2021 reading list

Well it was another strange year, but like the past few years, reading has been a tonic, a friend, a portal to the outside world. Here are my top ten picks of books both old and new from poetry to memoir to fiction.

  • A River Called Time by Courttia Newland.
  • Lote by Shola von Reinhold.
  • Detransition Baby by Torrey Peters.
  • Bitterhall by Helen McClory.
  • Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli.
  • Small Bodies of Water by Nina Mingya Powles.
  • Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan.
  • Magnolia by Nina Mingya Powles.
  • Homie by Danez Smith.
  • sikfan glaschu by Sean Wai Keung.

Here is everything I read in 2021:

  1. Byobu – Ida Vitale
  2. Night Sky with Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong
  3. Olga Dies Dreaming – Xochitl Gonzalez
  4. Faces In The Crowd – Valeria Luiselli
  5. Experiments in Imagining Otherwise – Lola Olufemi
  6. The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney – Okechukwu Nzelu
  7. Rotten Days in Late Summer – Ralf Webb
  8. The Story of My Teeth – Valeria Luiselli
  9. A Recipe for Sorcery – Vanessa Kisuule
  10. Notes on Loneliness – Daniel Cockrill
  11. Flip The Script – Arusa Qureshi
  12. Blind Spot – Maud Rowell
  13. Swimming in the Dark – Tomasz Jędrowski
  14. Tell Me How It Ends – Valeria Luiselli
  15. How We Are Translated – Jessica Gaitán Johannesson
  16. C+nto – Joelle Taylor
  17. Kindred – Octavia Butler
  18. The Rabbit Magician Plate – Judith Kazantzis
  19. The Gospel According to Cane – Courttia Newland
  20. Autumn – Ali Smith
  21. The New University – James Coe
  22. A Thousand Mornings – Mary Oliver
  23. Signs Preceding the End of the World – Yuri Herrera
  24. The End – Katie Goh
  25. Deep Wheel Orcadia – Harry Josephine Giles
  26. Magnolia – Nina Mingya Powles
  27. Queer Poets of Color – Christopher Soto
  28. The Selfless Act of Breathing – JJ Bola
  29. Keeping The House – Tice Cin
  30. A Blood Condition – Kayo Chingonyi
  31. Quesadillas – Juan Pablo Villalobos
  32. Morgan & Me – Hamish Whyte
  33. Detransition, Baby – Torrey Peters
  34. Ballad of a Happy Immigrant – Leo Boix
  35. A Boy’s Own Story – Edmund White
  36. The Tradition – Jericho Brown
  37. Paul – Daisy Lafarge
  38. The One Who Wrote Destiny – Nikesh Shukla
  39. The Appendix – Liam Konemann
  40. Burnt sugar – Avni Doshi
  41. Love That Journey For Me – Emily Garside
  42. A River Called Time – Courttia Newland
  43. Rendang – Will Harris
  44. Under the Blue – Oana Aristide
  45. The Topeka School – Ben Lerner
  46. The Prosperities of Perpetual Light – Julian Aguon
  47. Small Bodies of Water – Nina Mingya Powles
  48. Sincerity – Carol Ann Duffy
  49. To Bury Our Fathers – Sergio Ramírez
  50. The Carrying – Ada Limón
  51. Granta 155: Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists
  52. A Body Made of You – Melissa Lee-Houghton
  53. The Country Girls – Edna O’Brien
  54. pandemonium – Andrew McMillan
  55. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead – Emily Austin
  56. We Have Always Been Here – Samra Habib
  57. A Choosing – Liz Lochhead
  58. HWFG – Chris McQueer
  59. The Actual – Inua Ellams
  60. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
  61. sikfan glaschu – Sean Wai Keung
  62. 100 Boyfriends – Brontez Purnell
  63. Exciting Times – Naoise Dolan 
  64. House of Names – Colm Tóibín 
  65. Checkpoint – Joe Donnelly
  66. Tongues of Fire – Seán Hewitt
  67. Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman
  68. Mexica Mix – Marina Sánchez
  69. Bitterhall – Helen McClory
  70. Homie – Danez Smith
  71. Dryland – Sara Jaffe
  72. Teeth in the Back of My Neck – Monika Radojevic
  73. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  74. Occupation -Julián Fuks
  75. Felicity – Mary Oliver
  76. Scabby Queen – Kirstin Innes
  77. My Darling from the Lions – Rachel Long
  78. Postcolonial Love Poem – Natalie Diaz
  79. Lairies – Steve Hollyman
  80. Havana Year Zero – Karla Suárez
  81. The Opposite of Fate – Amy Tan
  82. Empty Houses – Brenda Navarro
  83. Open Water – Caleb Azumah Nelson
  84. The Speculative Book 2021 – Various Writers
  85. Luckenbooth – Jenni Fagan
  86. Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe –  Toshikazu Kawaguchi
  87. Real Life- Brandon Taylor
  88. Fourteen Poems – Issues 1, 2, 3
  89. This Is Not About Me – Janice Galloway
  90. On the Edges of Vision – Helen McClory
  91. Lote – Shola von Reinhold

2019 reading list

What a year I had with all things writing, workshopping, editing, performing, and of course, reading. My top read of 2019 goes to the groundbreaking and utterly delicious Paul takes the form of a mortal girl by Andrea Lawlor. They have created such an intersting, nostalgic, sexy and moving work of fiction that centres itself in an unapologetically queer world.

