friday check in: what is the best thing you have read so far in 2020?

[note: in an effort to be better at keeping in touch with friends both far and wide i am instituting a ‘friday check in’ where i – or anyone – can ask a question that hopefully everyone will respond to. questions can range from mundane to hilarious to serious; the question itself isn’t as important as the regular, promised contact. as it makes sense i will do a roundup of responses and post them here: my goal will be the following monday depending on what the weekend looks like]

last friday’s check in question was about the best things people have read so far this year. answers included books, poems, quotes, articles, and recipes, and i have included them below with links where applicable.

so many books, so little time. memphis, tennessee. january 2020.

what is the best thing you have read so far in 2020?

my answers were easy: brené brown’s rising strong, and malcolm gladwell’s outliers: the story of success.

kat mentioned two: philip roth’s the plot against america, and a recent issue of the harvard business review [which i finally bit the bullet and subscribed to].

alex has been doing a lot of reading about secular buddhism and shared this:

chapter i —

i walk down the street. there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. i fall in. i am lost… i am hopeless. it isn’t my fault. it takes forever to find a way out.

chapter ii —

i walk down the same street. there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. i pretend i don’t see it. i fall in again. i can’t believe i’m in the same place. but it isn’t my fault. it still takes a long time to get out.

chapter iii —

i walk down the same street. there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. i see it is there. i still fall in…it’s a habit. my eyes are open; i know where i am; it is my fault. i get out immediately.

chapter iv —

i walk down the same street. there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. i walk around it.

chapter v —

i walk down another street.

maggie shared the miracle of mindfulness by thich nhat hanh and franny and zooey by j d salinger.

katie milligan is making her way through the game of life and how to play it, and maggie and i are eagerly awaiting her final review. [ps – the kindle version is currently free on amazon!]

i asked rob, ellie, and alex to chime in from across the pond; rob recently finished ann patchett’s the dutch house [“extraordinaire”, which i can hear perfectly in his british accent], and ellie recomended outline by rachel cusk [the first in a trilogy] and zadie smith’s story collection grand union. and alex shared this great quote from derek sivers’ anything you want:

use this rule if you’re often over-committed or too scattered.

if you’re not saying “hell yeah!” about something, say “no”.

when deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “wow! that would be amazing! absolutely! hell yeah!” — then say “no”.

when you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “hell yeah!”

sarah recently read and loved the glass castle [one of my favorites!], and corrinne praised long walk to freedom, nelson mandela’s autobiography.

brent and hoover both recommended this article about the security guard to rigged the mcdonald’s monopoly game in the 80s and 90s. and apparently hbo is making a 5-part documentary series about it.

christina – the self-confessed worst gluten free person ever – has been reading flour, water, salt, yeast, both for the bread recipes but also for the science behind the bread baking.

jane recommends give and take, which just got promoted to the top of my amazon wish list.

walshie has been hip-deep in case law but entertained herself with geoff calkins’ recent article about dillon brooks calling out andre igoudala ahead of the nba trade deadline.

ali threw it all the way back to a 2019 read to give a shout out to hanya yanagihara’s a little life.

pat turns is an audiobook maniac and gave a shout out to keith richards’ life.

jessi is currently loving good and mad by rebecca traister, one of my favorite writers.

dillard recommended two articles: this one about doug jones and the recent impeachment vote, and this one about a middle-aged man’s foray into that most hallowed of places, the american girl doll store.

kate recently stumbled across a copy of margaret atwood’s the edible woman and highly recommends it.

winkates shared this article about the lengths abused woman – especially in the south – go to to protect themselves. [trigger warnings: sexual assault, gun violence, abuse]

anders recommended two works by namwali serpell — her novel the old drift and her article on the banality of empathy.

dennis has recently been enjoying the robicheaux novels by james lee burke [there are 23 in the series!].

from the a19 group, craig mentioned patrick keefe’s say nothing and marques shared an article about the lessons kobe bryant’s death has taught us about how black men mourn.

katherine said the disappearing earth has been the best of her reading so far this year.

and last but certainly not least, brandon shared this quote from siddhartha which i thought would be a great way to wrap up this post:

what you search for is not necessarily what you find. when you let go of searching you start finding.

ok, i think i got everyone’s. this was a fun prompt to begin with, and i look forward to expanding this and creating more connections with friends across the globe over the course of the year.


[another note: the amazon links are affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through them i earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. thank you to any of you who choose to do so!]

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