My dad is one of those people who, if he’s really into the book he’s reading, you’re basically reading it too. Because he will perseverate on it, out loud, until it’s over (regardless of whether you’re listening or not!). It’s something that both annoyed and delighted me as a kid, but now I’ve become the same type of person. Books and music are my very favorite things to nerd out about and share, but I also love sharing people who inspire me, podcasts, media, technology, life-hacky things, psychology, and whatever hilarious thing my daughter said recently.
So this is the first of a monthly collection of that are inspiring, entertaining, and moving me—shared for no other reason than it brings me big joy.
I want to hear all about your favorites in the comments.
Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
You guys, I haven’t been this…I’m not even sure what the word is…impressed? floored? enthralled? by someone’s writing in a long time. We had her on HOME as a guest and so we got an advanced copy of the book (it comes out February 28) and I devoured it in less than 24 hours. She’s got such command over language, she references Rilke within the first ten pages, and she’s smart, smart, smart.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
It’s been hyped, but it really was good. An important view of a part of American culture that we don't hear about often. Timely.
Side note: I kept thinking about two other incredible books while reading this:
Jeanette Wall’s epic memoir The Glass Castle because a lot of her story takes place in her dad’s Appalachian hometown in West Virginia.
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, which is my favorite of her fiction works. Also takes place in southern Appalachia.
Blessed Are The Weird by Jacob Nordby
The sweetest Scott Stabile introduced me to Jacob after I posted a quote of Jacob’s. I hadn’t a clue who he was, other than I loved his words. He offered to send me this book and I finally opened it one day in Maine and it’s really special. Through personal storytelling and other examples, he speaks directly to those of us who've cast our creative yearnings aside for something more socially acceptable, lucrative, or [you name it].
More about Jacob and his work at www.blessedaretheweird.com.
Grief is The Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Just stunning. Unlike anything I’ve read before. Hard to say if it’s poetry or prose or something else. So many pages took my breath away in their simple grace. It’s a tale of a father and two sons grieving after the loss of their mum. Just looking at the (gorgeous) cover makes my heart ache with sweet sadness; it made me want to write more, and better, and forever. Gray Wolf Press puts out really incredible works.
OH MY GOD. I don’t know how I’m just finding him, but I’m glad I finally did. My friend from home kept mentioning him and I was all yeah yeah yeah. I figured he was one of the many new country artists whose music offends my old country Colorado roots. So wrong. The song that hooked me is Something More Than Free (it makes my throat catch every time), here:
I dug in a bit more and, sweet Jesus, is he good. After a bunch of listening, and particularly after hearing "Cover Me Up," I thought This guy sounds a lot like Ryan Adams, who is another music love of mine. Turns out they’re good friends and Ryan helped him get sober a few years ago! I can't describe the joy I feel when I find out another artist I admire so deeply is sober; makes it all extra-special.
If anyone has an inroad to him, I want to bring him on HOME. OK? Thanks.
Another lovely singer/songwriter type from the south. This song is my current favorite :
1,000 MUSICIANS SINGING LEARN TO FLY IN ITALY
You are welcome.
SAlomon Running Shoes
This may be the only product shout out I'll ever do, but these shoes are so great I want to talk about them! I got them in St. Louis before my retreat with Becky and we were in a rush because we had a big to-do list that day. She took me to a REI type store they didn't have my go-to's, Adidas or Asics. So the boy helping me (hi, Jake!) said these were the shoes everyone on the staff, even runners, were freaking out about.
For someone like me who runs on a bunch of terrain (roads, beach, trails) they're perfecto. And the laces make me exceedingly happy because no tying, and you tuck them into the tongue of the show while you're running, so no sloppy/muddy/crunchy laces after a messy run.
Okay, that was weird. I never want to talk about shoes again here.
Love you guys. Tell me about your favorite things.