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Here is the complete list of what I read in 2019:

  1. The Goldbum Variations – Helen McClory
  2. Extra Teeth Magazine – Issue #1
  3. The Mars Room – Rachel Kushner
  4. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
  5. A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood
  6. It’s Not About the Burqa – edited by Mariam Khan
  7. Ceremony – various authors + me
  8. The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales – Kirsty Logan
  9. Escape from Earth – Fraser MacDonald
  10. The Seafarers – Stephen Rutt
  11. A Superior Spectre – Angela Meyer
  12. Stroke – Ricky Monahan Brown
  13. Blushing Is For Sinners – Tracy Patrick
  14. All the Time We Thought We Had – Gordon Darroch
  15. Threads of Life – Clare Hunter
  16. Overlander – Alan Brown
  17. Nevertheless – Shane Strachan
  18. The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal
  19. A Code for Carolyn: A Genomic Thriller – V. Anne Smith
  20. Lotería Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives – Juan Felipe Herrera
  21. The Line Becomes a River – Francisco Cantú
  22. Amphibian – Christina Neuwirth
  23. The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories
  24. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  25. Gutter Magazine – Issue #18
  26. Trout, Belly Up – Rodrigo Fuentes
  27. Tokyo Ueno Station – Miri Yu
  28. Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz – Ely Percy
  29. We Are The End – Gonzalo C. Garcia
  30. Far Off Places (literary magazine)
  31. I Am A Pretty Circler – Iain Morrison
  32. A Star Called Henry – Roddy Doyle
  33. The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen
  34. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl – Andrea Lawlor
  35. Memoirs of a Polar Bear – Yoko Tawada
  36. Let Me Tell You This – Nadine Aisha Jassat
  37. Wain – Rachel Plummer
  38. Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney
  39. Milkman – Anna Burns
  40. We Were Always Here – various authors + me

2020 reading list

This was truly a year like no other. Like many, I would never have predicted 2020 to turn out the way it did. I vividly can recall how I rang in 2020 on December 31st which was such a far cry to what today looks like. As trying as this year has been, I am grateful for the opportunities of growth in my writing career and for actively broadening my reading choices. I am thankful for these novelists, poets, and writers who helped guide me through the ups and downs of 2020. I am thankful for all the opportunities to speak, perform, and publish my own writing. Mostly, I am just thankful for writing and words and their ability to serve as a tonic and escape for me.

This year my top pick has to go to ‘Afropean’ by Johny Pitts which is not like anything I have read before. I don’t read much nonfiction but am grateful I spent time with this wonderful exploration of Black Europe. A truly eye opening read! I look forward to what Pitts does next.

Honourable mentions:

  • Dead Girls, Selva Almada (translator, Annie McDermott)
  • The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  • Dominicana, Angie Cruz
  • Rainbow Milk, Paul Mendez
  • I Won’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me, Juan Pablo Villalobos (translator, Daniel Hahn)

A hand holding a copy of a book, Afropean by Johny Pitts.

Here is everything I read in 2020:

  1. Cockfight – María Fernanda Ampuero
  2. The Edwin Morgan Twenties: Scotland – Edwin Morgan
  3. If You Kept A Record of Sins – Andrea Bajani
  4. I Won’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me – Juan Pablo Villalobos
  5. The Havoc of Choice – Wanjiru Koinange
  6. Afropean – Johnny Pitts
  7. Memorial – Bryan Washington
  8. Where The Memory Was – Hibaq Osman
  9. Poor – Caleb Femi
  10. To Be A Man – Nicole Krauss
  11. You Will Be Safe Here – Damian Barr
  12. Ramifications – Daniel Saldaña París
  13. Dominicana – Angie Cruz
  14. Mother Country – edited by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff
  15. The Distance – Ivan Vladislavic
  16. Me and White Supremacy – Layla F Saad
  17. This Mournable Body – Tsitsi Dangarembga
  18. Constitution Street – Jemma Neville
  19. Dead Girls – Selva Almada
  20. In Memory’s Dance – Murid L Keshtmand
  21. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  22. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
  23. The End of Eddy – Édouard Louis
  24. The Wind That Lays Waste – Selva Almada
  25. Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez
  26. Your Silence Will Not Protect You – Audre Lorde
  27. Sons and Lovers – D.H Lawrence
  28. The Dizziness of Freedom – Bad Betty Press
  29. Holiday Heart – Maragrita García Robayo
  30. We That Are Young – Preti Taneja
  31. The Adventures of China Iron – Gabriela Cabezón Cámara
  32. The Green Road – Anne Enright
  33. An Orphan World – Giuseppe Caputo
  34. Animals Eat Each Other – Elle Nash
  35. Falsos Odiseos – Gabriel Rodríguez Liceaga
  36. The Panopticon – Jenni Fagan
  37. The Trick is to Keep Breathing – Janice Galloway
  38. Hinge – Alycia Pirmohamed
  39. The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta
  40. Mayhem & Death – Helen McClory
  41. Tonguit – Harry Josephine Giles
  42. Jellyfish – Janice Galloway
  43. The Spell – Alan Hollinghurst
  44. Sal – Mick Kitson
  45. Broken Sleep Books 2019 Anthology
  46. The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo
  47. Collected Stories – Janice Galloway
  48. EARTH: 404 ink magazine
  49. Hijito – Carlos Andrés Gómez
  50. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong