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Reading List

When I am not walking, I am reading; I cannot sit and think. Books think for me.
—Charles Lamb

Reading consumes my attention more than any other pastime. At any given moment I have book in hand, another on the go in the other room, and an article or two open on my computer, work-related or otherwise. Almost invariably non-fiction, I read to explore, get away from the every day, and to expose myself to the knowledge that others have graciously shared.

What follows is a list of books that I have read over the better part of the last decade. I began to assemble this list on December 1, 2018, after previous attempts to do something similar failed; any titles consumed prior to this date have been added based on library records, Amazon purchases, or memory. This list primarily includes books that I read for personal interest reasons and not for work or academic study, although in recent years this division has become increasingly blurred.


For 2021 I have committed myself to a strict reading plan. In past years I have read widely but not necessarily well—with the exception of the reading completed as part of my graduate studies. This year, my goal is to read well. Employing strategies and techniques I developed during a three-year period of research, my approach will have me reading fewer works but spending a greater amount of time with each. My aim is to dive deep into a select number of topics that I find particularly interesting. I have titled this year’s reading plan, On Reading. The following are the books I have read as part of this plan under their related areas of focus.

The Act of Reading & Books as an Escape

  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren

Rust City Readers

In addition to, On Reading, I have committed myself to participating in a book club. With a focus on exploring cities through literary works and discussion, this club was formed to fill travel void which temporarily exists for a group of people who once toured rust belt cities but can’t at the moment due to COVID-19. The following are reads related to this club.

  • TDB


  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (annual re-read)
  • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West by Bryce Andrews
  • Voices from the Rust Belt by Anne Trubek
  • Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey by Simon Armitage
  • The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida
  • A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
  • Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf
  • Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister by John Ivison
  • Brother by David Chariandy
  • Huron & Erie Regional Digest (Summer)
  • City Quitters: An Exploration of Post-Urban Life by Karen Rosenkranz
  • Grit by Angela Duckworth
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up by Eternity Martis
  • From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle
  • Deeds/Abstracts: The History of a London Lot, 1 January 1991 — 6 October 1992 by Greg Curnoe
  • Ten Cities: The Past Is Present by Wayne Johnston
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Columbine by Dave Cullen
  • Huron & Erie Regional Digest (Spring)
  • Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
  • Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
  • They Won’t Demolish Me! by Roch Carrier
  • Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy
  • Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin
  • The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
  • Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times by Paul Born
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
  • Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

(mini book reviews)


  • A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel
  • Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
  • The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
  • Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven
  • The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
  • Handbook for the Positive Revolution by Edward de Bono
  • Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan Cheever
  • Book Ends: A Year Between the Covers by Naomi Beth Wakan
  • Who Needs Books?: Reading in the Digital Age by Lynn Coady
  • The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age by Sven Birkerts
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
  • Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
  • Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen
  • Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by K. Anders Ericsson
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • Experience and Education by John Dewey
  • Utopia by Thomas More
  • Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Fifty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach
  • Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

(mini book reviews)


  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin
  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman
  • 10% Happier by Dan Harris
  • Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
  • Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
  • Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution by Brene Brown
  • On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • People Space: The Making and Breaking of Human Boundaries by Norman Ashcraft

(mini book reviews)


  • Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change by Ira Shor
  • An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture by Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight
  • For the Love of Cities by Peter Kageyama
  • Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places by Peter Kageyama
  • The Servant as Leader by Robert Greenleaf
  • Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (One Book One London)
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary by Alice Sparberg Alexiou
  • The Wealthy Renter: How to Choose Housing That Will Make You Rich by Alex Avery
  • Man’s Search for Meaning byViktor Frankl
  • The Widow by Fiona Barton
  • The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker
  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
  • We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change by Myles Horton
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  • The Holy Bible by Unknown
  • Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries by Danny Silk
  • Masters of their own destiny : the story of adult education through economic cooperation of the Antigonish movement by Moses Coady
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
  • Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks
  • The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre
  • Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff


  • Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel
  • Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
  • Living Walden Two: B. F. Skinner’s Behaviorist Utopia and Experimental Communities by Hilke Kuhlman
  • Less Is More: The Art of Voluntary Poverty: An Anthology of Ancient and Modern Voices Raised in Praise of Simplicity by Goldian Vandenbroeck
  • Better Together: Restoring the American Community by Robert Putnam
  • Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
  • The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Leadership: For Active Creative Engaged Communities by Brenda Herchmer
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Let the Elephants Run by David Usher
  • Remote by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
  • Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
  • Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want by Tess Vigeland
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? 2015: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Paperback by Susan Cain
  • Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days Hardcover by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
  • Design for Real Life by Anil Dash
  • Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau
  • The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau
  • Voluntary Simplicity (rev): Toward A Way Of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich by Duane Elgin


  • Lonely: Learning to Live with Solitude by Emily White
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
  • Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
  • In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist by Peter Jordan


  • This Could Help by Patrick Rhone
  • Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis
  • The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker by Merlin Coverley
  • Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times by Paul Born
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
  • Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
  • Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
  • Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder by Ken Greenberg
  • The Creative Habit:Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell


  • Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook by Pablo Helguera
  • The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch
  • Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende
  • The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community by Ray Oldenburg
  • The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want by Mike Vardy
  • The Location Scout by Kevin Fanning
  • You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
  • Coffee Shop Contemplations by Nick Wynja
  • Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process by Blaine Hogan
  • Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin
  • Making a Living Without a Job, revised edition: Winning Ways for Creating Work That You Love by Barbara Winter
  • Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
  • Making Good: Finding Meaning Money And Community In A Changing World by Dev Aujla, Billy Parish
  • The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
  • Leadership: For Active Creative Engaged Communities by Brenda Herchmer


  • Living in the Sprawl: Ideas for a suburbia that gets better with age by Gracen Johnson
  • It Will Be Exhilarating by Dan Provost, Tom Gerhardt
  • Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
  • The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
  • enough by Patrick Rhone
  • Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  • Nine Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant Halvorson
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Deeds/Abstracts : The History of a London Lot by Greg Curnoe
  • My brother Greg: A memoir by Lynda Curnoe
  • Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto by Alana Wilcox, Christina Palassio, Dave Meslin
  • Urban Nation by Alan Broadbent
  • The Social Life Of Small Urban Spaces by William H. Whyte


  • The Flinch by Julien Smith
  • Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas by Dan Zarrella
  • Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli
  • The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno
  • Mindfulness in Plain English: 20th Anniversary Edition by Henepola Gunaratana
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • focus by Leo Babauta
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Utopia by Sir Thomas More
  • Keeping It Straight by Patrick Rhone
  • Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
  • Excursions by Henry David Thoreau
  • Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People who are Poking the Box and Making a Difference by Seth Godin
  • The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma
  • The Holy Bible by Unknown
  • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
  • The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner
  • Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky
  • Poke the Box by Seth Godin
  • Community Conversations: Mobilizing the Ideas, Skills, and Passion of Community Organizations, Governments, Businesses, and People by Paul Born


  • Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Sir Ken Robinson
  • At Last There Is Nothing Left To Say by Matthew Good