eleven books i appreciated this year

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Alta California: From San Diego to San Francisco, A Journey on Foot to Rediscover the Golden State

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Miracle Country

Real Life: A Novel

Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West

The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California

The Shepherd’s Life: A People’s History of the Lake District

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities

As is abundantly clear, I was craving books about Californian and Indigenous history, as well as strong landscape writing. Rebecca Solnit’s Savage Dreams hit both nerves hard. It’s an unjustly neglected masterpiece.

I read more fiction and poetry than this list would suggest, but Brandon Taylor and Chen Chen were the absolute standouts. They’re also both fantastic on Twitter, which probably helps them stick in my mind.

I read 142 books, give or take, which is pretty normal. I might’ve expected more in a quarantine year, but I started a new job and house and garden and got two new horses and it’s a golden age for television, so. 92 books by women, 37 by identifiably queer folk, 5 of whom were trans, 30 by POC. It’s hard to read enough books by trans and POC writers, but I should try harder.

I read two separate books of nonfiction called Horse Crazy, which is probably all anyone needs to know about me.

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