The 2023 Reading List: April

Since one of my writing goals was to read more, I thought it would help to keep track of what I knocked off Mount Tsundoku. Here’s as good a place as any to post what I’ve read to keep me honest, and what I thought of each book immediately after finishing.

I’m changing how I build my to-read stacks in 2023. I’m still aiming for at least half of my reads to be books by women but I’m not going to be as precisely tuned with my stacks of five books as I’ve been in previous years. I’ll still do my best for for each to-read pile to contain a book by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author, one non-fiction book, and one book by an author I know personally. I’m also hoping to work my way through some of those fantasy door stopper series I’ve collected over the years but not actually read. First on deck is Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch series.

I’ve been relying more and more on the library to fill out my reading. I see that only increasing going forward. The library is also my go-to for keeping up on what’s going in comics, so I’m sure there’ll be a number of graphic novels (and roleplaying games I backed on Kickstarter) that jump the queue and end up in the piles from time to time as well.

Simple Superheroes Issue #0 by Compose Dream Games: An indie superhero game I picked up at a convention. Not to my taste to run as I feel like the powers and such are a little more freeform than I’d prefer, but I can see how it would suit other tables. I also like seeing how various supers games deconstruct the genre and build up their own mythologies, Simple Superheroes had some interesting things to say, and if you like superhero RPGs, maybe check it out and support indie game creators.

Marvel Voices Heritage by Jeffrey Veregge, Rebecca Roanhorse, Weshoyot Alvitre, Lee Loughridge, Darcie Little Badger, Kyle Charles, Felipe Sobreiro, Stephen Graham Jones, David Cutler, Roberto Poggi, Cris Peter, Taboo, B. Earl, Ariana Maher, Jim Terry, Brian Reber, Jim Terry, Brittany Peer, Shaun Beyale, Belardiono Brabo, Morry Hollowell, Steven Paul Judd, José Marzán Jr., Paris Alleyne, Nyla Innuksuk, Natasha Donovan, Rachelle Rosenberg, Jim Zub, Marcus To, Jordan Boyd, Clayton Cowles, Scot Eaton, Scott Hanna, Miroslav Mrva, Matt Milla, Luca Maresca, Carlos Lopez, Travis Lanham, Lee Francis IV, Karla Pacheco, Amanda R. Tachine: Marvel Comics celebrates Indigenous stories and characters. I’ve liked a lot of these characters over the years, even if I’ve rarely seen most of them in action in comics (most of them I read about for the first time in the old Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe series), and it’s great to seen them written and or illustrated by Indigenous creators. Lots of great stories in here, my favourites probably featured the characters American Eagle, Werewolf by Night, and Mirage, but I enjoyed the Snowguard story quite a bit also.

Birthright Volume One: Homecoming by Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan, Adriano Lucas, Pat Brosseau: An interesting portal fantasy comic. Definitely going to keep going with this one.

Catwoman Vol.1: Copycats by Joëlle Jones, Fernando Blanco, Laura Allred, John Kalisz, Josh Reed: Jones is the writer/artist on this leg of Selina Kyle’s adventures. I’m presuming in the continuity of the Batman universe that this takes place after Catwoman and Batman got engaged? I liked it. I’m not normally a big Catwoman reader, but this was a fun story, and a good place to jump on if you’re interested in the character.

Coven by Jennifer Dugan, Kit Seaton: A YA graphic novel with a witch theme. Sometimes a little too-YA for my tastes (which is not the creators’ problem, I knew what I was getting into as someone who doesn’t read a lot of YA), but the art and story were compelling enough for me to finish it. I’d read more by this team.

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones: The follow up to Jones’ fantastic My Heart is a Chainsaw. Absolutely amazing. Makes me want to rewatch every one of my favourite slasher flicks, and check out a bunch of new ones. I can’t believe I have to wait to finish the Indian Lake Trilogy. I may want to do a reread in the lead up to the finale. Just like I revisit the movies that inspired this series again and again, I think these books will become something I return to many times, especially when spooky season rolls around.

Dungeons & Dragons: Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons by Wizards of the Coast: I initially flipped through this book and gave it a pass as uninteresting. Finally, checked it out of the library to actually read. While I found there’s not a lot in the book that’s player-facing, there’s so many fun adventure hooks in here for the Dungeon Master, that I’ve totally rethought its value. I would use the hell out of this book at my table when planning adventures and campaigns.

Batgirls Vol. 1: One Way or Another by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern: Not sure where this book falls in the DC continuity. One of the hazards of Big Two comics for me these days. I enjoyed the story quite a bit. I found the art a bit busy for me, as if the panels would’ve all benefited from the book being printed in a larger trim size, but I did like Corona’s character designs.

Shadowplay by Tad Williams: The second book in the Shadowmarch quartet. I’m halfway through the series now! I’m enjoying it even if I doubt I’ll revisit it the same number of times as I have Williams’ Sorrow, Memory, and Thorn series. Excited to see how this story continues to unfold.

Misery is Company Vol.1 by Bradly J. Wohlgemuth: I picked this up at a convention many moons ago. I love Wohlgemuth’s art, and own a lot of his prints. An interesting dark tale in a dystopian world.

Catwoman Vol.2: Far from Gotham by Joëlle Jones, Ram V, Fernando Blanco, Elena Casagrande, John Timms, Scott Godlewski, Hugo Petrus, Le Beau Underwood, John Kalisz, John Timms, Jordie Bellaire, Laura Allred, Saida Temofonte, Josh Reed: I think I preferred the art in this series when Jones was writing and drawing the book not that the art is bad, but Jones’ work felt more a signature style, rather than just DC house style. I’m enjoying the story, so I’ll probably finish Jones’ run on the book.

Birthright Vol.2: Call to Adventure by Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan, Adriano Lucas, Pat Brosseau: Still enjoying this series and seeing more of how it subverts typical portal fantasy tropes. Stoked to see where the creative team takes it next.

And since I finished my previous to-read stack, here’s what I’ll be reading in May! I love starting a new month with a fresh to-read stack!

Here’s what I read in January.

Here’s what I read in February.

Here’s what I read in March.

Check out my roundup of my 2020 reading here.

Check out my roundup of my 2021 reading here.

Check out my roundup of my 2022 reading here.

Are you reading anything fun? Let me know!

New Story On The Way!

My story “Exit Greeting” will be published in the anthology What Draws Us Near! I wrote “Exit Greeting” or, “Exit Greeting, or How to Cultivate Your Big Book of Grudges,” if you want the complete title, as a part of my Uncanny Pembina Valley sequence of stories that received a creation grant from the Manitoba Arts Council. If you’re a long time reader, those stories grow out of my Sunburst long-listed story “Cheating the Devil at Solitaire” and I hope you’ll be seeing even more stories in this sequence soon.

That list of authors is absolutely STACKED! A Giller prize winner, World Fantasy Award winners, Nebula Award winners, Sunburst Award winners; there’s so many notable folks in the horror and SFF community in this book. I’m thrilled to be in this company of authors. And I love this cover! So moody! I cannot wait to read the whole book. Thank you, Manitoba Arts Council for supporting the writing of my story, editors Keith Cadieux and Adam Petrash for selecting it, and Little Ghosts for publishing it.

Toronto book store Little Ghosts will be publishing the book in Spring. In fact, I heard the books had just shipped, so you should be able to read What Draws Us Near soon, and I cannot wait for you folks to read this one. “Exit Greeting” is so different than anything I’ve published in the past. I’d call it my first horror story. When I finished writing it I felt, “If I never publish another story, I’m so glad I wrote this one.” I hope you’ll enjoy it, and that it’ll spook the hell out of you.

Write on!