Snoring From Under the Desk

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.

The Real Ricky

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:

  1. Evelina; or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance Into the World — Fanny Burney
  2. The Pale Horse — Agatha Christie
  3. Saving Agnes — Rachel Cusk
  4. Flee — Evan Dara
  5. The House of the Dead — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  6. The Man In the Iron Mask — Alexander Dumas
  7. Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots — Margarita Engle
  8. The Lying Life of Adults — Elena Ferrante
  9. Main-Travelled Roads — Hamlin Garland
  10. Cranford — Elizabeth Gaskell
  11. The Hungry Tide — Amitav Ghosh
  12. The Secret Squad — David Goodis
  13. The Outsiders — S. E. Hinton
  14. Swamp Thing — David Houston
  15. Nietzsche and the Burbs — Lars Iyers
  16. The Nakano Thrift Shop — Hiromi Kawakami
  17. Mardi — Herman Melville
  18. The Plumed Serpent — D. H. Lawrence
  19. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker — Tobias Smollett
  20. The Once and Future King — T. H. White

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