the summer shortlist

Today, at least, there are 175 books on my to-read list. Since that’s a lot of books, I usually come up with a summer shortlist of the books I’m planning on reading the soonest. Some of these are books I’m just too excited for, others are books I already have out from the library and so I feel obligated to read them, some are because I feel like I need to read grown up books before I spend the next three years engrossed in children’s and YA lit, and others are just because I think they’ll be good prep for graduate school particularly because they are children’s and YA, and especially because they are “diverse,” meaning that they either feature or are written by PoC or LBGT people. I’m also on the lookout for more biracial literature, and I keep meaning to do a second post on the subject, this time about the humor approach to biracial narratives. I’ll work on that, and on more love letters to my favorite things in Tucson.

So here’s my shortlist, in no particular order, along with the main reason for moving them up to the shortlist.

American Nerd by Benjamin Nugent – An anthropological history of the nerd? Oh, yes. I’ve actually already started reading this one, so I’m sort of cheating by putting it on this list.
Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond – Because I already have it out from the library, and it looked interesting, and probably I read a review of it somewhere.
The Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger – Because I already have it out from the library, but also because I really love the way she does literary speculative fiction.
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler – Again, lately I’m really interested in speculative fiction. Plus, I loved Kindred. Plus, it’s nice to know that all sci-fi and fantasy is not white.
The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure – Because the second I heard about this book, I needed to read it, because I was absolutely obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child.
The Gastronomical Me by MFK Fisher – Because I just discovered food writing, and it’s amazing.
Food Matters by Mark Bittman – See above. Also, I have it out from the library.
In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens by Alice Walker – Got it from the library. Diversity. Literary theory I’m not yet familiar with. Can’t wait, even though Walker kind of scares me a little.
The Great Night by Chris Adrian – Retelling of Shakespeare? Yes, please.
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn – Because my knowledge of American history is pitiful and Palin-esque, thanks to my being a terrible student of history (I blame the crappy way it’s taught in the US, with nothing but rote memorization at the expense of actual engagement) and having bad teachers. Also, diversity points?
Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway – Because I think it’s time I read more of the authors I really enjoyed in my American lit class last summer.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Because I’ve been meaning to read this ever since I finished Drown. Also, diversity!
Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell – Because if I take any longer to start reading that, I’ll have to read Justine again, and then I’ll never finish the Alexandria Quartet.
Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia – Because I just learned about this book, and boarding school + remembrances of Bloomability + PoC characters = I need to read.
The Pleasures of Children’s Literature by Perry Nodelman – Because the director of my MA recommended it, so I think it would be good to read it before my first semester.
Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal – I’m so curious. Plus, I got a free copy from the publisher, so I should respect that and read it.
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor – Because I bought it awhile ago and it looks fabulous and has gotten great reviews. And again, speculative fiction by a non-white writer is hard to find. Plus, it’s YA.

There is a link on the right to my full to-read list.

If you want to diversify your reading, you should do so, because that’s awesome. Plus, you can enter this giveaway at Diversity in YA, where Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo are doing fabulous, fabulous things for better representation in YA novels. This summer they’re holding a reading challenge. I can’t wait to join their ranks when I’ve published a novel.


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