Reading Pool — April


Cool-Book-fantasy-and-scifi-books-15663508-800-600These are the books I have pulled for possible reading this month. Of course, during the month I may get a couple of books from the library, have a delivery from one of the online bookstores, download something interesting from the internet, or just change my mind when I discover a very juicy novel lost under the bureau with the dead frogs and the antediluvian dust bunnies: in other words, the list may be amended without notice.

Read=Blue (9), Extended=Red, Active=Bold

  1. The Decagon House Murders — Yukito Ayatsuji & Soji Shimada
  2. Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin — Alan Bennett
  3. The Brief History of the Dead — Kevin Brockmeier
  4. Last Days of Pompeii — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
  5. Ratner’s Star — Don DeLillo
  6. The Years — Annie Ernaux
  7. Running From the Devil — Jamie Freveletti
  8. Crossing — Andrew Xia Fukuda
  9. Will Warburton — George Gissing
  10. Alan Quatermain — H. Rider Haggard
  11. Growth of the Soil — Knut Hamsun
  12. The Ghost in the Machine — Arthur Koestler
  13. The Rain Ascends — Joy Kogawa
  14. The Frolic of the Beasts — Yukio Mishima
  15. Diary of a Fat Girl — Moira Mugwani
  16. Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff — Sean Penn
  17. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair — Nina Sankovitch
  18. The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics — Leonard Susskind & George Hrabovsky
  19. Throwaway Daughter — Ting-xing Ye
  20. I’ll Sell You a Dog — Juan Pablo Villalobos

To keep the original reading pool intact, I maintain a separate list of unscheduled reading that might slip into my reading along the way. I also use this auxiliary list to stash books from the previous month that I will hopefully finish soon.

  • Frog — Stephen Dixon
  • Wolf Hall — Hilary Mantel
  • The Big Blowdown — George Pelecanos
  • Infinite Jest — David Foster Wallace

You might notice I tend to have several books or eBooks in progress at the same time. Although this might suggest I can hold two books and read one with each eye, it actually is an artifact from my earlier days of reading when I would have a book to read in every room—office, bedroom, bathroom, car, kitchen, living room, etc.—for fear that I would ever sit down and have nothing with me to read. I can look back at my second year in college standing for hours in the registration line without a book or even a gum wrapper to read. I still have nightmares about that afternoon. With eBooks and an iPhone this has become unnecessary. Now I have hundreds of books to chose from as long as I make sure I travel with my iPhone in my pocket.

Putting Together Next Month’s Reading Pool

A work in progress that may change without notice. Still, it’s almost like a peek into the future. I have reduced the monthly pool to 20 titles: this allows plenty of choices for my typical 8 reads a month and still allows for more (and to think I used to pool 40 books each month!).

  1. Venom Business — Michael Chrichton
  2. Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece — Stephen Fry
  3. Bend Sinister — Vladimir Nabokov
  4. The Famished Road — Ben Okri

The Bucket List

These are the books that I really want to read before I die but might represent a challenge, usually due to the size of the book. I often have to wait for the right time which in the past had involved a week or two on vacation when I could concentrate on my reading, usually at the Jersey Shore but also on a lazy Caribbean cruise.

Note that I have read some of these but with some impediment, like an abridged edition or a bewildered understanding, and more than one title is on this list because I abandoned finishing it, either because of literary exhaustion or scheduling urgency (especially when I was at university).

  1. Commedia — Dante Alighieri *
  2. The Decameron — Giovanni Boccaccio
  3. Life of Samuel Johnson — James Boswell
  4. The Sleepwalkers — Hermann Broch
  5. The Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
  6. The Woman In White — Wilkie Collins
  7. Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  8. Bleak House — Charles Dickens *
  9. Nicolas Nickelby — Charles Dickens
  10. Barnaby Rudge — Charles Dickens
  11. Dombey and Sons — Charles Dickens
  12. Little Dorrit — Charles Dickens
  13. The Vicomte de Bragellone— Alexander Dumas
  14. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  15. The Man In the Iron Mask— Alexander Dumas
  16. The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexander Dumas *
  17. Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
  18. Felix Holt, The Radical — George Eliot
  19. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  20. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  21. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  22. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  23. Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
  24. Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  25. Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  26. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  27. Doctor Zhivago — Boris Pasternak
  28. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  29. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  30. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
  31. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  32. The Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
  33. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  34. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
  35. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth

 

4 responses

  1. Stumbled across your blog as I am looking for blogs that review books as my blog does. You read much more than I, but we seem to share an interest in well written literature. I read mostly fiction other than science fiction, mystery and romance. I also read non-fiction that ranges from science, to history, to politics and finance.

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    • I traditionally have aimed at 12 books a month but nowadays, what with eyesight problems and excessive napping, I target about 100 books a year.

      Like

  2. I’ve just found your site while searching for resources on experimental fiction. You’ve got broad and enticing reading lists for each month. I wish I could get through even half those books (and I mean the eight to twelve you actually read each month). I recently read The Flame Alphabet and Cloud Atlas and found both masterfully written – lovely use of language and brilliant ideas. So much more I want to read (and just seeing your list makes me want to pick some of them up today), but lately I’ve using most of my time to write and edit my own experimental novel – The Black Dionysia. It’s a collage of mythology, sci-fi, classic fairy tale, and contemporary fiction. Thought you might be interested in having a look: (http://treeofwonders.blogspot.co.uk/).

    Edward

    Like

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