My IFOA Wednesdays are starting later than usual this year because I have been indulging in new books this summer. (You can check out my Summer Reading To-Do List, for all kinds of reading weather.)
But now that I’m looking at the calendar, there are dozens of books (new and backlisted) catching my attention.
Many of the authors who have appeared at events already this year and/or are scheduled to attend this October 22nd-November 1st have already made an appearance in my stacks.:
Marina Endicott, Brian Francis, Lauren Groff,
Lawrence Hill, Helen Humphreys, Jeff Latosik,
Anne Michaels, Jordi Punti, Andrew Pyper,
But what a list like this does for me, more than anything, is give me the itch to make more lists, reading lists.
And because this year I am trying to read more backlisted books, those titles about which I keep saying “I’ve been meaning to read that for ages”, I am eyeing the works on my shelves by these authors which have gone too-long-unread.
Maybe this will be the season in which I finally make reading time for these other titles (often written earlier) by Canadian authors whose other works I’ve enjoyed.
Clark Blaise – Several times, A North American Education has gotten close to the top of my stacks, when I am looking for short fiction to add to my pile (but the newer titles often win out). Nonetheless, given how much I liked The Meagre Tarmac, I truly do hope to get to more of his stories soon.
Austin Clarke – Because he has published such a diverse list of works, including memoir and poetry, I have difficulty choosing which of his books I would like to read next. But because I did really enjoy More, I think that I would like to aim for fiction, probably the Toronto trilogy (also, obviously, set in Toronto), which begins with The Meeting Place.
Brian Francis – Fruit was such a charismatically-told story that I have worried for a long time that I wouldn’t enjoy another story of his as much. But, then, he started writing an advice column in Quill&Quire and I liked that as much as his blog on Caker Cooking, and I realized that if I could like these two things, which didn’t seem probable, I would probably love Natural Order as much as everyone else who’s read it seems to.
Lawrence Hill – Hearing him read from his memoir some years back at the Eden Mills Festival (long before The Book of Negroes) was what attracted me to this writer’s work, and I’ve collected his books ever since, but I’ve done a poor job of reading them. Any Known Blood is the one which most intrigues me, and that’s the one I’d like to read right now.
Helen Humphreys – Her AfterImage won me over, and I have enjoyed everything that I’ve read, and I’ve attended many readings, but I still have Leaving Earth and Wild Dogs left to read. I’ve heard good things about both of them, so why not?
Miriam Toews – The local feminist bookstore brought her Summer of My Amazing Luck to my attention when it was first published (her first novel) and I loved it. A few years back, I reread it. So why didn’t I reach for Irma Voth or Swing Low? I should do that, I know.
Jane Urquhart – So far, the book of hers that I loved the best was Sanctuary Line. Many people count Away as their favourite, but I just didn’t connect with it in the same way, even on re-reading. Both The Stone Carvers and The Underpainter have been recommended to me so many times, and by so many different readers, that I still feel a pull towards them, in hopes that I will love them as much as they did.
Guy Vanderhaeghe – Having enjoyed A Good Man so much more than I expected to, I immediately wanted to read everything else of his, and now that there is a new story collection, that is particularly inviting. But I still haven’t read The Englishman’s Boy and that’s the one I’m eyeing now.
And, then, there is the question of wanting to make time for particular rereads. Like Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces, Helen Humphreys’ The Lost Garden and Lorna Crozier’s The Garden Going on without Us.
And those individual books which have caught my eye that I have bought, often in a fit of must-have-ness but, then, have neglected horribly. Like Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Anakana Schofield’s Malarky, Russell Smith’s Confidence, Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s The Right to be Cold, Meg Wolitzer’s The Position, and Ronald Wright’s A Scientific Romance.
A favourite festival can provide the perfect reason to fill some gaps in one’s reading plans.
But it can also add demonstrably to one’s TBR and lead one to newer and shinier books.
For a list of the confirmed 2015 participants, check here. Which would you recommend?
There are many particpants whose works I haven’t discussed in this post, many first-time authors and writers from elsewhere: if there is one you would recommend, please let me know. As you can tell, I am in need of new and more complex reading projects!