Monthly Reading Pool

These 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 or extended without notice.

Note that my bookshelves are full and the library is just down the street but my aging eyes force me to give priority to digital books, especially those I can augment with a digital voice. So I am relying more and more on purchasing digital books over the internet or discovering classic literature on sites such as Project Gutenberg. Thank goodness for the internet and my trusty iPad.

October Reading List

Active, Read (23)

  1. Empire of the Sun — J. G. Ballard
  2. The Enormous Room — E. E. Cummings
  3. Poor Folk – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  4. The Big Sky — A. B. Guthrie, Jr.
  5. God Is Not Great — Christopher Hitchens
  6. Roderick Hudson — Henry James
  7. The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson — Selma Lagerlöf
  8. A Hero of Our Time — Mikhail Lermontov
  9. Significant Others — Armistad Maupin
  10. The Adventures of Harry Richmond — George Meredith
  11. The Museum At the End of the World — John Metcalf
  12. The Flight From the Enchanter — Iris Murdoch
  13. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle — Vladimir Nabokov
  14. Broke Heart Blues — Joyce Carol Oates
  15. The Red-Haired Woman — Orhan Pamuk
  16. The Humbling — Philip Roth
  17. Saint X — Alexis Schaitkin
  18. Shuggie Bain — Douglas Stuart
  19. Doctor Thorne — Anthony Trollope
  20. The Web and the Rock — Thomas Wolfe

Note: WordPress is futzing with the system again and have acknowledged they have caused a problem in specifying text attributes. This means all my lists that use color as an identifier (Blue = Have Read, for instance) are glitched and in order to avoid spreading the problem, I will not be updating many pages that normally track with my reading for fear they will crumble and go Poof!

To keep the original reading poNote: ol intact, I maintain a separate list of unscheduled reading that might slip in along the way. I also use this auxiliary list to stash books held over from the previous month or big fat books I hopefully will finish soon.

  • The Origin of Species — Charles Darwin
  • The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution — Richard Dawkins
  • Twisted Tom — Rhys Evans
  • The Gangster We Are All Looking For — Lé The Diem Thúy
  • Your Face Tomorrow — Javier Marías
  • Shadow Country — Peter Matthiessen
  • A Fairly Honorable Defeat — Iris Murdoch
  • Nuns and Soldiers — Iris Murdoch
  • Slender Man: The Curse — Jason St. Amand
  • The Ghost In the Machine — Jeff VanderMeer

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 List

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!).

Unfortunately (or fortunately) the current CoVid outbreak has me locked-down in my rooms and reading is definitely a primary activity. Thus 20 titles is hardly enough to fill out the month. So far I have added unscheduled books when time allows or jumped ahead to start reading the next month’s big book. At least for now will not be expanding the pool beyond twenty titles.

Planning Scratch Pads: Future and Supplemental Reading

  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. The Devils — 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

Possible BFBs:

  • From the Terrace — John O’Hara
  • Metamorphoses — Ovid

4 thoughts on “Monthly Reading Pool

  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.


    1. 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.


  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: (



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