Monthly Reading Pool

These are the books I have staged 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.

February Reading List

Active, Read (1)

  1. Cecilia — Fanny Burney
  2. The Magician’s Trilogy — Lev Grossman
  3. Stalingrad — Vasily Grossman
  4. The Princess Cassamassima — Henry James
  5. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  6. Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
  7. Maiden Castle — John Cowper Powys
  8. The Books of Jacob — Olga Tokarczuk

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.

  • Whistlejacket — John Hawkes
  • Gargantua & Pantagruel — François Rabelais

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) during the big Covid outbreak, being locked-down in my rooms has allowed my reading to blossom. But I’m getting old and slowing down. For the next few months I’m going to concentrate on those Big Fat Books lingering in my Bucket List, I think five of these titles is realistic for the month but I’ll drop eight in the pool to allow for some selectivity. And if I do need additional reading (Ha!) I’ll fill in the cracks with a few genre fictions for entertainment.

Planning Scratch Pads: Future and Supplemental Reading

  1. 2666 — Roberto Bolaño
  2. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  3. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  4. Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  5. Annals of the Former World — John McPhee
  6. Lemprière’s Dictionary – Lawrence Norfolk
  7. Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
  8. Memoirs of an Invisible Man — H. F. Saint

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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