After a month of constant movement, in which I read little more than half of what I had planned, I finally am settling into my new place, unpacking, and preparing to wrap up my summer reading.
I had the chance to spend my first few months out of undergrad far away from my hometown in the Midwest, but with the end of my editorial internship on the East Coast in August, I’ve found myself forced to move back home for the foreseeable future. Traveling afforded me a few more weeks of freedom toward the end of last month, but I at last have been forced to settle as I need to start saving, freelancing, and working as I search for a full-time position as an editorial assistant. This unfortunately means I’m stuck in a place where I have few friends and constantly am reminded of years I’d rather forget, but because of that, I have a great opportunity to dive into my TBR list and read titles I had hoped I already would have finished by now.
For this month, I’m planning on focusing on LGBT nonfiction; poetry collections, especially those released by Indigenous writers; and women’s cultural criticism. My top ten reads are as follows:
1.) Ada Limón’s The Carrying: All the independent bookstores at my college town had this featured when I visited the city last week, after I returned to my home state and dropped my boxes off at my house. I picked up a copy of the collection, already have begun it, and now am interested in checking out more of this poet’s work. She writes intimate short poems about ordinary experiences, and has a powerful way with description.
2.) Susan Stryker’s Transgender History: While this feels like it could be a bit basic, more aimed to survey trans topics than engage with them in detail, I think that it could point me toward useful scholarship.
3.) Lillian Faderman’s Harvey Milk: Harvey Milk has featured prominently in several titles I’ve read this year, and I’m interested in contrasting this work’s representation of him with that of the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), which has been one of the films I’ve most enjoyed watching this year.
4.) Heid E. Erdrich’s New Poets of Native Nations: This anthology of Native poets has popped up a few times on my Goodreads feed, and it seems helpful as an introduction to Indigenous voices in American poetry.
5.) Allison Yarrow’s 90s Bitch: Another featured title at the bookstores I visited last week, this appears to have a well-argued thesis, and I always am interested in feminist cultural studies.
6.) Rebecca Solnit’s Call Them by Their True Names: Everything I’ve read by Solnit, online or otherwise, has impressed me, and I’m excited to read this new collection of essays, hopefully along with some of her past titles, like Wanderlust or The Faraway Nearby.
7.) Tommy Pico’s IRL: After having enjoyed Junk, I’m eager to explore more of Pico’s poetry: he’s one of the few experimental poets I’ve read whose work is heavily influenced by social media, in a way that feels organic.
8.) C. Riley Snorton’s Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity: Much of the trans theory I’ve read in print has been written by white authors, and while those writers typically have adopted anti-racist perspectives, I want to read works written by scholars of color that center race in the discussion of trans identity. I’m hoping this also can point me in the direction of useful further reading.
9.) Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas: A friend whose taste in poetry I trust recommended this to me recently, and it seems inventive and powerful; so many of the poetry collections Graywolf recently has published have left me astounded, and I’m sure this won’t disappoint.
10.) Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: While I was lucky enough to avoid being alone in Philly this summer, I’m fascinated with the question of what it means to be lonely in an urban setting, where there are so many opportunities to socialize.
While these are the titles I’m planning on definitely reading this month, I’m sure I’ll have time to read more, unless I land a job much sooner than expected. If you have any book recommendations, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!