Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Bookish Things I'm Thankful For

This week's Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR List--but I don't feel like making another TBR list I'm not going to fulfill. Instead, I want to take a moment in honor of Thanksgiving and think about all of the things I'm grateful for, and I'll attempt to make it bookish.

1. Junot Diaz, and my students

I'm thankful that many of my students really strongly responded to the Junot Diaz short story I assigned them, it's clear that they've taken ownership of the material and feel like it "belongs" to them. They've even shown interest in reading more of his work!

2. The growing popularity and abundance of short stories, sci fi and fantasy in particular

I usually read novels growing up, but I think it was less of a conscious decision than that was just what was around. Now, everywhere I turn, authors are releasing short story collections, and more and more anthologies are gaining attention. Tor.com and other websites are publishing short fiction as well, and I feel like it's really led to a revival of the art, in new and exciting ways. Most of the short stories I was aware of in the twentieth century were by and for a certain literary corps of old, white American men, and I just never cared for that prevailing style or subject matter. Now, all kinds of people are writing about all kinds of people in all kinds of situations (could I get more vague? I know), and it's awesome.

3. The community of book bloggers

Reading others' posts leads me to read books I might not otherwise have read, consider thoughts I might not otherwise have considered, and inspires me to write posts I might not otherwise have written. Thank you.

4. Tanuja Desai Hidier's long-awaited sequel, Bombay Blues

This, and getting to meet her, was really an unexpected bonus this year. I haven't even read it yet (..okay, a little) because I want to save and savor it, but I am really grateful for its existence.

5. Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

I have a confluence of people and items to be thankful for here. Besides the physical book on my shelf that I've just begun reading, there is the book blogger who made me aware of its existence, the Bookmoocher who mailed it to me, and Lucy Maud Montgomery herself. So far, Jane is everything I love about Montgomery's writing style, plot, and characters--it's such a neat amalgam of her typical themes and subjects, with a slight difference in setting and family arrangement, and a style that's still hers, but a bit crisper than usual.

6. The National Book Festival, and other book festivals

I'm very grateful for book festivals for bringing authors and readers together, and making an event where reading is fun and exciting. At this point, I'm most familiar with the National Book Festival, but I've been to some other great ones as well, and know there are many more (book festival tour, anyone?)

7. Book Awards

I know some book awards have spotty track records in terms of the types of people who tend to win...BUT in general, I applaud book awards for making us all aware of great books out there and incentivizing authors and readers. And hopefully, more progress will be made so that these opportunities are more open to everyone (and there should be more and more specific types of awards, the better to identify potential reads!)

8. Physical bookstores

For however long they last, I appreciate the experience. And I've tried to consciously buy in physical bookstores when I can, as a show of support.

9. Ann Leckie

Her books have really helped me through this semester. She has big ideas wrapped up in the cleanest but still human writing style (ironic, I know), and there's so much there both to dig into if you want to think, or glide through if you just want to be entertained-she is truly a literary everyperson.

10. Rules for Writers, and Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers

This book has gotten me through everything at all of my jobs. It's helped me teach, and it's helped teach me. Seriously, for a basic guide to grammar, punctuation, and the writing process, it's got everything. I am so grateful for this book's existence (as well as its many sibling books), and that it was given to me.


eli @ the (book) supplier said...

I'm with you on the short story. And as much as my students annoy me (they're all ~13), I appreciate them too. I think the thing I am most thankful for this year in terms of reading is meeting and falling in love with another reader who sees value in shared reading experiences. Great list.

Space Station Mir said...

@Eli-Thanks for your insight, and it sounds like you have a lot to be thankful for too!