Kelly's Bookshelf

Check out the books that have most influenced me.

I'm also pretty active over at Goodreads if you'd like to see what I've been reading lately. 

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Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The plot is a very simple one: Reverend Ames is an old man who knows he doesn't long to live, so he's writing letters to his young son. Within the course of the letters, the reader also learns that Jack Boughton has returned home, the prodigal son of Reverend Ames's best friend. Ames fills his letters with the beauty of a simple life, well-lived. Gilead taught me about beauty, the temporary nature of my life, grace, and most of all, love. 

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Bird by bird by anne lamott

Anne Lamott is your favorite teacher. She's hilarious, prodding, encouraging, and real. She gives you license to write terribly and often, and she helps you address the demons of self-criticism. This is the book I recommend to anyone who wants to write.

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The Tale of despereaux

"'Once upon a time,' he said out loud to the darkness. He said these words because they were the best, the most powerful words that he knew and just the saying of them comforted him." The Tale of Despereaux has been my favorite stand alone read aloud to my kids. It's enchanting and beautiful. It appeals to kids of all ages, and it has the best description of empathy I've ever read.

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To kill a Mockingbird

By a landslide, this is my favorite book of all time. Now, it's my favorite mostly due to nostalgia (I love a lot of books), but this novel shaped me at a critical time in my life. Therefore, favorite. I'm always surprised when I meet adults who've never read it. Scout is a fantastic narrator, and Atticus is my literary superhero. To Kill a Mockingbird reinforces the importance of integrity and human decency to every person, whether deserving or not.

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When people ask for a good read that’s off the beaten path, I always start with Station Eleven. I’ve thought about scenes in Station Eleven at least once a week since first reading it around 2013. This novel is beautifully weird. It’s thoughtful and slow burning. It’s a little spooky but not scary. It holds life up to a microscope and studies it by putting humanity in an unthinkable life situation: the aftermath of a global pandemic.

But it’s not really about that. It’s more about how we live life after we figure out how to survive. It’s about finding community and creating art. It’s about Shakespeare and Star Trek and music and theater and movies, too.