A list of books I've read or aspire to read one day. My goals for reading: chill offline time, learn cool things, stop reading things when I'm not enjoying reading them. You can help me with 'learn cool things' by reaching out if you've read any of these and want to discuss them or share what you learned!

I'm trying to abandon more books before I finish reading them, to incentivize myself to stop reading things I don't enjoy reading. Current goal: 20 books started after Nov 23, 2020 (at least one chapter read) and since abandoned. Current progress: 4/20 (20.0%)

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing
Madeleine Thien
abandoned as of May 1, 2021
Recommended by a friend - historical ficiton about two musical, Chinese families. I had very slowly made my way through half of the book, but ran out of library renews after four months. I found it hard to get into - there were so many subplots it switches between and I never got that invested in any of them.
tags: fiction
When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead
read as of Apr 1, 2021
A short, fun, and easy to read novel (written for kids / young adults), which is exactly what I've been looking for recently. Sci-fi mystery, and some exploration of friendships, class, and race. I really enjoyed it.
tags: fiction
Noelle Stevenson
read as of Mar 31, 2021
I read this in one sitting while laying in a park where dogs and children were playing, would recommend! (both the book and the park reading experience)
tags: illustrated, fiction
Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities
Diana Leafe Christian
read as of Mar 29, 2021
Read this as part of research into what it would take to set up an urban community home. This book focuses a bit too much on specific rural/ecovillage details for my interests, and I'm skeptical of some of the author's opinions, but overall there was a wide variety of useful information here. I took some notes I might post here later :)
tags: community, nonfiction
Jessi Zabarsky
read as of Mar 29, 2021
tags: illustrated, fiction
Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy
Jessica Fern
reading as of Mar 22, 2021
tags: relationships, nonfiction
Thinking in Systems
Donella Meadows
read as of Feb 25, 2021
A really great introduction to thinking about the world more complexly and interconnectedly. Includes several tips for making systemic changes. This is one of the few non-fiction books I've read that didn't feel like it had a lot of filler.
tags: nonfiction
Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation
Paul F. Berliner
abandoned as of Feb 22, 2021
Jazz music has intrigued me for years - I enjoy listening to jazz, but I'm especially interested in learning more about musical improvisation, especially in a collaborative setting. A friend recommended this book to help me think more about this. I read the chapter he recommended, put it down, and the library asked for it back :p I took some notes I may put up here later.
tags: music, nonfiction
Kiss Number 8
Ellen T. Crenshaw (Illustrator), Colleen AF Venable
read as of Jan 31, 2021
Fun queer coming of age graphic novel. I quite enjoyed it, and it felt surprisingly nuanced for the format? idk why I was surprised
tags: illustrated, fiction
Trick Mirror
Jia Tolentino
abandoned as of Jan 23, 2021
tags: nonfiction
The Dispossessed
Ursula K. Le Guin
read as of Jan 3, 2021
tags: fiction, politics
Whither Anarchism?
Kristian Williams
abandoned as of Dec 24, 2020
I really liked the first essay (of three) that talks about how the author relates to anarchism without getting into any history or technical terms. The second essay was dense with references to things I didn't know, which got too effortful for me to read.
tags: politics, nonfiction
Notes of a Native Son
James Baldwin
read as of Dec 2, 2020
I appreciate the nuance with which he talks about race, tying together seemingly contradictory concepts and experiences. He has a lot of interesting ideas, but I found some of his writing hard to follow (long winding sentences, references to media and culture I'm not familiar with). I enjoyed the autobiographical chapters a lot more than the more abstract academic chapters.
tags: race, nonfiction
Abolish Work
read as of Nov 26, 2020
Picked this up at an anarchist bookstore - it's a short read with lots of pictures, which I appreciated. Learned a lot about the restaurant industry, but also class/labour politics in general. You can read the pdfs of the works in this book here.
tags: politics, nonfiction, illustrated
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
Roy Peter Clark
read as of Oct 11, 2020
A set of writing tips, each tool described in only a few pages. I found a lot of useful advice in here! There were some aspects of this book I didn't like as much: the author used some confusing metaphors, some of the tools I disagreed with or felt weren't explored in enough depth/nuance, several of the writing examples felt tedious to read, and the tools were a bit more focused on journalism and fiction-writing than I wanted. There was still lots of great food for thought though, and I found enough of the advice useful that I made a summary of the tools that you can find here.
tags: writing, nonfiction
The Xenofeminist Manifesto: A Politics for Alienation
Laboria Cuboniks
reading as of Aug 28, 2020
This book is hard for me to read and uses a lot of jargon, but it's not very long and has some pretty interesting ideas I think could be worth trying to understand.
tags: politics, nonfiction
On A Sunbeam
Tillie Walden
read as of Aug 28, 2020
Every time I read a graphic novel I'm like wow I love graphic novels I want to read more of them. This particular one was EXTREMELY pretty and v cute and queer.
tags: fiction, illustrated
Are Prisons Obsolete?
