books (2018)

It’s mid-February which means I’m overdue for my year-in-books post. It’s been about five years now since I started keeping track of each book I read, after a friend recommended GoodReads to me. This year, instead of just keeping a list of titles, I had a goal to practice writing about what I’m reading. I set out to write something, at least one sentence, about each book I read in 2018, and now have a google doc 30+ pages long with notes, observations, etc. I do think it helped with remembering the books I read; I can read a bit manically at times, and this practice served to counter and calm that a bit.

Another reading goal for last year was to read more poetry, and serendipitously an acquaintance introduced me to Pome*– a daily newsletter by Matthew Ogle that contains just one poem in your inbox, at the start of each day. (Which helped me to read many more poems!)

And finally: for the first time in my (adult) life, I read as many books written by women as by men, and they surely did not disappoint me. So crucial, so obvious. I feel like I’m catching up, stocking up on women’s voices to return to and recommend and reference moving forward.

The list of books I read in 2018 is below, with some that I particularly enjoyed and learned from in bold. (Past reading lists here: 201720162015)

books (2018) | Lynnette Therese Sauer
(one day I read at the beach)
  • Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
  • Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler
  • Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe, Dawn Tripp
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
  • Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
  • The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine, Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Complete Poems of Sappho, translated by Willis Barnstone
  • Autumn, Ali Smith
  • Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, Anne Lamott
  • Winter, Ali Smith
  • Salt, Nayyirah Waheed
  • The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal
  • The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, Elle Luna
  • Your Story is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice, Elle Luna and Susie Herrick
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, David McCullough
  • The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Draw Your Weapons, Sarah Sentilles
  • Commonwealth, Ann Patchett
  • The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, Dan Barber
  • Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, Heather Ann Thompson
  • Torch, Cheryl Strayed
  • Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics, Carol Lee Flinders
  • Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling
  • American War, Omar El Akkad
  • At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst, Carol Lee Flinders
  • On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, Adrienne Rich
  • The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran
  • What is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything, Rob Bell
  • Poems by Emily Dickinson (Series One), Emily Dickinson
  • The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse: A Book for Creators, Michael Gungor
  • Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story, Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
  • Love Poems, Pablo Neruda
  • Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, Lawrence Weschler
  • The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder, Lisa Gungor
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
  • A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind, Siri Hustvedt
  • The Tibetan Buddhism Reader, edited by Reginald A. Ray
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver
  • Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science, Mike McHargue
  • Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Matthew T. Kapstein
  • Swing Time, Zadie Smith
  • Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  • A Celebration of Sex, Douglas E. Rosenau
  • Interior States: Essays, Meghan O’Gieblyn
  • Sara Berman’s Closet, Maira Kalman and Alex Kalman
  • Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay
  • The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, Eric Foner
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
  • Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, Emily Sagoski
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown
  • There There, Tommy Orange
  • Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems, Mary Oliver
  • How to Not Always Be Working: A Toolkit for Creativity and Radical Self-Care, Marlee Grace
  • New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren F. Winner
  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  • Money Diaries: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Your Finances… And Everyone Else’s, Lindsey Stanberry
  • Having Wings: Poems for Advent, edited by Amy Bornman
  • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

 

*now on hiatus! Another good poem-a-day option: The Slowdown podcast with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

having wings

having wings - Amy Bornman | Lynnette Therese Sauer
photo: Amy Bornman

Having Wings is a community-sourced advent anthology created / edited by Amy Bornman (of All Well Workshop), and it contains a drawing I made and words I wrote this advent season. Amy’s thoughtfulness in her creative process and beautiful handsewn creations have been inspiring as I consider my work (“art” and otherwise), and how it intersects with the values by which I hope to live. So when she announced an invitation to participate in this gathering of poems for the hoping, waiting season of advent, I wanted to contribute.

Most of my drawings this year have been unplanned curves filling sketchbook pages, as I try to get outside of a systematic mindset when it comes to making. Searching for the intuition I hope I have, and maybe starting to find it in this practice. After filling untold sketchbook pages with these swirling lines, I started noticing forms that reminded me of art historical Madonna and Child paintings. (A lovely google image search: “abstract madonna and child”.) Continue reading “having wings”

our wedding, one year later

*one year + one month later

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our wedding, one year later | Lynnette Therese Sauer

I never understood when people said their wedding day was the best day of their lives, until I had such a deeply good day on ours.  We were surrounded by all of our family and friends, hosted at the home of friends, ate our go-to Indy fast food, and had a party. There were a lot of people, and a lot of planning went into it, but in the end it felt natural and celebratory. I’d dealt with a lot of anxiety in the year prior, and was nervous that I would be so paralyzed with it that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the day. But the weather was gorgeous, and I felt so present to the day and its joy. What a gift.

And of course, Andy and I got to stand up and tell our truth – we love each other, and we promise to continue in that love for as long and as deeply as we can.

A couple months ago, I re-read our vows to each other. I think I was a little afraid that the words would be too specific to the people we were then. It’s only been a year, but they way I think about things has shifted; I see differently.

After reading them, I felt buoyed and hopeful, like these things are still true and they are spacious enough to keep walking in together for many years to come.

Weber-181 Continue reading “our wedding, one year later”