Jay Griffiths’s Reading List

Our Word is Our Weapon, by that masked philosopher of eternal truths, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Hold Everything Dear, by John Berger. The poetry of polemic, under Berger’s tender, unflinching gaze, telling the essential stories which are the truths of our time.

Upside Down, by that enigmatic poet of fire and love, Eduardo Galeano.

Antonio Damasio’s Descartes’ Error, on the neuroscience of thought, which necessarily includes the role of emotions. (Three cheers.)

Keri Hulme’s The Bone People, a sea-play of the human heart by a part-Maori woman wearing (and deserving) a Shakespearean mantle.

Nick Broomfield’s “The Battle for Haditha.” This film speaks volumes about the Iraqi war, from the point of view of both the brutalized U.S. Marines and the Iraqi civilians. Both points of view? Yes. That is its genius and its humanity.

Patricia Riley (Ed.), Growing Up Native American: An Anthology. A revealing, eloquent, telling book of Native American voices.

Nancy Huston’s Fault Lines. A psychologically brilliant novel about how wider politics narrates its hopes and tortures in the lives of individuals, through generations of one family.

Nils-Aslak Valkeapää’s The Sun, My Father. The shamanic Sámi poet recreates the landscapes of northern Europe on the page.

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. A post-apocalyptic world where the only possible chance for humanity is fragile and almost-unworded grace.