Friday, December 1, 2017

VC -- where to start

Just for my own reference, I'll list the top 15 books that I want to tackle off of the Vintage Contemporaries checklist, though I'll actually track them over there.  In some cases, I am selecting them since I have owned them for a long time (Marshall, Naylor), and in other cases these are the first books in series (Exley, Ford).  Often these are books that I came close to buying or checking out from the library in the past, but held off for some reason.  I could easily add another 10 to this list (plus the Vintage Contemporaries book with a neon heart on the cover that I am trying to track down*), but the point is to provide some focus and not overwhelm myself with a massive list that just depresses me.  That's what my main reading list is for.  Anyway, these were largely chosen on the basis of perceived literary merit, whereas as I get further down the full checklist, I'll probably start selecting based on the coolest cover (back in the 80s).

Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo
Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo
A Narrow Time by Michael Downing
A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley
The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
A Handbook for Visitors From Outer Space by Kathryn Kramer
The Chosen Place, the Timeless People by Paule Marshall
Far Tortuga by Peter Matthiessen
Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
The Bushwhacked Piano by Thomas McGuane
Ransom by Jay McInerney
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
Clea & Zeus Divorce by Emily Prager
Mohawk by Richard Russo
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates

* Edit (9/14) This must be The Wrong Case by James Crumley.  (Glad I wasn't just imagining it.)

I actually stumbled across Crumley's Dancing Bear, which is his second "Milo" detective novel (The Wrong Case is his first), at a library book sale, so I picked it up.  I should see if I can borrow The Wrong Case, even if I can't land the edition with the heart on it.  I suspect if I do read some of these novels, they will put me back on a Chandler/Hammett kick.

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