my library herē

      by another name, a human bibliography

      what you do when you have too much time on your hands


a stack of books bigger than me

October 2022     go to home shelf page

        The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.

        If you are attentive, you will see it.

             Thich Nhat Hanh

a shameless vanity?   possibly.

but no, there’s something more.   what specifically does a library mean?

maybe like a poem does, some of them just land on me.   some look to express who I am, or think I am, or who I want to be.

so bear with me.   or run away.   your choice.   mine, I’ve already made.

what this is

these images following represent the lion’s mane of my library.   these are the books I physically keep closest to me.   many, while not all, I consider favorites.   there are others of course, some I do care about, and some just waiting to be culled (not many).   since I was a child, books felt like buried treasure to me, so much more than met the casual eye.   and my favorite shop in town, any town?   the bookstore naturally.   each with their own quality and flavor and history, and maybe with smaller darker rooms set aside for special alcoves of interest.   although for me, there’s nothing small about what books contain.   they in so many ways answer my curiosity.   broadly my horizon includes, poetry, sciences and philosophy (aren’t they in a way the same?).

why might I be interested?

as one librarian implied, libraries can be a source of various pleasures, solace, beauty, inspiration, and surprise.   physical books are intimate objects, and each book touched and pulled from the shelf can invoke a history of when and where you first obtained that copy, or first sat, reading it.   decades of history may be contained on a single shelf.

making a library, you’re setting boundaries on the boundless.   in this internet information age, giving focus to a single volume of print can be considered a radical act of paying attention.   part of the value of your personal library is that it can map and guide your personal identity and thoughtful pathways, changing and growing over the years.

you may not be author of each book, yet the library collection itself is a clear reflection of how you think and feel, a sort of greater book in its own right.
think of a library as a garden you tend.
what’s in your own library?   maybe take them off the shelves, touch and see what is really there.   maybe you’ve forgotten some.   I certainly did.   maybe you’ve got more extensive categories than imagined.   some place more to direct your attention?   while you’re at it, which do you really want to keep, which might be ready to depart?   books you haven’t yet read?   will you?
something to look forward to.

which books are “classic” for you?   don’t mean “the” classics, but “your” classics.   these can also illuminate the books you really really want to share with others, because they’ve had such value in your own life.   worth knowing.   that’s what’s behind my bold-title and red-read-me listings.   you know, many folks, many books suggested – and usually thanks but no thanks.   but the few that really mattered – I’m interested.   at least to ask why and how.
new books, unknown books, unexpected books, these can open doors you didn’t even see, maybe begin new threads, one to another as it has been for my reading history.   I know when I visit a friends home I’m always curious to inspect their bookshelves – show me more about my friend and discover something I’ve missed on my own.   so here’s your chance to look over my shoulder.

like reading a good book of poems, take your time.   these represent years of gathering.   don’t try to eat it all at once, you know.     204 books listed.

maybe you’ll find something that makes you smile.   maybe someday you’ll do the same for me.
selected books are grouped by “essence”, by author, by size, by favor, by what fits where (in no particular order).   not every book is listed.   highlighted books means more merit implied.   a very unique few are must reads.
where available, you may click on the ☆ character to view the book cover.   



library home

added shelf 03 Stafford 10.16.2022   Listening to the River
added shelf 01 Terry Tempest Williams writer’s page, Why I Write
new writer’s pages for Barbara Young (01), Henry Miller (02), John Lilly (01)

Jump to shelf   02   03   04   05   06   more books



Duck, Death and the Tulip, Wolf Erlbruch (illustrated story)
     a must read.   (better yet… watch the video.   go full screen.)

The Arrival, Shaun Tan (illustrated story)

American art of our century, Lloyd Goodrich, John I.H. Kaur
     selected art from the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
     my blue ribbon bible for modern American art all in one place.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards

Pin Hole Cameras, Chris Keeney (DIY)

Traveling Light, Stories & Drawings for a Quiet Mind Brian Andreas (illustrations/text)

Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh (graphic stories)

Bring Me the Rhinoceros, John Tarrant (Eastern philosophy)

Heirloom Language, Barbara E. Young (poems)

Art & Fear, Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, David Bayles, Ted Orland (writer’s attitudes)   must read invaluable.

Henry Miller on Writing, Henry Miller

The Essential David Bohm, ed. by Lee Nichol (science/philosophy)

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington, Dave Tucker

Roadside Geology of Washington, Marli B. Miller, Darrel S. Cowan
     “the” Washington state geology book

Flintknapping, Making & Understanding Stone Tools, John C. Whittaker
     need a knife?    got a stone?    here’s how.

Making Silent Stones Speak, Kathy D. Schick, Nicholas Toth (human evolution and the dawn of technology) practical archaeology using real hands with real stones to make working stone tools, understand what they were used to do, and how we learned the answers to those questions.   for real.

