The Fifth Shelf

Last night, I finished reading Rebecca Solnit’s The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. This completed my fifth shelf of “politics-plus” reading since middle of last August. Back then, I’d picked up Glenn Greenwald’s With Liberty and Justice for Some in hopes it’d answer some new-to-me questions about the troubling state of so-called U.S. democracy.

In my hometown for the fiftieth anniversary of some of my adopted parents, I’d get my kids in their hotel beds nightly. Then I’d pace the length of our hotel room, back and forth, back and forth, unable to read such horrifying things sitting in place.

I really thought one book would do it for me, but … you can see how that turned out.

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As I discovered after finishing my first Greenwald book, even an excellent book can only answer so many questions, doing so while opening many more: Continue reading “The Fifth Shelf”


The Fourth Shelf

On Friday evening, I finished reading both Requiem for the American Dream and Is Just a Movie. The latter was the final book on my fourth shelf of reads since I began delving into politics-plus.

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“This fourth shelf? Some of the best books I’ve read so far! Doughnut Economics may well be my favorite yet (so much compassion, humor, and hope!), but Requiem for the American Dream is possibly the most readable, succinct entry point to current affairs yet. Both these books are especially conversational, informative, and humane.”

This shelf was full of reads that stretched my mind and heart, from Just Mercy to How Did We Get into this Mess? to The Age of Inequality and Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. I’d love to say a little about how each broadened my range of intellectual and emotional perspectives, but “a little” never remains just that. Once I start typing, I find dozens of things I want to say about each book.

I’ll definitely write a standalone post about Doughnut Economics. There’s so much to say about this book, the little bit I’ve already written doesn’t even scratch the surface:

More than any other book I’ve read so far, Raworth looks squarely at what’s wrong and asks not, “How do we incrementally chip away at these problems?” but “How do we look at these problems in fundamentally different ways, so that our new perspective guides us toward a more just and sustainable world?” More than asking the questions, she offers suggestions while inviting readers to join in on both the dialogue and the action.

I called this blog Returning by Book for a reason: “As a child, I found hope by reading. Two decades into adulthood, it’s a joy to be Returning By Book … to hope.”

In a shelf full of excellent reads, Raworth especially has expanded my horizons, and in so doing nudged me toward sustaining, sustainable hope.