Posts by tag: reading log

January reading log

The Book of J (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers) (c. 950 B.C.; trans. David Rosenberg, 1990; interpreted by Harold Bloom; in progress)

On the Shortness of Life (49 A.D.) – Seneca (trans. C.D.N. Costa, 1997)

Books VI, VII, & VIII of Mémoires d’outre-tombe (1849) – François-René de Chateaubriand

Vie de Samuel Johnson (1959) – Giorgio Manganelli (trans. Dominique Férault, 2010)

Patagoni (1971), Zip Odes (1979), Dept. of the Interior (1980), Waters of Potowmack (1982), Golden Delicious (1985), Mountaineers Are Always Free! (1987),  Araminta and the Coyotes (1991), Huascarán (1997)  – Paul Metcalf

Six Memos for the Next Millennium (1985) – Italo Calvino (trans. Patrick Creagh, 1988)

But Beautiful (1990) – Geoff Dyer (rereading)

The Ohio Frontier: An Anthology of Early Writings (2005) – edited by Emily Foster

Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma-Queen (2015) – Mary Norris

Blazes, Posts, & Stones: A History of Ohio’s Original Land Subdivisions (2015) – James L. Williams (in progress)

September reading log

I’m in the middle of at the beginning of What Maisie Knew, and I can’t help but think that it’s awkwardly written. The way James uses adverbs seeming so stiff… (some sort of innuendo there? probable). I don’t think it’s so much a question of my winnowing attention span, although there is that to be taken into account, but I sure do go in for the short ones, & tend to bail on the long ones.

The Middle Passage and The Old Man and the Sea are the only books that awed me. Paul Metcalf’s work is a boon to humanity, and a treasure trove.

* * *

What Maisie Knew (1897) – Henry James

A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer (1920) – Pierre Mac Orlan (trans. Napoleon Jeffries, 2013)

The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – Ernest Hemingway

The Middle Passage: A Triptych of Commodities (1976) – Paul Metcalf

The Elements of Typographic Style, 3rd ed. (2004) – Robert Bringhurst (a weird mix of deathly boring, rarely beautiful, & historically interesting — good, but not a page-turner by any means)

Ravel (2006) – Jean Echenoz (trans. Linda Coverdale, 2010)

Landscape in Landscape – Gerald Murnane (failed to get past p. 30…)

August reading log

A Looking Glasse for the Court: A dispraise of the life of the Courtier, and a commendacion of the life of the husbandman (1539) – Antonio de Guevara (trans. Sir Francis Bryant, 1548, 1575)

Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) – John Lyly (possibly abridged?)

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (c. 1612) – Thomas Middleton (abandoned)

Exercises for Holy Living, Exercises for Holy Dying (1650-51) – Jeremy Taylor (somewhat abridged)

The Story of the Barbary Corsairs (1885) – Stanley Lane-Poole (in slow progress)

Ladies Almanack (1928) – Djuna Barnes

The Best of S.J. Perelman (1920s-1950s) – S.J. Perelman (always dipping in & out, because it’s first-rate hilarity)

The Zoo Story (c. 1958), The American Dream (c. 1960) – Edward Albee

The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800 (1950s?)- Lucien Febvre & Henri-Jean Martin (trans. David Gerard, 1997)

Out Stealing Horses (2003) – Per Petterson (trans. Anna Borne, 2005)

Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts (2007) – Clive James (begun)

July reading log

“A Farewell to Essay-writing” (1828) – William Hazlitt

Letters to Lou (1914-1915) – Guillaume Apollinaire (as read aloud by Guillaume Gallienne)

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” – Jorge Luis Borges (re-read)

The Book of Nightmares – Galway Kinnell (re-read)

A Tomb for Boris Davidovich (1976) – Danilo Kis (re-read; superbly translated by Duska Mikic-Mitchell, 1978)

Earth and Embers: Selections from L’homme rapaillé – Gaston Miron (trans. Plourde & D.G. Jones, 1984)

Veuves au maquillage (2000) – Pierre Senges (in progress)

An Honest Ghost (2013) – Rick Whitaker

April reading log

The Monadology (1714) – G.W. Leibniz (trans. D. Garber & R. Ariew, 1991)

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (1908) – G.K. Chesterton

Into Disaster (1941) – Maurice Blanchot (trans. Michael Holland, 2013; skimmed)

Dark Mirrors (1951) – Arno Schmidt (trans. John Woods, 1995)

The Tudors (1955) – Christopher Morris (skimmed)

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony (1988) – Roberto Calasso (trans. Tim Parks, 1994; in progress)

La Parole baroque (2001) – Eugène Green (in progress)

selections in Hyperion (2013-2014) – Miklós Szentkuthy, Maria Tompas, et al.

Loitering (2014) – Charles D’Ambrosio (selections)

December reading log

The Book of Marvels and Travels (c. 1360) – John Mandeville

Cane (1923) – Jean Toomer

The Killer Inside Me (1952) – Jim Thompson

Savage Night (1953) – Jim Thompson

The Grifters (1965) – Jim Thompson

Blind Man with a Pistol (1969)- Chester Himes

Ciels liquides (1990) – Anne Garréta

Pas Un Jour (2002) – Anne Garréta (blog post on this in January)

Dept. of Speculation (2014) – Jenny Offil

Music & Literature #5

I also tried to read Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Montesquieu’s Persian Letters but was unsuccessful. Are they too boring, or was I too impatient? What difference does it make? (Not one iota.)

