I like reading books. The problem is that I have (1) a limited amount of time, and (2) a tendency to get intrigued by (and purchase more) than I can read in said time. So my “to read” shelf is massive.
I use Goodreads to keep track of it all, but I’m sure there are even more books on my radar that I haven’t had a chance to add to my shelf yet. Occasionally, I go through the whole list and cull the books that I’m no longer interested in or that I’ve forgotten why I added in the first place. I did that earlier today; even after getting rid of the deadwood, books that I’d already read long ago, and books that were duplicates in the system, the final tally is still 327. Intimidating!
Do I want to read all these? Yes. Will I actually read them? Who knows, there’s just too much out there to choose from! So here’s a look at a random assortment of them, just so you can see what catches my interest, and why.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
I’ve known about this book for a long time, but I finally added it to my “to-read” shelf on Goodreads in late November 2016. So many people have said in the past year that this book is eerily prescient about our current political situation. I want to read it, but I also don’t know if I can handle the anxiety attack it will probably give me.
What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank by Krista D. Ball
I bought this at Ad Astra last year from Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore. Not only does it seem to be a welcome primer on the realities of preparing and eating food during various European time periods over the last few centuries, but it also seems to sell like hotcakes. The guy at the Myth Hawker booth said that copies of this book always sell out at cons, and that he really wanted to save one for himself, but that meant one fewer copy available for customers. (And if that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.) He finally managed to snag a copy for himself between the times I saw him at Ad Astra and Can-Con.
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
I first heard of this book over a decade ago when it was recommended to me by one of my TAs during the first year of my undergrad degree. Back in 2003, when the only fantasy I was familiar with were various Tolkien knock-offs, a book that talked about “what the world might have looked like if Europe had been completely killed off by the Black Plague” sounded really cool and far out there. I have a copy around the house. I just need to actually, you know, read it, since it’s been on my radar for over 14 goddamned years.
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
This book was my first real introduction to the concept of whitewashing book covers. What’s more, the controversy came up while I was starting Ryerson’s publishing program. So it felt extremely relevant to my courses. And it’s still relevant today, considering the widespread, continued problems with lack of diversity in the publishing industry.
My Bones and My Flute by Edgar Mittelholzer
Several years ago, SF Signal ran a podcast called “Crossing the Gulf” hosted by Karen Lord (whose book The Best of All Possible Worlds I reviewed 2 years ago) and Karen Burnham. The podcast has long since finished, but its discussion of contemporary, classic, and Caribbean spec-fic was refreshing. I don’t much remember what My Bones and My Flute is actually about. However, the discussion must have been interesting enough for me to add it to my list, so I’m keeping it there. It appears that Peepal Tree Press published a new edition of it in 2015.
I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman
This is actually another book I don’t know much about, plot-wise, though the description on Goodreads sounds intriguing. I added it to my to-read shelf because of Cat Rambo. I took a short fiction workshop with her in 2014, and when I told her about a story idea I had, she said it reminded her of this book. Good enough for me!
The Outskirter’s Secret by Rosemary Kirstein
This is the second book in Kirstein’s Steerswoman series. I liked the first one a lot, and this is probably the only instance where I have multiple books in the same series on my “to read” shelf — I like them that much.
The War that Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander
I want to read this solely because of one episode of Writers and Company, a CBC radio show, that interviewed the author. Amazingly, the episode came out exactly seven years ago today. Even more amazingly, I still have this podcast stored on my computer! This is wonderful, since it’s not on the CBC website anymore. So listen to this interview and figure out for yourself why I want to read this: