Reading: 2022

Titles Read = 168

Rejected for Content: Splattergore — Anthology
A very transgressive journal of yuck (is it Bizarro?): This volume aptly named: Splattergore. Warning: Strong language and body fluids..

Strong Motion — Jonathan Franzen
Although certainly not a new book, most of the narrative elements are still relevant to today’s world of corporate controlled politics and the effects og greed on human life.

A Tale for the Time Being — Ruth Ozeki

The Women — T. C. Boyle
Does the reader’s interest in the historical events and personalities affect the response to Boyle’s tendency to base his fiction on those historical events?

Cat’s Eye — Margaret Atwood

Sophie’s World — Jostin Gaardner
A quick introduction to the world’s philosophies wrapped in an after-school special. Disappointing.

If He Hollers Let Him Go — Chester Himes

History of the Thirteen — Honoré de Balzac

Still Life — A. S. Byatt
The second book of the Frederica Potter series. Frederica goes to university.

The Assault — Harry Mulisch

Joseph Anton: A Memoir — Salman Rushdie
Some of the ins-and-outs of publishing were interesting, otherwise just a detail account of something I already knew. Not sure the reasons for the fatwa were sufficiently. covered. Lots of name-dropping.

Roseanna — Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

Happy Birthday, Wanda June — Kurt Vonnegut
A drama; a dialogue; a novel … and shuffleboard in heaven.

The Cossacks — Leo Tolstoy

Forest of the Pygmies — Isabel Allende

The Mummy’s Foot — Théophile Gautier
Short but yummy.

Redhead by the Side of the Road — Anne Tyler
It’s nice to read a story that contains up-to-date situations. True, the difficulties of love are universal but the homage to the Geek Squad is reasonably current.

The Late Monsieur Gallet — Georges Simenon

Robert B. Parker’s Debt To Pay — Reed Farrel Coleman
Jessie Stone.

A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys — Thomas Hardy
Is this the anti-Gothic novel: a decaying castle is overgrown to provide a curious garden artifact?

Mystery, Inc. — Joyce Carol Oates
Obvious but nicely done. Was this on Alfred Hitchcock Presents?

“G” Is For Gumshoe — Sue Grafton
First the apartment; now the car! Will Kinsey take instructions fron a man?

Untitled — Kgebetli Moele (+)
Men prey on women.

Friday the Rabbi Slept Late — Harry Kemelman
First of the series.

The Hunter — Richard Stark
The first of the Parker series.

Bream Gives Me Hiccups — Jesse Eisenberg
Fluff. But fun.

Bethel Merriday — Sinclair Lewis
Barnstorming Shakespeare through the depression: little towns, little money, little talent.

The Financier — Theodore Dreiser
I found this an interesting treatment of how money and influence are manipulated, both in business and in politics.

From the Terrace — John O’Hara (+)
A big fat book for sure. Multigenerational novel of family, love, lust, infidelity, business, government, war, with occasional forays into morality and ethics.

Your Face Tomorrow: Poison, Shadow, and Farewell — Javier Marías (+)
The last volumes of the series. There’s a lot there and it’s good.

The Devil Never Sleeps: and Other Essays — Andrei Codrescu

The Russian Debutante’s Handbook — Gary Shteyngart

Dry: A Memoir — Augustin Burroughs
Very true.

A Harlot High or Low — Honoré de Balzac

The Time of the Angels — Iris Murdoch

Yvain — Chretien de Troyes (+)
Classic.

A Book of Common Prayer — Joan Didion

The Big Green Tent — Ludmila Ulitskaya (+)
USSR after the war.

The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro — Antonio Tabucchi

The Train — Georges Simenon
Powerful story. Don’t restrict your reading to the Maigret novels.

Jonathan Wild — Henry Fielding
Having focused on Restoration Drama in graduate school, I find these early novels delightful.

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon — Isabel Allende
Second part of trilogy.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas — Gertrude Stein
I read this in college but fifty years later it’s actually much more interesting.

When the Killing’s Done — T. C. Boyle
Author certainly has an interest in the Channel Islands off California. It’s actually interesting history. Look it up.

Crossroads — Jonathan Franzen

Samskara — U. R. Ananthamurthy

Carmody’s Run — Bill Pronzini
Early stuff.

Your Face Tomorrow: Dance and Dream — Javier Marías

The Book of Form and Emptiness — Ruth Ozeki

Jennie Gerhardt — Theodore Dreiser
Sister Carrie was one of the first novels I read that ushered in a more mature approach to literature. I know Dreiser has been downgraded as a great author but I find his narrative skill quite the equal to other more esteemed authors.

Talk to Me — T. C. Boyle
Project X without the secrets … and no Helen Hunt.

Oil! — Upton Sinclair
Excellent historical narrative (fiction) with Sinclair’s usual socialism especially at play.

Welcome to the Monkey House — Kurt Vonnegut
Excellent collection of short works.

Lost Illusions — Honoré de Balzac (+)

The Confidential Agent — Graham Greene

Riding Toward Everywhere — William T. Vollmann
Riding the rails. A Walk in the Woods with trains.

