a reading list

Whatcha Reading?

I’ve considered myself a reader for so long that it’s hard to admit how I’ve slipped. Now, instead of perusing (in the original sense) and reflecting, I look for bullet points and scan for conclusions. And while I could blame my inattentiveness on the Internet and related devices, I can also point to the place on my first grade report card that says, “sacrifices accuracy for speed.” I do like to go fast, but I don’t like when speed makes me stupid.

Alaska is my place to slow down and remember what it’s like to read well. If experience holds true, I’ll read more books in four weeks away than in the other forty-eight put together. An important part of planning the trip is figuring out what books to send ahead to Fairbanks, because once we’re out at the cabin we can’t change our minds and order something else.

Cabin Bookshelves
Stewart built these bookshelves in the cabin loft in 2010. All those empty spaces are long gone.

Here’s what’s on my 2015 cabin book list so far:

Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age

Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World

Ravens in Winter 

A Thousand Mornings

All the Light We Cannot See

Orphan Train

The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles (You there. Yes, you. I see you rolling your eyes. Stop that.)

Plus, I just came across this BBC list of The 21st Century’s 12 Greatest Novels. (Doesn’t it seem a little early to call that one? Oh, well.) I decided I’d better take a look. I’ve read only six and bailed on a seventh; that would be A Visit from the Goon Squad, shown above, with moose. The moose was more my style. But I think I’ll add Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead to my cabin list. I loved Housekeeping.

What’s the best book you’ve read this century — or this year?

12 thoughts on “a reading list

  1. I am looking forward to this blog. I love going to Alaska vicariously with you guys. Have you read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? It was my “best book” so far this year.


  2. Woolgathering was good. Since you were the one to get me started on Patti Smith I’m thinking you might have already read this one. I was pretty captivated by The Rings of Saturn. This morning I’m letting Ondaatje’s poetry collection, Handwriting, take me away. But none of these are new publications… Your trip is going to be great. Enjoy the rest of your planning.


    1. I knew I could count on you for some good recommendations, Denise. Woolgathering is a beauty. And I can’t remember if I’ve seen Handwriting. If it’s his only book of poetry, I know I have, but I’ll keep my eyes out. I love how you love Ondaatje!


    1. Oh, that’s good to know. I picked up Orphan Train without knowing much about it. I wanted another novel and it looked like something I would like.


  3. I’m going to enjoy following you around the PNW! Send my blessings to Haida Guai as you sail past! Can’t add to your reading list as I have spent most of my free time knitting! Safe travels my friend, maybe one day you and Stewart will head south to Barbados.


    1. I hope we will see you in Barbados one day — or somewhere here in the states. You know, a friend is heading for Haida Guai this weekend and we were just emailing about it. So I’ve heard about it twice just today. It sounds like a very special place. Do you ever listen to eBooks while you knit? I often do that — or podcasts — while I quilt.


  4. I can’t believe we are both reading Marianne Williamson! No eye rolling here. I’m excited to read your blog. I am infatuated with returning to Alaska soon with the kids…I love the last frontier! Enjoy getting off the grid! Love you!


    1. My confession is that the Marianne Williamson isn’t technically “reading.” I downloaded it from iTunes so I can listen to it on the train or boat. I love books best, but the digital versions are a lot lighter when you’re traveling with just a backpack! Most of the other books are being mailed ahead. We can talk about MW at Thanksgiving. :-) Love you back!


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