Life Reading List

Every year the staff and faculty at my school put together a list of books we recommend to the graduating seniors. Our librarian curates the list. She just sent out the annual update email, inviting us to revise our lists from last year. The list is a lovely tradition and it was really fun to put together my list last year (the first time I submitted). I didn’t make many changes this year.

In case anyone’s interested, here’s my list:


  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott
  • Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
  • The Temple of My Familiar, Alice Walker
  • The Things a Brother Knows, Dana Reinhardt
  • Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • The Wind-Up Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s Powers and EarthSea series
  • Also, anything by: John Green, Madeline L’Engle, Tom Robbins


  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  • I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson
  • Listening Is an Act of Love (StoryCorps Project), Dave Isay
  • The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
  • Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs, Smith & Fershleiser, eds.
  • Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

I also like our librarian’s “professional librarian advice”:

Don’t read any books you don’t want to unless you have to.

What books are on your “life list”?


The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Our mindfulness teacher shared this poem on Monday, during morning meeting. I thought it was lovely and decided to share it with you.

What Do You Mean “No New Email”?

Seriously low email day today.

However, I do not believe in such things; I am a no-email atheist. I simply see no evidence to support the theory.

Whenever I open my email and there are no new messages, I assume the worst: that my email is malfunctioning and there are 57 new messages stuck in some server somewhere in the interweb-ether that are all urgent, time sensitive and haven’t hit my inbox yet. I hit the Send/Receive button obsessively. I close my email and reopen it repeatedly.

Nothing changes.

Some days there just isn’t a lot of email.

Like, once every five years or so.

Annual Alone Time

This morning–at the ungodly hour of 4:45 am–Avery left for his yearly trip to Washington, DC with the 6th grade class at his school.

Now I love my sweetie, and I will miss him this week. But I also love my me-time. It gives my introverted self a chance to recharge and relax. I confess, I have been looking forward to this week.

I found myself strangely productive today–cleaning, doing tasks I’ve been meaning to do for a while now–in between bouts of complete, luxurious veg time. I realize that cleaning kitchen counters and washing dishes in between online-time might not be everyone’s idea of a fun Saturday, but I found it wonderful.

Tomorrow I’m heading to Borderland Bookstore for an author event, next weekend I might go to MakerFaire. But today, today I barely stepped foot outside of the house. Please note the “barely”: I did go outside.

More than once.

Just not for very long.

Half-Way There! (or not)

This is 15 of 30 for my 30 day blogging challenge. Thank you to Anne for starting things off!

I actually feel so energized in blogging every day that I’m thinking I’ll keep going through to the end of the school year (June 18th is graduation). So, my MTBoS30 will transmogrify into an MTBoS50. Technically, it should be 55, but numbers ending in an 0 just seem more challenge-esque, don’tcha think?