Angela Y. Davis
read as of Aug 27, 2020
Taught me a lot about prisons (especially in the USA and California), history, politics, and race. Short and to the point - there were many references and terms I had to look up while reading, but this was also one of the few non-fiction books I've read that didn't feel like it had a lot of filler.
tags: nonfiction, politics
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor
Hank Green
read as of Aug 3, 2020
I liked the first book in this duology more, but still enjoyed this one!
tags: fiction
So You Want To Talk About Race
Ijeoma Oluo
read as of Jul 19, 2020
tags: nonfiction, race
Pedagogy Of The Oppressed
Paulo Freire
want to read as of Jul 8, 2020
This has been recommended by several friends. Seems like a great resource to learn more about systems of opression and progressive pedagogical ideas.
tags: pedagogy, nonfiction
Parable of the Sower
Octavia E. Butler
want to read as of Jul 3, 2020
tags: fiction
Come As You Are
Emily Nagoski
read as of Mar 30, 2020
This book is advertised as sex science, but has a very self-help vibe to it. The tone frequently feels babying and the author uses some confusing metaphors, but also there are a lot of really interesting and useful concepts in it that have significantly helped me think through my feelings around sex (e.g. the accelerator/brake model) and I'd still recommend this book.
tags: relationships, mindset, nonfiction
A Philosophy of Software Design
John Ousterhout
reading as of Feb 1, 2020
Started reading this as part of a book club at work. I don't usually like reading coding books, but it talks about some things I've been thinking about in developing my eng skills - making tradeoffs to help the code you write be less complex, such that people who work with your code in the future can understand it more easily and be less likely to create bugs and create unnecessary future complexity. We stopped reading when covid hit, but maybe I'll finish it some time!
tags: programming, nonfiction
The Art of Possibility
Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander
want to read as of Dec 12, 2019
A friend kept recommending this book to me, saying it was really helpful for them reframing their art away from the blocking feeling of needing to be 'good enough' (which is something I also struggle with). Also one of the author talks about their experience as a conductor, which is a skill I'm interested in and trained in, so seems like a cool book to check out.
tags: creativity, mindset, nonfiction
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
Jenny Odell
want to read as of Oct 27, 2019
I've noticed how good it feels to get off of my phone and just be mindful of things around me. I feel more creative, have more energy to think about things. This book seems to get more into this, and several friends have recommended it.
tags: mindset, nonfiction
The Broken Earth Trilogy
N. K. Jemisin
read as of Oct 1, 2019
After not reading much for a while, I devoured the first of this trilogy in a few days and it was awesome. I enjoyed the first > second > third book, but still really enjoyed the series overall. Loved how the story included polyamory in this super casual way that just was and wasn't even that important to the plot.
tags: fiction
Learning Good Consent: On Healthy Relationships and Survivor Support
Cindy Crabb
read as of Sep 22, 2019
I love this book! A collection of short writing from folks of different backgrounds, each talking about their thoughts and experiences with relationships, surviving abuse, and consent. One of the pieces is just a long list of questions, many of which I found useful exercises for reflection (e.g. 'how do you give yourself or someone else space to figure out what you/they want?', 'how might you act out gender binary behaviours, even within queer relationships and friendships? how might this affect expectations and consent?')
tags: consent, relationships, nonfiction
Queer: A Graphic History
Meg-John Barker, Julia Scheele
read as of Apr 6, 2019
A great introduction to queer theory, with lots of pictures. Reading this book changed the way I think about queerness, taught me some interesting queer history, and introduced me to the idea of queer as a verb ('to queer' something, challenge binaries) vs. an adjective (an identity that describes someone).
tags: queer theory, nonfiction
George Leonard
read as of Jan 10, 2019
This book helped me think about how to approaching learning things and dedication to skill-building over a long period of time. I found some aspects of the book annoying, but have definitely come back to the ideas it discusses. You can check out some notes I took on it here.
tags: nonfiction, mindset
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Hank Green
read as of Nov 12, 2018
Hank is one of my favourite 'humans from the internet' and I enjoyed his book for a lot of the reasons I enjoy his videos. This book was so casual in tone and easy to read, had a fun sci-fi story, and touched on a lot of interesting ideas around fame, power, and influence.
tags: fame, fiction