It’s possible that my favourite part of read-a-thon-ing lies in assembling the stacks. Perhaps not only possible. Perhaps probable.
It’s certain that my favourite part of assembling a stack of books lies in the dreaming. Last year I successfully completed a record amount of NOT reading on Dewey’s autumn weekend.
But I have allowed myself the pleasure of assembling not just one but several stacks of lovelies all the same.
Nonetheless, the rational part of me (and all parts of me present for read-a-thons heretofore) realizes that nearly twenty books is a completely unreasonable goal for a single day’s reading.
No matter how much food was prepared in advance or loads of laundry done on Friday instead.
So my goal is: 2 poetry books (not 6), 2 art books (not 5), 2 kids/YA books (not 4), and 2 skinny literary novels (not 3).
Sheree Fitch’s In This House Are Many Women
“Sheree Fitch’s refreshingly direct lyrics explore the harsh realities of women’s lives and the many kinds of shelter they create for themselves and give to each other. The title suite is peopled by battered wives, single mothers, women who are poor and perhaps homeless, and exhausted caregivers, with each woman speaking in her own voice.” (From the publisher’s page)
“Brent MacLaine’s elegant, capacious, and finely crafted collection, Athena Becomes a Swallow, contains twenty-seven monologues spoken by characters who appear in Homer’s The Odyssey. Adopting the voices of the minor characters, MacLaine offers a novel perspective on the epic events, demonstrating how the shine of the gods falls on the common folk as well.” (From the publisher’s page)
Soraya Peerbaye’s Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names
“In this first collection, Soraya Peerbaye explores in exquisite detail the material and the ephemeral, from the intricacies of objects owned by her father, and the habits that animate them, to the landscape and residents of the Antarctic Peninsula.” (From the publisher’s page)
Tammy Armstrong’s The Scare in the Crow
“As Tammy Armstrong rode horseback on a one-month sojourn in Iceland, up rose the ley lines that crosshatched the landscape — ancient tracks rife with saga, myth, and human history. In this collection, her poems both respond to W.H. Auden’s poetic travelogue, Letters from Iceland, and evoke her raw relationship to the native natural world of North America.” (From the publisher’s page)
Claire Harris’ She
“She is a complex novel in poetry and prose poetry, crafted with visual form and eloquent language. Penelope-Marie Lancet, an immigrant from Trinidad who lives in Calgary, yearns for a child to the point of obsession.” (From the publisher’s page)
Pamela Mordecai’s Certifiable
“The rhythms and rhymes of the creole soundscape crackle through Certifiable. Mordecai’s deft hand wordplay flows through and beyond standard English and the creole continuum to reveal the characters in Certifiable and record their experiences.” (From the publisher’s page)
Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol’s Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures (Trans. Arnold J. Pomerans)
“Produced in association with The Anne Frank House and filled with never-before-published snapshots, school pictures, and photos of the diary and the Secret Annex, this elegantly designed album is both a stand-alone introduction to Anne’s life and a photographic companion to a classic of Holocaust literature.” (From the publisher’s page)
Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral’s Chopsticks: A Novel
“Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song ‘Chopsticks.'” (From the publisher’s page)
Isabel Greenberg’s The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
“As intricate and richly imagined as the work of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton’s in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg’s debut will be a welcome addition to the thriving graphic novel genre.” (From the publisher’s page)
Chester Brown’s Paying for It: A Comic-strip Memoir about Being a John
“Paying for It was easily the most talked-about and controversial graphic novel of 2011, a critical success so innovative and complex that it received two rave reviews in the New York Times, and sold out of its first print run in just six months. Chester Brown’s eloquent, spare artwork stands out in this paperback edition.” (From the publisher’s page)
Martha Solomon’s (Ed.) One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories
“One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories is a groundbreaking collection that helps to end the silence surrounding abortion experiences and to combat the feelings of fear, shame, stigma, and isolation that many women face. By featuring over thirty women’s personal experiences and portraits, One Kind Word shifts the focus of the abortion debate towards creating a more open, honest, and compassionate dialogue about reproductive freedom in Canada.” (From the publisher’s page)
Mordecai Richler’s Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang
“Mordecai Richler is a funny man, a good writer, and everyone should go out tomorrow morning and beat his local bookseller into submission if he hasn’t got a nice plump display of books titled Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang…. It is ghastly and funny…an unbelievably believable unbelievable place with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.”
–The New York Times Book Review (Quoted on the publisher’s page)
Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse
“A deliciously dark new offering from the award-winning author-illustrator of the OTTOLINE books.” (From the publisher’s page)
Jaqueline Woodson’s Locomotion
“Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.” (From the publisher’s page)
Ivan E. Coyote’s One in Every Crowd
“Ivan E. Coyote is one of Canada’s best-loved storytellers; her honest, wry, plain-spoken tales of growing up in the Yukon and living out loud on the west coast have attracted readers and live audiences around the world. For many years, Ivan has performed in high schools, where her talks have inspired and galvanized many young people to embrace their own sense of self and to be proud of who they are. One in Every Crowd, Ivan’s eighth book with Arsenal Pulp Press, is her first specifically for queer youth.” (From the publisher’s page)
Really Skinny Literary Works
Fred D’Aguiar’s The Longest Memory
“Written in taut, poetic language, THE LONGEST MEMORY is set on a Virginian plantation in the 19th century, and tells the tragic story of a rebellious, fiercely intelligent young slave who breaks all the rules: in learning to read and write, in falling in love with a white girl, the daughter of his owner, and, finally, in trying to escape and join her in the free North. For his attempt to flee, he is whipped to death in front of his family, and this brutal event is the pivot around which the story evolves.” (From the publisher’s page)
Kim Thúy’s Man
“Following on the Giller Prize-nominated and Governor General’s Literary Award-winning success of Ru, Kim Thúy’s latest novel is a triumph of poetic beauty and a moving meditation on how love and food are inextricably entwined. ” (From the publisher’s page)
Joel Thomas Hynes’ Say Nothing Saw Wood
“Joel Thomas Hynes’s stunning exploration of guilt and remorse, of love and regret, received raves as an award-winning stage play; this is the novella that inspired the play, available in print at last. Hynes’s pitch-perfect ear for voice and his remarkable sense of dramatic cadence combine to form a story of great power and ultimately great humanity. This is Newfoundland gothic at its best.” (From the publisher’s page)
So, you can see how this went from a completely unreasonable list to a nearly completely unreasonable list.
Because however skinny, someone who read less than 100 pages in the last read-a-thon shouldn’t be eyeing 8 books for the day, no matter how skinny.
But then again, enjoying a day of read-a-thon-ing isn’t about the “shoulds”, is it.
Are you read-a-thon-ing this weekend? Have you made a reasonable list?