Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

A year of reading

From a young age, I've lost myself in books. I used to tuck a paperback into the waist of my jeans, then scale the magnolia in our front yard; I'd either recline in its branches or hop over to our rooftop and read. I've never done a good job of tracking what I read, and in 2016, when a friend asked how many books I'd read that year, I realized I had no idea. (Turned out at least thirty, and probably a few more that I'd forgotten about.) 

I wrote about this at the end of 2016, and in that same entry, devised a reading list for 2017. I stacked it with forty books. 2017 is gone now, and looking back over that list, I'm sad to say I left half of those books untouched. I did, however, compulsively add more things to my reading list as the year wore on, and by the close of the year, I'd read 77 things

Some I loved, some I didn't. I found it impossible to select a single favorite read of the year, so I chose four, and here they are: 

Ken Liu's The Paper Menagerie is one of the rare short story collections that I loved unabashedly. The title story is a real heartbreaker, but the range displayed within this book is just stunning. Liz Moore's The Unseen World is exactly the kind of novel I wish I were capable of writing; I'd rather just read this one again, however. The Underground Railroad is simply a must-read for every American, in my opinion, and I'd say the same of The Fire This Time, a collection of essays that were challenging and powerful and essential. 

I've enjoyed tracking my reading this closely for the past year, and I think I'll try to do it again. My current reading list, and a collection of the last two years' books, are over here, if you'd like to follow along. 2018's off to a strong start; I've already blown through novels by Hannah Pittard, Jesmyn Ward, and Rahul Kanakia, and I'm in the midst of Ta-Nehisi Coates's new collection, as well as Laura Lippman's most recent book, and Squish and I are working our way through the second Harry Potter novel. 

Man, books are so great.

All the feels

The annual writing trip