Writer in Residence

17 for 2017: Jasbir Puar recommends The Fifth Season

By Chase Joynt


16. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin recommended by Jasbir Puar 


Throughout my tenure as the December Writer-In-Residence, I will be assembling a list of 17 must-read-books for 2017. To accomplish this numerically satisfying task, I have asked 17 people whose work I adore to suggest one title for the list. Consult the end of each post for the growing list of recommendations!

Jasbir Puar is a queer theorist, author of the field-defining book Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, and very skilled at recreational Yahtzee. We first shared space in the backseat of a taxi en route to the University of Manchester in the summer of 2014. On that day, Jasbir was presenting an article that would soon become a chapter of her forthcoming book: The Right To Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (Duke, 2017). Though strangers, I was instantly and endlessly bemused by the speed with which we avoided small talk in service of more intricate and wandering conversation. Have you ever wondered how to successfully navigate an affectively contentious yet incredibly satisfying Q&A? You’re welcome.

From Jasbir:

For those who haven't already found it, I highly recommend N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, a haunting narration of the death of the planet. The homicidal Earth is the bitter and vengeful antagonist, and Nature its weapon of oppression and destruction. The fury of the Earth is matched only by the violence meted out to those species which can quell it. I am moved not only by the obvious critiques of ecocide, the Anthropocene as periodization, and the fantasy of saving form, but also by the hope that radiates from the unknown beyonds of escape.

17 for 2017:

1. Mariko Tamaki recommends The Land of Forgotten Girls

2. Sheila Heti recommends The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking about People

3. Vivek Shraya recommends The Mothers

4. Kate Bornstein recommends Siddhartha

5. Casey Mecija recommends Tropical Renditions: Making Musical Scenes in Filipino America

6. Morgan M. Page recommends Small Beauty

7. Lauren Berlant recommends Long Division and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

8. Chase Strangio recommends Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation

9. Jamie Keiles recommends The Group 

10. Sarah Joynt recommends The Hour of the Star

11. John Greyson recommends Citizen: An American Lyric

12. Yasmin Nair recommends Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion

13. Trish Salah recommends AKA Inendagosekwe

14. Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore recommends For the Children?: Protecting Innocence In A Carceral State

15. Wanda Nanibush recommends The Winter We Danced

December Writer-In-Residence

Chase Joynt is a filmmaker and writer. His latest two films Genderize and Between You and Me are now streaming live online with CBC Digital Docs. His first book, You Only Live Twice (co-authored with Mike Hoolboom) was published by Coach House Books and just named one of the Best Books of 2016 by The Globe and Mail and CBC. His second book The Case of Agnes (co-authored with Kristen Schilt) is forthcoming from Duke University Press.


The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Chase Joynt is a Toronto-based moving-image artist and writer who has exhibited his work internationally. He recently received a Mellon Fellowship in Arts Practice and Scholarship at the University of Chicago.

You can write to Chase throughout the month of December at writer@open-book.ca