Reviewing the four C’s of my to-be-read pile with DIYMFA

Here we are with question of the week thirteen!

QOTW 13: What’s On Your Reading List?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll never get around to reading every book on your to-read list. That’s why at DIY MFA I believe in reading with purpose and encourage you to focus on books in four main categories: comps, contextual, contemporary, and classics.


As I mentioned previously, I have far too many books. It’s really to the point at which, if I were to be in my office when a serious earthquake hits, I’d probably die, buried under my to-be-read pile.

So it’s good that Gabriela limited this exercise and gave it some critical DIYMFA context 🙂

Comparative/competitive books

Because I’m working on multiple books in fantasy (and various sub-genres/categories, thereof) and science fiction, I’ve tried to line up a varied comp reading list.

  • One’s Aspect to the Sun – Sherry D. Ramsey (Canadian author, science fiction)
  • The Towers Trilogy – Karina Sumner-Smith (Canadian author, fantasy)
  • The Worldbreakers Saga – Kameron Hurley (American author, fantasy)
  • Binti – Nnedi Okorafor (American author, science fiction)
  • Signal to Noise – Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Canadian author, science fiction)

Some of these books are award-nominated and/or the authors are award-winning 🙂

Contextual books

These are books I’m reading to teach me something specific about craft/genre.

  • The Second Cadfael Omnibus – Ellis Peters
    My epic fantasy series is based in a world that is (I know, I know) derivative of medieval Europe, one of my characters is a postulant monk, and herbalism plays a role in the novels.
  • The Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks
    I’m loving Weeks’s approach to worldbuilding. His world is a mash-up of European and Asian elements (and probably some others I’m not aware of, yet).
  • Under My Skin – Charles de Lint
    He’s a Canadian author of urban fantasy. A couple of my novels are YA urban fantasy. It’s good to learn from a master 😉
  • Children of Earth and Sky – Guy Gavriel Kay
    I would just love to be able to craft a story like Kay. His was one of the only books that moved me to tears.
  • Fish Tales – Sherri S. Tepper
    Just love where her books go in terms of plot and character. Science fiction with a hefty helping of social justice.

Contemporary books

  • The Madd Addam trilogy – Magaret Atwood
  • The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill
  • All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  • Quantum Night – Robert J. Sawyer


  • The Kalevala, the Finnish National Epic Poem (in translation)
    ‘Cause part of my heritage is Finn 🙂 And there’s magic and all sorts of cool stuff.
  • The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
    Because I discovered I quite like Dickens 🙂
  • The Secret Garden – Frances Hodges Burnett
  • Boxen – C.S. Lewis and W.H. Lewis
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
    ‘Cause I never finished it in school—yeah, I know.

So there you go. You’ve had a peek at my TBR list.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my next chapter update.