Reading Pool — February


downloadThese are the twenty 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.

Bold=Active, Red=Extended, Blue=Completed (9)

  1. Wonderland — Ace Atkins
  2. They Were Counted — Miklós Bánffy
  3. The Big Money — John Dos Passos
  4. Odysseus Abroad: A Novel — Amit Chaudhuri
  5. For Bread Alone – Mohamed Choukr
  6. I Can Give You Anything But Love — Gary Indiana
  7. Therese and Isabelle – Violette Leduc
  8. The Years, Months, Days – Yan Lianke
  9. The Picturegoers – David Lodge
  10. Sherlock Holmes: The Thinking Engine – James Lovegrove
  11. The Loved Ones – Alia Mamdouh
  12. The School of English – Hilary Mantel
  13. The Child in Time – Ian McEwan
  14. The Howling Miller — Arto Paasilinna
  15. Underground Railroad, The – Colson Whitehead
  16. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang: A Novel – Kate Wilhelm
  17. An Afghanistan Picture Show; or, How I Saved the World — William T. Vollmann
  18. When Red Is Black – Qiu Xiaolong
  19. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist – Sunil Yapa
  20. Angeles Crest – P. J. Zander

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
  • Collected Poems 1947-1997 — Allen Ginsberg
  • The Counterlife — Philip Roth
  • 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!).

What will 2018 bring us? Time to start fiddling with the annual reading pool.

  1. Mansfield Park — Jane Austen
  2. They Were Found Wanting — Miklós Bánffy
  3. Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby — Donald Barthelme
  4. The Woman In the Window — A. J. Finn
  5. The Mare — Mary Gaitskill
  6. Wool 2 – Proper Gauge — Hugh Howey
  7. Wool 3 – Casting Off — Hugh Howey
  8. Wool 4 – The Unraveling — Hugh Howey
  9. Wool 5 – The Stranded — Hugh Howey
  10. Lives of the Saints — Nino Ricci
  11. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights — Salman Rushdie
  12. Frankenstein In Baghdad — Ahmed Saadawi
  13. Lizard Radio — Pat Schmatz

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).

  1. Commedia — Dante Alighieri *
  2. The Decameron — Giovanni Boccaccio
  3. Life of Samuel Johnson — James Boswell
  4. The Sleepwalkers — Hermann Broch
  5. The Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
  6. The Woman In White — Wilkie Collins
  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. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  20. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  21. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  22. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  23. Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
  24. Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  25. Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  26. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  27. Doctor Zhivago — Boris Pasternak
  28. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  29. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  30. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
  31. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  32. The Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
  33. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  34. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
  35. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  36. Aeneid — Virgil

 

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.

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    • 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.

      Like

  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: (http://treeofwonders.blogspot.co.uk/).

    Edward

    Like

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