Good madness

I am the kind of person who when she finds an author she likes, obsessively reads every piece of writing they put their name to.  Or at least every piece of writing that I have discovered that they have put their name to.  I am also the kind of person who pays very little attention to the turn of the Gregorian calendar but genuinely wishes that the change in year brings whatever people are hoping for closer to them.  So in the words of Neil Gaiman: “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Books are a constant surprise.  I astonish myself by what I read and what I don’t and what surprises me when I’m not looking.  So I’ve decided to make a list of books that I want to read this year.  These are a combination of what smart people I know have suggested and what I’ve decided for myself.  Some of them I’m going to have to buy, most of them I’m hoping to borrow.  Either from a library or from you!  More about that later, but for now – the list (so far).

  1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  2. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  6. The Shattering by Karen Healey Thank you Karen!
  7. The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels Thanks Chally!
  8. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
  9. Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto by Alfred Taiaike
  10. Colonising Myths – Maori Realities: He Rukuruku Whakaaro by Ani Mikaere
  11. Your Average Nigga: performing race, literacy, and masculinity by Ashanti Vershawn Young
  12. The Time-traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  13. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Thank you library.
  14. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  15. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  16. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  17. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  18. Vida by Marge Piercy
  19. Woman At The Edge Of Time by Marge Piercy Thanks Chally!
  20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood
  21. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  22. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai Thanks Ma!
  23. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Also Ma!
  24. The Days That Run Away Like Wild Horses Over Hills by Charles Bukowski
  25. The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities by Ching-in Chen Yay internet shopping!
  26. Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein
  27. The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
  28. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever By James Tiptree Jr. Thanks Chally!
  29. Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by James Tiptree Jr.
  30. Koiwi, Koiwi by Hinemoana Baker
  31. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  32. The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman Yay internet shopping!
  33. Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman Yay internet shopping!
  34. Poet in New York by Frederico Garcia Lorca
  35. The Collected Poems Vol. I by William Carlos Williams
  36. * Chemistry by Damien Wilkins Thank you Opshop.
  37. * Conquest: sexual violence and american indian genocide by Andrea Smith
  38. * Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging (Gender, Culture and Politics In The Middle East) edited by Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, & Nadine Naber.

So stands the list of books that I know as of today that I want to read within the coming year.  I have cheated and put ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ on there even though I have already started reading it.  I do this when I write a list, it makes it less daunting because I know that at least one thing is going to get ticked off reasonably quickly.  Yes, I am a strange person.  I have also pared this list down to mean that here sit only the books that I want to read within the year, not books that I need to read at some point.  This I have done by a combination of taking an emotional forecast of the year and the book and matching them to fit.  How comfortably, the year will tell.  I have also left space on this list for fifteen books that other people suggest to me so that I can read things that people think I would enjoy.  So if you have suggestions, be pleased to share them here and I shall put them on the list.

I am probably going to be able to find at least some of these books in lending libraries.  But some I will need to buy… so here is my suggestion… if you feel you can spare any of them and have them, send them to me!  I shall read them and return them in the condition received and you can have a choice of a) a zine, crafty item or food that I make; b) a book on my shelf that you’d like to read; or c) something else entirely that you wish for or need that is in my power to give.  This would be a good place to mention that all my life I have depended on the kindness of (those who started out as) strangers.  Bonus crafty present if you recognise the reference!

I like books, swaps and book swaps.  Also presents.


blah (who’s giving me this book, usually with thanks!) blah  (book read and reviewed with link to review) *blah (book added to the original list post conversations).