Another Month of Panic

When you discover and suggest a new book every day it never really affects you until at the end of the month when you gather all those suggested books together and realize that you want to read so many of them and that you probably never will. As I sit here with hundreds of books surrounding me on my new white bookshelves and thousands of books silently buzzing in my miracle digital readers, I am realizing more and more the horrific truth in that Arthur Schopenhauer quotation:

To buy books would be a good thing if we also could buy the time to read them.


I imagine myself as Burgess Meredith on the steps of the library, books piled all around me, crying over my shattered spectacles. But then I remember that I know many people who haven’t read a book since they were forced to read Moby Dick in High School. I even know that a sizable portion of the population that hasn’t even read Moby Dick and far too many who remember Gregory Peck lashed to the side of the great white whale and toss out that clichéd question: You mean it was a book too?

One thing I strive for in my reading suggestions is a broad variety of experience. Too many readers, even dedicated readers, are caught in a rut of Science Fiction or Romance or Best Sellers or even Classic Literature. Look over the reading suggestions from last month and find a couple of titles that intrigue you. Remember Kafka:

If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skulls, then why do we read it? Good God, we also would be happy if we had no books and such books that make us happy we could, if need be, write ourselves. What we must have are those books that come on us like ill fortune, like the death of one we love better than ourselves, like suicide. A book must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.

Readings suggestions from August 2017:


08-01-17 – Motherland — Paul Theroux
08-02-17 – Othello — William Shakespeare
08-03-17 – House of Names — Colm Toibin
08-04-17 – Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies — Ace Atkins
08-05-17 – The Unlikely Monsieur Owen — George Simenon
08-06-17 – A Little History of Literature —John Sutherland
08-07-17 – Jumpers — Tom Stoppard
08-08-17 – Inventing Hell: Dante, The Bible, and Eternal Torment
08-09-17 – Chicago Poems — Carl Sandburg
08-10-17 – The Deportation of Wopper Barraza: A Novel — Maceo Montoya
08-11-17 – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying life without Illusions — Alex Rosenberg
08-12-17 – Woman No. 17 — Edan Lepucki
08-13-17 – In a Lonely Place — Dorothy B. Hughes
08-14-17 – The World Broke In Two — Bill Goldstein
08-15-17 – American Dreams: Lost and Found — Studs Terkel
08-16-17 – The City Always Wins: A Novel — Omar Robert Hamilton
08-17-17 – The Seventh Function of Language — Laurent Binet
08-18-17 – Do I Make Myself Clear? — Harold Evans
08-19-17 – Poetry Will Save Your Life — Jill Bialosky
08-20-17 – Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World — Billy Brass
08-21-17 – Shadows on the Hudson: A Novel — Isaac Bashevis Singer
08-22-17 – He’s Got Rhythm — Cynthia Brideson
08-23-17 – The Answers: A Novel — Catherine Lacey
08-24-17 – Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies — Ann Hornaday
08-25-17 – A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying — Laurie Ann Guerrero
08-26-17 – The Best Minds of My Generation — Allen Ginsberg
08-27-17 – The Honourable Schoolboy — John Le Carré
08-28-17 – The Physics of Everyday Things — James Kakalios
08-29-17 – Agostino — Alberto Moravia
08-30-17 – Coach Wooden and Me — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
08-31-17 – Surfing with Sartre : An Aquatic Inquiry Into a Life of Meaning — Aaron James

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