beautiful gloves she sent me as a result of Pi eating one of my cashmere gloves from them. They are perfect for painting in as they are delicate and warm, without being bulky and restrictive.

And I would like to send out a couple of books to someone reading this post.

Reading has often saved me. I am curious to discover how people choose what to read. I had little guidance when I was a child, missed out on all the classics, was late learning the trick of it anyway. The past few books I have read have lead to me wandering the world. The first, The Bear and the Nightingale is set in Russia.

I don’t have enough words to express how beautiful this book is. It was recommended to me by Tina, I think, on twitter. It carries within it the legacy of Angela Carter, and as a first novel, no, as a novel, it sparkles, shines, glows. Glorious. Just read it. It’s one of those books where you open the pages and begin to read and the words and the world you are in drops away and you are utterly enchanted. It has everything of the alchemy of reading that I adore.

Next I moved into a different world, the world of the Farseers and Robin Hobb.

Now, obviously I had read this before, but it was a manuscript then, and I was searching for images. This time the reading was pure pleasure. Soon, soon, her new book will come…. I wait, having read the unedited text, to enjoy again, because reading a manuscript and reading a book is so different. And I love this short novel, which might be described as historical fantasy.

Then I moved to this, a book set not in a country but in a tribe, which wanders a time when borders were drawn and ways of life forced into change. It ripples with mountain air and dust storms, fierce winds and hunger, hard lives, and beauty. It tells of a people so different to any I have encountered. It informs. It saddens. It is beautiful. This came to me via Seaways Bookshop in Fishguard who, when I asked about a year ago, ‘what’s good’, they said this was.

And now I have wandered to America, back in time. And this book I heard a review of on Front Row, some time ago, and then bought,using badges, not money, from Sam Read Books in Grasmere. It’s a signed copy, beautiful shape, wonderful cover and so far I am settling in to the change of country, change of style and finding these characters also nomadic.

I have never understood people who say, ‘I don’t read fiction’, ‘I never read fantasy’, ‘I never read non-fiction’, ‘I only read detective stories’. My reading is nomadic. I travel around the world, and these days am finding, thanks to publishers, more books in translation. I read children’s books, adult books, not many non-fiction, probably far too much fantasy, books by men, women, from all different nations. Books without borders. I think at a time when politicians prance and pose and build walls of legislation and bricks and mortar against our fellow man this is even more important, for we need to understand and accept the differences in humanity. For even as we are all equal, we are not all the same, and those differences can be glorious.  And I learn about the lives of others in my choice of reading, about how they live, customs and beliefs, other ways of thinking, other ways of being

I find my reading by recommendations, word of mouth, books that leap off the shelves into my arms, some from reviews, seldom by prize winners. So, my question to you is, how do you choose your reading? Leave a comment on this post and in a week or so I will pick a winner and send the two books below to them. If you already have them I can send them to someone you wish to gift them to. And if you can recommend to me books from far and from wide that you love please do. So, leave a comment and share.

Read without prejudice. It’s my new motto. I need to make a badge!

 

 

 

About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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47 Responses to Read without prejudice

  1. Reem Kattan says:

    Most of the time I choose my reading based on my favorite authors and genres. Like you, my favorite genres are fantasy, children’s and YA books. But I also like literary fiction and LOVE books with historical elements, magical realism and a sprinkle of romance.

    If I want to try something different, I look at reviews on different book blogs and goodreads lists. Sometimes when I go to a bookstore I will ask a bookseller about what they enjoyed reading and what they would recommend. I also like to look at the notes booksellers leave under books they have read on display. I know the cliche to “never judge a book by its cover” can be true, but I will browse the isles of bookstores for a long time and am usually attracted to books with beautiful, often shiny, covers. I’ll pick the book up and read the summery on the back to see if it would be something I am interested in reading. I occasionally choose books based on family and close friends’ recommendations, but not often . Once in a blue moon, I will use this website to help me pick my next read: http://whatshouldireadnext.com/

    Right now I am reading “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende and can’t recommend it enough. It is by far one I will cherish for life. When I am not reading it, I think about reading it. It’s magical and original. I just can’t believe I waited until I was 31 before reading it!

