Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Books Read, 1993

Question marks in brackets [???] = I have absolutely no recollection of reading this book. Was it really me? Was there a co-keeper of this journal that I'm not aware of?

1. Not The End Of The World -Rebecca Stowe (novel) [???]

2. At The Sign Of The Naked Waiter -Amy Herrick (novel) [???]

3. We Have Always Lived In The Castle -Shirley Jackson (novel) [Finally, a book I remember! This is my favorite Shirley Jackson novel; I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet]

4. The Object Of My Affection -Stephen McCauley (novel) [I have a vague memory of a gay narrator, very dry and witty writing style. Was this made into a movie with Madonna or Jennifer Aniston?]

5. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot - John Callahan (memoir) [Callahan's tasteless and irreverent memoir of how he became a paraplegic, complete with his hysterically funny cartoons. I laughed, I was ashamed, then I laughed some more]

6. The Haunting Of Hill House -Shirley Jackson (novel) [I like this psychological horror story almost as much as I like Castle]

7. The Risk Pool -Richard Russo (novel) [???]

8. The Girl In A Swing -Richard Adams (novel) [one of my favorites; this was a re-reading, and I've read it again twice in the past 13 years]

9. Forty Whacks: New Evidence In The Life and Legend Of Lizzie Borden -David Kent (true crime) [I enjoy reading about Lizzie Borden]

10. Come Along With Me -Shirley Jackson (novel fragment) [too short to really be considered a fragment, but if Jackson had lived to complete this novel, I know she would've produced another winner]

11. The Year It Rained -Crescent Dragonwagon (novel) [???]

12. Cowboys Are My Weakness -Pam Houston (short stories) [???]

13. Possession -A.S. Byatt (novel) [I've put this on my re-read list]

14. In The Garden Of The North American Martyrs -Tobias Wolff (short stories) [ditto]

15. All The Pretty Horses -Cormac McCarthy (novel) [I wrote that I hated this novel, but don't remember why. I feel as if I should NOT have hated it. Should I re-read?]

16. The Housewife And The Assassin -Susan Trott (novel) [???]

17. She's Come Undone -Wally Lamb (novel) [enjoyed, but I thought it went on too long]

18. Small Spaces Between Emergencies -Alison Moore (short stories) [???]

19. Where The Red Fern Grows -Wilson Rawls (novel) [I didn't read this when I was a child, so Manfred, Jr. and I read it together at bedtime for a couple of weeks. A little sentimental, but enjoyable]

20. July 7th -Jill McCorkle (novel) [???]

21. Disguises Of Love -Robbie MacCauley (novel) [???]

22. The Bridges Of Madison County -Robert James Waller (novel) [I didn't like this novel at all. I was turned off when the male protagonist, the photographer, kept comparing himself to a peregrine. WTF? Clint Eastwood improved the story some in the movie version, but that's not saying much. Pablo said that when he saw the movie, he kept shouting at the screen: "No, Clint, no! What are you doing?"]

23. The Firm -John Grisham (novel) [???]

24. The Easy Way Out -Stephen McCauley (novel) [???]

25. Hairdo -Sarah Gilbert (novel) [I have a vague memory of a beauty pageant contestant bleaching her teeth with Clorox, but I'm not 100% sure that I've got the right novel]

26. Ramona Forever -Beverly Cleary (novel) [another book that Manfred, Jr. and I read together at bedtime. RF involved the continuing adventures of the well-known Quimby family. Manfred, Sr. grumbled at me for inflating my book totals by adding children's books to my reading list. I replied that children's literature was a legitimate genre and shouldn't be dismissed so easily, but what I was really thinking was: "Hey buddy, it's MY fucking reading journal!"]

27. The Duke Of Deception -Geoffrey Wolff (biography/memoir) [Geoffrey Wolff's memoir of his and Tobias' father. On the re-read list]

28. The Evening Star -Larry McMurtry (novel) [Easy to remember. I love everything McMurtry's written]

29. Rambling Rose -Calder Willingham (novel) [???]

30. Like Water For Chocolate -Laura Esquivel (novel) [highly enjoyable. On the re-read list]

31. The Mountain Lion -Jean Stafford (novel) [Stafford's first novel, Boston Adventure was a runaway bestseller during WWII, but it's really reader-unfriendly! Think Henry James. Now think Henry James on one of his bad days, and you'll have Boston Adventure. The Mountain Lion, by contrast is a short well-written novel that shows off Stafford's talents to their best advantage. She went on to win the 1970 (?) Pulitzer Prize for her short stories]

32. Bitter Fame: A Biography Of Sylvia Plath -Anne Stevenson (biography) [More memory trouble. Is this the biographer that was jeered for going along with letting Ted Hughes have final manuscript approval, or did she go along at first then rebel?]

