TJ is a writer living in Portland, OR.

9 Books I Read in 2017

9 Books I Read in 2017

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I only managed to read 16 books last year, I struggled a lot with... well, sometimes just getting anything done. But I still read at least one book a month. Here's 9 of them I liked. You can ready last year's list here. Or check out everything I've ever read on Goodreads.


Hope in the Dark – Rebecca Solnit

This book was on several #resistance reading lists at the start of the year. It was a necessary read for me because America feels terrible and with 2017 over and done with it doesn’t feel any less terrible. But it reminded me that it’s always worth fighting because, as Solnit writes, “Hope locates itself in the premises that we don't know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.”


The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated – Helaine Olen & Harold Pollack

This seems like an odd book to read but one of my goals for 2016 was to become more financially literate. This was a great introduction into managing my personal finances thanks to its fairly accessible writing. A goal for 2017 is to implement more of this advice.


The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

I’m trying to read more books that will give me a deeper understanding of what’s fucked up about the world. It’s not just enough to think, ‘our country’s institutions are racist’. We need to understand the mechanism that make it so, otherwise how can we dismantle them? This was a tough read, not because it’s a little academic, but because it will make you feel sick about the way our country treats African Americans.


Through the Woods Emily Carroll

Carroll writes beautiful and haunting horror comics with an old-world feel. Her line-work is fluid, her use of color is striking, and she has a keen understanding of pacing. She knows how to space out her text on the page to draw out the suspense of her stories.


Kill 6 Billion Demons, Book 1 – Tom Morgan-Parkinson

This book has some very dense world building, but the mythology Morgan-Parkinson creates is compelling. Set in a nexus between worlds, angels and demons are just pawns under powerful beings who seek to control the many universes through a magical artifact in the possession on an awkward 20-something woman. I only wish the physical book was larger so that the reader could appreciate all the details and bold colors of his art.


While Glaciers Slept – M Jackson

There are some things that feel impossible to deal with. Greif is one. Climate change is another. But they must be dealt with. M beautifully juxtaposes the death of her parents with vanishing glaciers. I went to college with M; we were in the writing program together. She was the first person to believe in my as a writer.


Nature Poem – Tommy Pico

I love how much sass these poems have. Pico is grapping with a lot in this collection. City life, colonialism, technology, sexuality, and he writes about these topics without being sentimental.


What About the Rest of Your Life – Sung Yim

Yim’s writing is raw without being hyperbolic. It’s a story of trauma, but also the struggle to come to terms with it, which isn’t the same as ‘getting over it’. I love how unapologetically Korean they get sometimes, using Korean script without offering translations. It highlights the things you cannot understand about another culture.


What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – Raymond Carver

This collection is a study in the efficiency of language. It’s impressive how full these stories feel while the writing is so sparse. That said, I’m a little tired of reading stories about shitty alcoholic dudes being shitty.


Portland's Space Race

Portland's Space Race

Favorite Songs from 2017

Favorite Songs from 2017