Today’s guest is Cori Jara, a case worker in Eureka CA. She’s a lifelong reader, who’s dad read her books like Lord of the Rings as a child, and who loved the written word so much she became a creative writing major. But after college books lost their luster for Cori for a while—reading felt too much like work. But several years ago, she started keeping a detailed spreadsheet about what she was choosing to read. That spreadsheet led to an epiphany: she diagnosed why her reading life had gotten dull, and what she could do about it.
In this episode we talk about the prosaic, like what it’s like to move to a town with a smaller library. We dig into the problematic, like why it can be so hard to describe a book you REALLY LOVED. And we talk about the unforgettable—like a book that makes you want to skip dinner, bedtime, and the rest of your life until you finish it.
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Books mentioned in this episode:
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• Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
• Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
• The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
• Whatever Happened to Interracial Love, by Kathleen Collins
• The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
• Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue
• Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
• Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
• What is Not Yours is Not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi
• 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
• The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
• Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
• We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, by Jeff Chang
• Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
• American War, by Omar El Akkad
• The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
• The Refugees, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
• The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
• Under The Udala Trees, by Chinelo Okparanta
• Dreamland Burning, by Jennifer Latham