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To Be Read
What books should I read next?
I fell in love with reading the first time I picked up a Junie B. Jones book.
“My name is Junie B. Jones,” opens each installment in the series that follows the adventures of a spunky Kindergartener. “The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all.”
Junie was gregarious, curious, inquisitive, confident. She was unafraid of the adult word. She found fun wherever she went. She was the first character in which I ever saw myself.
From a very young age, reading allowed me moments of reprieve. In reading I found challenge and perspective and growth. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a book waiting for me to dive into.
My most prolific year of reading as an adult was, naturally, 2020. Between staying home during the pandemic and getting laid off from my job (also covid related), I read 34 books that year. That’s 34 stories explore, 34 authors I got to know, 34 narratives that revealed something about the world.
This year, I have only read a meek 13 books.
I’ll blame this one, yet again, on wedding brain. This Substack has also been the longest sustained writing project I’ve committed to in my life, and learning how to manage my writing time has proven to be a, uh, less than easy task.
Anyway. I still love reading. It’s the purest form of escape I’ve ever known. It has opened up my mind in ways I can’t even fathom. I am addicted to learning from story. I have deeply felt the absence of reading in my life this past year.
For this week’s discussion post, I’m looking to inspire myself to kickstart my reading habits. I’m looking to you, dear readers, to help me beef up my “To Be Read” pile.
Who’s your favorite Midwestern writer? What Midwestern writer makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you question everything you thought you knew? Which writer captures the Midwest perfectly? What’s the most recent book you read that took place in the Midwest? Is there a book that you’d love to know my thoughts on?
Let’s read together.
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Laura Belin: Iowa Politics with Laura Belin, Windsor Heights
Doug Burns: The Iowa Mercury, Carroll
Dave Busiek: Dave Busiek on Media, Des Moines
Iowa Writers’ Collaborative, Roundup
Steph Copley: It Was Never a Dress, Johnston
Art Cullen: Art Cullen’s Notebook, Storm Lake
Suzanna de Baca: Dispatches from the Heartland, Huxley
Debra Engle: A Whole New World, Madison County
Julie Gammack: Julie Gammack’s Iowa Potluck, Des Moines and Okoboji
Joe Geha: Fern and Joe, Ames
Jody Gifford: Benign Inspiration, West Des Moines
Rob Gray: Rob Gray’s Area, Ankeny
Nik Heftman: The Seven Times, Los Angeles and Iowa
Beth Hoffman: In the Dirt, Lovilla
Dana James: New Black Iowa, Des Moines
Pat Kinney: View from Cedar Valley, Waterloo
Fern Kupfer: Fern and Joe, Ames
Robert Leonard: Deep Midwest: Politics and Culture, Bussey
Letters from Iowans, Iowa
Tar Macias: Hola Iowa, Iowa
Darcy Maulsby, Keep’n it Rural, Lake City
Alison McGaughey, The Inquisitive Quad Citizen, Quad Cities
Kurt Meyer: Showing Up, St. Ansgar
Wini Moranville: Wini’s Food Stories, Des Moines
Jeff Morrison: Between Two Rivers, Cedar Rapids
Kyle Munson: Kyle Munson’s Main Street, Des Moines
Jane Nguyen: The Asian Iowan, West Des Moines
John Naughton: My Life, in Color, Des Moines
Chuck Offenburger: Iowa Boy Chuck Offenburger, Jefferson and Des Moines
Barry Piatt: Piatt on Politics Behind the Curtain, Washington, D.C.
Dave Price: Dave Price’s Perspective, Des Moines
Macey Spensley: The Midwest Creative, Iowa
Larry Stone: Listening to the Land, Elkader
Mary Swander: Mary Swander’s Buggy Land, Kalona
Mary Swander: Mary Swander’s Emerging Voices, Kalona
Cheryl Tevis: Unfinished Business, Boone County
Ed Tibbetts: Along the Mississippi, Davenport
Teresa Zilk: Talking Good, Des Moines
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