Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cleaned-up reading list

I was finding my main reading list just a bit too chaotic. I also depressed myself by calculating that I may well still be working on the list into 2021, so I decided to straighten it up and do just a bit of rearranging, even though in some cases the original logic of pairing books has been lost.  (Though given that many were not read in these pairings, it is probably not necessary to highlight them, though you can turn to the earlier list if interested.)  I still will be working off of this list (or one very like it) for the foreseeable future, and I'm sure soon enough I will be reading books out of sequence.  I still am ending most years with a massive novel (this year it will be The Way We Live Now), and I think I will try to work in one or two Dickens's novels each year, since I have actually read so few of them.  At least in the short term, I seem to have radically slowed down on the non-fiction front, but I'll probably squeeze a few in from time to time.

Lahiri The Unaccustomed Earth
Austen Sense and Sensibility
Trollope The Way We Live Now
Bove A Singular Man
Mordecai Richler The Street 
Austen Pride and Prejudice
Narayan An Astrologer's Day/Lawley Road/A Breath of Lucifer (stories)
Gaskell North and South
Dickens Hard Times (surprisingly unsatisfying -- North and South is far better)
Nancy Mitford The Pursuit of Love/Love in a Cold Climate/Don't Tell Alfred
Reve The Evenings
Zweig The Post Office Girl & Journey into the Past
Nina Berberova The Tattered Cloak & The Revolt
Bennett The Old Wives' Tale
Jane Bowles Two Serious Ladies
Spark Memento Mori
Didion The Year of Magical Thinking
Singer Enemies
Malamud The Assistant
Mitford The Blessing
Brand What We All Long For
Munro Friend of My Youth
Faulkner Flags in the Dust & The Unvanquished
P. Roth  - The Breast, The Professor of Desire, The Dying Animal
Bullins The Hungered One
S. Lem Solaris
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky Roadside Picnic
E. Wilson Hetty Dorval
Gaskell Wives and Daughters
Nancy Lee Dead Girls
Melville The Confidence Man
Mann Felix Krull
Kafka Amerika (the new translation)
Weinzweig Passing Ceremony
Tatyana Tolstaya White Walls: Collected Stories (combines On the Golden Porch and Sleepwalker in a Fog)
Maharaj The Amazing Absorbing Boy
Cline Ready Player One
Max Apple The Propheteers
Pablo Vierci The Imposters
Katherine Porter Ship of Fools
Khushwant Singh Train To Pakistan
Tayeb Salih Season of Migration to the North
Bouchet Sun of a Distant Land
Wilson Alif the Unseen
al-Khamissi Taxi (actually non-fiction reportage)
Mahfouz Midaq Alley
Paul Bowles The Delicate Prey & A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard
Kim Thúy Vi
Jez Butterworth Mojo (unpleasant play that wishes it were a Tarantino movie)
Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd (so very terrible that I bailed halfway in)
Lyudmila Ulitskaya The Funeral Party
Faulkner A Fable (vastly over-rated)
Banville Ancient Light 
Wayde Compton The Outer Harbour
Paul Auster Moon Palace  
Bioy-Casares The Invention of Morel & The Celestial Plot
Gregor von Rezzori Death of My Brother Abel (sadly disappointing)
DeLillo White Noise (I shouldn't jump so far out of order, but I think I shall anyway)
Updike The Rabbit Novels:
  • Rabbit, Run
