What is Anthony Doerr Reading?

Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, shares some of his favorite books from this year.  We are so lucky to have this insightful, caring man as a member of our community.  We hope you enjoy these books as much as we do, and find people with whom to share these stories.






Exit West by Moshin Hamid

Nadia and Saeed fall in love just as their nameless city falls under siege. As the violence in the city increases, and the noose around them tightens, the lovers have to figure out a way to get out. And the only way out is through a series of magical doorways that literally teleport them into unknown places. This is a gripping novel with hints of magic that will give you real empathy for the refugee crisis, and will be a lot better for your soul than watching cable news.




Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright


This is a surprisingly funny book, full of wisdom. Using new findings in neuroscience and evolutionary biology, Wright makes an argument that Buddhists have, for centuries, refined a path to leading a happier, more meaningful life. If you know anyone who struggles with stress, disquiet, or anxiety, (um, everyone?) this book might make a thoughtful gift.



Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan


I love Egan’s clean, sharp prose and her playfulness with form, and though this is probably her most straightforward novel, you still get three novels for the price of one: insight into 1940s crime syndicates, into upper echelons of pre-war New York society, and into the burgeoning power of women in the American workplace during World War II. Manhattan Beach is all about the old-fashioned pleasures of disappearing into a great historical novel.



Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva


The first novel by Boisean Sam Silva is a lovely, charming, and often funny fictional version of how Charles Dickens might have written “A Christmas Carol.” This would be a great gift for anybody who loves Christmas, loves books, and loves family.




Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, edited by John Freeman


Last year John Freeman asked a bunch of us writers from around the country to respond to social and economic inequalities they’re seeing where they live. Karen Russell writes a moving essay about homelessness in Portland; Manuel Munoz’s piece about his dying father is heartbreaking; and Eula Biss’ essay on replacing the idea of “white guilt” with “white debt” is essential reading for anyone trying to come to grips with the state of America in 2017.