One of my friends noted that my 2017 reading list had no fiction. This had been deliberate at first because I thought that there were more urgent items to read. Without fiction, however, it is harder to dream. Literature showcases possible worlds, highlighting things that aren’t practical in the present because the present only encases its own possibilities. Reality has to change to make room for different possibilities. I also find that it is draining to constantly focus on what needs fixing. While there is a definite need to reform or revolutionize, and my other list will address that, recreation cannot be overlooked in such struggle.
So here are ten works I want to tackle:
- Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin. This was a tough choice. I was caught between this, Richard Wright’s Native Son and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. However, this is a classic in African-American literature that also features religious institutions.
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. This is one of those alternative futures where the Axis powers (Germany and Japan) had won World War II and now occupy the US.
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. A classic from the Russian master of the novel, this has been on my want-to-read list for over ten years. I had made it about 50pp in previously, but I am super-duper motivated to finish it this time. Just started this epic this afternoon. Whew, he can paint some characters.
- Moving the Mountain by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This is a feminist utopian novel that was published before women’s suffrage even existed. I’ve read some blurbs that many feminists have rediscovered the work as one to reflect on.
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. This fascinating story is about an ambassador who comes to a world where the beings exist without gender and the prejudices that usually accompany beings with gender.
- The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. It’s one of those big sci-fi books all sci-fi fans need to encounter.
- It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. This one feels pretty appropriate at a time when half the American population wonders what is going to happen with the Great Orange. The blurb on Amazon has to do with fascism taking hold in the United States through democratic means.
- The Iron Heel by Jack London. The author of Call of the Wild here presents dystopia, socialism, and all that fun.
- Utopia by Thomas More. The beginning of utopian fiction, More explores tons of basic political questions for an ideal society. Much for me to ponder in these times.
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. George R. R. Martin and Ursula Le Guin like it, but my friends recommended it first, so I’m going to tackle it.
If anyone wants to tackle some fiction with me, message me.