Reading Pool — July

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.

This month, like last month, I am concentrating on entertainment: detectives stories for the most part. I expect to dedicate August to a few classical novels or big-fat-books that have escaped my reading list for far too long.

Read=Blue (20), Extended=Red, Active=Bold

  1. Killing the Blues — Michael Brandman
  2. The Screaming Mimi — Fredric Brown
  3. Last Stop Tokyo — James Buckler
  4. The Star of India — Carole Bugge
  5. And the Sea Will Tell — Vincent Bugliosi
  6. Cathedral — Raymond Chandler
  7. Between the World and Me — Ta-Nehisi Coates
  8. Eyes — William H. Gass
  9. The Corpse Came Calling — Brett Halliday
  10. Tinkers — Paul Harding
  11. A Japanese Schoolgirl — Yoko Kajihara
  12. God In Pink — Hasan Namir
  13. Killing Orders — Sara Paretsky
  14. Doctor Zhivago — Boris Pasternak
  15. Dutch Uncle — Peter Pavia
  16. House of Fallen Trees — Gina Ranali
  17. The Man Who Died — Antti Tuomainen
  18. Flood — Andrew Vachss
  19. New York Dead — Stuart Woods
  20. Nemesis — Joe Yogerst

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
  • The Big Money — John Dos Passos
  • The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — Bobby Henderson
  • The Transmigration of Bodies — Yuri Herrera

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!).

For a break between detective novels and various contemporary fluff, I’ve been building an abbreviated list of titles one might consider classical or more demanding literature. The targeted list (currently) is only ten titles but that means more pages than I care to count.

Here is the pool so far. I will finally select ten titles at most.

  1. Oroooko — Aphra Behn
  2. The Death of Virgil — Hermann Broch
  3. The Pilgrim’s Progress — John Bunyan  <==
  4. Nostromo — Joseph Conrad  <==
  5. Roxana — Daniel Defoe  <==
  6. Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  7. Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
  8. The Portrait of a Lady — Henry James
  9. Women In Love — D. H. Lawrence  <==
  10. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  11. The Betrothed — Alessandro Manzoni
  12. Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  13. 1Q84 — Haruki Murakami  <==
  14. The Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil  <==
  15. Parallel Stories — Péter Nádas
  16. The Book of Disquiet — Fernando Pessoa
  17. Wolf Solent — John Cowper Powys  <==
  18. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon  <==
  19. Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe  <==
  20. Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  21. Waverly — Walter Scott
  22. Humphrey Clinker — Tobias Smollett
  23. Cryptonomicon — Neal Stephenson  <==

I think I’ll select 8 or 10 titles from these this list to use as my August Reading Pool. I’ll probably be lucky to read 2 or 3 but who knows, maybe I’ll bog down in the first novel I start.

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 Death of Virgil — Hermann Broch
  6. The Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
  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. Romola — George Eliot
  20. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  21. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  22. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  23. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  24. Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
  25. Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  26. Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  27. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  28. Gormenghast Trilogy — Mervyn Peake
  29. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  30. Weymouth Sands — John Cowper Powys
  31. Wolf Solent — John Cowper Powys
  32. A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys
  33. Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
  34. Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages — John Cowper Powys
  35. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  36. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
  37. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  38. The Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
  39. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  40. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
  41. Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  42. 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.


    • 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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