Reading Pool — January

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 (14)

  1. The Testaments — Margaret Atwood
  2. Hard Case Crime: Slide — Ken Bruen
  3. The Water Dancer — Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Carter Beats the Devil — Glen David Gold
  5. Snow Falling On Cedars — David Guterson
  6. The Beirut Hellfire Society — Rawi Hage
  7. Growth of the Soil — Knut Hamsun
  8. Serotonin — Michel Houellebecq
  9. The Topeka School — Ben Lerner
  10. The Dogs of Riga —Henning Mankell
  11. The Children Act — Ian McEwan
  12. Pow! — Mo Yan
  13. The Ginza Ghost and Other Stories — Keikichi Osaka
  14. Quichotte — Salman Rushdie
  15. Quo Vadis — Henryk Sienkiewicz
  16. Angle of Repose — Wallace Stegner
  17. Palm Beach, Finland — Antti Tuomainen
  18. Terrorist — John Updike
  19. Mac’s Problem — Enrique Vila-Matas
  20. The Miller’s Daughter — 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.

  • Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn — Ace Atkins
  • Frog — Stephen Dixon
  • 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. The Poet X — Elizabeth Acevedo
  2. Shamanspace — Steve Aylett
  3. The Monkey Link — Andrei Bitov
  4. The End of the Story — Lydia Davis
  5. Barnaby Rudge — Charles Dickens
  6. Louise de la Vallière— Alexander Dumas
  7. Castle Rackrent — Maria Edgeworth
  8. The Mansion — William Faulkner
  9. The Mare — Mary Gaitskill
  10. Stories In the Worst Way — Gary Lutz
  11. Severance — Ling Ma
  12. Mother and Child — Carole Maso
  13. The Revisionists — Thomas Mullen
  14. A Book of American Martyrs — Joyce Carol Oates
  15. The Memory Police — Yoko Ogawa
  16. Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  17. Maigret’s Holiday — Georges Simenon
  18. The Debacle — 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. Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
  15. Felix Holt, The Radical — George Eliot
  16. Romola — George Eliot
  17. The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  18. Finnegans Wake — James Joyce *
  19. Seven Pillars of Wisdom — T. E. Lawrence
  20. Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  21. The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  22. Le Morte d’Arthur — Thomas Malory
  23. Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  24. Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  25. A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  26. Gormenghast Trilogy — Mervyn Peake
  27. Cantos — Ezra Pound *
  28. Weymouth Sands — John Cowper Powys
  29. A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys
  30. Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
  31. Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages — John Cowper Powys
  32. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust *
  33. Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais *
  34. The Italian — Ann Radcliffe
  35. Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson *
  36. Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  37. 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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