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, Hal Whitehead, Luke Rendell

Otherlands, Thomas Halliday (a journey through earth’s extinct worlds)

Breaking Through, Edward F. Ricketts (essays, journals, travelogues)

Between Pacific Tides, Edward F. Ricketts, Jack Calvin (coastal marine biology) a pioneer in marine ecology. friend of John Steinbeck and mythologist Joseph Campbell. Ricketts, otherwise known as “Doc” in Cannery Row.

Communication Between Man & Dolphin, John C. Lilly, MD (the possibilities of talking with other species) early pioneer in human/dolphin relationships

Of Orcas and Men, David Neiwert (what killer whales can teach us)

Finding Beauty in a Broken World, Terry Tempest Williams
     a must read – precisely what the title says
please read her writer’s page (via the name link above), Why I Write
are you a writer (or human being)?    then yes, read this.

Circling the Sacred Mountain, Robert Thurman & Tad Wise (a spiritual adventure through the Himalayas & Mount Kailash)

Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life, William Finnegan (surfing memoir)

Hold Still, Sally Mann (a memoir with photographs)



02    home

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (classic children’s story & pictures)

On the blue shore of silence, Neruda (poems of the sea)

if there would be no light, sahara sunday spain (poems from the heart of a nine year old girl) surprising, delightful

My Brother’s Book, Maurice Sendak (Maurice’s elegy for his brother, Jack)

A Swarm, A Flock, A Host, Mark Doty, Darren Waterston (a compendium of creatures/text)

The Conference of the Birds, Peter Sis (illustrated story)

The True Secret of Writing, Natalie Goldberg (connecting life & language)

The Book of Light, Lucille Clifton (poems)

Blessing the Boats, Lucille Clifton (new and selected poems 1988-2000)

Say Uncle, Kay Ryan (poems)

The Niagara River, Kay Ryan (poems)

Come, Thief, Jane Hirshfield (poems)

Singer Come from Afar, Kim Stafford (poems) *on general poetry shelf

Several short sentences about writing, Verlyn Klinkenbory (about the writing craft)

A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver (a prose guide to understanding and writing poetry)

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard (about the experience of writing)

poemcrazy, Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge (freeing your life with words) prompts
Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg (living the writer’s life) wild, must read

Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg (freeing the writer within)
classic, must read
Writing the Life Poetic, Sage Cohen (an invitation to read & write poetry)

How to Write a Sentence, Stanley Fish (and how to read one) writing craft essentials you think you know how… but maybe you don’t.
The teachings of Don Juan, A Yaqui way of knowledge, Carlos Casteneda (first of a series of amazing adventures) all the rage to read once upon a time

A Separate Reality, Further Conversations with Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda
Old Possums’s Book of Practical Cats, T.S. Elliot (illustrated poems) classic
When Women Were Birds, Terry Tempest Williams (fifty four variations on voice)   must must read

Refuge, An Unnatural History of Family and Place, Terry Tempest Williams

Red, Passion and Patience in the Desert, Terry Tempest Williams

Pieces of White Shell, A Journey to Navajoland, Terry Tempest Williams

An Unspoken Hunger, Terry Tempest Williams (stories from the field)
Things That Are, Amy Leach (essays) experimental writing/discovery

Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, Henry Miller (life on the Big Sur coastline)    must read.   my first entry into contemporary writing that never stopped.

Microcosmos, Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan

Real Live Nude Girl, Carol Queen (sex positive culture chronicles) dare you!

The Wave, Susan Casey (about the ocean, about waves, about the men who surf)

Voices in the Ocean, A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins, Susan Casey

Figuring, Maria Popova (essays about truth in ways you might not expect) surprising



03    home

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

Rumi, The Big Red Book, Coleman Barks, translator/editor

The Gift, Poems by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, Daniel Labinsky, translator

Impermanence, Ren Powell (handmade book, paper & images, and poems 2021) limited edition

Mercy Island, Ren Powell (new and selected poems)

31 Days of Power, A Simplified Approach to Everyday Mental Health, Richard Taylor Jr.

The Shepherd’s Life, Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape, James Rebanks

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (a novel)

The Book of Embraces, Eduardo Galeano

Other Minds, The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, Peter Godfrey-Smith

What is Zen?, Alan Watts

The World Will Follow Joy, Turning Madness into Flowers, Alice Walker (poems)

The Story of My Heart, Richard Jefferies (as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams)

The Anthropology of Turquoise, Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky, Ellen Meloy

The Future of Humanity, Our Destiny in the Universe, Michio Kaku

The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (a novel)

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

six non lectures, e.e. cummings

Minding the Muse, A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators, Priscilla Long

Behind My Eyes, Li-Young Lee (poems)

