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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. This year, 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. In addition to my personal reading plan I will also reading books as part of an urban-based book club, as well as the annual community read identified by my local public library.

Yearly Reading Plan

  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
  • Bibliotherapy: The Right Book at the Right Time by Claudia Cornett and Charles Cornett
  • Remarkable Reads: 34 Writers and Their Adventures in Reading by J. Peder Zane (Editor)

Rust City Readers - Book Club

  • Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker


(mini book reviews)


  • 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