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  • Candace Coakley

Books are My World

“Candace Michelle, shut off the light--NOW!!!” Light clicks off. Mom closes door. I count to ten. Flashlight clicks on. Before book lights or iPhone flashlights were a thing, I found solace reading under the covers until my eyes admitted defeat. This is how I deciphered the world, and my voracious appetite for reading ignited a lifelong passion for story.


Books are my security blanket. Don’t try to remove them from my lap on a plane—you will be sorry! My friends tease me because I dream of taking a reading vacation. But I don’t have to go far, I'm content being carried away by a story in my own backyard. I believe you are what you read. In order to share a bit about myself with you, here’s an unsystematic sampling of some of my favorite books. Enjoy.


Novels:


The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood


Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman


Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese


Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngoize Adichie


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Euphoria by Lily King


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara


The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver


Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff


Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt


The Nix by Nathan Hill


The History of Love by Nicola Krauss


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


The Children by Tom Perotta


Without a Map by Meredith Hall


East of Eden by John Steinbeck


The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


The Hours by Michael Cunningham


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter


The Rent Collector by Camron Wright


Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane


On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong


The Testaments by Margaret Atwood


Sacre Blue: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore


My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh


We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce


Less by Andrew Sean Greer


Beloved by Toni Morrison


Plays Well With Others by Alan Gurganus


The Power by Naomi Alderman


The Girls by Emma Cline


Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday


Bear Town by Fredrik Backman


In Her Skin by Kim Savage


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka-Brunt


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan


The Secret History by Donna Tartt


The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer


Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri


A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan


This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett


My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout



Short Stories:


Tenth of September by George Saunders


The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris


How to Become a Writer by Lorrie Moore


Dear Life by Alice Monro


Cathedral by Raymond Carver


A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor



Memoir:


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kennison


Lit by Mary Karr


Son of a Gun by Justin St. Germain


I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai


Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas


Half a Life by Darin Straus


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Goldstein


Untamed by Glennon Doyle


Metta Mom: A Mindful Guide to Managing Your Mood and Your Brood by Vanessa Linsey


Know My Name by Chanel Miller


Lucky by Alice Sebold


The Fact of a Body by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich


Educated by Tara Westover


Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire by Barbara Lynch


Kick by Joanna Rush


An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken


Yes, Please by Amy Pohler


Bossypants by Tina Fey


Moments of Seeing by Katrina Kennison


Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani


Fairyland by Alicia Abbott


The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan


Love and Trouble by Claire Dederer


Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen


I am I am I am: Thirteen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell


With or Without You by Dominica Ruta


The Chronology of Water by Lydia Yuknavitch


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


Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett


Unspeakable by Meghan Daum


When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams



Narrative Nonfiction:


Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari


She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer


The Recovering by Leslie Jamieson


Three Women by Lisa Taddeo


William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life by Steve Almond


She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou


Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed


Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain



Personal Growth:


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz


A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson


A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman


Thanks Help Wow; Small Victories; Almost Everything; Hallelujah Anyway; by Anne Lamott


Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Listening Below the Noise by Anne D. LeClaire


How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by the Dalai Lama


The Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice by Julia Cameron



I hope you find an idea or two for a new book to hunker down with in this sampling of my favorite reads. There's an even longer list for my TBRs…I may never catch up. Please share your favorite epic reads with me.