Books Found in an Old Orange Crate

A very productive year of reading is waining. Even if there wasn’t much else to do, I’m pleased. This morning I was reviewing the books I read during the last ten months and recognized two trends: First, my usual complaint that I haven’t read the Victorians or most American literature is no longer accurate. I’ve even read most of Henry James’s works which I have to admit was not much fun; and second, so many titles that have stood on my bookshelves or reading lists for so long—often many years—have finally been read. Imagine if you will in 2021 selecting a Signet edition from the back shelf to read and noting that the sticker price of the book was 60 cents! Then imagine that I lugged that book in an old orange crate from San Diego to Los Angeles to St. Louis to New Jersey to South Carolina and in order to read in in Florida I have to download a digital edition from a friendly vendor.

My eyes are becoming even more of a problem but I have to applaud the Accessibility features of the MacOS and the current high quality voice algorithms that allow me to augment my teary vision with a more than adequate audio interpretation. Even though my booksheves are still overflowing with paper and ink books, generally when I select one for reading I go to an online vendor and purchase (re-purchase) a digital edition. I recently purchased a new magnifying unit that allows me to read physical books if there is no digital edition available.

Good news, though. Despite my rapidly aging body falling to pieces, my doctor has put me through a number of heart tests and I passed them all. I have a quandary, however; I might be more mobile and have less shortness of breath if I went on a diet and lost thirty pounds; but then I’m old and might consider depriving myself of even the simple pleasure of food unnecessarily cruel. Fact is, my diet nowadays is already quite restricted because of my diabetes and a household preference for vegetables over meats.

Despite being the last month of the year, the November reading list looks just like the other months of the year: a couple of big ones, a few old ones, a selection of very new ones, and a rush of fun to fill in the gaps. Here is the list. Join me.

  1. Armadillo — William Boyd
  2. R.U.R. — Karel Capek
  3. The Hearing Trumpet — Leonora Carrington
  4. The Cricket On the Hearth — Charles Dickens
  5. Demons — Fyodor Dostoevsky
  6. The Island of the Day Before – Umberto Eco
  7. Pylon — William Faulkner
  8. The Hand of Ethelberta — Thomas Hardy
  9. Snow Country — Yasunari Kawabata
  10. Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World — Philip Matyszak
  11. Sure of You — Armistead Maupin
  12. The Uninnocent — Bradford Morrow
  13. Mudwoman — Joyce Carol Oates
  14. The Fisherman — Chigozie Obioma
  15. Letting Go — Philip Roth
  16. In America – Susan Sontag
  17. A Memoir of Misfortune — Su Xiaokang
  18. Facing the Bridge — Yoko Towada
  19. Framley Parsonage — Anthony Trollope
  20. Diary of a Blood Donor – Mati Unt

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