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.

May Reading List

Active, Read (13)

  1. The Winter Queen — Boris Akunin
  2. The Bridge on the Drina — Ivo Andric
  3. Group Portrait with Lady — Heinrich Böll
  4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall — Anne Brontë
  5. Ragnarok: The End of the Gods — A. S. Byatt
  6. The Ruin of Kasch — Roberto Calasso
  7. No Name — Wilkie Collins
  8. Ratner’s Star — Don DeLillo
  9. The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel — Akwaeke Emezi
  10. Lanark: A Life In Four Books — Alisdair Gray
  11. The Spell — Alan Hollinghurst
  12. A Man In Love: My Struggle Book 2 — Karl Ove Knausgârd
  13. The Melancholy of Resistance — Lásló Krasznahorkai
  14. The Tool & the Butterflies — Dmitry Lipskerov
  15. Outer Dark — Cormac McCarthy
  16. First Person Singular: Stories — Haruki Murakami
  17. The Pit — Frank Norris
  18. The Talisman — Sir Walter Scott
  19. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel — Olga Tokarczuk
  20. The Liar’s Dictionary — Eley Williams

To keep the original reading pool 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.

  • Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles — Robin Baker
  • The Demon — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Arabian Nights — Hasain Haddawy
  • A Rage To Live — John O’Hara
  • Weymouth Sands — John Cowper Powys

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. The Caretaker — A. X. Ahmad
  2. Indian Killer — Sherman Alexie
  3. Shirley — Charlotte Brontë
  4. America Is Not the Heart — Elaine Castillo
  5. The Public Burning — Robert Coover
  6. A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself — Peter Ho Davies
  7. The Line of Beauty — Alan Hollinghurst
  8. Boyhood Island: My Struggle Book 3 — Karl Ove Knausgârd
  9. Readopolis — Bertrand Laverdure
  10. The Year of the Comet — Sergei Lebedev
  11. The Betrothed: I Promessi Sposi — Alessandro Manzoni
  12. Babycakes: A Novel — Armistead Maupin
  13. The Domino Boys — D. M. Mitchell
  14. The Last Rectangle and other Short Stories — Akram Najjar
  15. Under the Undala Trees — Chinelo Okparanta
  16. The Eighth Detective — Alex Pavesi
  17. The Belles of Bruges — Georges Rodenbach
  18. The Warden — Anthony Trollope
  19. Borne: A Novel — Jeff VanderMeer
  20. Pot-Bouille — Émile Zola

Possible BFBs:

  • The Sleepwalkers — Hermann Broch
  • The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek

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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