17.11.18

When I was small, my mother used to ask us before bed, what was something you learned? something that made you laugh? and probably a few other questions in there as well. I’ve read since then that this asking for details results in a better memory but I find the act of taking note helpful in and of itself, and so I’ve continued the tradition for years, recording bits of gratitude and spots of beauty in my task list application – which means it gets archived at the end of the day and I never go back to look at it. I haven’t blogged here in such a long time but I’ve been reading and doing some interesting things and want to put them somewhere more accessible. So:

What was Beautiful:

Hummingbirds buzzing around the feeder, fire in the hearth – with dogs luxuriating around it, rainy days, the maple tree shedding its leaves like flames, the phenomenal Casa Patas flamenco show, luminescent anemones covering underwater structures.

What I’m Grateful for:

Yoga, dog snuggles, cats in boxes, my Rainier Ravens, this crisp fall weather, legwarmers & wellies, Matt’s help sorting out my dive camera and gear, new fences.

What made me Laugh:

Buying dog coats. Picture this: wrestling one huge into trying on coat after coat while he was trying to kiss everyone in the shop, play with the dogs and steal some of the bulk treats while I wasn’t looking then swapping him out for the even bigger dog who is terrified of everyone and trying to back into me and rack while staff were trying to give her treats. By the end of it, I had broken a sweat and my gut hurt from laughing so much but we are now all outfitted for the rain.

What I’m creating and doing:

A new blog – https://www.asgoodasarest.com (still very much in progress)

A lot of dancing of various sorts, diving with my camera and dog training. Next week I start a new job, try out Capoeira and head to the Oregon Coast for the holiday.

What I’m reading this week:

Rebecca Solnit: if I were a man at the Guardian. If I were I man it’s not the direction I’d go in but I still found this snippet appalling, “But success was available to them, and that was an advantage – and still is. We still have wild disproportions on those fronts; the New York Times reported in 2015 that ‘Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John’.”

Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump at the Literary Hub.

And re-reading her old but always good “Men Explain Things to Me

This all came about because I have been struggling to get through The Mother of All Questions before it needs to go back to the library because in spite of being amazing it is also a paper book and I just don’t have as much time for sitting and reading as I would like.

Various posts about the #metoo movement – here and here and here. I’m glad this has not gone completely quiet. I have been thinking about it quite a lot still and probably need to do some writing there myself.

Dangerous Life,” an arresting poem by Lucia Perillo.

Why People Can’t Stop Touching Museum Exhibits. I suppose it’s helpful to know why, but I just wish they’d stop.

The Story of Self at the Guardian, which talks about how memories are constructed by the brain, the unreliability of memory and how that plays into our sense of self. I am fascinated by the overlapping and editing that happens here. For instance, this is my earliest memory but I am also sure that my memory is largely (if not entirely) informed by that photograph. “And yet these untrustworthy memories are among the most cherished we have. Memories of childhood are often made out to have a particular kind of authenticity; we think they must be pure because we were cognitively so simple back then. We don’t associate the slipperiness of memory with the guilelessness of youth. When you read descriptions of people’s very early memories, you see that they often function as myths of creation. Your first memory is special because it represents the point when you started being who you are.”

4 Unconscious Questions that we are all asking ourselves.

Other bits of inspiration:

Looking Past Limits by Caroline Casey via Mel Robbins‘ newsletter

TylerMan Badoo Melty-face Walters

I am posting this for posterity, so that when I look back at this past winter and don’t look back and wonder why I wrote nothing about the best thing that happened all year – the addition of Mr. TylerMan Badoo Melty-face to the Walterses family.

We weren’t looking for a second dog but my friend was fostering Tyler and she was worried no one would adopt him because he was a big male pit bull who drooled a lot, but who was also a super love in spite of having been used as a bait dog and tortured.

At 65 lbs, he was quite a bit smaller than Riley (who also drools a lot), so we figured that those were problems we could handle and decided to take a look. Within a few minutes, it was pretty clear we were getting another dog.

Riley’s a pretty happy girl (except when she feels like she needs to protect me) but it’s been a while since we’d seen her that happy – rolling around in the grass with Tyler, sniffing each other’s butts, tug of war, finding sticks and all the good dog stuff. She made the decision for us.

We had a bit of an intro period into our home but now there’s no separating them. Best friends forever, for real.

