Friday, September 20, 2019


Unexpected rain this week made me pull out a fleece jacket before venturing outdoors. I could feel the suggestion of autumn in the air even though I knew we were experiencing California's Fool's Gold, a short burst of fall weather that tricks us into thinking that the hot weather is done here. The helicopter seeds of the Japanese maples cover our back deck. The leaves haven't turned yet, so we all know that we will have a protracted second summer in September and October. But just for a week, I enjoyed the hint of what is to come in late fall.

I've finished my summer reading and here are some books that I found worth reading. Rose Owens, a sometime writer of posts here, Helen Pearlstein, a supporter of libraries and reading, and my husband Bill, also have offered a list of intriguing titles.

My favorite:
American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee
The story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and the constant constroversy surrounding a decision to cull the over-populated elk herds to maintain the natural balance in the park. You will read about the park rangers and naturalists who studied the wolf packs and led guided tours to observe the packs, the trophy hunters who wanted to claim a kill, and the ranchers who wanted to protect their herds and to use the public lands for grazing. The main character, 0-Six, is a young lone female who finds a mate and grows a strong wolf pack within the park. The pack occasionally leaves the park in their wanderings to their peril. Though the author has a point of view, he also looks at the many sides of this controversy.

Our Towns by James Fallow and Deborah Fallow
Traveling by small plane, the Fallows crisscross the United States to towns that show how American ingenuity and determination have rescued places such as Sioux City, Iowa, from hardship and decline. Each town's description makes me want to move there. One idea that the Fallows emphasize: that towns survive through community effort, not just through individualism.

Other good books are pictured here:

Rose Owens recommends:

Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter
A startling, dark, and ominous book about a woman born with her stomach shaped as a knot. (Now don't you want to read this just to find out what happened?)

True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape by Micah Perks
Interwoven short stories set in Santa Cruz. Micah Perks was one of Rose's writing instructors at UC Santa Cruz. Perks has also written What Becomes Us.

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein
A set of related stories in the far North (Lofoten in the Norwegian Sea) about love, loss, art, and nature.

Helen Pearlstein favors these books:
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
A novel about King Alfred's fight to unify his kingdom and defeat the Vikings.

Exposure by Helen Dunmore
Dunsmore story is a spy thriller, love story and immigrant tale. Good read.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson
The past sometimes comes back to haunt you as this spy thriller relates.

And Bill suggests:

Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The story of a family's journey from Florida to the Mississippi State Penitentiary, a story for our times, hard to put down.

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo
"A vital, necessary and beautiful book, a bracing call to white folk everywhere to see their whiteness for what it is and to seize the opportunity to make things better now."  (Michael Eric Dyson)

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kanter & Megan Twohey
Pulitizer Prize-winning story of the long and difficult research by two NY Times investigative reporters as they uncovered the Harvey Weinstein story.

Add to this list!  Do you have some good suggestions? Please comment here or email me at

Check out my page on this blog labeled Book List for more reading.


  1. from Mary by email: You always have my attention when you share good reads. Thanks so much, I’m next up for our book group pick.

    1. Hi, Mary. This list is a good one with a wide variety of good reads.


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