From The Editor: My 2017 Reading List

Dear Readers,

Reading is my mission this year and all good missions/goals/resolutions should start with a plan of action. I refuse to glimpse 2018 and wonder what the hell happened? So here we go:

Step 1) Read at least one book every month. 
Tip for success: Do some monthly planning to determine if it will be manic or mild, then choose your literature accordingly. January was hectic so a fairly short book of poems from Rilke was a good choice.
Another tip for success: Speaking of planning, work in time for reading into your weekly schedule. Commit to picking up a book on certain evenings or for a certain number of hours each week. 

Step 2) Annotate and reflect.
Note: I want to remember what I read, so I pull out quotes and spend some time with the text. Can you tell I was an English major?
Tip for success: Buy a new package of highlighters and a cool notebook (I'm using this one) to store your reading notes, and have it on hand as you turn those pages.

Step 3: Review.
Note: I "heart" the crap out of book review posts on Instagram. I love seeing what my friends are reading and if they think the book is worth cracking open. In my case, I'll also be posting reviews on, so stay tuned.

So what's on my 2017: YEAR OF READING list? Some are new, some are old. Most are from female authors (unintentionally). But anyway here it is, in all its glory:


Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

I watched the film version in a Literature of the American West survey class forever ago. It has been on my list for too long, so 2017 is the year for me to get it done. I loved the movie so I'm sure I'll love the book.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I'm so ashamed that I haven't read this book that I chose it for the month of February. I even saw Atwood speak at my university and felt like a fool for having not read one of her most important books. So after this month, I'll rest easy. 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

My best friend forever and frequent GS&NS contributor, Josh, recommended this book well over a year ago and I've had a copy sitting on my desk ever since. I've hesitated this long because it's mammoth, so I'll probably wait for those slow summer months.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

The beautiful book cover captured my attention at Barnes & Noble last weekend and I read a review that compared it to Housekeeping (see above), and Emily is also an Idaho native. Sold.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I was assigned this in a fiction class in college and never actually read it. I still feel guilty but mostly because I really wanted to read it, but I had really poor time management skills. Ridding myself of reading guilt seems to be a common theme here.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Another one that I bought almost a year ago and haven't picked up. Doerr also has Idaho roots and won a Pulitzer, and the novel is set during WWII = all great reasons to read the damn book already.


The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New by Annie Dillard

YOU GUYS - ANNIE DILLARD IS COMING OUT WITH A NEW(ish) COLLECTION OF ESSAYS. Need I say more? Only available for pre-order at the moment, BUT IT IS COMING.

For the Time Being by Annie Dillard

I read this book every year. It's one that I always keep on me, like a pack of chewing gum. I pick it up sporadically and flick open a page and gaze at the words like a Magic 8 Ball, but I also like to take the time every year to digest it one big gulp. 

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

I saw this browsing on Amazon and couldn't believe that I had never heard of it before. Fun fact: the first poem to ever make me burst into tears was Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese"

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay gave a talk that I attended and she mentioned the upcoming release of Hunger. I made a mental note to add it to my list this year. It's currently only available for pre-order, which I will definitely be doing.


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Kaur's little book of poems has sold really well and a lot of folks are talking about it, which is kind of rare for poetry. It also made it onto loads of Feminist reading lists this year. Girl power poetry? I'm all in.

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde by Audre Lorde

I stumbled across some of Lorde's work around the time of the Women's March in January and made a mental note to pick up her collection. Sorted.

Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

The specific version I linked here is translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. Macy spoke about Rilke's book on an episode of the On Being podcast and inspired me to dedicate January to Rilke, who I've always liked (see also: Letters to a Young Poet). It's full of beautiful imagery and provoking ideas about God, religion, and the nature of spirituality. 


Share your own book picks with me in the comment section or tweet me (@pamelajcraig21). See you at the end of the month for my first review!

With Love,

P.S. Have we mentioned that we're also releasing a commemorative collection of art, writing, photography and more on February 26th? Newsletter subscribers get a free digital copy of the issue, so what are you waiting for?