Reading List 2011


As fellow poetry-bloggers Claire Askew and Caroline Crew have been posting their 2011 reading lists, I thought I’d have a look at how mine is shaping up. Once there was a time when I reviewed every book I read; now I barely have time to read every book I read, and I always look on those “every book I read in 2010” and “every book I ever read ever” lists in unbelieving envy, so I’m hoping this’ll provide some way of keeping track.

Books which are currently sitting in the To Read pile next to my bed

  • Roland Barthes: A Lover’s Discourse
  • Peter Carey: His Illegal Self (half-done)
  • Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The Idiot
  • Dave Eggers: How We Are Hungry
  • Tim Etchells: The Broken World (began a while back and then forgot about)
  • Brian Fawcett: Cambodia, a book for people who find television too slow
  • David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest (been reading in spurts for months)
  • William Gibson: Virtual Light
  • Howard Jacobson: The Finkler Question
  • Ursula Le Guin: Orsinian Tales (the current reading aloud bedtime book for my partner and me)
  • William McIlvanney: Weekend
  • Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Short Stories (half-read)
  • The Oxford Book of Scottish Short Stories
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The First Circle

Poets I want to read, or read more by, because I’m trying to be better-read in poetry
(I get most of my poetry through online sources, which means that I read a lot of poems but not many collections. I aim to change that this year. I keep poems I especiall love in a .odt; this is a reading list culled from that)

  • Patience Agbabi
  • Fleur Aldcock
  • Elizabeth Alexander
  • Traci Brimhall
  • Larry Butler
  • Stephen Crane
  • Ann Drysdale
  • Douglas Dunn
  • Claudia Emerson
  • UA Fanthorpe
  • Robert Garrioch
  • William Gault Bonar
  • John Glenday
  • Paula Jennings
  • Roddy Lumsden
  • Hugh MacDiarmid
  • Alistair Mackinnon
  • Lorraine Mariner
  • Edwin Morgan
  • Howard Nemerov
  • Ruth Padel
  • Pascale Petit
  • Nate Pritts
  • Anne Sexton
  • Julie Sheehan
  • AE Stallings
  • Melissa Stein
  • Sam Willetts

Books which I was inspired to read by The History of Orkney Literature, which I was given for Christmas, and which was written by my S6 English Teacher, Simon Hall, and which opened my eyes again, his classes being the first such time, to the richness of our sub-national canon.

  • Eric Linklater: Magnus Merriman
  • Gregor Lamb: Langskaill
  • Naomi Mitchison: Early in Orcadia
  • Margaret Elphinstone: Islanders
  • George Mackay Brown: Collected Poems
  • Edwin Muir: Selected Poems

Books which are on my Amazon Wishlist, and so which I may or may not read this year

  • David Foster Wallace: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
  • David Lewis-Williams: Inside the Neolithic Mind
  • Gregory Motton: Helping Themselves: The Left Wing Middle Classes in Theatre and the Arts
  • Hannu Rajaniemi: The Quantum Thief
  • Iain Banks: Surface Detail
  • Ian Bogost: A Slow Year (Game Poems)
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Mists of Avalon
  • Nick Monfort: Riddle and Bind
  • Paolo Bacigalupi: The Windup Girl
  • Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America
  • Stephen Batchelor: Confession of a Buddhist Atheist
  • Suzi Gablik: The Reenchantment of Art
  • Thomas Pynchon: Gravity’s Rainbow

Books which I don’t yet know are on my reading list, mainly because you’re going to recommend them, especially if they’re poetry recommendations, but also because they’re waiting for me to find them in second hand bookshops and public libraries and radical bookshelves.

  • ?
  • (see comments)
  • ?
  • (see future)

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