the next good book

Character Driven


Mrs. Quinn’s Rise to Fame

"Jennifer Quinn had no idea that at the age of seventy-seven she would become a household name."

How to Know a Person

"Being open-hearted is a prerequisite for being a full, kind, and wise human being.  But it is not enough.  People need social skills. We talk about the importance of 'relationships', 'community', 'friendship', 'social connection', but these words are too abstract.  The real act of, say, building a friendship or creating community involves performing a series of small, concrete social actions well: disagreeing without poisoning the relationship; revealing vulnerability at the appropriate pace; being a good listener; knowing how to end a conversation gracefully; knowing how to ask for and offer forgiveness; knowing how to sit with someone who is suffering; knowing how to host a gathering where everyone feels embraced; knowing how to see things from another's point of view."

Real Americans

"Once she had believed that connection meant sameness, consensus, harmony.  Having everything in common.  And now she understood that the opposite was true: that connection was more valuable- more remarkable- for the fact of differences.  Friendship didn't require blunting the richness of yourself to find common ground.  Sometimes it was that, but it was also appreciating another person, in all their particularity."

For many different reasons these books have been special to me over the years.  

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On My Shelf