10-10-12: The 2013 Reading Challenge

Hello, hello all

So, I’m going to do 10-10-12 in 2013. That’s right, 100 books in 12 months. 10 genres and 10 of each genre. I’ve put the tentative list below, and I’m looking for suggestions this month. I’m probably not going to finalize a complete list of 100 because a friend, E., suggested leaving a fair bit of room to make changes as the year goes on. This had started as a goal to read most of the books I own, but the list has taken on a life of its own at this point. The list, so far, has a fair amount of American literature on it. This stems from my own feelings of inadequacy in our southern neighbour’s literature. As a scholar (most days) of Canadian literature, I should do due diligence to our nearest national neighbour, right? As you can see, I’m lacking books in a number of categories, especially crime/detective fiction and science fiction. These are genres I don’t normally read, and I’m going to be relying on suggestions to get through these categories.


  1. We the Animals – Justin Torres
  2. The Time Machine– H.G. Wells
  3. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  4. Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
  5. I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
  6. A River Runs Through It – Norman Maclean
  7. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  8. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  9. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  10. The Stranger – Albert Camus

American literature

  1. Moby Dick­ – Herman Melville
  2. Freedom – Jonathan Franzen
  3. Canada – Richard Ford
  4. The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
  5. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  6. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  7. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  8. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  9. Cane – Jean Toomer
  10. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe

(Other possibilities I’m considering in this category: James Fenimore Cooper’sLast of the Mohicans; Don DeLillo’s Underworld; Jack Kerouac’s On the Road)

Collections of short fiction

  1. Women with Men – Richard Ford
  2. Drown – Junot Diaz
  3. The Love of a Good Woman – Alice Munro
  4. From the Fifteenth District – Mavis Gallant
  5. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – Raymond Carver
  6. Jesus’s Son – Denis Johnson
  7. Forty Stories – Donald Barthelme
  8. Ficciones – Jorge Borges
  9. Everything that Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
  10. The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien

(Other possibilities include: Amy Hemple’s At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom; George Saunders’ Pastoralia; Tobiass Wolff’s The Night in Question; and James Salter’s Last Night)

Pulitzer/Booker prize winners 

  1. A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
  3. Beloved – Toni Morrison
  4. The Confessions of Nat Turner – William Styron
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. Life and Times of Michael K – J.M. Coetzee
  7. The Famished Road – Ben Okri
  8. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
  9. The Bone People – Keri Hulme
  10. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Indigenous literature

  1. Motorcycles and Sweet Grass – Drew Hayden Taylor
  2. Ravensong – Lee Maracle
  3. Ten Little Indians – Sherman Alexie
  4. The Stone Canoe
  5. Write It On Your Heart – Harry Robinson
  6. Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko

Science Fiction

  1.  Dune  – Frank Herbert
  2. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  3. Neuromancer – William Gibson
  4. The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
  5. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
  7. The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  8. The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway
  9. Consider Phlebas – Iain M. Banks
  10. Foundation – Isaac Asimov

(Saltfish Girl by Larissa Lai is a candidate to step in at any point here)

Crime/Detective Fiction

  1. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard
  3. The Hunter – Richard Stark
  4. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  5. Fatal Grace – Louise Penny
  6. L.A. Confidential – James Ellroy
  7. Sidetracked – Henning Mankell

Poetry collections

  1. Cartography and Walking – Adam Dickinson
  2. Black – George Elliotte Clarke
  3. Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person – Eirin Moure
  4. Steveston – Daphne Marlatt
  5. New and Selected Poems– Mary Oliver
  6. Yesno – Dennis Lee
  7. The Martyrology Books 1 & 2 – bpNichol
  8. Land to Light On – Dionne Brand
  9. Towards the Last Spike – E.J. Pratt
  10. Night Fields  – Don McKay

(Other possibilities include Pablo Neruda’s Residence on Earth; William Carlos Williams’ Spring and All; Derek Walcott’s Omeros; Richard Wilbur’s Things of this World; and Wallace Stevens’ Harmonium)

Environmentally Friendly Books

  1. Discordant Harmonies  – Daniel Botkin
  2. Ecological Imperialism – Alfred Crosby
  3. The Practice of the Wild – Gary Snyder
  4. The Golden Spruce – John Valliant
  5. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard
  6. Arctic Dreams – Barry Lopez
  7. Birdscapes – Jeremy Mynott
  8. Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
  9. Out of Eden – Alan Burdick
  10. Sand County Almanac – Aldo Leopold

(Other suggestions which are certainly still in play at this point include: Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire, Brian Brett’s Trauma Farm, and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods)

Young Adult Literature

  1. Perks of Being Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  2. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
  3. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
  4. Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
  5. Jim the Boy – Tony Earley
  6. Wednesday Wars – Gary Schmidt
  7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
  8. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
  9. The Giver – Lois Lowry
  10. Divergent – Veronica Roth


    • I looked at “The Corrections” but it’s longer than “Freedom”. And I own “Freedom,” so it takes the spot even if it is not as good. I haven’t heard of a lot of these books either, that’s part of the fun of 10-10-12. I’ve gotten a lot of recommendations and looked at a lot of “Best of” lists. My hope is that my reading palate expands a little more over the course of next year.

  1. Oooh, excellent list! Books you should add: “In Search of April Raintree” and “Kiss of the Fur Queen” (under Indigenous literature), and at least one Agatha Christie novel. Have you read Larissa Lai’s “Saltfish Girl”? It is excellent, and you could put it under SciFi. Also, I am biased, but I think you should swap Dionne Brand’s “Land to Light on” for “Map to the Door of no Return,” which is actually not technically a collection of poems, but whatever. Also, for crime fiction, Henning Mankell. Good luck!!

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