Tyler is a melty-face because you have to laugh or you’ll cry your heart out – he was used as a bait dog and had acid poured in his mouth, I assume because he does not have an aggressive bone in his body. He loves EVERYONE except cats and squirrels (but he and Maceo are coming around). So much so that he climbs into our bamboo planter to try and go see the neighbors on their deck. And he cries on leash when he can’t go and see the other dogs.

He even loves going back to the surgery center where he had 2 operations and a bunch of physical therapy!

When we got him he also add some ear infections, a skin rash from a wheat allergy, and a torn ligament in his knee, which our vet told us would likely lead to a tear in the other one. Yes it did! Only a few weeks later. So we spent the winter walking around the house and then around the block and then repeating it with the other leg, all the while going to puppy PT (which I renamed PB after seeing how much peanut butter was involved). Luckily I worked from home for most of it and when I was laid up with my injury, both dogs stuck very close by…like usually on top of me.

We got a larger couch when we moved into this house, which is great because there are now regularly 180 lbs of dog on it (not to mention the dog hair) and Tyler loves sleeping.

It’s not enough for him to be on the couch, he also has to gather all of the pillows together and then he wants a blanket or two as well.

I mean, he really loves sleeping.

He also loves his toys.

Stick!!

A post shared by Matt Walters (@mattfwalters) on

And I’m pretty sure he loves his new home too.

Travel planning and Traipsing through Canada

Current status: hanging out with Kim Crawford on the couch, listening to Spotify and mucking about on the internet. Not all that different from a typical Tuesday night except that I am in an Airbnb in Ottawa and there are no dogs.

I’ve quit facebook, quit my job and taken leave of my husband and animals and home to travel to India and Nepal but I lined up a bit of “practice” traveling, wrapping up work remotely and visiting friends. The day before I left a friend told someone I was off to India the next day and I had to explain a bit ruefully that I wasn’t going to be in India for a little while still. Leg #1 was Seattle to White Rock, leg #2 was to Vancouver, leg #3 Montreal, leg #4 Ottawa, leg #5 Toronto, leg #6 London (with a layover in Iceland) and then Mumbai from where I will make my way north to Delhi (as well as east and west and a bit farther north, and finally home through Hong Kong. I can write that now because although I’ve been on the road for 10 days, I only just booked my flight home.

It’s kind of exciting, really. As a project manager and therefore usually a super-planner. I often make reservations months in advance but this trip I am kind of making things up as I go along and that has meant some scrambling (for visas, passport renewal, giving my company enough notice, figuring out outfits that will work across cultures and climates and landscapes, etc.) but it turns out that most of these things can be done in a rush and / or online – something that I am finding out at a whole new level now that I have lost my wallet.

New credit and debit cards overnighted to me? Don’t mind if I do. New green card and Nexus rushed to me so I can get back in the country later? Yes please.

I’m consider myself a fairly seasoned traveler so this is an embarrassing and rookie mistake but I had an errand at the embassy where they require you to bring no bags, sunnies or cell phones so I was literally carrying everything in my pockets, in the pouring rain, in a country that I feel safe in so I wasn’t really on my guard. And so I’m grateful for these weeks of practice travel while I ramp up and get my sh– together.

One gets old and set in one’s ways and even in my home town I was glad of free public Wifi, Google maps and friendly bartenders. In Montreal even more so. as I spent a good portion of the week dealing with rudeness, apathy and ineptitude as they tried to fix my notebook. In Ottawa the response to me losing my wallet was “not my problem” or “I need to get paid” but I’m sure it will not be long in India before I’m laughing at how infuriated I have been about the noise and construction and lack of WiFi, customer service and kindness. It’s tough out here in the world.

Travel is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly. That is how we grow.

Instead of grumbling, here are some of the many new and / or cherished experiences I’ve had this week:

VANCOUVER:
Sorting through all kinds of old nostalgia and photos with my mom, a great sleep with her tiny dog curled up in my armpit (as compared with my mediocre sleep most nights cramming between my two enormous, snoring bulldogs), a ride to the bus stop on the corner (literally 3 blocks away) so she could see me off, the ahhhh-mazing Apple customer service and quality program fixing my laptop on the road – for free, high quality delicious and sustainable sushi at Hapa Izakaya, inventive vegetarian Chinese comfort food at Bao Bei, delicious and creative cocktails in beautiful rooms at Nightingale and The Botanist, and finally a ride to the airport from my sister.

