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:
- The Tradition, by Jericho Brown.
- Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
- Oreo, by Fran Ross
- The Mere Wife, by Maria Dahvana Headley (with her recent Beowulf as a possible companion read).
- Something by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi
- The Death of Vivek Oji, by Akwaeke Emezi
- Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, by Zora Neale Hurston
- Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
- Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler
- Something or some things by Shirley Jackson
- Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James (though I’ll confess that I started this one and really didn’t like it and put it aside)
- Something by Jane Smiley that is not The Greenlanders or Horse Heaven (just because I’ve read those recently).
- The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
- Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
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.