At this rate I may plow through several centuries of classical literature and gobble down the tastiest titles served on the front table at Barnes and Noble. Yet I’m also dedicating a few hours each day to watching classic movies on Criterion and more than a few video series on Amazon or Netflix or even HBO Max. Finally, although I’m not sure if it’s a sign of health or sickness, I’m enjoying an inordinate number of hours of deep, dream-filled sleep.
Strange. It’s like being in the Good Place Upside-Down.
Ricky sleeps under my desk most of the day and despite my complaints, he’s only a whining pest a couple of hours each day. He’s too old for romping in the yard or tossing toys around but has developed a keen sense of perpetual food-lust that I, being a very old soft-touch, tend to honor with a small treat or two, just to take the edge off the histrionics of starvation.
I have often admitted that I avoided American literature and nineteenth century literature during my university years and had a lot of catching up to do. Well, I’m making significant inroads in both areas. I am enjoying the American realists, like Hamlin Garland and William Dean Howells but, despite being a professed literary snob, I find Henry James an over-blown and boring waste of time. On the other side of the pond (as they say) there’s so much good stuff I have to ration the texts to make the experience last. I may never read it all but authors such as Zola, Dickens, Gaskell, Mann, Dostoevsky, Bennett, Dumas, Melville, Balzac, Eliot, and Gissing, are pleasures I don’t want to miss.
October’s reading list continues my practices of interleaving classics, current fiction, and genre fiction, providing a healthy but informative and still fun mixture of reading in this age of pandemic and digital media.
Here is this month’s list:
- Evelina; or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance Into the World — Fanny Burney
- The Pale Horse — Agatha Christie
- Saving Agnes — Rachel Cusk
- Flee — Evan Dara
- The House of the Dead — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Man In the Iron Mask — Alexander Dumas
- Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots — Margarita Engle
- The Lying Life of Adults — Elena Ferrante
- Main-Travelled Roads — Hamlin Garland
- Cranford — Elizabeth Gaskell
- The Hungry Tide — Amitav Ghosh
- The Secret Squad — David Goodis
- The Outsiders — S. E. Hinton
- Swamp Thing — David Houston
- Nietzsche and the Burbs — Lars Iyers
- The Nakano Thrift Shop — Hiromi Kawakami
- Mardi — Herman Melville
- The Plumed Serpent — D. H. Lawrence
- The Expedition of Humphry Clinker — Tobias Smollett
- The Once and Future King — T. H. White