MONTREAL:
Being met at the airport by my lovely friend who I’ve not seen in a while, who fed me all kinds of delicious food and wine, snuggles and kisses and playtime with the second loaner dog of the trip, happening across an amazing Chagall exhibit at the art gallery and another Amazonian one at the archeology museum, surprising sunshine allowing for wine and burrata on a terasse with a good book, more wine and deliciousness at Vin Papillon, and then even more wine and more deliciousness at Nora Grey, teaching the loaner dog to waltz, brunch at the spectacular Satay Bros. and finally coming across an urban “cabane à sucre” in a park.

OTTAWA:
Arriving at my Airbnb to find it so charming and lovely and heart-warming that I didn’t even want to leave – and that was before I saw that my hostess had left me some chocolate, ducking in out of the rain at a cosy pub to have some seriously good pizza and beer.

TORONTO:
Having said credit cards arrive over night – with a photo that my husband had included of him and all of our animals, catching up with more good friends I haven’t seen in a while, delicious cocktails and dinner at Byblos, mind-blowingly amazing peach beer at Momofuku (and lunch to go with), the availability and ease of hailing cabs, interesting and sumptuous flavours at Banu Iranian restaurant and cafes with good coffee that haven’t minded me hiding out from hours from the rain. And tomorrow we dance! I can’t tell you how excited I am about that.

I am feeling very loved, cared for and connected…and this is another reason one must travel – so that we can spend time connecting with people in person. As I have learned from working from home this winter, video chat and IM just don’t cut it.

Finally, being away from home is an opportunity to appreciate the things one normally takes for granted. I am so happy to have my high quality pack / boots / Goretex with me, my Canadian passport, to be free of allergies and allergies and have a relatively good ability to adapt, to be hosted by so many lovely people (both because it helps my travel budget but also because it’s a new perspective on how others live, not to mention extra time to catch up). Conversely I have loved and needed the downtime in between staying with friends, appreciated the flexibility to work remotely…and of course to have enough health and wealth and courage to be able to take this trip in the first place.

Next stop: Londontown.

City of Angels

Los Angeles

I’ve been down to LA a few times this year and seems like I’ll probably be back again. At first I was dismayed but I have found myself loving it. It’s a cool city.


Chicago!

Steller 2

For my birthday, I was trying to find the balance of a place my friends to come to to celebrate with me, and a place I hadn’t been to yet. After much waffling, I picked Chicago and figured we would dine at Alinea. That didn’t turn out and it ended up being only myself, my sister Stacie, our friend Farren and my husband Matt but also – the best birthday trip ever. I can’t wait to go back.


I’m going to Memphis! (and Nashville)

Junkyard 2

I put together a Steller story Stacie’s and my trip to Tennessee. It’s impossible to capture how much trouble many adventures we can get into in photographs but needless to say – memories were made, adventures were had, we’ll probably have to go back at some point and we will definitely have to go on another motorcycle trip. That was super fun.


Peru

I’m not sure how many trip reports I’ve started with, “I’ve wanted to go to X place for ages…” It’s just a fact of having a penchant for travel and adventure, a bent for research and planning, and a desk job with access to the internet. I have planned literally hundreds of trips that may or may not ever make it onto these pages. But, I really have been planning a trip to South America since I was 19..almost since I started planning trips!

Here’s a map I drew in my journal planning my route:

South America

But after years of research and planning and saving and stalling, I never made it farther south than Costa Rica. My problem was that I was trying to see it all at once, everything from Cartagena to Tierra del Fuego in on trip – preferably on a motorcycle – taking my time to explore all the small towns. Even on a budget that was going to take months and thousands of dollars. So it got put off year after year and finally, last year, I decided to just bite the bullet and visit one place: Machu Picchu.

Peru

LIMA

Machu Picchu was top of my list for South America and it got us to Peru but I’m just not going to go all that way and only see one thing. So we landed in Lima and got ready to eat – Peruvian cuisine has become world-renowned in recent years (much more than Pisco and ceviche now!) and so we planned to feast at Central, Astrid y Gaston and Maido – the 4th, 14th and 44th best restaurants in the world, according to some.

Maido

We booked the restaurants before we booked our flights and somehow I didn’t go back and check the dates – meaning that I scheduled our meal at Central a week too far in advance. The Horror! But the host found us a spot in the lounge and disaster was averted. It was absolutely incredible and we’ll be keeping an eye out for more opportunities to eat there. Maido was even more amazing, if that’s possible, but Astrid y Gaston was a bit of a disappointment. Very luxurious with some excellent dishes but unfortunately not consistent.

