Reading 2018

Titles Read = 57

Shoot the Piano Player — David Goodis

The Cat In the Hat For President: A Political Fable — Robert Coover

The Interpreter — Suki Kim
The Korean dysporia in NYC and two sisters with different paths through life.

Riders of the Purple Sage — Zane Grey (+)
If you haven’t read Zane Grey, this is an excellent novel to start with. Imagine: A range war with Mormons versus Gentiles .. who knew?

Iphigenia In Tauris — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (+)
Makes my old Classicist bones quiver.

Maigret Gets Angry — Georges Simenon

Tarantula — Bob Dylan
Dylan in the mid-sixties was deep and profound; a few years later he was mostly stupid but still a lot of fun; as the century changed he was undeniably incoherent. My favorite line he wrote was “Where Black is the color and None is the number.” Now it sounds silly but still a lot of fun. Play with words and rhythms and have fun.

The Child in Time – Ian McEwan

Donovan’s Brain — Curt Siodmak
A classic. Is the novel better than the film?

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy — Laurence Sterne (+)
Not Tristram Shandy but a bit of a connection and just enough Sterne playfulness (more straightforward).

The English Teacher — Durjoy Datta
One of those stories that just may be perfect.

Living — Henry Green

My Gun Is Quick — Mickey Spillane
A fun way to see how attitudes and human relations have changed since the Fifties.

Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories — Jean Shepherd
For those who spent many Saturday nights listening to Jean enchant his listeners with stories of growing up in Indiana.

Lint — Steve Aylett (-)
Fictionalized account of uber-Bizarro author giving Aylett more than enough room to turn weird, obscure stories into trite, boring, sophomoric failures at un-shocking humor. Does function admirably as a sleep aide, however.

The Monk of Mokha — Dave Eggers
Asemi-true account of one man’s quest to revive the Yemeni coffee industry during major hostilities in the Middle East. Often exciting; sometimes tedious.

The Young Bride — Alessandro Baricco

Mansfield Park — Jane Austen

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights — Salman Rushdie

Maigret and the Dead Girl — Georges Simenon

The Blue Bedspread — Raj Kamal Jha

Some of Us Had been Threatening Our Friend Colby — Donald Barthelme

Money Shot — Christa Faust
A porn star turns detective when she becomes a victim.

The Howling Miller — Arto Paasilinna

Homo Deus — Yuval Noah Harari
This is a book to really contemplate the future of the human animal. Two main theories to start with: the idea of a God is purely a human fiction, and what we call human is not special … just a biological machine running algorithms with no free will.

Wool 5, The Stranded — Hugh Howey
I heard this novel seres (which continues) was different … not so much.

Maigret and the Dead Girl — Georges Simenon

Wool 4 – The Unraveling — Hugh Howey

Wool 3 – Casting Off — Hugh Howey
The thick plotens. But it’s a well-worn plot.

Frankenstein In Baghdad — Ahmed Saadawi
There seems to be some depth of symbolism here. Reanimation of the dead to take vengeance on those wrongly killed in the Iraq war? Interesting, right?

Lives of the Saints — Nino Ricci

Annihilation — Jeff VanderMeer
The first volume of the Southern Reach trilogy. Something a decent dungeon master might come up with but I’m not impressed with the narrative or the style. And there’s two more like this?

The Picturegoers — David Lodge
First novel. Episodic. Follow the lives of post-war citizens who find escape in the local movie theater.

Switchblade— Michael Connelly
A Harry Bosch story

Wool 2 — Hugh Howey

Odysseus Abroad — Amit Chaudhuri

Sherlock Holmes: The Thinking Engine – James Lovegrove
Something unliving, not blessed by God with a soul: could a large collection of gears and spindles make Sherlock Holmes obsolete? Fast, fun reading, albeit perhaps a bit too cute with more historic cameos than Forest Gump.

Marrow — Yan Lianke (+)
Short Novel collected with The Years, Months, Days. Magical bones?

The Years, Months, Days — Yan Lianke (+)
Short novel. Magical realism. Excellent.

For Bread Alone — Mohamed Choukri

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
A well-constructed narrative of the plight of slaves in America and the metaphoric “underground railway” that assisted in the escape of hundreds (thousands?) to freedom in the North and Canada. Very good though not as compelling as other novels such as The Confessions of Nate Turner.

Thérèse and Isabelle — Violette Leduc
The first part of what was to be LeDuc’s novel Ravages. “It’s a story of lesbian sexuality as crude as anything by Genet,” [LeDuc] told Nelson Algren.

I Can Give You Anything But Love — Gary Indiana
An excellent writer, highly underrated. Possibly the homosexual themes of much of his work tend to interfere with an objective analysis.

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang: A Novel – Kate Wilhelm
Classic dystopian novel. Compare the ideas of cloning with other well-known works  such as Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

The School of English — Hilary Mantel

Angeles Crest — P. J. Zander
Trite, formulaic, good knowledge of Southern California geography.

Black Moses — Alain Mabanckou

Turtles All the Way Down — John Green
A juvenile story of friendship, crime, death, and the realization that the sacred human body is just a mobile home for billions of bacteria.

A General Theory of Oblivion — José Eduardo Agualusa

American Junkie — Tom Hansen
Presented as a non-fiction account of a junkie, alternating chapters describing his descent into heroin hell and scenes from his long and difficult recovery. Straightforward, realistic, often brutal. But it’s all fiction, right?

Sundays In August — Edward Modiano

The Hole — Hye-young Pyun
You’re disabled in an automobile accident that killed your wife. You cannot speak or hardly move. Regular medications seem to be helping. Then your mother-in-law takes over as your caregiver. Is she an angel or a devil. Then she starts digging a large hole in the garden, ostensibly for a fish pond.

Dunbar — Edward St. Aubyn
A modern version of King Lear (part of Hogarth initiative).

How German Is It — Walter Abish (+)

Angels — Denis Johnson
Not sure what to make of this one: good story, good prose, holds no punches, but ultimately what was the point of the novel?

Miss Chopsticks — Xinran
Good, albeit simple, theme of changes in China, especially emphasizing the differences between rural China and the big city. A bit too simple though: probably best to consider this novel for juveniles.

Akitadas First Case — I. J. Parker
Short work but introduces Akitadas.