On February 16, 2018, I started a personal reading/writing Instagram project called the Mandorla 200.
The mission statement was simple: Micro-distillations of 200 necessary books on ecology, justice, and place-belonging for our times. 200 words or less.
The Mandorla 200 emerged from a need to keep up with reading all the wonderful books I had accumulated over the years. I also understood that, as a writer, reading is as much a part of the practice of writing as writing itself.
So I made 3 goals:
Goal #1: Read 200 books of high cultural and ecological importance (goal: read more; read better).
Goal #2: Write a 200-word or less "distillation” for each book’s deepest message (goal: more concision).
Goal #3: Express gratitude for the author, the publisher, and the person whose recommendation made me read the book (goal: more gratitude).
So far I’ve featured 25 books, doing my best to balance genre, gender, ethnicity, modern/classic, etc.
I am 13% completed with the project at the end of 2018, and it’s been a wildly satisfying and generative project for me. Thank you for following along.
Reading is, in practice, such a solitary thing, so the feedback, community, and conversation sparked has been perhaps the most beautiful part of the process.
Below are my five favorite reads so far. I’ve reposted the 200-word micro-distillations here, but you can follow along on Instagram, too. Thank you.