  • Rabbit Redux
  • Rabbit is Rich
  • Rabbit at Rest
  • Rabbit Remembered from Licks of Love
Jez Butterworth Parlour Song
Krzhizhanovsky The Letter Killers Club
David Lodge The British Museum is Falling Down
(a bit of interspersion with these shorter works and the Rabbit novels)
Homer Iliad & Odyssey
Atwood The Penelopiad
Virgil The Aeneid
Ovid Metamorphoses
Montaigne Essays (Selected) & Shakespeare's Montaigne (NYRB)
Musil The Man Without Qualities (after a 3 month slog!)
Max Apple The Oranging of America & The Jew of Home Depot
Narayan Malgudi Days (short stories)
Toews A Complicated Kindness
Cyprian Ekwensi Lokotown and Other Stories (includes Glittering City)
Achebe Arrow of God
Powers Morte d'Urban
Grimson Within Normal Limits
Stone A Hall of Mirrors
William Maxwell LOA novels (Bright Center of Heaven | They Came Like Swallows | The Folded Leaf | Time Will Darken It | The Château | So Long, See You Tomorrow)
Dawn Powell A Time To Be Born 
Dawn Powell LOA novels 1944-62 (My Home Is Far Away | The Locusts Have No King | The Wicked Pavilion | The Golden Spur) 
(intersperse Maxwell and Powell)
Thisby The Good People of New York
Albert Cossery Men God Forgot & The House of Certain Death
Hanif Red Birds (so very disappointing)
DeLillo Cosmopolis (also out of order)
Pym Some Tame Gazelle 
Sontag Debriefing (I, Etcetera plus 3 additional stories)
Burroughs Naked Lunch
Craig Nova Wetware
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky The Doomed City & Monday Starts on Saturday
Evelyn Lau Fresh Girls and Other Stories
Celine Journey to the End of the Night
Tokarczuk Flights
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez The Insatiable Spiderman
T.C. Boyle The Road to Wellville & Drop City
Adam Langer Crossing California
Ariel Dorfman Burning City (abandoned 3/4 through, not worth my time)
DeLillo The Body Artist (really disliked this one)
Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay Panty
Sinclair Lewis (Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry, Dodsworth and It Can't Happen Here) 
Maritta Wolff -- Whistle Stop, Night Shift, Sudden Rain, Buttonwood and The Big Nickelodeon
(intersperse Lewis with Wolff)
Tom Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities
Masuji Ibuse Black Rain
Maugham The Razor's Edge
Maharaj Adjacentland
Elaine McCluskey The Most Heartless Town in Canada
Aeschylus The Oresteia
Faulkner The Snopes Family (Hamlet, Town, Mansion)
Powers Wheat That Springeth Green
Bioy-Casares Asleep in the Sun
Mavis Gallant Home Truths
Natalia Ginzburg Family Lexicon
Camilla Grudova The Doll's Alphabet
K.D. Miller Late Breaking
Malamud Pictures of Fidelman
Raspe-Burger Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Krzhizhanovsky The Return of Munchausen
Saunders Lincoln in the Bardo (dropped with prejudice after 30 pretentious pages) 
Guy Vanderhaeghe Things as They Are?
David Bezmozgis Immigrant City 
Mary McCarthy The Group
Pym Excellent Women
Melville Pierre
Kierkegaard Either/Or & Fear and Trembling & Sickness Unto Death
Tadeusz Borowski This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Amis The Alteration
Mahfouz The Mirage (disappointing -- I read it before but suppressed the memory)
Walser Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories
P. Roth -- Zuckerman Bound, The Counterlife, Exit Ghost

