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I always jump at the chance to peruse other people’s bookshelves. It’s fun to see where someone else’s collection overlaps with my own, but it’s even more rewarding to discover something new.

  Here are some of the books you’ll find on my bookshelf:

A Year of Living Your Yoga: Daily Practices to Shape Your Life, by Judith Hanson Lasater
Pithy nuggets for meditation, any of these daily selections will remind you to be present, authentic and flexible.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
Lamott is hilarious, tender and heartbreakingly honest in all of her writing. This memoir-cum-writing guide is inspiring as well as educational.

The Craft of Interviewing, by John Brady
Although this older book is targeted mainly at journalists, the ability to ask good questions that elicit great answers is an indispensible skill for any type of writer.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, by Thomas C. Forster
A book club friend—frustrated by our lackluster book discussions—suggested this guide, which is like a 300-page “Lit 101” refresher course. It helped fortify our discussions and broaden our selections.


The New Kings of Non-Fiction, edited by Ira Glass
I’m a big fan of the burgeoning field of creative non-fiction that combines the best of journalistic reporting and memoir. This anthology of essays was compiled by the host of Chicago Public Radio’s
This American Life.

The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body, by Steven Mitten
I teach music classes for young children because it’s fun, but also because I believe making music is fundamental to the human experience. This book posits some intriguing scientific theories about the primal nature of music.

The Synonym Finder, by J. I. Rodale and Nancy LaRoche
Simply the best thesaurus out there.

A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life, by Judy Reeves
A great book of writing prompts, exercises and anecdotes by one of my favorite writing instructors, Judy Reeves, a well-known and much-admired member of the San Diego writing community.

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