books (2019)

I’ve been thinking about what I read and why. Maybe this at its broadest: I am trying to understand the world, and myself, and the ways everything overlaps and intersects. Right now, though, it feels sort of difficult to focus on reading. I’ve been turning to poetry more than usual which feels manageable and grounding (midway through a Jane Kenyon collection currently), and am also finally getting around to posting my list of books read last year.

In mid-2019, went through a several month period of not reading much of anything but decided to let it happen and not try to cram in a ton of books at the end of the year to meet my GoodReads goal. Similarly, I only sort-of kept up with the “write something about every book you read” practice, and that’s fine. It’s back in progress for 2020, though! I missed having it to look back through at the end of the year.

Something else which feels significant in reflecting back on the year-in-books is that both Mary Oliver and Rachel Held Evans died in 2019. This interview (“Listening to the World“) with Mary Oliver from the On Being podcast has held up to multiple re-listens for me, and I returned to previously read books by both them (Searching for Sunday, Why I Wake Early). These women helped shift and expand my vision in meaningful ways and I am grateful for that. ♡ 

morning pages / reading spot
Continue reading “books (2019)”

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”

books (2016)


  • Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  • If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers, Hannah Brencher
  • Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf
  • Home, Marilynne Robinson
  • Lila, Marilynne Robinson
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • Erotic Ambiguities: The Female Nude in Art, Helen McDonald
  • Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art, Jennifer New
  • Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
  • Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
  • 40 Days of Dating: An Experiment, Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
  • Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
  • Mindfulness: 25 Ways to Live in the Moment Through Art, Christophe Andre
  • Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
  • Dog Songs, Mary Oliver
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Victoria Finlay
  • Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
  • Pictures & Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings, James Elkins
  • No Matter the Wreckage, Sarah Kay
  • One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, B.J. Novak
  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
  • That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand
  • How We Are Hungry, Dave Eggers
  • A Short Guide to Writing About Art, Sylvan Barnet
  • Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century, Jed Rasula
  • Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton
  • Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver
  • Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, Nada M. Shabout
  • Stardust: Supernovae and Life – The Cosmic Connection, John Gribbin
  • Slaugherhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • *Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren F. Winner
  • CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, George Saunders
  • A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
  • Pastoralia, George Saunders
  • H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald
  • Remote Control: Power, Culture, and the World of Appearances, Barbara Kruger
  • Buddhism for Beginners, Thubten Chodron
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone
  • Fool Me Once, Harlan Coban
  • Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist
  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, Shunryu Suzuki
  • McSweeney’s #44, edited by Dave Eggers
  • Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal, Joseph Campbell
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
  • Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land, Joel Brinkley
  • *Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
  • The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Amitav Ghosh
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett
  • How to be Both, Ali Smith
  • Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Donald Miller
  • Thirst: Poems, Mary Oliver
  • Evidence: Poems, Mary Oliver
  • The Book of Buddhas: Ritual Symbolism Used on Buddhist Statuary and Ritual Objects, Eva Rudy Jansen
  • Swan: Poems and Prose Poems, Mary Oliver
  • The Circle, Dave Eggers
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Chris J. Anderson
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

* = re-read

books (2015)

In 2015, I read these.

  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren F. Winner
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull
  • The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, Caroline Alexander
  • Great by Choice, Jim Collins
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
  • The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli (translated by W.K. Marriott)
  • The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, Steven B. Sample
  • One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven, Mark Cahill
  • Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis
  • Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right, Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.
  • The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance, Christopher G. Worley
  • The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis
  • How Will You Measure Your Life?, Clayton M. Christensen
  • The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis
  • The Secret Sharer, Joseph Conrad
  • The Luminous and the Grey, David Batchelor
  • The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis
  • Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren F. Winner
  • The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis
  • A Prayer Journal, Flannery O’Connor
  • The Chosen, Chaim Potok
  • Tenth of December, George Saunders
  • Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God, Lauren F. Winner
  • The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (translated by Constance Garnett)
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo (translated by Cathy Hirano)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
  • Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • ART/WORK, Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber
  • A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, Flannery O’Connor
  • Paper Towns, John Green
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
  • Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity, Lauren F. Winner
  • Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith, Barnabas Piper
  • Beauty Looks After Herself, Eric Gill
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
  • Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, Claire Bishop
  • Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else, David Balzer
  • About Looking, John Berger
  • Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith, Matthew Lee Anderson
  • Minding the Body, Patricia Foster (editor)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  • The Lipstick Gospel, Stephanie May Wilson
  • The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis
  • One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp
  • Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
  • The Best American Short Stories 2006, Ann Patchett (editor)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Promise, Chaim Potok
  • Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, Sarah Bessey
  • African Art, Frank Willett
  • The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald
  • The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain
  • Nejma, Nayyirah Waheed
  • Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, Jacques Derrida (translated by Eric Prenowitz)
  • The Princess and Curdie, George MacDonald
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur Bennett (editor)
  • Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans
  • The Writing Life, Annie Dillard
  • Women, Art, and Society, Whitney Chadwick
  • The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
  • Marjorie Main: Rural Documentary Poetry, John Sherman
  • Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
  • the Bible (English Standard Version)

books (2015)

To those who shaped this list by your generously loaned or gifted books, recommendations, and willingness to read with me – thank you!