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 without notice.
If you are looking for something interesting to read, I would suggest any of these titles. Then if we’re both reading the same book, feel free to comment or otherwise discuss the selection and I’ll add my responses.
This month is dedicated to finally reading (completing) the numerous titles (usually big fat ones) that have been lingering either on my public lists or in my semi-secret pile of 3×5 cards I keep to remind myself of books I lost interest in or lost in the back of my impressive but unmanageable book shelves.
Bold=Active, Red=Extended, Blue=Completed (3)
- The Virgin of Flames — Chris Albani
- Taduno’s Song: A Novel — Odafe Atogun
- Maigret’s Next-To-the-Last Case — Boileau and Narcejac
- A Good Day For Seppuku — Kate Braverman
- London Bridge — Louis-Ferdinand Céline
- Cathedral — Raymond Carver
- Ready Player One — Ernest Cline
- The Televangelist — Ibrahim Essa
- Running From the Devil — Jamie Freveletti
- The Blonde Cried Murder — Brett Halliday
- A Japanese Schoolgirl — Yoko Kajihara
- Belle de Jour — Joseph Kessel
- The Mars Room — Rachel Kushner
- Wolf Hall — Hilary Mantel
- Such Fine Boys — Patrick Modiano
- Convenience Store Woman — Sayaka Murata
- The Big Blowdown — George Pelecanos
- Lake Success — Gary Shteyngart
- The Parking Lot Attendant — Nafkote Tamirat
- The Emissary — Yuko Tawanda
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. I seem to be collecting far too many lingering titles on this sub-list. Maybe next month I’ll concentrate on cleaning up my leftovers.
- Frog — Stephen Dixon
- Collected Poems 1947-1997 — Allen Ginsberg
- 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!).
No formal reading pool this month. Hurricane Michael and another pneumonia scare at the hospital has left me in a cloud of books I want to read and books I tried to read and books I really should read, so, since I am so behind any schedule and almost totally confused about what I should do, my brilliant idea is to go commando for this month’s reading list: if a book or book title strikes my fancy I’ll read it and just note the new title on the monthly pool. I suspect my active reading in November will come from recent reading lists, but you never know.
The Bucket List
These are the novels 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 at school).
- Commedia — Dante Alighieri *
- The Decameron — Giovanni Boccaccio
- Life of Samuel Johnson — James Boswell
- The Sleepwalkers — Hermann Broch
- The Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
- The Woman In White — Wilkie Collins
- Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
- Bleak House — Charles Dickens *
- Nicolas Nickelby — Charles Dickens
- Barnaby Rudge — Charles Dickens
- Dombey and Sons — Charles Dickens
- Little Dorrit — Charles Dickens
- The Vicomte de Bragellone— Alexander Dumas
- Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
- The Man In the Iron Mask— Alexander Dumas
- The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexander Dumas *
- Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
- Felix Holt, The Radical — George Eliot
- The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
- Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
- Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
- The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
- Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
- Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
- Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
- A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
- Doctor Zhivago — Boris Pasternak
- Cantos — Ezra Pound *
- À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
- Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
- Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
- The Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
- The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
- Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
- A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
- Aeneid — Virgil