Maido

Because we were staying in Miraflores (an upscale, safe suburb of Lima), and because we had travelled so long to get there (left the house at 5:30 AM and got to out hotel at 2:30 AM the next day) we didn’t go to as many museums as I would have liked but we did visit the Plaza de Armas and went on a monastery tour of Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad with its mouldering library of books from antiquity – untouched since WWII, beautiful courtyard and a depiction of the Last Supper with cuy (guinea pig) for dinner and Pizarro as Judas. It was beautiful but the all the stray dogs, some of them dead, were just heartbreaking.

And the traffic was incredible – 30 minutes by cab to get across town – so we spent some time lazing around the hotel and exploring the Barranco district nearby. Bohemian and busy, we were reminded of Madrid; everyone out on a Saturday night, taking wedding photos, strolling with babies, recording music videos, practicing guitar on a bench and of course eating and drinking. We stuffed ourselves with ceviche and Pisco sours and then it was time to hop on the plane.

Peruvian textiles

CUSCO

I was terribly worried that Cusco was going to be a tourist trap and almost regretted how much time we had to spend in the city but on arrival we found it to be a gorgeous city, full of history and culture and warm people. Before we noticed any of that, however, we noticed the altitude. As soon as we came out of the airport we swooned, and I wondered if that was the Hawthorne Effect or a combination of our fatigue and being out of shape. After some coca candy, a nap and some altitude pills we were feeling alright but still trying to remember to breathe deeply, walk slowly, etc.

Cusco

Cusco was the Inca heartland and the stone walls still form the foundations of the city but everything else has been taken over or topped by the Spanish. Qurikancha, the sun temple was the most important site in the Inca empire. Dedicated to the sun god, it was filled with life-sized gold statues but now not much of it is left –  only a few rows of stones topped with the Santo Domingo convent. It’s sort of is a miniature model for Cusco itself, full of beautiful Spanish colonial art and architecture with Andean flavor. Our hotel was a retro-fitted Spanish mansion with meandering hallways, surprise courtyards and fountains and the walls were covered with with religious oil paintings. It felt a lot like Granada.

Cusco

Our first night we wandered around the historic centre, saw the incredible Inca stonework and the famous 12-sided stone as well as the Plaza de Armas, then ended up on the patio at Papacho’s (a burger place owned by Gaston Acurio) on the square. It was a bit chilly but watching all the people and dogs and Andean woman with bundles of weaving and alpaca rugs was just the thing we needed. I had a drink with tumbo (banana passionfruit) that was too tropical for the Andes but really delicious and Matt had his first coca tea – not realizing that although it is much weaker than cocaine it is still definitely in the stimulant category and he was going to have trouble sleeping.

Peru

I could have spent days longer in Cusco, climbing up the hills to the Sacsayhuaman ruins and the San Blas neighbourhood (I saw them later) but once we had acclimatized to the altitude, we were off in search of motorbikes.

Dirtbiking

MARAS 

So many people told us that we needed to explore the Sacred Valley but the options we had were all by bus; wake up at 5 AM, see all the sites and get back to Cusco by dark. I am always conflicted by bus tours; you get to see the sites but you pay in advance for a set itinerary and if you want to stay longer you’re hurried on to the bus and if you want to skip something, you can’t. Eventually I found a place that rented dirt bikes for super cheap and we made our own plans.

Maras

Well, it wasn’t quite that easy. First we had to explain that we wanted two motorcycles – that I would not be riding on the back of a 250cc dirt bike at altitude – and then we had to go and pick up the second bike – in the back room of the proprietor’s house, up the stairs, on a street dug up for construction. But eventually we were on the road and heading out to explore the Sacred Valley. First stop, Maras, the ancient Inca salt flats that are still being worked today.

Getting out on the bikes was amazing! It was Matt’s first time on a dirt bike and the altitude affected the speed quite a bit but travelling through small towns, walls painted with slogans from various political parties, llamas grazing all over the place, women selling textiles at high altitude markets….and of course the backdrop of the Andes. It was thrilling. When we got to the salt evaporation ponds, we walked down and took a look around, then got back on the bikes and went on to explore more of the valley. We ended the day by signing some house purchasing documents at the hotel and celebrating with a round of pisco sours, our new tradition.

INCA TRAIL

We had brought our backpacks as luggage with us to South America, but as the time arrived for us to set out on foot, we stashed books, shoes, our nice clothes and whatever else we thought we could do without into a bag that we left at the hotel, then filled up our water bladders and got the weight adjusted on our backs. We had wanted to walk the Inca trail to Machu Picchu rather than taking the train and once that decision was made it hadn’t occurred to us that we wouldn’t carry our own gear. We found out later that most people opted to carry day packs and have a porter take the rest.

