The ABCs of Thankfulness

I’ll be honest, I don’t feel very thankful this year. I feel scared, worried, confused and when I don’t feel that way, I’m almost immediately drawn back into it. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I’m grateful for, especially my husband, my dog, my sisters, friends near and far who have been a comfort these past few weeks.

Almost every year since having a blog, I’ve done the ABCs of Thankfulness. I’m not ready to give up that tradition, despite everything else. This year it’s a little bit different, though. My greatest comfort lately has been words. I’ve been reading in a way I haven’t in a long time. I thought this year I would recommend books, poems, authors, songs, A-Z, that might be a comfort to you as they have been to me. (Ok, I had trouble with V, X, & Z and life’s too short, so not quite A to Z.)

Alejandro Zambra, Multiple Choice – A biting, darkly funny and poignant book in the form of a standardized test, about life and authoritarianism.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott – I think Bird by Bird is worth reading, whether you have writerly aspirations or not. Lammott is funny and motivational.

Cutting Season, The by Attica Locke – Locke is quickly becoming a must-read author for me. I loved everything about The Cutting Season.

Didion, Joan, Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem was so familiar, almost as if I’d read it before, because it’s so iconic and so clearly such a major reference for essay writers today. “Goodbye to All That” was so true, still.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – This book is a beautiful gift.

Flood Coming” by Ada Limón – “the ink bleeds out the day’s undoing/and here we are again: alive.”

Graham, Lauren, Someday, Someday Maybe (and also Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life) – So grateful for new episodes of Gilmore Girls tomorrow and also for surprisingly fun, delightful easy reads like Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday Maybe. I can’t wait to read Graham’s memoir Talking As Fast As I Can, either.

Hanya Yanagihara’s The People in the Trees – This book is so expertly crafted it was a joy to read, despite its dark subject matter.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” by Kevin Young – “Loneliness is a science – ”

Jones, Diana Wynne – I’m hoarding Jones’s novels and perhaps it was just for this year. So far, I’ve only read Howl’s Moving Castle and Fire & Hemlock. There’s still so much to read.

Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF – I was surprised at how charming and delightful this was. If you’re feeling grumpy and terrible, this might improve your mood.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. – A must-read, especially now.

Making a Fist” by Naomi Shihab Nye – “My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.”

Ng, Celete, Everything I Never Told You – Atmospheric and such a great debut. I can’t wait to read what Ng writes next.

O‘Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried – I have a feeling this deserves a reread in 2017.

Portrait of a Figure near Water” by Jane Kenyon – “we think we burn alone/and there is no balm”

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile – I haven’t had a chance to watch the show based on this book, but the book is great and I can’t wait to watch.

Russel, Mary Doria, The Sparrow – 

South” by Natasha Trethewey – “of understory – a dialectic of dark/and light – and magnolias blossoming/like afterthought”

Tower of Song” by Leonard Cohen, covered by Martha Wainright

Upstream by Mary Oliver

Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang

Youn, Monica, Blackacre – “your hands trace tentative arcs–/anticipating a familiar/tension, some unseen strand–“


3 thoughts on “The ABCs of Thankfulness

  1. What a great list! I did pick up Multiple Choice when you and Teresa mentioned it on Twitter. Haven’t read it yet, but looking forward to it. And hm, I picked up The DUFF as a free giveaway when attending American Libraries Association conference years ago, but then later gave it away unread. Now thinking I may have pre-judged it.


  2. Oh, you don’t know how much I wish that I could experience Diana Wynne Jones’s oeuvre again for the first time in this awful bitch of a year. What are you going to read next? The Homeward Bounders is about uncaring beings that play callously with human lives, and also moral obligation, and the way hope can be an anchor. Maybe that one? It also features my number one top most favorite Diana Wynne Jones character of all time!


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