Is This Beach Reading?


Summer is here. I’m healing well and only need to use a cane as an aide to my shaky balance. Otherwise I can do just about everything I did before my damaged vertebrae. My reading is getting stronger too. Other than my difficulties with tearing eyes and disappearing visual acuity, I am experiencing an increased appetite for newer novels. Unfortunately I sense that the overall quality of the books I am reading is somewhat reduced but in compensation, the fun factor is up a notch.

As I confessed recently, two things are still cutting into my reading: first, social media,  and second, online movies. As far as social media is concerned, I stay away from Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, etc. but I still try to keep up with a limited exposure to Twitter and a small number of YouTube accounts. Yet even with the limits I have set, I suspect I could read The Anatomy of Melancholy before Bastille Day if I simply dropped my Twitter account.

My movie consumption can be traced to two causes: my FilmStruck subscription (great classic movies) and binge watching Netflix originals.

You might have noticed that I am for the most part filling my monthly pool with new selections rather than rolling over the books I didn’t get read from the previous month’s reading pool. No matter how much I might want to read a particular book, I find there are a dozen more coming up every month that I want to read just as much, if not more.


Times have changed. July used to be the month we would rent a house down at the Jersey Shore and I would lay out in the sand reading Faulkner, Mann, or Tolstoy. I’m no longer able to take the sun and sand but July is still the month I look forward to some challenging reading.

Here is the reading pool for July:

  1. Zorro — Isabel Allende
  2. Cathedral — Raymond Chandler
  3. Ready Player One — Ernest Cline
  4. The Cat In the Hat For President: A Political Fable — Robert Coover
  5. Eyes — William H. Gass
  6. Shoot the Piano Player — David Goodis
  7. Party Going — Henry Green
  8. Brighton Rock — Graam Greene
  9. Princess Bari — Sok-yong Hwang
  10. A Japanese Schoolgirl — Yoko Kajihara
  11. Belle de Jour — Joseph Kessel
  12. Wolf Hall — Hilary Mantel
  13. Cakes and Ale — W. Somerset Maughm
  14. The Absolute Gravedigger — Vítězslav Nezval
  15. Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None — Friedrich Nietzsche
  16. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
  17. House of Fallen Trees — Gina Ranali
  18. Calypso — David Sedaris
  19. Maigret Sets a Trap — Georges Simenon
  20. The Hellfire Club — Jake Tapper

3 thoughts on “Is This Beach Reading?

  1. Michael, I stumbled across this article about John Kidd the missing Joyce scholar. I included the link in case you have not read the article. I do have some questions about Professor Kidd and more specific questions for you as to which edition of Ulysses you enjoyed, and in your humble opinion is the best edition. Did you follow or know of Kidd’s work while he resided in the states? Is Kidd correct in his criticism of Gabler’s work on Ulysses?

    Thanks in advance for your time and anticipated erudite response.




  2. Great to hear that you’re recovering well from your stair experience, Mike!

    The only book we have in common on your July list is Ready, Player, One. I won’t be reading it until later in the year. It’s a group read over at Goodreads in December.


    1. That was a last minute selection since it was prominent in the cinematic press. Last month The Hellfire Club was my choice for a new book and I didn’t get to it so we’ll see this month between the Tapper and the Cline (unless I choke on the Pynchon first).

      Liked by 1 person

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