After being on the bus for hours getting to breakfast and the trailhead, the pack weight felt good and we bounded along the rolling “Inca flats,” stopping to learn about the cochineal beetle on the prickly pear cactus from which carmine dye comes, the angel trumpet that is used by shamans in a hallucinogenic tea or to visit with the Andean families (and their dogs) at the rest stops. It was hot but not very strenuous and we were both delighted and annoyed to find our porters setting up the tent for a hot lunch. It seemed unnecessary to be stopping for so long, so soon, but not even a few hours later we were glad of the pace.

Glacier

Our guide was excellent and we learned that Machu Picchu served as a royal estate for Inca emperors and nobles, as well as an important crossroads for trade and Inca trails criss-cross the Sacred Valley (and the Inca empire, from Santiago to Quito) but the one we were following was meant for royalty. The Inca venerated nature and stone – mountains were objects of worship – so they chose the path that went the highest into the mountains to be close to the sky and one that followed the valley without destroying anything. Lucky for us that meant straight up.

The Urubamba river follows the same path as the milky way and the Inca trail to Machu Picchu starts at 82 km close to Ollantaytambo, passes the Patallaqta ruins, and then climbs up through the high jungle to Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmi Wañusqa) at 13,700ft. Day 2 was spent almost entirely gaining altitude. When we got to the pass after climbing all morning we could still see the campsite where we had started out that day.

Matt

We were exhausted and moving so slowly, dragging ourselves up on our hiking poles, chewing on coca leaves and gasping for air as we got closer to the pass but having only gained a space of about 30ft at the summit, we almost immediately started the trail down. Up 3000ft in one day and then back down another 1000 before making camp.

Inca Trail

Machu Picchu was fairly remote, even in Inca days, but a series of relay runners were set up to deliver a message from Cusco in only 6 hours. On special occasion, fish could be brought fresh from the sea in about 16! Because of the distance and the speed of the runners, the Spanish never found out about Machu Picchu. They only got to about Ollantaytambo (where we started our hike) and from there, bridges were destroyed, the trail was covered and the Inca royalty escaped to the jungle.

Our third day of hiking was the “scenic” day where we stopped at the site of several ruins but at times it seemed only to alleviate the constant descent. My toenails! My ankles! My knees! In many ways it was worse than the ascent but maybe only because I hadn’t accounted for the difficulty. The experience of hiking the trail was so worth doing but Matt and I agreed that without a doubt it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done.

Machu Picchu

MACHU PICCHU

On the last day we got up at 3:30 AM – not to see the sunrise from the Sun Gate, as we had originally believed, nor to be the first at Machu Picchu, but because the train for the porters leaves before 5 AM and they had to run down the mountain to meet it. I cannot believe that with 500 people on the day every day that a better arrangement can’t be made, but maybe the tourists are just too tired when they get home to advocate. We were able to walk to the end of the campsite but couldn’t go further because the checkpoint doesn’t open until 5:30 AM. Standing there in the dark, someone joked that we waiting in line in the dark on Black Friday but otherwise we were pretty quiet, waiting for the last stretch.

Machu Picchu

This was the last, “easiest” day and we were buoyed up by the fact that Machu Picchu was only a few hours away but we were beat and before we got to the Sun Gate we needed to climb on hands and knees up the Inca “staircase” and try to keep from falling into the valley (some 6000ft) below while hikers jostled past. But we made it and the first glimpse of Machu Picchu through the mist was still magical in spite of all the photographs that exist.

We were awed and wowed by this city in the clouds. Watching the mist cover and reveal the city it seemed as special as it has ever been – to the Incas and to Hiram Bingham when he ‘discovered’ it and every morning with every new batch of visitors. That the Incas build such a monument to stone and sky so beautiful and so remote is incredible, but that it has survived virtually unharmed after more than 500 years is astounding.

The city has about 200 buildings, with a quarry and farming terraces to support it, high above the Urubamba river, although archeologists still say that there would not be enough infrastructure to sustain a completed and populated city there. But in one hundred years there was a quarry built on top of the citadel (to bring the granite slabs down to where they were needed, instead of up), terraces, houses, and several temples. The most special parts of Machu Picchu are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Condor and the Room of the Three Windows.