Richard Yates Eleven Kinds of Loneliness  
John O'Hara Waiting for Winter
Richard Yates Revolutionary Road
John O'Hara Appointment in Samarra
Anthony Marra The Tsar of Love and Techno
Craig Nova Incandescence & The Good Son
Fontane Effi Briest
Beckett Krapp's Last Tape & Three Novels
Waugh Decline & Fall and Vile Bodies
Cyprian Ekwensi People of the City & Jagua Nana
Ondjaki Transparent City
Victor Serge Conquered City
Fuentes Where the Air is Clear
Perec Life: A User's Manual
Vargas Llosa The Time of the Hero
Lethem Feral Detective
Craig Nova The Informer
Chaudhuri Friend of My Youth
Elizabeth Bowen The Heat of the Day
Mieko Kawakami Ms. Ice Sandwich
Hideo Furukawa Slow Boat 
Fontane Before the Storm (try to arrange to read Dec. 2019)
Tolstoy War and Peace
Vasily Grossman Stalingrad & Life and Fate
Marra A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Vikram Chandra Love and Longing in Bombay 
Victor Serge Midnight in the Century
Don DeLillo End Zone
Ivan Vladislavić Double Negative
Pym Jane and Prudence
Bissoondath Digging Up the Mountains
Skvorecky Miss Silver's Past & The Swell Season
Bellow Ravelstein
Roth The Human Stain
Prager A Visit From the Footbinder
A. Barrett Ship Fever
Mahfouz In the Time of Love & The Search
Lowry Under the Volcano
Hesse Siddhartha
Ghosh The Calcutta Chromosome
Khushwant Singh Delhi 
Narayan The Guide
Natalia Ginzburg The Road to the City (includes The Dry Heart)
Dickens Pictures from Italy & American Notes
Herzen Letters from France and Italy
Gogol Dead Souls
Conrad The Secret Agent
Bely Petersburg
Victor Serge Unforgiving Years
Pynchon The Crying of Lot 49 (and V???)
Ed Park Personal Days
John Fante The Big Hunger
Kawabata Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
Meera Syal Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee
Amitava Kumar Nobody Does the Right Thing
Berberova Billancourt Tales & Cape of Storms
Russell Smith How Insensitive & Noise
Julian Barnes Pulse (stories)
Takashi Hiraide The Guest Cat
Hemingway The Sun Also Rises
Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise
Hemingway A Farewell to Arms
Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned
Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls
Dos Passos Adventures of a Young Man
Fitzgerald Tender Is the Night 
Hemingway A Moveable Feast
Fitzgerald The Last Tycoon
James Crumley The Wrong Case & Dancing Bear
Gloria Naylor Mama Day
Fuentes A Change of Skin
Naipaul Miguel Street
Kevin Patterson Consumption
Lethem Fortress of Solitude
Sontag Against Interpretation
Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Paule Marshall The Fisher King
Bissoondath A Casual Brutality
Hoban Turtle Diary
Fuentes Aura
Russell Smith Muriella Pent
Nina Berberova The Ladies from St. Petersburg  
Laurie Colwin Family Happiness (disappointing compared to Happy All the Time)
Madeleine St John The Women in Black
Bove Quicksand
(after this more Pym and Doris Lessing* and a return to Mahfouz and Narayan)
Desani All About H. Hatterr
Bellow Adventures of Augie March
Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment
Conrad Under Western Eyes
Chekhov 7 Short Novels
Turgenev Smoke
Huxley Chrome Yellow
Turgenev Virgin Soil
Huxley Mortal Coils (stories, incl. The Gioconda Smile)
Gissing New Grub Street
Neruda Isla Negra
Fuentes Terra Nostra
Steinbeck To a God Unknown
Cesare Pavese Selected Works
Mary McCarthy Birds of America
P. Roth American Pastoral
Kafu American Stories
I.B. Singer Enemies
J. Roth Radetzky March & The Emperor's Tomb
Walser The Tanners 
Pym Less Than Angels
Elizabeth Bowen Eva Trout
McKay Home to Harlem
Don DeLillo Great Jones Street 
Constance Beresford-Howe The Book of Eve
Helen Weinzweig Basic Black with Pearls