    Two other unusual books that are hidden gems among fiction were recommended to me by a bookseller in Waterstones:

    “Lady Into Fox” by David Garnett
    and “Mr Weston’s Good Wine” by T.F. Powys

    Thanks for sharing a picture of your pup in action as well as great book recommendations! But my all-time faorite post will ALWAYS be the one about Selkies and selkie books. Selkies are my passion in folklore as well. Have you read “Land of the Seal People by Duncan Williamson?” One of the best selkie books, I think.

  2. I wander bookshops and pick up what gives me a wink as I walk past, I don’t know what it is that draws me to them. Sometimes covers, sometimes a title, sometimes the shape or a feeling. I ask bookshops to recommend books (Mrs Bookish in particular never fails to get it right for me) and see what friends are reading and enjoying. My family often give me books as presents too. My aunt gives me a lot of books about India and one of my favourites from there is A Hullaballoo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai oh and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry Both deliciously chaotically funny.

    • Robynn says:

      A Fine Balance is astonishing. And yes, funny, but while reading it I mostly found it unbearably sad!

      Jackie, I find books much as you do – word of mouth, reviews, sometimes lists of “great sf by women” or similar. Honestly finding books isn’t usually a problem, there are always more books on my shelf than I have time to read. (I have small children.) I keep a Pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com/woollythinker/readable/), a kind of wish list, so if I am shopping for books, that’s my starting point.

      I tend to favour books by women (and am consciously looking for books by more diverse authors), but the most exciting thing I’ve read in recent years was The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. It didn’t really sound like my thing (mercenaries? ninjas? eh), but turns out it really, really is. Basically it reads like something by a writer high on words and ideas, so how can you not love that?

  3. Zean Maskell says:

    I find books to read through Facebook reading groups, Goodreads, recommendations from friends and jut generally searching bookstores. I usually prefer fantasy or romance but I do read any genre if the story seems interesting, for example I read Room by Emma Donoghue which was a really intriguing and at times scary book!

  4. Ruth Keys says:

    What a wonderful post. I am a librarian at a village academy and i read a lot of books… i share my knowledge with anyone who will listen. I love words and cannot wait for your collaboration with Robert MacFarlane ‘Lost words’. However I digress, i have a soft spot in my heart for Patrick Rothfuss’s ‘A Slow Regard for Silent Things’ which I read shortly after my Mum died. It was such a comforting book, and I revisit it often as it is so full of wonder.

  5. Adam says:

    I have a very scatter-gun approach to reading. Whatever comes my way, really, peppered with recommendations from friends and colleagues. If a book doesn’t grab me by page 50, I move on. Recently I read Academy Street by Mary Costello and, if you want to immerse yourself in the coloured waters of imagination, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark is superb.

  6. Michelle Ross says:

    Most books do just make their presence felt, they shine on the shelf and I have to pick them up. I am guilty of judging a book by the cover, the cover is important in attracting I find! Then I read the description. I have found books from radio reviews and friend recommendations too.

  7. Leslie says:

    I choose my books much as you do, and also revel in their ability to transport me to a world not my own.
    Not sure how different my life would have been without books in it, but luckily my mother read without prejudice (great phrase) so I grew up reading anything and everything.

  8. Claire says:

    Sadly, since my stroke my reading has become limited – I no longer can cope with complex story-lines and myriads of characters… But thankfully the world is full of amazing writers and small presses which produce beautiful novellas, books of poems, essay collections, nature writing…
    So, I confess, the length of the book is a definite factor in my choosing – and so far I’d not been disappointed by the treasures I’ve found 🙂
    Woolgathering by Patti Smith
    Calm Things by Shawna LeMay
    Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
    My Katherine Mansfied Project by Kirsty Gunn

  9. Isobel Brown says:

    That’s a hard question to answer because generally I pick a book on the front cover first. I have not really ever been let down by this process. I find that if the book attracts my eyes by the cover I read the blurb. I know you may have heard it before but I saw Robin Hobb’s book on a shelf in waterstones and your illustration of Night eyes on it. I picked it up and read the blurb and I’ve never looked back.
    I do sometimes get a recommendation from friends to try books but its generally me that gives them out to others. I also am a bit of a history gerk so books such as Bernard Cornwell’s warrior chronicles appealed to me because of the history content with Saxons and Danes.
    I generally am a bit of a book magpie I often spy some rare gem of a read and I stay true to authore because of them.