The Man Without a Shadow — Joyce Carol Oates
Hardly hidden beneath the science, the love story, the covered up murder, and the academic politics, the author questions the right of medical science to presumptively investigate and even alter the mental life of a sovereign person.

A Walk in the Woods — Bill Bryson
A very refreshing read. Hit the trail and read more Bryson. Note: Hiking is healthy; Slim Jims and Snickers not so much.

Sunday — George Simenon

The Twenty-Seventh City — Jonathan Franzen
Engaging narrative but then, I have some history in St. Louis and found it fun to match my memories with the events and places iin the novel.

Fly Paper and Other Stories — Dashiell Hammett
The Continental Op: Later Stories (Vol. 3)

The Unicorn — Iris Murdoch

City of the Beasts — Isabel Allende
Although directed to a juvenile market, the prose is probably more sophisticated and accomplished than most of the books being written today for adults. Very entertaining, exciting, and especially educational. A younger reader will have a good understanding of the biology and the politics of the Amazon after reading this one.

Maddaddam — Margaret Atwood
I appreciate the detail of the author’s dystopian narrative but from the first novel of the trilogy I wasn’t intrigued. Also, I have had problems with this author in general so my response to the trilogy is almost to be expected.

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer — Philip K. Dick
The author toys with alternative views of Christianity. Having read Allegro many years ago I was prepared for most of the conjectures.

“F” Is for Fugitive — Sue Grafton

World Without End — Ken Follett
All advances in science and technology seem to originate in Kingsbridge. Compare to Forrest Gump.

Hard Case Crime: Pimp — Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
Interesting Meta conclusion to the four-part series.

The Case of the Stuttering Bishop — Erle Stanley Gardner

Hard Case Crime: Bust — Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
The first of a four-part series: Bust, Slide, The Max. Pimp.

The Case of the Sleepwalker’s Niece — Erle Stanley Gardner

Travels With Herodotus — Ryszard Kapuscinski

Goth Girl — Melanie Mosher (-)
YA. Beaucoup de cliché.

Clickbait — Evelyn Dar (-)
Movie of the Weak.

Something New Under the Sun — Alexandra Kleeman
It’s just Hydrogen and Oxygen so it should be easy to make more water when we run low .. right?

The Pillars of Earth — Ken Follett
A lot happens in this novel from fiction to history (or at least myth). Unfortunately I never felt the author was writing more than a contemporary novel about olden times. They may have been constructing a cathedral but it might as well have been a new Walmart.

Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear — Javier Marías

The Adolescent – Fyodor Dostoevsky
A lesser known work by a must-read author. I enjoyed it.

Sweet Tooth — Ian McEwan

The Last Thing He Wanted — Joan Didion

Swimming Lessons — Rohinton Mistry

Manchild in the Promised Land — Claude Brown
In college I ghost wrote a paper comparing this to The Autobiography of Malcolm X for a few bucks. I hadn’t read either book but I still got my friend a fairly good grade. Now I see that these texts were much more important than my cheap spoof.

Floating in a Most Peculiar Way — Louis Chude-Sokei
Remember Biafra?

The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood

The Ministry of Fear — Graham Greene

Brazil — John Updike

A Man of the People — Chinua Achebe
Politics in Africa.

Bewilderment — Richard Powers
Nice. Had that Galatea/Algernon vibe. Which is bigger: outer space or inner?

The Gravedigger’s Daughter — Joyce Carol Oates
Oates’ novels are great entertainments but they do go on and on.

The Bat — Jo Nesbø
The first Harry Hole novel.

The Wild Ass’s Skin — Honoré de Balzac (+)
References Faust and predates Dorian Gray: alchemy, portrait. donkey skin?

The Divine Invasion — Philip K. Dick
Intriguing development of distinguishing reality, memory, and a higher power.

Madame Maigret’s Friend — Georges Simenon

The Bone Clocks — David Mitchell
Starts interesting then jumps the shark.

“E” Is For Evidence — Sue Grafton

Hard Case Crime: The Valley of Fear — Arthur Conan Doyle

Sweet Smell of Success — Ernest Lehman
Short work by Hollywood great.

Chronicles of Old Los Angeles — James Roman
A guided tour of relevant history of Los Angeles you might not have known. References to movies, etc. gives the narrative an additional dimension.

Running Blind — Lee Child

Deal Breaker — Harlan Coben

Night School — Lee Child

Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers — Joe R. Lansdale
If you like Bruce Davidson and Elvis .. have fun.

Emmaus — Alessandro Baricco

The Enemy — Lee Child
Chronologically, the first Reacher novel. Chosen after watching internet series: not quite the same vibe.

Digging to America — Anne Tyler

The Road to Wellville — T. C. Boyle
Kellogg and other flakes. This is a purely fictional representation of something that was real.

The Coup — John Updike
An African country modernizes?

McGlue — Ottessa Moshfegh

Gideon Planish — Sinclair Lewis
Interesting treatment of what it means to be a success and what it takes to be happy.

Noir: A Novel — Christopher Moore
There are novels and there are entertainments.

