Reading Pool — July


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 without notice.

Active=Bold, Extended=Red, Read=Blue (5)

  1. The Old Wives’ Tale — Arnold Bennett
  2. The Hive — Camilo José Cela
  3. Dombey and Sons — Charles Dickens
  4. The Librarian — Mikhail Elizarov
  5. History of the Kings of Britain — Geoffrey of Monmouth
  6. The Yid — Paul Goldberg
  7. Cockroach — Rawi Hage
  8. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner — James Hogg
  9. Tyll: A Novel — Daniel Kehlmann
  10. Cult X — Fuminori Nakamura
  11. A Bloodsmoor Romance — Joyce Carol Oates
  12. My Name Is Asher Lev — Chaim Potok
  13. Shinju — Laura Joh Rowland
  14. Only In London — Hanan al-Shaykh
  15. The Two-Penny Bar — Georges Simenon
  16. The Magnificent Ambersons — Booth Tarkington
  17. Little Siberia — Antti Tuomainen
  18. My Life In the Bush of Ghosts — Amos Tutuola
  19. Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex — Oksana Zabuzhko
  20. Au Bonheur des Dames — Émile Zola

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.

  • The Decameron — Giovanni Boccaccio
  • The Ruin of Kasch — Roberto Calasso
  • People’s History of the United States — Howard Zinn

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!).

Planning Scratch Pads: Future and Supplemental Reading

  1. Indian Killer — Sherman Alexie
  2. The Little Girls — Elizabeth Bowen
  3. The Poet — Michael Connelly
  4. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  5. The Circle — Dave Eggers
  6. L. A. Confidential — James Ellroy
  7. The Crack-up — F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. The Unconsoled — Kazuo Ishiguro
  9. The Golden Bowl — Henry James
  10. The Lost Language of Cranes: A Novel — David Leavitt
  11. Melmoth the Wanderer — Charles Maturin
  12. Tales of the City — Armistead Maupin
  13. Rage — Zygmunt Miloszewski
  14. Mysteries of Winterthurn — Joyce Carol Oates
  15. The Speed Queen — Stewart O’Nan
  16. Where the Crawdads Sing — Delia Owens
  17. The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives — Dashka Slater
  18. The Once and Future King — T. H. White
  19. Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex — Oksana Zabuzhko
  20. Valley of Terror — Zhou Haohui

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. Cecilia — Fanny Burney
  6. Evelina — Fanny Burney
  7. The Wanderer — Fanny Burney
  8. The Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
  9. Bleak House — Charles Dickens *
  10. Nicolas Nickelby — Charles Dickens
  11. Barnaby Rudge — Charles Dickens
  12. Dombey and Sons — Charles Dickens
  13. Little Dorrit — Charles Dickens
  14. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  15. The Man In the Iron Mask— Alexander Dumas
  16. Felix Holt, The Radical — George Eliot
  17. Romola — George Eliot
  18. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  19. The Golden Bowl — Henry James
  20. Roderick Hudson— Henry James
  21. The Princess Cassamassima— Henry James
  22. The Bostonians— Henry James
  23. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  24. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  25. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  26. Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
  27. Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  28. Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  29. Mardi and A Voyage Thither — Herman Melville
  30. Omoo — Herman Melville
  31. Pierre, or The Ambiguities — Herman Melville
  32. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  33. Gormenghast Trilogy — Mervyn Peake
  34. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  35. Weymouth Sands — John Cowper Powys
  36. A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys
  37. Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
  38. Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages — John Cowper Powys
  39. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  40. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  41. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  42. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
  43. 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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