Poets’ Corner, The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family, Compiled by John Lithgow

The Selected Poems of Wang Wei, David Hinton, translator

Laughing Lost in the Mountains, Poems of Wang Wei, Translations by Tony Barnstone & others

Greenhouses, Lighthouses, Tung-Hui Hu

The Looking House, Fred Marchant (poems)

Tipping Point, Fred Marchant (poems)

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures, Mary Oliver (poems and essays)

Voice and the Actor, Cicely Berry

Open the Door, How to Excite Young People About Poetry, edited by Dorothea Lasky & others

On Looking, Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, Alexandra Horowitz

Instructions, Everything You’ll Need to Know on Your Journey, Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess

500 Figures in Clay, Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human Form, (photos of clay figures)



04    home   this shelf is completely by poet William Stafford, or by his son, Kim.

many of these books are long out-of-print and will require serious searching to find.   Powells Bookstore is a better than average source for his work.
The Animal That Drank Up Sound (large format, illustrated poem)
Everyone Out Here Knows, a Big Foot Tale (large format, illustrated poem)

Getting the Knack, 20 Poetry Writing Exercises, Stephen Dunning and William Stafford

Oregon English Journal, Volume XVI, Number 1, Spring 1994

Stories That Could Be True   includes the complete poems originally published in West of Your City, his first publication, a book near impossible to find.

How to Hold Your Arms When it Rains
Things That Happen Where There Aren’t Any People
Writing the World
The Long Sigh the Wind Makes
Hearing Voices
The Rescued Year
Kansas Poems
Braided Apart
Smokes Way
An Oregon Message
Traveling through the Dark  classic poem collection
A Glass Face in the Rain
Even in Quiet Places
The Darkness Around Us is Deep   classic poem collection
My Name is William Tell
Someday, Maybe

Learning to Live in the World, Earth Poems
Another World Instead, the Early Poems of William Stafford 1937-1947

The Methow River Poems (Poetry in the Environment)

     if you were to buy only one book, make it either of these two

The Way It Is (newest, most complete selected poems)
Ask Me, 100 essential poems

The Osage Orange Tree (a story)

     some of the best advice on writing you will ever read

Writing the Australian Crawl, Views on the Writer’s Vocation
You Must Revise Your Life, Poets on Poetry
Roving Across Fields (poems & interview)
Crossing Unmarked Snow, Further Views on the Writer’s Vocation
The Answers Are Inside the Mountains, Meditations on the Writing Life

Every War Has Two Losers, On Peace and War (poems & journals)

Down in My Heart (autobiographical)



     an exceptional collaboration.   both masters of the “exquisite ordinary”

Listening to the River, Seasons in the American West
Photographs by Robert Adams, Poems by William Stafford
(APERTURE publisher of fine photography)   
large format (13×10″) photography book.
Early Morning Remembering My Father, Kim Stafford
100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do, How My Brother Disappeared, K.Stafford
Having Everything Right, Kim Stafford
The Muses Among Us, Kim Stafford
Segues, A Correspondence in Poetry, William Stafford, Marvin Bell

A Ritual To Read Together, Poems in Conversation with William Stafford

We Belong in History, Writing with William Stafford



05    home

Gilgamesh, Stephen Mitchell, translator (a new English version)

tao te ching, Stephen Mitchell, translator (a new English version)

The Gospel According to Jesus, Stephen Mitchell, translator (a new translation and guide to His essential teachings for believers and unbelievers) must read, really

    As a sculptor raises the truth out from stone or wood or clay, excising what doesn’t belong till only brightness remains – so too does Stephen Mitchell examine the Bible, layer by layer, till only Jesus the man is visible. No miracles needed to see & appreciate how this man chose to be. We can even witness his growth, departing his culture, to a better rendition of who he proclaimed himself, and all of us, to be. No small accomplishment by Stephen Mitchell, masterfully done.

Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings, John O’Donohue

This is Water, David Foster Wallace (Some Thoughts, Delivered, a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life) brilliant man (if some sad)

    There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to
    meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

Fear, Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Thich Nhat Hanh

A Pebble for Your Pocket, Mindful Stories for Children and Grown-ups, Thich Nhat Hanh

Silence, The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise, Thich Nhat Hanh

You Are Here, Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, Thich Nhat Hanh

the Other Shore, A New translation of the Heart Sutra with Commentaries, Thich Nhat Hanh

No Death, No Fear, Comforting Wisdom for Life, Thich Nhat Hanh

How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh   must read, or anything by Thich Nhat Hanh

How to Love, Thich Nhat Hanh   this group of three, are easy to digest

How to Eat, Thich Nhat Hanh   even for us smart adults

The Mindfulness Survival Kit, Five Essential Practices, Thich Nhat Hanh
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (a novel) interesting mind

How to Practice, The Way to a Meaningful Life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama

AMORALMAN, A True Story and Other Lies, Derek DelGaudio (A wildly engaging exploration of the fictions we live as truths. It is ultimately a book about the lies we tell ourselves and the realities we manufacture in others.) must read, you won’t regret the choice      please see, In & Of Itself

The States Of Understanding Love (SOUL), Charles P. Thorp. (This may be the sole booklet you need to live by.) limited edition

The Common Liturgy of The Church for Unity and Service, Rev. Earl L. Rice

Love Between My Scars, Richard L. Taylor Jr.