  10. Bernie Bell says:

    I’d find it hard to say how I choose what to read – things seem to just….turn up. I’m thinking I could do with something good to read, and…..things turn up – in charity shops, I see something mentioned somewhere, I see a film, then want to read the book ( it’s usually the other way round, but, there you go). A couple of times, folk have sent me a book, out of the blue, because they wanted me to read it so much. Books come to me in lots of ways – I start to read them, don’t always continue. A bit of a magpie. Reading is as jumbly as life – stuff happens.
    But….I’d like to recommend ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold. That will take you across another border. I would like to have written that book. I’m not going to say any more – except to recommend it to be read.

  11. Cynthia Slater says:

    “Nomadic” describes the way I encounter books also! Retired from working in a library where books came right under my nose every day (heaven), I wander through bookstores, listen to my brilliant son’s and my friends’ recommendations, check indexes and bibliographical notes leading to other titles, go from an epigraph to a new writer, on and on. Some favorites: This side of brightness, Colum McCann; I know this much is true, Wally Lamb; The wind-up bird chronicle, Haruki Murakami; Pattern recognition, William Gibson (speculative/sci fi) ; The god of small things, Arundhati Roy; almost anything by Barbara Kingsolver; The ice at the bottom of the world, Mark Richard (short stories of the U.S. south); Fool on the hill, Matt Ruff (quirky!) I just wish I read faster, to get to more books and re-read favorites.

  12. faith says:

    I read to “park” my mind in a place that I may never go to. a place where there is compassion and love. to try and understand how other people feel and relate. to rest my brain.

  13. Lara Maynard says:

    Jackie, I much admire your work and would love to visit Wales one day. I’m in Newfoundland. I had a Welsh prof in the Folkore department here at our university for a bit.

    Sebastian Barry’s novel is high on my to read list. I have been a huge fan since discovering The Secret Scripture back a number of years ago. I’ve been recommending his novels, and I intend to read his plays as well.

    I find books by all means: browsing at my local library (where I volunteer) and in bookstores, blogs, book review websites, publisher websites, word of mouth, and social media like Twitter (where I found you and your work). So when we keep our eyes open we find treasures all over the place!

  14. Laramie says:

    I was lucky to have a reading addicted Ma. Books were her creed and she passed her passion to me. I read everything. Yes, of course, cereal packets when there is nothing else! Fine words, some old, some new. Some children’s books, some adult, trashy thrillers, words of wisdom, eclectic.
    It has been a continuing joy in my life. My first book, bought at the time of my first dental appointment, A Child’s Garden of Verse, my most recent purchase, Antarctica, an anthology. Love them all.

  15. Some of those titles are familiar, like comfy shoes. Some are new to me.
    The Wandering Falcon was harsh, I thought, but it drew me in, made me weep, made me more understanding.
    And now I am reading a biography of the remarkable “Ladies of Llangollen” whose names have floated across my path several times, when reading about other figures from the late 18th/mid 19th centuries.

    Books and all that they can bestow, are treasures for our minds and balm for our souls.

  16. Barb Rogers says:

    I love reading your blog, and seeing your wonderful photos…but more than anything else, looking at your lovely paintings. They draw me into them. I sit at my computer staring at them as my eyes go exploring the depth and breadth of them…so I confess, I love your art!
    I do read a lot of books, and currently have one YA fiction, 1 non-fiction, and one murder mystery…with listening to a historic novel as a digital reading. I’ve succumbed to using my library’s digital books, and wish I went to the library more often. I’d hate to see it closed, being a great resource in our small town. I own less books these days due to downsizing my own life.
    Thanks to all your commenting friends, I now have some more interesting books to read! I’ll never live long enough to read all that are on my list.

  17. Jane says:

    I have a wall of books who took different ways to come and live with me. Like the dog slogan ‘A book is for life’, they are friends (don’t mention e-books). Running my finger along the dust I wound recommend: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.