33. The Lost Language Of Cranes -David Leavitt (novel) [???]

34. Wild Mind: Living The Writer's Life -Natalie Goldberg (nonfiction) [I enjoy Goldberg's books about writing -- they're fun and slightly goofy, but full of sunlight and generosity and cheer. For a while, I was doing the automatic writing exercise where you just let it all hang out on the page, telling your internal editor to take a hike. Unfortunately, my internal editor wouldn't leave. She wouldn't even put on her shoes]

35. Katherine Mansfield: A Critical Study -Sylvia Berkman (literary criticism) [starchy, academic writing]

36. Good Rockin' Tonight -William Hauptman (short stories) [???]

37. Jack -A.M. Homes (novel) [I think this is about a young teenaged boy whose parents are divorced and he finds out that his father is gay]

38. Pigs In Heaven -Barbara Kingsolver (novel) [I was disappointed in this sequel to The Bean Trees. I liked the character of Taylor Greer so much that when Kingsolver switched from first-person narration to third-person narration, it was too jarring]

39. Vanished -Mary McGarry Morris (novel) [???]

40. Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life -Claire Tomalin (biography) [really interesting. Tomalin has a theory that Mansfield caught the TB that would kill her at age 34 from none other than D.H. Lawrence. For a few months in the nineteen-tens, Mansfield and her lover, J. Middleton Murray were living with Lawrence and his wife, Frieda. Tomalin also speculates whether Mansfield contracted a venereal disease in her early womanhood which undermined her health, and discusses a story that Mansfield may or may not have plagiarized from Chekov. Pretty juicy stuff for a literary biography. Good research, good writing]

41. Needful Things -Stephen King (novel) [About this time in my life, I made a new friend, Amy. Amy was a rabid Stephen King fan. For her, there was no other author. She also had frequent sexual fantasies about King that she shared with me in graphic detail. When Amy found out that I'd only read Carrie and Misery, she helpfully began to loan me copies of King's novels to plug up these almost unforgivable gaps in my reading experience.

42. The Life Of Katherine Mansfield -Antony Alpers (biography) [sigh...after the Tomalin biography, it was pretty dull. How can "The Life" compare favorably with "The Secret Life"?]

43. Bastard Out Of Carolina -Dorothy Allison (novel) [bleak but enjoyable]

44. Dolores Claiborne -Stephen King (novel) [Amy was indignant over Dolores' lot in life, and went on about all the ways she would have dealt with that husband much earlier and much more harshly. She also had a dream where she met Stephen King's wife, Tabitha, and convinced her to step aside and let her, Amy, be his muse and lover, not necessarily in that order]

45. Hunger -Knut Hamsun (novel) [this short novel, originally published in Norway in the late 19th century really packs a wallop. A young unnamed narrator is starving on the streets of Christiania. He's convinced of his own genius, but he's going mad as a side effect of hunger and privation. Somehow, just as he's about to go over the edge in every possible way, he manages to pull back just in time. Hemingway is a famous example of one of the many writers who were influenced by Hamsun. If you haven't read Hunger, go out and find a copy. Knut Hamsun won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920.]

46. Foxfire - Joyce Carol Oates (novel) [I'm a big JCO fan, and I enjoyed this story of a girl gang in the 1950s]

1 comment:

Bookfool said...

What a great list. I have read some of these, heard of others, never heard of quite a few. "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" is one I found in my library's sale corner and read, earlier this year. And I chuckled when you got to the description of Pablo (?) shouting, "No, Clint, no!" while watching "The Bridges of Madison County". I actually enjoyed that book - maybe there's something wrong with me. Although, it didn't "stick", so I guess that's a positive. Haven't seen the movie. I don't really desire to see infidelity acted out, I guess!