Wholeness and the Implicate Order, David Bohm

The Book of Tea, Okakura Kakuzo

The Universe in a Single Atom, The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Places That Scare You, A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, Pema Chodron
Genesis, Memory of Fire, Volume 1, Eduardo Galeano (history, North & South America)

Children of the Days, A Calendar of Human History, Eduardo Galeano

Walking Words, Eduardo Galeano (With woodcuts, Jose Francisco Borges)
Mindfulness, A Practical Guide to Awakening, Joseph Goldstein

The Alchemy of Possibility, Reinventing Your Personal Mythology, Carolyn Mary Kleefeld (Artwork and Writings)

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Eddie Campbell (a tale of travel and darkness with pictures of all kinds)
The Ship That Sailed to Mars, William M. Timlin (A Fantasy, Told and Pictured by William M. Timlin) (Calla Edition, follows the original 1923 edition format) worth finding, however read reviews and beware of other editions with poor quality print/images



06    home

      So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up.
      There is a way out.

           Stephen Hawking

Quotes from the Inner Door, Charles P. Thorp. (three volumes) limited editions

          the library white dragon guardian

Forms in Japan, Yuichiro Kojiro, photos by Yukio Futagawa

What is Life?, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan (further study of the microbial foundation of life)

Radiant Identities, Jock Sturgues (photography)

Not Man Apart, Photographs of the Big Sur Coast, Ansel Adams & others
     I think of this as my backyard, without the fences.   here, clear to see,
     the continent meets the sea.     lines from Robinson Jeffers


more books


additional noteworthy books not otherwise shown

    return to home
Man and Dolphin, John C. Lilly MD the first master of human/dolphin research

The Mind of the Dolphin, A Nonhuman Intelligence, John C. Lilly MD meeting dolphins halfway there

Lads Before the Wind, Adventures in Porpoise Training, Karen Pryor behavioral studies
The Secret Knowledge of Water, Craig Childs (There Are Two Easy Ways to Die in the Desert: Thirst and Drowning) from a master of desert life

Stone Desert, A Naturalist’s Exploration of Canyonlands National Park, Craig Childs

The Animal Dialogues, Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, Craig Childs

Soul of Nowhere, Craig Childs
A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman must read, elemental understanding

The Moon by Whale Light, Diane Ackerman (And Other Adventures Among Bats, Penguins, Crocodillians, and Whales)

The Rarest of the Rare, Vanishing Animals, Timeless Worlds, Diane Ackerman
Gaia, A New Look at Life on Earth, J.E. Lovelock a seminal work on planetary bio-evolution by the man NASA went to for guidance on how to remotely identify life on other worlds.

Microcosmos, Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan must read

Symbiotic Planet, A New Look at Evolution, Lynn Margulis

Five Kingdoms, An Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth, Lynn Margulis, Karlene V. Schwartz
The Log from the Sea of Cortez, John Steinbeck marine biology adventures with Ed Ricketts

The Death & Life of Monterey Bay, A Story of Revival, Stephen R. Palumbi, Carolyn Sotka
The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Alan W. Watts American Zen Buddhist master & communicator read me

Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown, A Mountain Journal, Alan Watts
Sacred Earth, Places of Peace and Power, Martin Gray (oversized, photographs & text)

In the Absence of the Sacred, The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations, Jerry Mander
Summerhill, A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, A.S. Neill a master of respecting and teaching children; founder of the Summerhill school.
Seven Hundred Kisses, edited by Lily Pond (a Yellow Silk book of erotic writing)

The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder, Henry Miller
Exhibitionism for the Shy, Carol Queen (Show Off, Dress Up and Talk Hot) by one of the foremost San Francisco sex-positive players & communicators
Elizabethan Costuming for the Years 1550 – 1580, Janet Winter & Carolyn Savoy (a guide to show you how to design and fabricate Elizabethan period costumes, as worn for Renaissance Faire events)
Last and First Men, and Star Maker, Olaf Stapledon (two science-fiction novels) written by a British philosopher who took on a broader story scope than has been ever done.
    return to home

first book image from the On Being Project.   more than worth following.

     additionally Explore the Summer of Pause.
all around, this has been a labor of love.   may it be of service to you.