And what better purpose than to make a list; a list of books I read this year? I kept a list of the books I read last year which was 2017 in a Moleskin notebook with was like a blog without the digital transformation. It was on paper. So to get in the digital swing with my analogous reading I’m going to keep a list of books read in 2018 here. It may be of interest to me it may be of interest to others who knows? I’m also cutting down my use of the comma you may have noticed in that last paragraph I did.
So here we go. Book 1 of 2018. I started reading Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts in 2017 inspired to read it after watching a 70 minute interview with the author by Olivia Laing at the London Review Bookshop on You Tube. I didn’t keep too well up with the interview because Maggie Nelson seemed a bit coy and evasive, a bit shy I thought. Read the book, watch the video, you’ll realise why (commas ffs!).
OK, the author is lesbian and she tells the story of the relationship with her partner the all round artisan, Harry Dodge. Harry Dodge is gender fluid and the story starts with interests surrounding the son he gave birth to and their desire to give further birth which pans out at the end of the book. The book is bookended by children but in between is an examination of what is is like to embark on a queer relationship in the 21st Century – and here I imagine a venn diagram of hetero-normative relationships against homo-normative relations. Ms Nelson uses challenging adjectives such as sodomite mothers (I know ‘mothers’ is a noun) and examines the progress or otherwise of Joe Public to accept relationships outside of the not-so-long-ago established norm. It’s no wonder she appears coy in her interview with Olivia Laing, these are very personal issues easier committed to the blank page than to a stranger in front of a paying audience in a cosy Bloomsbury book shop.
I read this book and it made me think a lot. Maggie Nelson is very happy in her relationship in which she notes both her own and Harry Dodge’s perversions align perfectly. They sound like a great couple and I’m confident those kids will grow up confident, healthy, tolerant and wise.