John Lavery Sandra Beck
Rhyno To Me You Seem Giant
Saramago Skylight
R. Mistry Tales from Firozsha Baag
Adiga Between the Assassinations
Fisher The Conjure Man Dies
Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber
Welty The Robber Bridegroom 
Taylor The Wedding Group 
Didion The White Album
Green Blindness
Saramago Blindness
Knut Hamsun Hunger
John Fante The Bandini Quartet (Wait Until Spring, Bandini; The Road to Los Angeles; Ask the Dust and Dreams From Bunker Hill)
Perec A Void
Camus The Plague (and perhaps reread/skim The Stranger)
Malraux Man's Fate
Koestler Darkness at Noon 
Victor Serge The Case of Comrade Tulayev
Thien Do Not Say We Have Nothing 
Kim Thúy Ru
Malamud The Fixer
DeLillo Ratner's Star 
Skvorecky The Miracle Game & Dvorak in Love
P. Roth Nemeses (Everyman, Indignation, The Humbling, Nemesis)
M. Thomas Man Gone Down
Green Living 
Taylor Blaming 
Levi The Sixth Day
Mann The Magic Mountain
Huysmans Against Nature
Austen Mansfield Park
Chloe Benjamin The Immortalists
Gide The Immoralist/Strait Is the Gate
Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow
Scarlett Thomas PopCo 
Pym A Glass of Blessings
Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer
Christopher Isherwood Berlin Stories
Joseph Roth The White Cities/Report from Paris
Fante West of Rome
Ghosh The Glass Palace
Craig Nova The Congressman's Daughter & Tornado Alley
Peter Carey Parrot and Olivier in America - indefinitely suspended for cowardice
de Tocqueville Democracy in America 
Trollope The Three Clerks
Achebe  A Man of the People
Cela The Hive 
Achebe Anthills of the Savannah
Hoban Riddley Walker
Tunney Flan 
Powys Wolf Soylent
Drew Hayden Taylor Take Us to Your Leader
Lem Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
Lem More Tales of Pirx the Pilot (a lot of Lem worth reading, but I might circle back first to Pirx and then Ijon Tichy (The Star Diaries, Memoirs of a space traveler and The Futurological Congress))
Victor Pelevin Omon Ra
Hardy Return of the Native
Steinbeck Tortilla Flat
Álvaro Mutis Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll 
Murdoch The Sea The Sea (way out of sequence, maybe rethink this)
Pynchon Against the Day 
DeLillo Players/Running Dog
Murakami Norwegian Wood
Austen Emma
Guillaume Morissette New Tab
Gornick Louisa Meets Bear
Narayan The Man-Eater of Malgudi
DeLillo Amazons
Findley Dinner Along the Amazon
Churchill Cloud 9
Cortazar 62: A Model Kit
Lessing The Golden Notebook
Craig Nova The Book of Dreams
Musil Five Women
Jean Rhys Quartet & After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie
Munro Open Secrets
Didion Democracy
Guy Vanderhaeghe Homesick
Malamud The Tenants
Forrest Meteor in the Madhouse
Trollope Why Frau Frohmann Raised Her Prices
Vicki Baum Grand Hotel
Anna Seghers Transit (NYRB)
Bove Night Departure & No Place
D.H. Lawrence Sons and Lovers (uncut version)
Faulkner Sanctuary & Requiem for a Nun
Green Party Going
Woolf Mrs. Dalloway/Mrs. Dalloway's Party
Austen Persuasion
Isak Dinesen Babette's Feast & Ehrengard
Nabokov The Enchanter ?
Elias Canetti Memoirs (The Tongue Set Free/The Torch in My Ear/The Play of the Eye) 
Narayan The Vendor of Sweets
Chatterjee English, August: An Indian Story
Dickens Oliver Twist
Celine Death on the Installment Plan
Mahfouz Heart of the Night & The Beggar
Balzac The Human Comedy/Pere Goriot
Davies The Salterton Trilogy
Didion Play It As It Lays
Trollope He Knew He Was Right
Bissoondath Doing the Heart Good
Rhys Good Morning, Midnight
Engel Lunatic Villas
Mann Buddenbrooks
Murakami Men Without Women
Angela Carter Wise Children
O'Connor Wise Blood
Welty Delta Wedding
Zola The Fortune of the Rougons
Téa Obreht The Tiger's Wife
Dostoevsky The Brothers Karamazov

(I'll have to keeping intersperse a bit more Canadian fiction (I've already added a bit more Alice Munro and some Atwood), and probably some of the early DeLillo novels, a few more from Narayan and Mahfouz and perhaps Nabokov from their respective lists, reread Barbara Pym and then perhaps tackle Dickens and Trollope.  Still, this is a decent 2-3 year plan (or 4-5 if I throw in a lot of Trollope and Musil's The Man Without Qualities and maybe cycle back through Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa), so we'll just see how it goes.  I'm sure unpacking and rearranging the books will cause me to promote others on the list higher.  I think after I make it through this extended list, I will more or less work my way through the rest of the books on the shelves to make sure I have had a chance to read them all.  I believe I have read roughly 35% of the fiction & poetry books on the shelves, which is actually not that shabby.  That will obviously change radically if I add another bookcase of fiction, but I think I probably will have to break down and get more shelves.)

* If I really do start in on Lessing's Children of Violence series, I will probably follow it up with Eric Kraft's tres amusant books about Peter Leroy.  I got through 6 or so of the early short novellas but not the later, longer novels.  Anyway, I think before the Doris Lessing/Eric Kraft combo, I should revisit Jose Saramago, even though some of this will be rereading.  I'm thinking something sort of like this:

Saramago Skylight
R. Mistry Tales from Firozsha Baag
Adiga Between the Assassinations
Saramago Blindness
Perec A Void
DeLillo The Names
Saramago All the Names
Cunningham The Hours
Plato The Republic (special focus on Book VII)
Saramago The Cave
Plato The Symposium
Muriel Spark Symposium
Saramago Seeing
Norfolk The Pope's Rhinoceros
Saramago The Elephant's Journey
Murakami The Elephant Vanishes
Pynchon Inherent Vice
Faulkner The Wild Palms (linked through the palm trees of 'Miami Vice')
(I've already moved just a few up to the tail end of the main list) 

If I really do make it through this and have not gotten completely sick of this list, it will be time to really tackle Dickens and Trollope -- and for some variety the longer novels of Murakami -- and probably the Edmund White trilogy and Joyce Cary's First Trilogy.

I'm also thinking of tackling far more short stories in 2017-18, as I am tracking here.  I've already been reading Alice Munro fairly regularly and will start adding in Mavis Gallant and Bernard Malamud.  I might set aside a month or two in 2018 where I work through a number of short story collections in a cyclical fashion -- perhaps John Cheever, T.C. Boyle, Angela Carter, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Lessing, Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, John Updike, etc.  Maybe even John O'Hara and J.F. Powers. 

Undetermined position
(books that I purged (unread) but available in Toronto libraries)
Terry Darlington Narrow Dog to Carcassonne
Mulisch The Discovery of Heaven

Transferred from VPL lists

Husain Basti
Albert Cossery A Splendid Conspiracy (UT)
Albert Cossery Laziness in the Fertile Valley (UT)
Laura Lush Fault Line
Andrew Crumey Sputnik Caledonia
Amy Waldman The Submission
4 poets : Daniela Elza, Peter Morin, Al Rempel, Onjana Yawnghwe
Tash Aw Five Star Billionaire
Machado de Assis A Chapter of Hats: Stories
Machado de Assis The Devil's Church and Other Stories (UT)
Machado de Assis Esau and Jacob (UT)
Joseph Roth Right and Left  (UT)
Fernando Pessoa The Book of Disquiet
Cesare Pavese The Political Prisoner (UT)
Trichter Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Stewart O'Nan Last Night at the Lobster
Ben Winters The Last Policeman
Terry Fallis The Best Laid Plans
Terry Fallis The High Road
Frederick Busch The Mutual Friend (UT)
Frederick Busch Closing Arguments
Ken Kalfus The Commissariat of Enlightenment
Ken Kalfus A Disorder Peculiar to the Country
Chloe Aridjis Book of Clouds
Sunjeev Sahota Ours Are the Streets (UT)
Rebecca Lee City Is A Rising Tide
Alex Shakar The Savage Girl
Jansson The True Deceiver
Guillermo Arriaga Jordán The Night Buffalo
M. John Harrison Nova Swing
Richard Ford The Sportswriter (indeed the entire Bascombe trilogy and coda)
Bishop-Stall Ghosted
John Connolly The Book of Lost Things
Rowan Somerville The End of Sleep
Kenny Fries The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (UT)
Hisham Matar Anatomy of A Disappearance
Sergio de la Pava A Naked Singularity
Samuel Delany Babel-17
Samuel Delany Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand
Samuel Delany Nova ?
David Deutsch The Fabric of Reality
David Deutsch The Beginning of Infinity Explanations That Transform the World
Stephen Graham Cities Under Siege The New Military Urbanism
Jeffrey Eugenides The Marriage Plot
Michael J. Meyer The Last Days of Old Beijing
Jennifer Egan The Invisible Circus
Joe LeSueur Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara
Will Clarke Lord Vishnu's Love Handles A Spy Novel
Clark Blaise The Meagre Tarmac Stories
Josephine Johnson Now in November (TPL - reference only...)
Martin Flavin Journey in the Dark (UT-Downsview)

Lionel Trilling The Liberal Imagination Essays on Literature and Society (NYRB edition)
Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s By Wilson, Edmund (UT)
Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s By Wilson, Edmund (UT)
Edmund Wilson Memoirs of Hecate County
The Devil's Dictionary, Tales, & Memoirs By Bierce, Ambrose (UT)
Roald Nasgaard The Mystic North
Michael North Art and Commerce in the Dutch Golden Age (UT)

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