Reading Pool — March

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 (29)

  1. Zinky Boys — Svetlana Alexievich
  2. Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic — Ace Atkins
  3. Humbold’s Gift — Saul Bellow
  4. The Pilgrim’s Progress — John Bunyan
  5. The Ugly American — Eugene Burdick
  6. The Shooting Party — Anton Chekhov
  7. Bringing Out the Dead — Joe Connelly
  8. Go Down, Moses — William Faulkner
  9. Me & Mr. Cigar — Gibby Haynes
  10. A Single Man— Christopher Isherwood
  11. The Portrait of a Lady — Henry James
  12. Death Without Company — Craig Johnson
  13. The Wanderer — Fritz Leiber
  14. The Ordeal of Richard Feveral — George Meredith
  15. Contempt — Alberto Moravia
  16. The Boy In the Earth — Fuminori Nakamura
  17. Mrs. Fletcher — Tom Perrotta
  18. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World — Elif Shafak
  19. December 6 — Martin Crus Smith
  20. The Curse of Lono — Hunter S. Thompson

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.

  • Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes — Ace Atkins
  • The Decameron — Giovanni Boccaccio
  • Frog — Stephen Dixon
  • Hard Case Crime: The Colorado Kid — Stephen King
  • The Marquise of O— — Heinrich von Kleist
  • Camgirl — Isa Mazzei
  • Quo Vadis — Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • Monsieur Pamplemousse Takes the Train — Michael Bond
  • Blue Movie — Terry Southern
  • At Night, I Become a Monster — Yoru Sumino
  • Thy Neighbor’s Wife — Gay Talese
  • I Am Charlotte Simmons — Tom Wolfe
  • 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. The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling — Peter Ackroyd
  2. Other People — Martin Amis
  3. The Man Who Walked Through Walls — Marcel Ayme
  4. The Giant Rat of Sumatra — Richard L. Boyer
  5. Suggested Reading — Dave Connis
  6. Hard Case Crime: Nobody’s Angel — Jack Clark
  7. Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  8. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius — Dave Eggers
  9. The Third Rainbow Girl — Emma Copley Eisenberg
  10. Judgment Day — James T. Farrell
  11. Black Rain — Masuji Ibuse
  12. The Draining Lake — Arnaldur Indridson
  13. Dairy Queen Days: A Novel — Robert Inman
  14. Ice Station Zebra — Alistair MacLean
  15. Flynn’s World — Gregory Mcdonald
  16. Nymphomation — Jeff Noon
  17. The Book of Disquiet — Fernando Pessoa
  18. When She Was Good — Philip Roth
  19. Loitering With Intent — Muriel Spark
  20. Acceptance: A Novel — Jeff VanderMeer


  1. Indian Killer — Sherman Alexie
  2. A Walk On the Wild Side — Nelson Algren
  3. A Taste of Honey — Jabari Asim
  4. Trans-Sister Radio — Chris Bohjalian
  5. A Night In the Cemetery — Anton Chekhov
  6. Who Rules the World — Noam Chomsky
  7. The Librarian — Mikhail Elizarov
  8. The Blackboard Jungle — Evan Hunter
  9. Japan Sinks — Sakyo Komatsu
  10. Seven Pillars of Wisdom — T. E. Lawrence
  11. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  12. Tales of the City — Armistead Maupin
  13. White Jacket, or, The World On a Man-of-War — Herman Melville
  14. Killing Commendatore — Haruki Murakami
  15. Cult X — Fuminori Nakamura
  16. Shinju — L. J. Rowland
  17. How I Won the War — Patrick Ryan
  18. Lost For Words: A Novel — Edward St. Aubyn
  19. Fresno Stories — William Saroyan
  20. As a Man Grows Older — Italo Svevo
  21. The Pussy — Delicious Tacos
  22. Hard Candy — Andrew Vachss
  23. Michael Strogoff; or The Courier of the Csar — Jules Verne
  24. Skagboys — Irvine Welsh
  25. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh — Franz Werfel
  26. La Terre — Émile Zola

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. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  13. The Man In the Iron Mask— Alexander Dumas
  14. Felix Holt, The Radical — George Eliot
  15. Romola — George Eliot
  16. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  17. The Golden Bowl — Henry James
  18. Roderick Hudson— Henry James
  19. The Princess Cassamassima— Henry James
  20. The Bostonians— Henry James
  21. The Wing and the Dove— Henry James
  22. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  23. Seven Pillars of Wisdom — T. E. Lawrence
  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. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  30. Gormenghast Trilogy — Mervyn Peake
  31. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  32. Weymouth Sands — John Cowper Powys
  33. A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys
  34. Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
  35. Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages — John Cowper Powys
  36. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  37. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  38. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  39. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — 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: (



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