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.

May Reading List

Active, Read (14)

  1. Kingdom of the Golden Dragon — Isabel Allende
  2. Samskara — U. R. Ananthamurthy
  3. A Harlot High or Low — Honoré de Balzac
  4. When the Killing’s Done — T. C. Boyle
  5. Dry: A Memoir — Augustin Burroughs
  6. The Devil Never Sleeps: and Other Essays — Andrei Codrescu
  7. A Book of Common Prayer — Joan Didion
  8. The Financier — Theodore Dreiser
  9. Jonathan Wild — Henry Fielding
  10. Crossroads — Jonathan Franzen
  11. The Exile — William Kotzwinkle
  12. Your Face Tomorrow: Poison, Shadow, and Farewell — Javier Marías
  13. The Time of the Angels — Iris Murdoch
  14. From the Terrace — John O’Hara
  15. The Russian Debutante’s Handbook — Gary Shteyngart
  16. The Train — Georges Simenon
  17. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas — Gertrude Stein
  18. The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro — Antonio Tabucchi
  19. Yvain — Chretien de Troyes
  20. The Big Green Tent — Ludmila Ulitskaya

Note: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.

  • The Origin of Species — Charles Darwin
  • A Column of Fire — Ken Follett
  • The Evening and the Morning — Ken Follett
  • Whistlejacket — John Hawkes
  • When Christ and his Saints Slept — Sharon Kay Penman

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.

Considering 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. Forest of the Pygmies — Isabel Allende
  2. Cat’s Eye — Margaret Atwood
  3. History of the Thirteen — Honoré de Balzac
  4. The Women — T. C. Boyle
  5. Still Life — A. S. Byatt
  6. The Ruin of Kasch — Roberto Calasso
  7. Strong Motion — Jonathan Franzen
  8. Sophie’s World — Jostin Gaardner
  9. “G” Is For Gumshoe — Sue Grafton
  10. A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys — Thomas Hardy
  11. If He Hollers Let Him Go — Chester Himes
  12. Ulysses — James Joyce
  13. The Assault — Harry Mulisch
  14. Mystery, Inc. — Joyce Carol Oates
  15. A Tale for the Time Being — Ruth Ozecki
  16. Joseph Anton — Salman Rushdie
  17. The Late Monsieur Gallet — Georges Simenon
  18. The Cossacks — Leo Tolstoy
  19. Redhead by the Side of the Road — Anne Tyler
  20. Happy Birthday, Wanda June — Kurt Vonnegut

Possible BFBs:

  • The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  • Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais
  • Kristin Lavransdatter — Sigrid Undset

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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