November reading log

Natural History – Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.; begun, skimming around)

Beowulf – anon. (8th – 11th century A.D.; trans. Seamus Heaney; just the 1st half)

‘The Battle of Maldon & Other Old English Poems (circa 1000 A.D.) – anon. (trans. Kevin Crossley-Holland)

‘The Horla,’ ‘The Christening’ (1886) – Guy de Maupassant

The Turn of the Screw (1898) – Henry James

‘The Colour Out of Space’ (1927) – H.P. Lovecraft

If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) – Chester Himes

Genoa (1965) – Paul Metcalfe

Missing Person (1978) – Patrick Modiano (trans. Daniel Weissbort)

Border State (1992) – Tonu Onnepalu (trans… ?)

Serendipities: Language and Lunacy (1998) – Umberto Eco (trans. William Weaver)

All My Friends (2004) – Marie NDiaye (trans. Jordan Stump, 2014)

Environs et mesures (2011) – Pierre Senges

August reading log

“The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” – Nadine Gordimer

Bee Thousand – Marc Woodworth (in the 33 ⅓ series)

Lives of the Caesars – Suetonius (skipping around)

The Real Life of Sebastian Knight – Vladimir Nabokov

Pincher Martin – William Golding

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)- Robert M. Pirsig

Writers – Antoine Volodine (review forthcoming)

Begun or in progress

The Death of the Heart Elizabeth Bowen (begun)

Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant – Edmond Caldwell (non-sequentially begun)

Around the Day in 80 Worlds – Julio Cortazar

Beloved – Toni Morrison (in progress)

Could not abide

The Lost Estate (1912) – Alain-Fournier (skimmed)

A Man Asleep – Georges Perec

The Map and the Territory – Michel Houllebecq

March reading log

Poem 61 – Catullus

On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Ward No. 6” (1892) “In the Ravine,” “A Boring Story” – Anton Chekhov

The Approximate Man and Other Writings – Tristan Tzara (begun; trans. & ed. Mary Ann Caws)

“The Country Doctor” (1910s?) – Franz Kafka (trans. W. & E. Muir; re-read)

“Ten Indians” and “In the Indian Camp” – Ernest Hemingway

Zeno’s Conscience (1923) – Italo Svevo (trans. W. Weaver, 2001; abandoned at p. 120)

Break of Day – Colette (skimmed)

Sanctuary (1931) – William Faulkner

The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) – Cleanth Brooks (partial)

Cronopios and Famas – Julio Cortazar

The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) – John Steinbeck (re-read parts of)

Something Happened (1966) – Joseph Heller

‘The Island,’ ‘Firebird,’ ‘Willie’s Throw,’ ‘and nobody objected…’, ‘Mountaineers Are Always Free!’ (1985-1991) – Paul Metcalf (all of these most fantastic)

“Beyle, or Love is a Madness most Discreet” (1990) – W.G. Sebald (in Vertigo, trans. M. Hulse; re-read)

Some poems by Charles Bernstein from Recalculating and All the Whiskey in Heaven

A few unpublished stories of friends

January reading log

After doing the year-end round-up recently, I’ve started to keep better track of what I’m finishing, just dipping into or looking back at, or abandoning midway through. Roughly 1,500 paper pages read this month, 9 or so complete books.


La Princesse de Clèves (1678) – Madame de Lafayette (trans. Nancy Mitford (1951), New Directions)

Haunted House (1930) – Pierre Reverdy (trans. John Ashbery (2007), Brooklyn Rail/Black Square)

Return to My Native Land (1939; 1956) – Aimé Césaire (trans. Clayton Eshleman and A. James Arnold, Wesleyan UP, 2013; trans. Anna Babstock & John Berger, Archipelago Books, 2014)

Solar Throat Slashed (1948) – Aimé Césaire (trans. Clayton Eshleman, Wesleyan)

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1959) – Erich Auerbach (Princeton)

The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s Coup de dés (2012) – Quentin Meillasoux, (trans. Robin Mackay, Urbanomic/Sequence Press)

L’Autre modernité (2012)- Simon Nadeau (Boréal)

The Examined Life (2012) – Stephen Grosz (Random House)

The Traveler’s Tale (2013) – Byron Ayanoglu (DC Books)

Begun or dipped into

Jacques the Fatalist – Denis Diderot

Père Goriot  – Honoré de Balzac

The Quotable Kierkegaard – Søren Kierkegaard (ed. Gordon Mortimer, Princeton UP, 201?)

The Collected Poems of Constantine Cavafy – Constantine Cavafy (trans. Aliki Barnstone, W.W. Norton)

Hind’s Kidnap: A Pastoral on Familiar Airs (1969) – Joseph McElroy

Mulligan Stew (1979) – Gilbert Sorrentino


The Living End – Stanley Elkin


’12 and ’13 in books

The compulsive reading continued this year.

A year in reading