Apples Never Fall — Liane Moriarty

The Disappearance of Paige Turner — Bart J. Gilbertson

Zeitoun — Dave Eggers
True story. Good blending of narratives: hardworking Syrian immigrant caught up in the incompetence of the American bureaucracy. I remember Katrina as bad (Thank you Dubya) but this makes it more personal.

The Robber Bride — Margaret Atwood
I tried to read this novel several times before. It was okay.

Utopia Avenue: A Novel — David Mitchell
Is it possible to write a good novel about rock ‘n roll? This one tries but ultimately disappoints. Reads too much like the author just sampled elements of the subject, threw in an overload of historical people. and ended with an ironic, albeit clichéd conclusion.

Touch — Francine Prose
Had me thinking about the history of inappropriate touching at the back of the school bus. It was different in the ’50s.

Our Man in Havana — Graham Greene
Great fun! Read the book. Watch the movie. Distrust your vacuum cleaner.

Something Unbelievable: A Novel — Maria Kuznetsova

Wait Until Spring, Bandini — John Fante

The Sacred Book of the Werewolf — Victor Pelevin
Mythic, political, confusing. Ovid meets Bulgakov?

Valis — Philip K. Dick
Author’s fiction messes with traditional Christianity and that will make you think.

Zorro — Isabel Allende
The early growth and education of Zorro.Lots of name dropping although I didn’t notice my personal hero, the Cisco Kid.

The Thanatos Syndrome — Walker Percy
Good story. Relevant to today.

Night of the Assholes — Kevin L. Donihe
Parody. Not my style.

D Is for Deadbeat — Sue Grafton

Down and Out in Paris and London — George Orwell
Actually, a pretty good essay on what we now refer to as the homeless.

The Overstory: A Novel — Richard Powers
Trees. What is the single best thing you caan do to save the earth? Burn down a luxury ski resort before it is built.

The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue — Anonymous

Doomino’s Apocalyptic Pizza Delivery — Lucas Pederson & Tim Marquitz
Dildoes, drugs, and pizza. Short but still crap.

The Days of Anna Madrigal — Armistead Maupin
It ends.

The Narrows — Michael Connelly
Connelly mixes and matches the characters in his books making reading in order somewhat messy.

The Corpse Wore Pasties — Jonny Porkpe

I’m the One That I Want — Margaret Cho
excellent.

A Slipping Down Life — Anne Tyler

The Poet — Michael Connelly
Jack McEvoy and Rachel Walling. Nascent data communication and pedophilia.

Out of Time’s Abyss — Edgar Rice Burroughs
Interesting alternative evolution: humans evolve to higher variations while still living, something like frogs.

The People That Time Forgot — Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Land That Time Forgot — Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Invention of Solitude — Paul Auster
Memory: Makes you think.

Tiny Love: The Complete Stories of Larry Brown – Larry Brown

The Circus of Dr. Lao — Charles G. Finney
Only read in the mirror.

Far Tortuga — Peter Matthiessen
Turtles all the way down; and you know how I dislike dialogue in dialect. Yah Mon.

The Edible Woman — Margaret Atwood

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl
Messy but fun.

Angel’s Flight — Michael Connelly

Shantaram: A Novel — Gregory David Roberts (+)
Long and complex. From prisoner in Australia to healer in Mumbai; from con man in India to freedom fighter in Afghanistan. A strong insight into another part of the world and different ways of responding to life. Recommended, especially for cushy Americans.

Prisoner’s Dilemma — Richard Powers (+)

The Last Chronicle of Barset — Anthony Trollope
Desilu could easily turn this into a half-hour comedy.

Under the Wave at Waimea — Paul Theroux
I’ve seen this movie. True, though; it’s impossible to capture the spirituality of surfing in prose. I rate it right up there with double-orgasm and the pull of a big bass on four pound line.

Cloud Atlas — David Mitchell
Have to admire author’s complexity of narrative. Note that movie treatment is even more confusing (AKA messy).

The Golden House — Salman Rushdie

The Comedians — Graham Greene
American Exceptionalism at it’s worst.

Trunk Music — Michael Connelly
Interesting to consider how the screenwriters based an episode of the Amazon series on this novel.

Darwin’s Ghosts — Ariel Dorfman

Cass Timberlane — Sinclair Lewis

Beautiful World, Where Are You — Sally Rooney

Disclaimer — Renée Knight

Coming Up for Air — George Orwell

1933 Was a Bad Year — John Fante

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics — Carlo Rovelli

The Televangelist — Ibrahim Eissa
A good discussion of the natur of religion over time, wrappedup in an engaging narrative.

Hazards of Time Travel — Joyce Carol Oates
A time traveller is convenient to comment on political or social themes from the future that defy common understanding (Cell phones? Too crazy!). But JCO insists on including a love story that ruins the narrative.

Two On a Tower — Thomas Hardy
A little science and a little feminism but still a 19th century novel.

Hard Case Crime: Web of the City — Harlan Ellison (-)
Although at best a juvenile stew of clichés and stereotypes, it was the author’s first book.

Mary Ann in Autumn — Armistead Maupin

Swans Over the Moon — Forrest Aguirre
Fantasy. Not my style.

Second Place — Rachel Cusk
Interesting fictional treatment of a real experience.