With the start of fall, I’ll begin my turn toward fiction with some of my most anticipated reads of the season, including Roxane Gay’s Ayiti and Ling Ma’s Severance.
As October begins, I’m planning on shifting to reading fiction for the fall. There are several novels and short story collections on my TBR list that I’m hoping to finish before the end of the year, and with the evenings rapidly cooling, now seems like the perfect time to start reading them. Over the weekend and next week, I’ll be reading Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, Ling Ma’s Severance, and Roxane Gay’s Ayiti, as well as a couple of essay collections leftover from the summer.
(1) Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing: Two weeks ago, I finished Ward’s memoir Men We Reaped, and I’ve since picked up a copy of her most famous work, a road novel that double as a family saga. The book has been so widely read and reviewed since its release last fall that rehashing its premise feels silly. I’m excited to finally have the chance to complete the novel, though, as I’ve been looking forward to it for months. I will review it Sunday, my weekly slot for full-length reviews.
(2) Ling Ma’s Severance: At once a “quirky coming-of-adulthood tale” and an “apocalyptic satire,” Ma’s debut novel follows millennial drone Candace Chen as she and a group of fellow survivors search for safety in the wake of a global plague. I decided to download this novel as an audiobook after it appeared on my Goodreads feed several times. So far, it hasn’t disappointed me.
(3) Roxane Gay’s Ayiti: Recently rereleased, Gay’s debut story collection explores the diverse experiences of the Haitian diaspora. Last week I read Gay’s memoir of her body, Hunger, and loved it, so I’d be surprised were I to dislike this collection. As with Severance, I’m listening to the audiobook format of Ayiti. I’ll review one of the titles on Wednesday, my designated day for audiobook reviews.
(4) John Berger’s Understanding a Photograph: I picked up this collection of photography writings on a whim, at the Joseph Fox Bookshop in Philadelphia. Although I never had read anything by Berger, the book was on display, and the quality of its production and design impressed me. The book brings together about twenty-five essays on the social and political uses of photography, arranged in chronological order.
(5) Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark: I recently enjoyed Solnit’s latest essay collection, Call Them by Their True Names, but I found it to be less insightful and moving than her past work. I’m hoping that I’ll love Hope in the Dark as much as I have Solnit’s other books. As the title indicates, the collection centers on making a case for hope in a turbulent world. I plan to review it, along with Understanding a Photograph, next Thursday as a part of my weekly reflections.
Have you read any of these authors, and if so, what were your reactions to their work? What are you currently reading?