  18. Bernie Bell says:

    Just for the sake of it……………some examples………………

    Just now, I’m reading ‘A Time to Keep’ – a selection of short stories by George MacKay Brown, which I found in the Birsay Antiques Centre a couple of weeks ago, and hadn’t come across before. Something ‘new’ by George MacKay Brown, is a real find.

    Before that, I read ‘The Lady in the Van’ by Alan Bennett, because I saw the film on the telly, and, I’m sorry to have to say – bought it from Amazon.

    Before that, ‘Art and Architecture in Neolithic Orkney ‘ by Antonia Thomas, because I know Antonia and thought it would be of interest, which it is – a sound piece of work. Bought it new! in Tamm’s – our local, independent, bookshop.

    After this one, I have lined up ‘ISS’ by Fiona MacInnes, because I know Fiona, too, and it turned up in a charity shop.
    Then ‘Imperial Earth’ by Arthur C. Clarke – again turned up in the local Red Cross shop, and I know I always like to read Arthur C. Clarke. A wise man.
    Then?????
    This is fun – how books find us and how we find books.

  19. Katherine Knupp says:

    I have to say, I find a lot of books to read by following what you are reading. Through you I found Margo Lanagan and Kij Johnson, and gobbled everything they have put out. So please keep sharing! I just read “The Guest Cat” by Takashi Hiraide, a sweet little book translated from Japanese and am currently reading “Boy, Snow, Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi. My first time with her and it is a delight.

  20. Jolie says:

    I don’t have any set way of finding my next book. Sometimes it’s a sample on my kindle, sometimes a beautiful cover or title I see in a bookshop, sometimes it’s a recommendation from a friend or a writer or artist. And then there are the authors who’s books I eagerly await. There are a lot of them this year, none quite as anticipated as the new Robin Hobb though.
    The title of Den Patrick’s The Boy with the Porcelain Blade instantly had my attention. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff had a fantastic cover and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth was recommended but I can’t remember who by now. I enjoyed all three immensely.

  21. Margaret Brown says:

    I read a variety of books and listen to them on CD when I’m driving. I love a good story, be it fiction or non-fiction. Historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, animal stories, true tales… they have to grab me in the first few pages or I don’t go on, unless I’ve had a very strong recommendation from a friend, then I persevere.
    If I’m going on a trip, I like to read fiction set in that country, as well as histories and guides.
    I find books at the three local libraries I go to, on blogs, from newspaper reviews, suggestions from friends, and my book group. I can’t live without books.

  22. Bernie Bell says:

    Aaaaaand…………..
    When I read ‘Sky Burial’ some months ago, I was so taken with it, I sent this out to anyone I thought might appreciate it…………

    “Hello
    I’ve just read a book called ‘Sky Burial’ by a woman called Xinran. It’s very good. It’s about a woman searching for her husband in Tibet. Xinran writes with great understanding and kindness, for all the people involved in the story. It gives a different angle on the Chinese in Tibet. I’m still agin’ the Chinese being in Tibet, and, in fact, Mike and I support the charity, Free Tibet. There’s no reason, why they should be there, and they treat the Tibetan people, appallingly. This book does give a different perspective on how the young soldiers who went there, initially, to ‘liberate’ Tibet, saw what they were doing. They actually thought that they were liberating the country, and bringing improvements. It reminds me of how people see the Roman occupation of Britain – it’s said that they brought plumbing and straight roads and all that. The fact being, and a fact which is becoming more and more apparent, as new discoveries are made in archaeology – the people living in Britain at that time, had a very good culture and social set-up in place, of their own. Life most definitely wasn’t grim and filthy, as it’s often portrayed to have been! I think most of the Roman soldiers, were just doing what they were told – many of them were from different parts of the Empire, and weren’t even Roman, as such. It looks like many of the Chinese soldiers genuinely thought that they were benefiting the Tibetans, by taking over their country. Their ways were so different, that it would even have appeared so, when they arrived there, and saw how the Tibetans lived, but…….it was just different, it wasn’t worse, it was different, and it worked for the Tibetans, and had done so, for thousands of years. The Chinese interference has disrupted the life of these people, immeasurably. ‘Sky Burial’ explores the China/Tibet situation, with insight and understanding. It’s also well written, and a truly spiritual book. When I finished it, I was stuck for what to read next, as it would be hard to find something, which wouldn’t pale in comparison, both for style of writing, and approach to humanity. Worth reading!”

