Another Round?

Let’s imagine that in a few weeks or months, I felt game to host another group read here. And let’s say that I wanted the selected book to introduce greater diversity of authorship here than we’ve had to date. What might we read? Who among you would come along for the ride? How much do we care about reading big long books vs. shorter books?

My preference is to read something I haven’t read before, literary (probably, but not necessarily, fiction [but also probably not nonfiction prose]), ideally by someone still living. Some ideas, not all of which honor those constraints:

These are just a few I’ve been thinking about reading. I’m open to other ideas. Some obvious living omissions (given the general tendency of my list) such as Jemisin and Whitehead and Adichie and Coates are missing because I’ve read their work pretty recently and am not quite ready to dip back in yet, though I could likely be convinced to.

What do you think? Might you join in on another read? Does anything listed above appeal to you? Do you have other suggestions (preferably ones that break the chain of white men we’ve read to date)? I’m just noodling on this for now, and whether/what I host another read soon depends pretty much entirely on apparent interest and input in the comments, so do speak up if you’re game.

13 thoughts on “Another Round?

  1. Chase Edmond January 5, 2021 / 12:39 am

    I’d join in on Jane Smiley. Heck, I’d join in on m most, but she is my first pick.

    The Gravity’s Rainbow group read (GRGR) was a literary highlight of my life, so I look forward to whatever.

    Thanks, Chase

    On Mon, Jan 4, 2021 at 10:33 PM Infinite Zombies wrote:

    > Daryl L. L. Houston posted: ” Let’s imagine that in a few weeks or months, > I felt game to host another group read here. And let’s say that I wanted > the selected book to introduce greater diversity of authorship here than > we’ve had to date. What might we read? Who among you would come” >

  2. Chase Edmond January 5, 2021 / 12:40 am

    Or Zora Neale, if that is where things trend.

  3. daniellesely January 5, 2021 / 12:47 am

    Suggested: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

    I enjoyed Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, so I’m inclined

  4. John Armstrong January 5, 2021 / 2:58 am

    Of the ones listed above, The Mere Wife leaps out the most. Kindred is another appealing choice, and I wouldn’t mind the excuse to read the novel of The Haunting of Hill House (or more by Jackson) having been well-versed in the various adaptations.

  5. Paul Debraski January 5, 2021 / 9:28 am

    I recently read Mind of My Mind by Octavia butler and loved it. I’m looking forward to reading more by her.
    The Mere Wife also sounds intriguing.

    Not that I’m suggesting these authors, but i just read three novels by South African authors and really enjoyed all three stories

    A Poor Season for Whales by Michiel Heyns, was an interesting look at a divorced older white woman who has a complicated relationship with a young black man

    The Fall by Jen Thorpe is a look at (primarily) black students protesting university pricing in South Africa. But there’s a surprising sci-fi twist as the police are actually reanimated dead citizens (which makes it sound crazier than it is).

    Okay Okay Okay by Finnuala Downing. I’m about half way through this one. It’s another University-based story, this time it seems to deal with age race and sex in academia, But it’s got a darkly comic streak and has introduced me to early 20h century author Olive Schreiner who sounds really interesting.

    So yea, I think I’m up for something.

  6. ellieharrisonblog January 6, 2021 / 6:08 pm

    Hi Daryl! I would love to accompany the group on another group read. I would prefer something by a female/nonbinary author of color: from your list, Octavia Butler, Akwaeke Emezi (I think Freshwater is WAY better than The Death of Vivek Oji, but that’s just me), NK Jemisin, Yaa Gyasi, etc. I’ve read The Vanishing Half recently and enjoyed it, but would prefer not to re-read it so soon. There’s also Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis, Betty by Tiffany McDaniel, Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, or something by Roxane Gay.

  7. Dennis Fleming January 6, 2021 / 8:24 pm

    I’m in. I flaked out on your last reading and I don’t want to miss out again.

  8. Jeff Anderson January 7, 2021 / 9:42 pm

    What a fun and exciting surprise it was to get the notification of this post! I’d be in for pretty much whatever you picked, Daryl, and most of what you have on this list would be new to me (although I’m always up to reread The Left Hand of Darkness), but I’ve been looking for an impetus to read Kindred for a few years. I’ve read both the Patternist and Xenogenesis series in the past couple years, and Butler is a truly special and powerful writer in her best stuff. (Paul, even better than Mind of My Mind is its prequel, Wild Seed!) I am really looking forward to digging into something with this group that will contrast (…demographically) with the writers in the Classics Book Group I joined through my local library at the beginning of the year. 🙂

  9. Daryl L. L. Houston January 11, 2021 / 9:40 am

    Thanks for the input so far, folks. I’m still processing and leaving this open for a bit longer before I make a call. I’m listing slightly toward Butler for the moment (not least of all because I’ve read one or two of hers and didn’t love them and figure that a group read might show me what I’ve been missing). I’d love to do Ducks, Newburyport one day, but I read it just a year ago and am not quite ready for a reread yet. I’ll also keep Smiley on the shortlist, and Jackson.

    Ellie, thanks for the tip about Freshwater, and Paul, thanks for the pointers to the South African authors.

  10. Naptimewriting January 11, 2021 / 11:58 pm

    I’m in for any of these.

    The Mere Wife was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I will read it again dozens of times before I feel done with it.

    Butler, Hurston, Jackson are all favorites but I haven’t read any of those texts.

    I defer, though. It would be a joy to engage again, with any of these.

  11. Daryl L. L. Houston January 16, 2021 / 9:42 pm

    Ok, I’m thinking I’d like to do Butler’s Kindred, but it’s very short. So I was thinking about doing that one and then following it up with her short story collection Bloodchild, since we’ve never done short stories. If there’s another of her standalone books or possibly even one of the series if there’s one that others fine especially worthwhile (I read The Parable of the Sower a few years ago and think I remember feeling sort of meh about it). I’ll likely announce Kindred and the short story collection soon unless y’all pull me in a different direction in the comments.

  12. Minn Thant January 20, 2021 / 10:30 pm

    Butler sounds very exciting!

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