I’m Going to Read…

tl;dr: This is literally just a list of books I’m going to read this year.

If you read my post last week with my goals for 2019, you know that I’m going to read …

  • eight books of poetry (at least four of which were published in the last two years);
  • two literary journals consistently (one big name, one small name); and
  • five prose books, either full-length or collected shorts.

To help me stick to this, I decided to get specific and go ahead and pick out which books I want to include in this list. (I fully anticipate reading books beyond this list, but I think it’s important to prioritize–especially given my habit of not finishing books like I talked about in my last post.)

Poetry:

In order from top to bottom, left to right, by column:

When I Grow Up I Want to be a List a Further Possibilities – Chen Chen

Whereas – Layli Long Soldier

Together and By Ourselves – Alex Dimitrov

The Carrying – Ada Limón

Wade in the Water – Tracy K. Smith

The Tradition – Jericho Brown

The Undressing – Li-Young Lee

Forest Primeval – Vievee Francis

Prose:

From top to bottom, left to right:

An American Marriage – Tayari Jones

Staff Picks – George Singleton

Heavy – Kiese Laymon

H is For Hawk – Helen MacDonald

American Originality: Essays on Poetry – Louise Glück

Not pictured here are the two literary journals that I’ve picked. I’ve been a long-time subscriber to Tin House, but it would seem that era (and what a good era it was) has come to an end. (Side note: Please support your favorite art institutions monetarily so they can keep bringing art into this world. It super sucks to see powerhouses like Tin House discontinue publication because of lack of resources.)

In replacement (not that Tin House is a publication easily replaced), I’ve just subscribed to Crazyhorse (bi-annual, $20). In addition to being one of those powerhouses on par with Tin House and other large-name journals, Crazyhorse is a local publication out of Charleston, SC, that has always been important to me. I was able to get issues for free while I was in college (I know, I know–all that talk about financially supporting the arts. I’m not a broke college kid anymore, okay! I’m just a not-entirely-broke half-adult now), and I’ve missed not getting issues since. Subscribing really is long overdue.

For my smaller journal, I’ve chosen to subscribe to Birmingham Poetry Review (annual, $10). I’ve been interested in this journal for a while; my mom has been an on-off subscriber of BPR for a number of years, and occasionally has shared work from different issues with me that I’ve found really compelling. Many poets whose work I admire has appeared in BPR, and really it’s a journal I’d like to be able to home some of my own work in. I love that it’s also a southern publication. I recently had a discussion with someone about the south and its relationship (or lack thereof) to the literary arts, and this is one of those times where paying the $10 to subscribe is going to help BPR keep proving people wrong about the south and what its residents are capable of.

Just to prove I really mean it, I’ve gone ahead and ordered my subscriptions and all of the above books. The total? $193.35. Give or take. Most of these books I already have (eight of them, actually), and who knows if I paid the same amount they’re currently running for online, not to mention at least one of them was a gift. To get the books I didn’t already have plus the subscriptions, though, cost me $105.47. Thus far, it would seem reading has turned out to be a much less expensive hobby than running, somewhat surprisingly. (People love to boast that running is maybe the only free sport–yeah, sure. Tell that to my post-marathon wallet.)

I’m not sure where I’ll start first (if you’re reading my Sunday recaps, you’ll know I’m currently in the middle of reading both Susan Orlean’s The Library Book and Michelle Obama’s Becoming), but I do know I’m excited to get started. I’ll post a brief review of each book once I’ve finished them, so be on the lookout for those in the future. And I’ve linked each of these books to their purchase pages, so if you’re interested in any of them or if you’d like to read along with me just click through.

‘Til next time.

L

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