    Aaaaand………..
    When I was a little girl, my Mum took me into town on a Saturday to do the shopping. Those were the days – not to a supermarket, but to different markets – the fish market, the meat market – the grocers shop etc. As part of our day in town, she also took me to the library where I got my 2 book allowance, and also….in the main market, there was a stall where you could buy a book, take it home and read it, keep it if you wanted to, or – take it back and get part-exchange for another book. We didn’t have much money, so this was a great way to get to read lots of books.
    And it’s now part of a memory of time spent with my Mum.

    I’ll stop wittering aboutt books now!

    • Jackie says:

      I loved Sky Burial. And i still remember the excitement of trying to choose the ‘right’ book, with pocket money, from W H Smiths on a Saturday morning.

  23. Stuart Hill says:

    Way back in the mists of time when I was a child, I used to buy the wonderfully illustrated Ladybird hardback history and Natural History books. They cost 2/6d, which at the time was all my worldly income. I still have a few on my shelves, “What to Look for in Winter”, “British Birds and their Nests” and “Alexander the Great” being amongst my favourites.
    In later life I got so fed up of not being able to find books that I truly wanted to read, I started to write my own. I still do. I’ve now set myself a quest to find a worthwhile collection of modern ghost stories or a full length ghost novel. I’ve yet to succeed. The modern world seems almost embarrassed by ghosts and usually explains them away as psychological projections of trauma I.E. unhappy childhood results in being haunted by ghosts of the past in adulthood. Come back M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood, I’d be happy to be haunted by you!

  24. Bernie Bell says:

    Hello Stuart Hill
    Somewhere back in this blog entry, I recommend ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold. This would be called a ‘ghost’ story – not a word I choose to use. They’re just people. My Dad used to tell me I had more to fear from the living than the dead – the living will try to fool you, the dead are, usually, what they are. Anyway – I don’t know if it’s ok to use Jackie’s blog for this but – Jackie can just not place it, if she’s not happy about it. Long story short, I had a bad back, I couldn’t get out and about – I took to going for walks in my head – walks which I’d previously been on – then writing these down, with the stories that went with them. I live with the incarnate and the dis-incarnate on equal terms, so, what might be called ‘dead’ folk, feature in my stories. If you would be happy to place your email address here, I’ll send you my stories, and you can see what you think of them. I’m not saying they’re great literature! but – the dis-incarnate make their presence felt in my life, so, they are in my stories. What I tell in the stories, is simply what happened. If your’e not happy to place your email here, I’ll send you mine.
    Re. what you say – the only ‘trauma’ I remember from childhood, were the presences in the house where we lived, which I didn’t understand at the time, and was afraid of. The other way round to seeing ‘ghosts’ due to trauma! – and that’s another story!
    And here’s something I wrote some years ago…………………….

    GHOSTS

    Ghosts!
    You don’t know what you’re talking about.
    Just because we’re not in bodies,
    Doesn’t mean we’re DEAD you know;

    We’re still part of LIFE.
    You’re the shadow,
    We’re the substance.

    Spirit isn’t in the body,
    The body moves in spirit.
    Ghosts, indeed!

    Bernie Bell

    • Stuart Hill says:

      Hi Bernie. Love the poem. And by the way my grumpiness isn’t with ghosts themselves, but with what I believe to be the modern day inability to write good stories about them (with the possible exception of some of Susan Hill’s work). Also, I don’t see the word ‘ghost’ as pejorative particularly. As a word its derivation is long and noble and can be found in one form or another in many Germanic languages, but I think I prefer ‘Geist’ from the German meaning simply ‘spirit’.

      You seem to have had some interesting paranormal experiences; something I find fascinating.

