So, I printed out the names of the authors appearing at this year’s International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront in Toronto next month.

Two pages, three columns: if it’s a murder of crows, what does one call a big group of writers?

Whatever you call it? That’s what’s in store for readers at this year’s events.

And, so, I have a lot of homework to do.

Straight off, looking ahead, I’m reading/re-reading prequels, so I’m ready for sequels:

  • Susan Swan’s The Wives of Bath (for Western Light)
  • Hiromi Goto’s Half World* (with Darkest Light in mind)
  • and Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean (with The Sweet Girl up next).

Because of course I’m obsessed about reading things in their intended order.

You probably knew that. Even if it’s your first visit to this site, you could probably smell the booklists and proper reading intentions.

But then there are the cases where it seems like too much to catch up, in a month’s time, I mean.

Could I really read both of Linden MacIntyre’s previous novels, so that Men Who Lie falls into place alongside them, as it was meant to?

And I’ve never read one of Kate Mosse’s books, and Citadel, too, is third in a trilogy?

And Lesley Livingston has written one trilogy and begun her second?

Apparently there was more to the story that Joanne Harris’ began with Chocolat?

And how many mysteries has Gail Bowen written between Deadly Appearances and Kaleidoscope?**

Clearly, I am out of my reader’s depths.

I’m also eyeing the backlists of Paul Auster and Louise Erdrich, because it’s been ages since I read one of their novels (Oracle Night in 2003 and The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse in 2000), and I once counted them as favourites, so I feel disloyal now.

That needs fixing.

And this might be my chance to finally make time to read:

  • Junot Diaz
  • Michael Chabon
  • Shauna Singh Baldwin
  • and Rawi Hage.

You know what I mean? Sometimes you spend so long thinking about reading the works by a particular author that it feels like you’ve read and admired them already?

But at a certain point, you start to feel imposter-y about that. And you need to actually read them. I know this is true.

But sometimes it’s hard to make time for new favourites, especially when there are new books out from consistently favourite authors:

  • Christine Pountney Sweet Jesus (loved Last Stop Texaco)
  • Cordelia Strube Milosz (loved Teaching Pigs to Sing and lots more besides)
  • and Alice Munro’s Dear Life (although still torn about continuing to re-read her earlier collections too).


(Okay, now I’m starting to see this whole orderly reading thing as a problem. It used to be about mystery series, but now the madness is uncontained. It doesn’t need to be so complicated, right?)

There are some short story writers there whose works sound interesting (Jonathan Goldstein, Hubert Haddad, and Rebecca Lee).

And even the non-fiction sounds irresistible (spoken with a fiction-lover’s bias).

Many writers whose works were originally published in a language other than English (German, Swedish, and Japanese, to name a few), whose names are unfamiliar to me now, are also appearing, and I’ll know more about them a few weeks from now.

There are also some top-notch YA and children’s lit writers appearing, including Eric Walters and Richard Scrimger.

And have I mentioned that I feel like I don’t read enough poetry? There are loads of poets at this year’s festival. Almost as many as appear on the ReLit Awards’ Poetry Longlist.***

Are you planning to attend any of the festival’s events?

Or is there a literary festival or reading series in your proverbial neck of the avenues that you’re attending instead?

* Half World was one of my favourite reads of 2010: I’m ready for more!

** It’s the 13th Joanne Kilbourn mystery apparently.

*** There are 66 books of poetry on the ReLit Awards Poetry longlist. Yes, I counted. But I’m not reading them in order. That would be all-kinds-of-crazy, wouldn’t it.