I keep an Excel document of all the unread books on my shelves, organised by the year I bought them in dating back to 2011. This year I’ve been working on getting the older books off that list, either by reading or unhauling them.
I was doing a little reshuffle of my books when I realised I only have 18 left for 2018. While this is a bigger number than every year between 2011 and 2017—it suddenly felt doable and urgent. So I decided to give myself two months (starting June 9th) to get through as many of those 18 as I possibly could, so let’s see how I did.
Poems of New York edited by Elizabeth Schmidt
I bought this little book while I was in New York, partly because why not? But also because I really like these Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets editions. However, this one was not my favourite by any means. I gave this two stars. There were a couple of really good poems in here, but on a whole, this was just not for me. It did convince me that it’s time to pick up a collection of Adrienne Rich’s poems though, so it’s not a complete loss.
The Hanging of Angélique by Afua Cooper
I’ve almost unhauled this a few times. I bought this in New Jersey, secondhand on a complete whim, and so every time it came to do a cleanout of my shelves I considered giving it away. I’m glad I didn’t because this turned out to be a really informative and well-written book. This is mostly about slavery in Canada, and as such, there were times where this was really difficult to read. The actual trial of Marie-Joseph Angelique was downright horrendous, so I’d definitely suggest taking this one slow if you do decide to pick it up.
Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
I’ve made sure to pick up something of Butler’s whenever I’m the US. It’s getting easier now, but for a few years, you just couldn’t buy them here in Australia. I really loved this, especially the stories The Evening, the Morning and the Night and Speech Sounds—I think they both had really interesting things to say about disability and mental/chronic illness. I also really loved that each story had an afterword, petition to get more short story collections to do that!
Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp
I don’t even know where to begin with this one because I just loved it SO much. If you’ve been following me for any period of time, I’d hope you know how important disability representation in books is for me. This one was just so great. Firstly, all the authors are disabled themselves, meaning that the representation in here is honest and layered. And secondly, there’s such a wide variety of stories in here. I’m a firm believer that disability can fit into any story, just as it can happen to anyone in reality, and this just really proved that.
So I’m going to end this section here. As you can see, I managed to bring that number down to 14. But don’t you worry—there’s more! In a couple of days, I’ll be back to share with you some of the books I decided to unhaul. So I’ll see you all then.