2021 ALU Bookish Resolutions

Back at it for another year, we at All Lit Up made reading resolutions to challenge us throughout 2021. Scroll on for our reading resolutions and books in our TBR piles this year.


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Leyla’s resolution: Read more from Québecois storytellers

In the TBR pile: Life in the Court of Matane, Eric Dupont (QC Fiction)

If I had to really assess my bookshelves, I’d say 80% of what’s there are works in translation—a lot of Russian and German literature, but it’s lacking in translations from our own ALU cannon of Québecois storytellers. I was late on reading Eric Dupont’s Songs for the Cold of Heart, translated by Peter McCambridge, since it was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2018 but I’ve amended that now by taking it on as my holiday read. The yarn of this tale is thicker than my fave winter sweater and I’m loving it so far. I can only imagine Dupont’s Life in the Court of Matane will deliver much of the same great writing and I’m looking forward to reading it this spring with the release of its second edition (with a beautiful new cover and an introduction by author Heather O’Neill) from QC Fiction. I’m also looking forward to reading the late Réjean Ducharme’s Swallowed, published recently by Véhicule Press/Esplanade Books in the first english translation since 1968, making this the first time the book will be available in Canada. 

Tan’s resolution: Indie only

In the TBR pile: Lonely Boys, Sophie Bédard (Pow Pow Press)

Looking back on my Read Harder Challenge, I am really happy with the results. I may not have read to all 24 prompts, but I discovered a lot of great books this year. For 2021, I am committing to an idea that’s been percolating since the COVID closures started: I resolve to only spend my hard-earned cash on independently produced, Canadian-authored books, obtained through my favourite brick and mortar bookshops. I’ve already got a beautiful #TBR pile, thanks to the elves at Another Story and Queen Street Books here in Toronto. If you, like me, want to spend your money with intention in 2021, you can find a bookstore to support here. No local bookstores in your area to support? Don’t worry—ALU lets you shop in a way that supports Independent Canadian publishers directly, from anywhere in Canada. 

Mandy’s resolution: A poem a day

In the TBR pile: Bittersweet, Natasha Ramoutar (Mawenzi House)

A few years back during a tough few months, I read more poetry than I ever have. I read a poem a day, at least, usually early in the morning. It took on a kind of meditative quality, a balm for crappy days especially. This year with the pandemic still kicking around, I could use more feel-good habits, which is why I resolve to read at least one poem everyday—a manageable resolution! I’m already two days into my resolution with Natasha Ramoutar’s Bittersweet, a collection I’m finding myself unable to put away. (This is the first poetry collection I’ve read as an ebook and I’m finding it nice to dip into on my desktop between e-mail and social media.)

Barb’s resolution: Read the provinces

In the TBR pile: Goth Girls of Banff, John O’Neill (NeWest Press)

Farewell to 2020, the worst year ever, I will not miss any part of you. No matter what happens with 2021, one thing I’m certain of is that I need to step away from the Netflix, and back into the books. And if there is one thing the last year has taught me, is that we all need to be kinder to one another, get to know each other better, and be as supportive as we can possibly be to one another; you never know what other people are going through. To that end, my resolution is to read a book authored in each province, and the one I’m looking forward to starting with is Goth Girls of Banff, John O’Neill’s new book of short stories. Hopefully by the end of next year I’ll have a more empathetic view of everyone, from coast to coast.

Laura’s resolution: Less screen-time, more book-time

In the TBR pile: Glass Beads, Dawn Dumont (Thistledown Press)

Last year, my resolution was Less Screen-time, More Book-Time. Ha, if only. Who knew there would be a pandemic, with ever more screen-based meetings, book launches, and readings to “attend”? So, I’ll try, try again this year.  One book I’m excited to read is Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont. Kerry Clare included it in her All Lit Up holiday gift guide, and, you know, Kerry is persuasive. I love a novel-in-stories, and this one, following four Indigenous friends as they come of age in the 1990s and after, has the bonus of a gorgeous cover that calls to me. 

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Happy new year! May it bring you all the best in reading!