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2020 Reading Resolutions

Invisible author reading resolutions for 2020

Our authors have reading resolutions—lots of them. From finally finishing a certain book to reading more diversely and drinking more Champagne, here are Invisible authors’ reading goals for 2020:

Anna Leventhal, author of Sweet Affliction:
My 2020 resolution is to read more nonfiction, which I recently realized I don’t do nearly enough of (my 2019 books-read list was 90% novels, in spite of how many CNF writers I adore). Fiction will always be my #1 but I’m excited to delve into more memoirs and essays—I just finished Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House so things are off to a strong start already. My motto is “2020: Truth, But Make it Fashion.”

Bindu Suresh, author of 26 Knots:
My reading goal for this year is to finally finish Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, which I keep being distracted away from—even though so far it is excellent—by less lengthy works. The next book on my list, after that, will be Girl, Woman, Other.

Jonah Campbell, author of Eaten Back to Life and Food & Trembling:
– More Sybille Bedford.
– A second attempt at Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina, in the hopes that Boehm’s new translation, or some lately acquired aesthetic sensitivity, will allow me to get fully into it this time.
– Begin to address my near-total ignorance of fiction written post-1980, starting with the bounty of Helen Chau Bradley’s @notesofacrocodile bookgram, which focuses on the work of queer / PoC / not-so-damn-Occidental authors.
– Find a suitably handsome used copy of Mishima’s Temple of the Golden Pavillion.
– Drink more Champagne.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji, author of Port of Being:
I secretly enjoy being terrified by the stories in the Quran and the Bible. I keep copies of them hidden behind my novels, and every once in a while, when I feel like I need a scare, I read snippets from them. They disorient me so much, and that’s exactly what I need sometimes, but I’d like to finish reading an entire chapter for a change.

Anna Quon, author of Low and Migration Songs:
Read more poetry and novels, with the same ferocious gluttony of my youth. Read in binge blocks, read in tiny bites, read when I have time, read when I have no time. Read as though my life depends on it, read with the same elegiac pleasure and regret of a death row inmate eating their last supper.  

Claire Lacey, author of Twin Tongues:
1. Make more marginalia. In the past I have aimed to read 95 books every year. This year, I want to slow down and refocus away from quantity, and engage more thoroughly with what I read. Marginalia allows me to converse with books, linger over language, contemplate complexities. I want to make my books messy with underlines and exclamation points, celebrations, questions, and confluences. 

2. Read funny books. I am in the midst of a PhD on poetry and concussion, which involves a lot of heavy reading on trauma and pain. This reading is important, and I believe strongly in what I am doing, but it can be exhausting. I want to choose some books to remind me that reading is joyful and refreshing, give my mind time to romp and my body a good belly laugh every now and again.

Brent van Staalduinen, author of Saints, Unexpected:
My goal for 2020 is to read more nonfiction, particularly written by people of faith who are unafraid to tackle social justice issues with honesty and grace. Religion doesn’t seem to shine a whole lot right now, especially in the media, but there is, in fact, a rich vein of wonderful writing running through faith communities that challenge us to be sensitive, relevant, loving, and responsive to the biggest issues of our time.

Devon Code, author of In A Mist:
In 2019, I read a total of 25 books (counting only books intended for adults read in their entirety), which represents a 20% decline in total books read from the previous year. This decline can be attributed to a variety of factors including the length of the finished books, books read only in part, and the relentless demands of a New Yorker subscription. The majority of books read were by Canadian and US authors, though works by authors from the UK, Japan, Austria, South Africa, Israel and the former Austro-Hungarian Empire were also read. Only 11 of the titles read in 2019 were works of fiction. In 2020, I aspire to read 30% more fiction and return the overall amount of titles read to 2018 levels. I also aspire to read works by South American authors and increase by 200% works read by authors from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Claire Caldwell, author of Gold Rush:
My reading resolution for 2020 is to slow down. I’m a pretty voracious reader, but sometimes that hunger to find out what happens next, or to open the next enticing book in my TBR pile, means I don’t pay the closest attention to what I’m reading in the moment. So this year my goal is to focus less on reaching the last page and to linger a little longer on the page in front of me.

Cameron Anstee, author of Book of Annotations:
I defended my doctoral dissertation nearly three years ago and I think I’ve just about managed to become comfortable again reading a book without considering how it might help my research, or writing, or teaching. That means I’ve started to read novels again, in a non-instrumental way, and I’d like to continue that. I plan to spend more of my poetry-reading time focused on re-reading, and I’ve got a stack of those fantastic Collected Poems from Talonbooks I’d like to work through.  I also look forward to seeing how these plans become derailed.

Susan Buis, author of Gatecrasher:
Less streaming, more reading!  I love the weight of a book in my hands. In 2020 I will focus on fiction and poetry by international authors. I’ve always read mostly Canadian writers, but recently Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, about animal activism, astrology, William Blake, and feminism, just mesmerized me and I want to read more from her. The site Words Without Borders is leading me to poets and novelists from around the world; I am especially curious to catch up on contemporary poetry from South America. 

Dani Spinosa, author of OO: Typewriter Poems:
For 2020, my reading resolution is to read one book published by a small press (usually local presses, but I am making an effort to expand my reading of small press publications globally) for every book published by a major publishing house. Because I teach literature in post-secondary classes, this means that my recreational reading—where time permits—will be most often dominated by small press publications, but this also means that I am making an effort to assign small press publications in my classes. In my opinion, opening up a student’s understanding of literature to include lesser-known books and authors is a vital step in disrupting colonial and oppressive notions of canonicity in favour of a diversity of voices, opinions, and literary forms.

Seyward Goodhand, author of Even That Wildest Hope:
After a decade, I just finished a PhD on sympathy in the early modern period. I’m so excited by my new freedom to read lots of random things. My goal for 2020 is to read widely and eccentrically. In the past few weeks I’ve enjoyed stuff that’s really concrete. Two books in particular stand out: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall-Kimmerer and In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. I’m also reading up on the Arts and Crafts movement and about genetic engineering for some projects I’m working on. 

Bart Vautour, author of The Truth About Facts:
This year I’m resolved to spend more time reading. Yes, more time reading… but I don’t feel like I really need to read any more books than I’ve read in previous years. How does the math work on that? Well, I want to slow down. I’m not a particularly quick consumer of words, but I sail through a fair share. Instead of getting through the book, I want to spend more time sitting with the texts I’m reading. I want to double back. Look up those words I come across that I think I know well. Not turn the page just because my eyes are looking at the bottom right-hand corner. I want to think about the sentences. I want to grasp the craft as I go. I want to make connection both within the text and with other texts. This year, I’m going to give books more resolute attention. 

Paddy Scott, author of The Union of Smokers:
As a recent addition to the Invisible village of writers I felt that my “howdy neighbour” obligation should include purchasing some of their books. My resolution for this year is to start reading them. It’s a good list, which includes but is not limited to, from the Throwback Series, Douglas Durkin’s The Magpie; from the Bibliophonic series, Wooden Stars by Malcom Fraser and The Deadly Snakes by J.B. Staniforth; Jonah Campbell’s essay collection Eaten Back to Life and Susannah M. Smith’s The Fairy Tale Museum. I also hope to attend a Blue Jays game one day and fill out the scorecard from the back of The Utility of Boredom by Andrew Forbes. (I have read that one.)

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