Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ready, Set, Read!

2011 is almost upon us, and that means it's time for me to start my 50 in '11 challenge. Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions; I've tried to take as many as possible, and of course my reading list for 2012 and beyond continues to grow thanks to your awesomeness. I'll keep you all updated on my readerly adventures in 2011, and I want to hear about yours as well!

Here's the final list for 2011:

feminism, gender studies and queer theory
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine
The Feminist Promise by Christine Stansell
Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman

graphic novels
Blankets by Craig Thompson
From Hell by Alan Moore
The Sandman, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Maus by Art Spiegelman

classics I haven't read yet
The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O'Connor
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

books I would normally scoff at
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (I know, I hear it's exactly my cup of tea, but killer unicorns, really?)
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (I don't know why I scoff. Maybe I just hate movie-poster book covers.)
A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell Hamilton

contemporary literary fiction
A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

books I bought but haven't read yet
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson
Darkmans by Nicola Barker
Season of Secrets by Sally Nicholls (okay, I admit, this is a bit of a guilty pleasure, and it's not even out yet... but I worked on it as an intern, so I already know I'll buy it, and I won't be able to wait to read it!)
The Naming by Alison Croggon
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

books with people of color on their covers
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

literary journals and collections of poetry or short stories
War Dances by Sherman Alexie
What is this Thing Called Love by Kim Addonizio
The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
First Lines

genre literature (sci-fi/fantasy)
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacugalupi
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee

trade nonfiction
The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson
The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker
Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy by Jason Eberl
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood by Maria Tatar

The question now is: which book do I read first? And what book are you reading to kick off the new year? Let me know in comments!


  1. I don't have a list but I do have Lots of books I own that I haven't read either.

    And what's this list with people of color on the cover? Are these books written by people of color? Hmm...

    But you have inspired me. I think I'll create a list myself! And maybe I'll get to 50 this year!

  2. Rose,

    All of the books on my list of those with PoC covers do happen to be authored by people of color, but that wasn't my first concern in selecting them (though it would have been an equally important one, if it had been!). In this case, I wanted not just to read books that come from a non-white perspective or feature people of color as main characters, but also books that advertise that fact on their covers.

    This has been a big deal in the kidlit community recently because of the huge number of whitewashed covers (like that of Justine Larbalestier's Liar, which I wrote about here: that have surfaced in the past few years. Operating under the assumption that books with PoCs on their covers "don't sell," numerous publishers have chosen to feature a white model on the covers of books that feature main characters of color. Some notable examples are Liar, Magic Under Glass, and Silver Phoenix. In other cases, publishers opt to feature a prop, design, or silhouette on their book covers rather than point out their PoC protagonists, again because they assume that books about people of color will not sell.

    For that reason, I'm specifically seeking out books with people of color on the cover in 2011. That's also why I'll be buying these books, rather than getting them from the library like I will many of the others on this list. I not only want to explore an under-appreciated group of books, but also to reward the good behavior of publishers who do put PoCs on their cover. The best way to get publishers to publish more books like this is to buy them, read them, and encourage others to do the same. So I want to make that a priority in 2011.

  3. I think you'll find The Feminine Mystique disconcertingly dated, but I am very excited about the new book ABOUT The Feminine Mystique by noted historian STephanie Coontz, coming out next week. She interviewed 200 women who read the book at the time about how and why it affected them. And she wrote a great piece in the WA Post about the tv series "Mad Men," using her interviews to argue that the show really "gets" the sexism of the early 1960s

  4. I had no idea that publishers didn't put faces of color on the book covers - I guess I wasn't paying attention because I take out all my books from the library and don't purchase much (online mostly).

    Thanks for schooling me! :)

  5. @Will, that does sound exciting! I'm not sure what to expect from The Feminine Mystique, but I do feel I need the grounding in classic feminist texts.

    @Rose, it's certainly not a universal trend--and hopefully it's on its way out!--but it's definitely pretty prevalent. Thanks for asking!

  6. Hey Rachel!

    Here's a link to the post regarding my reading list. I even shouted you out on my post too. :)

    Happy Reading!

  7. Here's the link: