Reading Pool — December

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.

Active=Bold, Extended=Red, Read=Blue (2)

  1. The Sleepwalkers — Hermann Broch
  2. Sputnik Caledonia – Andrew Crumey
  3. Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  4. The Vicomte de Bragellione — Alexander Dumas
  5. Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
  6. Growth of the Soil — Knut Hamsun
  7. Seven Pillars of Wisdom — T. E. Lawrence
  8. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  9. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
  10. Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
  11. Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  12. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  13. Nana — Émile Zola
  14. The Neon Jungle — John D. MacDonald
  15. Cakes and Ale — W. Somerset Maugham
  16. Authority — Jeff Vanderveer
  17. Until Proven Guilty — J. A. Jance
  18. Schultz — J. P. Donleavy
  19. Forbidden Colors — Yukio Mishima
  20. The Portrait of a Lady — Henry James

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.

  • Swamp Sister — Robert Edmond Alter
  • Frog — Stephen Dixon
  • Catch and Kill — Ronan Farrow
  • 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!).

Monthly Pool Workspace:

  1. Barnaby Rudge — Charles Dickens
  2. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  3. A Book of American Martyrs — Joyce Carol Oates
  4. Angle of Repose — Wallace Stegner

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 Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
  6. Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  7. Bleak House — Charles Dickens *
  8. Nicolas Nickelby — Charles Dickens
  9. Barnaby Rudge — Charles Dickens
  10. Dombey and Sons — Charles Dickens
  11. Little Dorrit — Charles Dickens
  12. The Vicomte de Bragellone— Alexander Dumas
  13. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  14. The Man In the Iron Mask— Alexander Dumas
  15. Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
  16. Felix Holt, The Radical — George Eliot
  17. Romola — George Eliot
  18. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  19. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  20. Seven Pillars of Wisdom — T. E. Lawrence
  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. Gormenghast Trilogy — Mervyn Peake
  28. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  29. Weymouth Sands — John Cowper Powys
  30. A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys
  31. Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
  32. Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages — John Cowper Powys
  33. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  34. Against the Day — Thomas Pynchon
  35. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  36. The Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
  37. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  38. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
  39. Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  40. 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: (



What are your thoughts on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s