I fill my house, floor to ceiling, with books. They are my darlings. They are my catharsis. They are the portals through which I explore the expanse of humanity, and encounter the darkest and brightest corners of my own personhood.

It is the duty and joy of all devoted readers to put good stories into the hands of others. Here, I keep a list of  the things I’ve read that I want to pass on, like the “recommended” shelf in your local, independent book store. First sentences are a topic of much debate for writers, so you’ll find those included too, along with something I love about each book or piece.

If you have a book or essay or story you loved, be in touch. The world is full of writing, and I’m always looking for another good thing to read.

Matrix by Lauren Groff


By Lauren Groff

A stunning portrait of feminine power and the divine, told from the point of view of a reluctant Abbess in the 1100s. Transporting, insightful, and gorgeously rendered.


By Charlotte MConaghy

In the near future, a desperate woman is looking for hope disguised as the last flock of terns on earth. Lyric, and transporting. Hope, humility and heart abound in this magnificent work.

Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“Stylish and edgy. . . While the book draws inspiration from Gothic classics like Rebecca and Jane Eyre—there is a spunky female protagonist and an ancient house filled with disturbing secrets—its archly intelligent tone and insightful writing make Mexican Gothic an original escape to an eerie world.”New York Times

The Morning Swim

It was an early, very warm morning in July, and it had rained during the night.

The Summer book

By Tove Jansson

A favorite because of its playfulness, irreverence, and spare, searing beauty.

Chapter one

The Streets of Gatlon were overflowing with fake superheros...


By Marissa Meyer

A serious escape with all the drama and ambiguity of the best superhero tales.

"Pure Craft" Is A Lie

Like many creative writing instructors, I teach my students that it can be to their advantage in fiction to use the dialogue tags "say" and "ask" instead of less common tags like "commented" or "queried."

Craft in the Real World

By Matthew Salesse

A powerful guide to removing the racist, colonial reality of the current model of the writing workshop. A must read for writers.

White Witchery: An Introduction

Some girl at school once had a mood ring...

White Magic: Essays

By Elissa Washuta

A meta collection of essays that reads like a spell book, written with the passion and insight of a survivor.

The Veil

This is me when I was 10 years old. This was in 1980.


By Marjane Satrapi

A main character with the attitude of a punk-rock superstar, living under the rule of the shah. Magnificent.

boxing inside the box

Boxing Inside the box

By Holly Iglesias

For women writing prose poems, this is for you. A stunning examination of female poets’ approach to “the box.”