The Inti Watana translates as a place to “tie up the sun” and on a certain day it is a marker for the sun. Similarly, the Sun Gate lines up with the Temple of the Sun with mathematical precision. For our part, it was just neat to look back on it and see how far we’d come only that morning, never mind that week.

Our amazement at the ruined city was tempered by our fatigue, hunger, pain and stench and hopped on the bus that would take us down the hill to our hotel in Aguas Calientes. Cruel joke that Matt had booked us into a room without an elevator and we groaned as we climbed up to our room on the third floor, quads aching.

Cusco

The rest of the trip was spent recovering; thermal baths, reading, wandering around Cusco and drinking pisco sours. My mom asked me today if I would go back and I would without hesitation. I’d love to see some of the other ruins and to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu. I’d even do the hike again, although maybe a different path.

Andean family

See all the photos here.

Also, check out the story I wrote for Steller stories:


100 Books I Love

books

David Bowie (RIP) 100 favourite books are making the round of the internet and when I read it my first thought (after admiration for a fellow voracious reader with excellent taste) was that I wasn’t sure I could name 100 of my favourites, at least not without help. I adore books and reading and completely agree with Bowie when he says that his library “is his one treasured possession he would take to a deserted island” but ‘favourite’ is tricky. Favourite right now? Or favourite when I read it? Does it include excellent, important books that I’m glad exist and that I enjoyed reading for their quality of prose and thinking or just books I love? Does it include my favourite reference books? My most loved cookbooks?

Anyways, this is what I came up with:

1. The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
2. Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
3. Like, Ali Smith
4. On the Road, Keroac
5. Euphoria, Lily King
6. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
7. Ulysses, Joyce
8. The Waves, Woolf
9. Missed Connections, Sophie Blackall
10. Orlando, Woolf
11. Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
13. The Lacuna, Kingsolver
14. The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver
15. The Waste Land, T.S.Eliot
18. Fall on your Knees, Anne Marie MacDonald
19. Hotel World, Ali Smith
20. Alligator, Lisa Moore
21. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
22. Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy
23. Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut
24. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
25. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
I didn’t spend a ton of time thinking but that was as far as I got before consulting Goodreads.
28. Poetry of Blake
29. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
30. The Way the Crow Flies, Anne Marie MacDonald
31. Picasso, Stein
33. Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky
35. The Odyssey, Homer
36. Island, Huxley (yes, I liked it better than Brave New World)
38. The Hours, Michael Cunningham
39. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
41. Poetry of Neruda
42. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
43. Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson
44. Gut Symmetries, Jeannette Winterson
45. The Accidental, Ali Smith (this is my dream book – the one I wish I had written)
46. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
47. Waiting for the Man, Arjun Basu
49. Little Women, Louisa May Alcot
50. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
51. The Sandman Series, Neil Gaiman
52. Howl, Ginsberg
53. Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam
54. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
55. Three Views of Crystal Water, Katherine Govier
56. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
57. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
58. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullogh (this was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read)
59. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
61. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
62. Othello, Shakespeare
64. Wild, Cheryl Strayed
65. The Apothecary, Maile Malloy
66. The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
67. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
68. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
69. A Softer World, Joey Comeau
70. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
71. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
72. Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
73. The World According to Garp, John Irving
74. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
75. My Favorite Things, Maira Kalman
76. Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich
77. Poetry of Maya Angelou
78. The Sound of the Waves, Yukio Mishima
80. The Tempest, Shakespeare
81.  The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbary
84. Original Bliss, A.L. Kennedy
85. Clouded Leopard, Wade Davis
86. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
87. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Johnathan Safran Foer
Now it’s getting hard…
88. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
89. Poetry of Basho
90. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
91. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
92. Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
93. The Man who Planted Trees, Jean Giono
94. Paradise, A.L. Kennedy
95. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
96. The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
97. Love in the Time of the Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. The House of Spirits, Isabelle Allende
99. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
100. A Moveable Feast, Hemmingway

 

In a lot of ways the list is skewed because I love some authors so much that everything they’ve written I like better than most books but I didn’t want the list to be comprised only of Vonnegut, Meg Wolitzer, Ali Smith, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett, Virginia Woolf and Barbara Kingsolver so there you go.

 

Books I haven’t read yet that I think will probably make it:
Books I would have added at other points in my life:
And a few that I just can’t stand:
  • Moby Dick
  • Heart of Darkness
  • DaVinci Code
  • Blindness
  • Infinite Jest
  • A Confederacy of Dunces
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius