Titles Read = 273
A Column of Fire — Ken Follett
English History as told by Forrest Gump.
The Empty Chair — Jeffrey Deaver
One good twist deserves another, as far as plots are concerned.
Lincoln In the Bardo — George Saunders
Experimental? Yes. Successful? No.
Independence Day — Richard Ford
Is it a comfort when you are familiar with the environment of the novel or are you jarred and angry when an exaggeration or error reminds you that it is fiction?
The Prestige — Christopher Priest
Dueling magicians. Sounds like another book I read.
The Captive — Marcel Proust
The Dark Horse — Craig Johnson
I’m not enjoying the books as much as the internet series.
The President’s Gardens — Muhsin Al-Ramli
Drop City – T. C. Boyle
Hippie Nirvana has lice and eats moose stew.
Red Mandarin Dress — Qiu Xiaolong
A Man Called Ove: A Novel — Fredrik Backman
Beowulf For Cretins: A Love Story — Ann McMan
Is lesbianism the English Department a cliché?
Robert B. Parker’s Bye Bye Baby — Ace Atkins
We’re still not abandoned by Spenser. Although if you consider his career in real-time, he’s an old thug.
Lost Light — Michael Connelly
Bosch. Not the best.
Who Killed Palomino Molero — Mario Vargas Llosa
Red Square — Martin Cruz Smith
Siege of Krishnapur – J. G. Farrell
Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise — Mike Lupica
Les Misérables — Victor Hugo (+)
Big. But a good read for the dedicated.
Inside Story: A Novel — Martin Amis
Autobiographic novel, literature training, and the inside story of the life of many familiar writers. Full but perhaps too full … a long slog.
The Bosnian Chronicle — Ivo Andric
The Peripheral — William Gibson
Gets confusing: where you are, when you are, who you are. Will the Netflix series answer all questions?
Troubles – J. G. Farrell
British colonialism is in the crosshairs.
Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas — Herman Melville
Considering the fact that I enjoyed Richard Henry Dana, I find these early novels fascinating travelogues and a very interesting vision into a world long gone.
The Coffin Dancer — Jeffrey Deaver
Lotsa detailed procedure and excitement. This series requires a bit of effort but it’s well worth it.
The Book of Blam — Aleksandar Tisma
First book of trilogy dealing with WWII in Yugoslavia. I read The Use of Man (#2) out of order.
The Adventures of Roderick Random — Tobias Smollett
This one worked better.
Three Brothers — Yan Lianke
Sodom and Gomorrah — Marcel Proust
Dates on My Fingers: An Iraqi Novel — Muhsin Al-Ramli
Diary of a Country Priest — Georges Bernanos
An interesting approach to religion and spiritual life in the form of a journal.
Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill — Reed Farrel Coleman
Woman — Richard Matheson
With Shuddering Fall — Joyce Carol Oates
Author’s first novel. Dirt track racing and race relations.
The Bad Girl — Mario Vargas Llosa
The Hand — Georges Simenon
Ms Ice Sandwich — Mieko Kawakami
City Of Bones — Michael Connelly
These police procedurals are good but I honestly prefer the treatments from Amazon.
A Little Life — Hanya Yanagihara
Pedophiles, homosexuality, intentional cutting: fun stuff. There’s a lot going on in this novel. Tough read.
The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom — Tobias Smollett
I may be losing focus or maybe this Smollett adventure just didn’t work for me.
The Use of Man — Aleksandar Tisma (+)
The narrative comes from a journal of the people who would become Yugoslavia and the response to Nazi cruelty. Very personal and intense. Recommende.
Glory — NoViolet Bulawayo
An African Animal Farm? I’m still wondering how a horse holds anything in its grip.
Stanley and the Women — Kingsley Amis
Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel — Gary Shteyngart
The Glass Palace — Amitav Ghosh
A Darkness More Than Night — Michael Connelly
The Turkish Gambit — Boris Akunin
The History of Henry Esmond — W. M. Thackeray
Good historical background.
Kindness Goes Unpunished — Craig Johnson
Walt, Henry, and Vic are in Philadelphia.
The Guermantes Way — Marcel Proust
The End of the Story — Lydia Davis
Three Ten To Yuma and Other Stories — Elmore Leonard
Western stories. Very good. Interesting to compare the title story to the two movie treatments.
After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away — Joyce Carol Oates
The Cocktail Waitress — James M. Cain
Is Cain leaving the reader with a frightening vision of the future?
Lionel Asbo: State of England — Martin Amis
Robert B. Parker’s Colorblind — Reed Farrel Coleman
Priceless — Zygmunt Miloszewski
Art thieves. Great action. I’d watch the movie.
The Case of the Shoplifter’s Shoe — Erle Stanley Gardiner
The Case of the Substitute Face — Erle Stanley Gardiner
The Case of the Lame Canary — Erle Stanley Gardiner
When Christ and his Saints Slept — Sharon Kay Penman
Historical fiction chosen to refresh my understanding of a period of English history that was fading into confusion.
The Day We Found the Universe — Marcia Bartusiak
Excellent treatment of the history of astronomy and man’s understanding of the universe.
Within a Budding Grove — Marcel Proust (+)
Purity — Jonathan Franzen
Hard Rain Falling — Don Carpenter (+)
Great read. Very ’60s.
A Whistling Woman — A. S. Byatt
The Alteration — Kingsley Amis
A slightly dystopian world where a young singer might undergo an alteration, so to speak.
The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves — Tobias Smollett
I find Smollett fun to read. These picaresques present a good view of their times.
Alias Grace — Margaret Atwood
My Life As a Rat — Joyce Carol Oates
“I” Is for Innocent — Sue Grafton
A Renegade History of the United States — Thaddeus Russell
A must read for every American, especially public officials erroneously assuming oversight of our personal private lives
The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato — Kathy Guiffre
The purpose of love and a beer or two down at The Cave.
Lake Success: A Novel — Gary Shteyngart
A Spool of Blue Thread — Anne Tyler
To the Land of the Living — Robert Silverberg
Second volume of author’s treatment of Gilgamesh story but now in an afterworld which reminded me of Riverworld without the river.
Egmont — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Gambler – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet — Reed Farrel Coleman
A House Divided — Pearl S. Buck
The conclusion to the Good Earth trilogy. East meets West.
Gorgo — Bill Cooke
Hey. Ya gotta have some fun, right? Although neither is that good, you might compare the book to the movie and consider the tactic of suspense.
Why Read the Classics? — Italo Calvino
A treasure trove.
The Ruin of Kasch — Roberto Calasso
Freedom — Jonathan Franzen
Gilgamesh the King — Robert Silverberg
A retelling of what should be a familiar story. Perhaps the popular nature of this author will help.
The Terranauts: A Novel — T. C. Boyle (-)
Soap Opera in an environmentally controlled experiment in the Arizona desert. Boring.
The Titan — Theodore Dreiser
Maybe no longer considered great literature, I continue to enjoy novels such as this … they tend to develop a grand view of society, commerce. science, and morales once prevalent in the land.
Babel Tower — A. S. Byatt
The Doloriad — Missouri Williams (+)
Dystopian .. almost Bizarro.
The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution — Richard Dawkins
Good, understandable discussion. Sometimes you really need to pay attention. Science, not myth.
Sons — Pearl S. Buck
The second volume of the Empire series.
The Red Rover: A Tale — James Fenimore Cooper
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant — Anne Tyler
Swann’s Way — Marcel Proust (+)
The oft-read beginning of a seldom finished novel. The newest translations, unfortunately, are not the best. The problem? Makigntoo popular and contemporary and the expense of accuracy and sense.
The Incest Diary — Anonymous
Naughty but only as necessary considering the subject matter/
The Lincoln Highway: A Novel — Amor Towles
Quite engaging. Good characterizations and important to keep them straight as you read. The Lincoln Highway, rather than acting as the narrative glue seemed more like Chinatown or even Godot.
Pigeons on the Grass — Wolfgang Koeppen
A dense read but quite interesting. Pay attention.
Ending Up — Kingsley Amis
How will you end up?
A Loyal Character Dancer — Qiu Xiaolong
Breathe: A Novel — Joyce Carol Oates
Robert B. Parker’s Debt to Pay – Reed Farrel Coleman
I still can’t escape the image of Wally Cox as a stone killer. Mr. Peppers is a Junior High School science teacher.
The Man Who Went Up in Smoke — Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book — Timothy Beal
Put on your critical thinking cap. Interesting thought that the Bible is to ask questions rather than to answer them. If so, the Bible makes any sort of fundamentalism stupid.
“H” Is for Homicide — Sue Grafton
Ulysses — James Joyce (+)
I could read it every year for Bloom’s Day … you?
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 The Devil Wins — Reed Farrel Coleman
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
A Harlot High or Low — Honoré de Balzac
The Time of the Angels — Iris Murdoch
Yvain — Chretien de Troyes (+)
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
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
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
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
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.