Recommended Reads:

An Engrossing Memoir that Shares Life in the ‘Good Old Days’

An Engrossing Memoir that Shares Life in the ‘Good Old Days’

One of the most entertaining memoirs I’ve read in a while is Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life. Wolff provides such a clear picture of a boy’s life during the 1950s that I found I couldn’t put this book down. He lived his childhood during the time my grandmother would...

A Brutal Story about the American South

A Brutal Story about the American South

One of my favorite authors to read is Cormac McCarthy. He has a way with words that sticks in my brain long after I’ve closed one of his books. Poetic, intelligent, altogether lovely. Recently I picked up McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, an adult literary novel that...

An Eye-Opening Memoir Every Child Should Read (or Be Read)

An Eye-Opening Memoir Every Child Should Read (or Be Read)

I picked up Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, by Margarita Engle, because I’m obsessed with poetry. This was a middle grade memoir written in poetry, and it was a wonderful offering to the literature world. In her memoir, Engle detailed what it was like growing...

A Sweet YA Book About Immigration, Choices, and Love

A Sweet YA Book About Immigration, Choices, and Love

I picked up The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon, a few months ago because I kept seeing it everywhere—in friends’ tweets, on book store display shelves, and in the hands of someone in the coffee shop. The cover reminds me of when I used to play for hours with my...

A Book of Myths that Will Engage You Addictively

A Book of Myths that Will Engage You Addictively

Recently Husband and I had a kid-less weekend in which we organized the entire house and tossed half our possessions (not really. But that’s what it felt like). During this organizational process, when Husband and I were working in two separate places, I listened to...

A Fun Middle Grade Book To Read with Your Family

A Fun Middle Grade Book To Read with Your Family

One of the last things my boys and I did this summer was read Richard Atwater’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins together. While this is an old classic, it still stands as an entertaining middle grade novel about a poor family that gets a slew of penguins, makes some money on...

A Quirky, Fun Kid-Lit Tale in the Style of Canterbury Tales

A Quirky, Fun Kid-Lit Tale in the Style of Canterbury Tales

I have been a fan of Adam Gidwitz ever since I read his A Tale Dark and Grimm series. He has a sense of humor that comes through loudly and clearly in every book he writes, and The Inquisitor’s Tale, is no exception. Case in point: “William pulled himself to his...

A Book About Brothers, Love, and Growing Up

A Book About Brothers, Love, and Growing Up

What stands out most about As Brave as You, by Jason Reynolds, is that the main character, Genie, is a well-drawn adolescent—a quirky, innocent, curious boy who is stretching into himself. Genie keeps a pocket list of questions and observations that are interspersed...

An Important Novel about Overcoming Trauma

An Important Novel about Overcoming Trauma

I’ve been sitting on this book for a while, because I could not find words to accurately describe it. And even now, the only ones I can come up with are lovely, jarring, and hopeful. They might seem like contradictory terms to use, but that’s because Speak, by Laurie...

A Lyrical Memoir About Growing Up a Black Female

A Lyrical Memoir About Growing Up a Black Female

I’m a big fan of bell hooks’s poetry, and when I found one of her memoirs on a recommended reading list for good memoirs, I immediately marked it down on my reading list. I love memoirs that are told with poetic language and simplicity, and hooks’s has both. bone...

Writing resources

  • On Story
  • On Writing (general)
    • Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron
      Great book on the science of the brain and how to craft well-told stories that will appeal to the storytelling side of the brain. I got this book years ago but still pull it out every now and then to refresh my memory.
    • Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin
      This one’s not so much a technique kind of book as it is a book reminding writers of their obligation to their readers. Some of her ideas are a bit old-fashioned, but most of them are still valuable today.
    • The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass
      Another great one on creating books that appeal to readers. Again, I always read these kinds with a grain of salt–because my goals are a bit different, but we all want readers, so I think we can always find value in the suggestions offered, even if we don’t become hardcore users of them.