Channing Tatum and the Giller Prize: an introduction to Dorothy’s stack

It’s a bit strange to write this post. Normally, I’d be drafting this curled up in my living room with my cat on my lap. Nothing about this fall is normal. At the moment, I’m sitting in a dormitory lounge at Royal Roads University, walking the line between writing this post and joking about critical theory in the context of Magic Mike XXL… which we’re watching. This is how communications scholars let loose.

I’m at the beginning of my second and final MA residency, and it’s lending me some apprehension about Bookstravaganza this go-around. Last time, I read 40 books. I’m still awed by that and adamant that I’m not doing it again. You can never have enough books, but 40 is too many to read in just a month, y’know? Practically speaking, I’m in Victoria til December 4, and losing 4 days means there’s no way I can top myself. I’m setting a fairly reasonable personal goal of 2o books as my contribution to the group total of 100, and sticking to that is going to be an exercise in personal development. I don’t need to crush any of my fellow readers. Don’t need to beat anyone. Just need to read. With that in mind, here’s my reading list for December:

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OK, let’s be real. My stack’s gotten a bit bigger since I took this picture. Even if I’m not competing, I want to read everything, and you can see that goal reflected in my stack. I’m reading books about the gender binary, books by Edmonton authors, and books I’ve long-since borrowed from friends (but not from Matthew… sorry, Matthew. I’ll get them back to you eventually). There are a couple of books from the Giller shortlist, a couple of mega-popular books, and a book a man on a train from San Jose to Portland recommended to me. There’s a book by Kurt Vonnegut. Only one, because I’m running out. I’ll also be reading some of Leonard Cohen’s poetry, because why wouldn’t you? The only common thread is that these books ones shouted from my bookshelf when I was picking out books. In reading them, I hope to find out why they were so loud.

I’ve probably spoken a bit too much (at all is too much) about Magic Mike in this post to also discuss the seriousness of our goal. We don’t just read books for the sake of it, though we do that the rest of the year. December, this month of books, is about sharing our love of reading. For the past couple of years, we’ve raised funds for charitable organizations contributing to literacy initiatives. This go-around, we’re raising funds for the Edmonton Public Library’s literacy vans initiative, which honestly is super dope. Distance shouldn’t be a barrier to literacy, and EPL is doing phenomenal work to bring books to every corner of our sprawling metropolis. Have you been to the library lately? If not, go right now.

And since I’m never sure how to sign off from these posts, I’ll leave you with the simple knowledge that I’ll be spending the next hour or so watching Channing Tatum take off his clothes. Literacy is important, everyone.

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