  25. Angelique says:

    I use Goodreads to keep track of the books I want to read, and often browse its suggested titles to find new ones. I also tend to read book blogs of people who seem to have similar tastes to mine. And I listen to book podcasts! My favorites are “All the Books” “Get Booked,” and “Reading the End.” I love to hear people discuss books even if they aren’t ones I am personally going to read.

    I, too, loved “The Bear and the Nightingale.” Other books I enjoyed recently are “In the Great Green Room” by Amy Gary, which is a biography of Margaret Wise Brown, “Bryony and Roses,” by T. Kingfisher, and “Dreams of Distant Shores,” by Patricia A. McKillip who is an absolute favorite author of mine.

  26. Pandora says:

    My choice of books can reflect my presence of mind. A harsh world means I seek out magic, dreams, and beauty. Sometimes I wander through the small independent bookshops and see which books find me, ones that speak through titles, book covers, or a handwritten recommendation. I love books. I love the smell, feel, and look of them. How they can take me to other worlds, thoughts, understandings, puzzlement, experiences, emotions..sometimes for days/months/years. As much as I have a passion for reading, and many a time I have been scolded for being so absorbed, I cannot write. My mind is empty, a true understanding of writer’s block. All the better for those writers though as I have to search them out.

  27. Bernie Bell says:

    More books which write of the dis-incarnate as people, not ‘scary monsters’…………..

    ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ by Charles Williams – not about ‘boogy-boo’ Halloween – but about………..

    ‘The Strangers’ by Matthew Manning – about someone who is still living in what he still sees as his house, and wonders why all these strangers think they have the right to live there too.

    ‘Mary Rose’ a play by J.M. Barrie – a sweet tale – sweet is the only word to describe it. Another person who doesn’t realise that she’s ‘dead’ – they often don’t. It’s sad, and sweet. She’s a darling.

    I said I’d stop, and I didn’t – I do that quite a lot – when something is this interesting!

  28. Well, you’re selling all of these to me, especially The Bear and the Nightingale. Anything with a touch of Angela Carter works for me. I’d recommend Kathleen Jamie’s non-fiction nature writing Sightlines to all, for her beautiful writing which really does slip over you like cool water and also the slender and glowy novella of transformation, Mrs Fox by Sarah Hall. Try them and tell me you don’t love them. As for choosing books in the first place, as an artist it is, of course, the cover that draws me to them but once I pick them up, they have to pass the ‘first page test’ if I’m to read on compulsively. The best ever example of this being the opening paragraphs of The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber – intriguing from the word go. By the way, all your comments have given me loads of leads to look up so thanks all round x

  29. Bernie Bell says:

    For folk who like Angela Carter – have you come across Alice Thomas Ellis?

  30. Adam says:

    …and another thing…Philip Pullman has a new trilogy coming out in October. If you haven’t already read the His Dark Materials trilogy, seek it out. It is mind-blowingly good.

    • Jackie says:

      I have The Golden Compass on order ( I think the US version, because I liked the cover and now I think I will miss the word alethoimetre) so that I can re read before the next comes forth.

      • Adam says:

        Brilliant. And have you ever read the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake? One of my all-time favourites! Peake was also an accomplished illustrator. I found his writing to be so good that I was thrilled to read it and disheartened too because I thought I could never have one tenth the talent.

        • Jackie says:

          I’ve tried, a few times and goyt nowhere. I think the failure here is in me. I will give it time. Try again. And I love his drawings so much.

          • Adam says:

            Maybe it’s just not for you though. I know a few people who’ve given him a go and found he wasn’t to their taste. You already connect with one facet of him.

          • Jackie says:

            I tried Possession by AS Byatt 3 times. Fourth time couldn’t put it down.
            I will try again as I think the failing is in me, not giving it time.

  31. You ask about books that have changed our lives: two have changed mine, both in the world of natural history. Most lately it was Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. And long ago Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. In both cases these books felt like someone was talking to me, and understood exactly how I thought. There are a couple more that I love deeply, That Hideous Strength, Anne of Green Gables, A wrinkle in Time, and most anything written by Terry Tempest Williams, Wendell Berry and Barry Lopez. And one last novel by Louise Erdrich, The Miracle at Little No Horse.

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