Monday, May 04, 2015

Reading Plans

A Forward Look:  Summer Reading

Last November I listed the books I planned to read over the Winter months.  I believe Winter may have ended, it was almost 80 degrees yesterday, and it is time to look backward and forward over my reading list.  It is difficult to predict everything I am going to read beyond the current week or two, but I did a pretty good job in November.  Of the top ten books I planned to read I read all but three.  Of those three I read most of two of them;  both were longish biographies and I may finish them someday.  In the meantime I read two of the books that were on my supplemental list and several others that were not on my tbr radar in November.  It is now the first week of May and I have some ideas about the Summer that will surely change over the next few months, but in spite of that I will attempt a list of planned books to read over the coming months.

1. The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy:  I am still reading Tolstoy after a winter filled with his stories long and short.

2. The Martian by Andy Weir:  This is for my SF book group and since the Martian is really an American stuck on Mars  I'm pretty sure I am going to enjoy it.

3. The Nibelungenlied:  This is an epic by anonymous about heroes (see the note about Thomas Carlyle below) and I was inspired to read it by the review at The Consolation of Reading.

4. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok and Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe:  These are both for our Thursday evening book group.

5. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka:  I discovered this book listening to NPR and I should have read it last summer, so it is now on this year's list.

6. Mussorgsky and His Circle by Stephen Walsh:  I love music and this book should expand my familiarity with all the Russian composers of the nineteenth century who aren't named Tchaikovsky.

7. Snopes by William Faulkner.  I plan to reread this for a class at the University of Chicago.  I can't wait to revisit Eula Snopes and her clan.

8. Paradise Lost by John Milton:  This is scheduled for our study group discussion in August.  I am just finishing Thomas Carlyle's On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (read for the same group)  and expect to publish my comments about it in the near future.

9. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan:  I recently acquired the paperback edition of this Booker Prize winner and hope that it is as good as his Gould's Book of Fish.  It may help me stay cool during the heat of the Summer.

10. The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man by Thomas Mann:   Along with Tolstoy I have been reading many of Mann's short novels and stories and this is a final dolop for early Summer. 

Some other tbr books that are not in the top ten may include:  A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan,  Tristana by Benito Perez Galdos, Theophilus North by Thornton Wilder, and  Europa by Tim Parks.


Brian Joseph said...

This is a great list of upcoming reads.

I have been meaning to read The Nibelungenlied for years. I look forward to your commentary on it.

I see that many of these books are being read with your reading group. I am thinking that participating in one would be very rewarding.

Lory said...

Very interesting list! Theophilus North is one of my favorite books so I hope you get to it soon.

James said...


Thanks for your comment. Participation in book groups has the advantage of being able to share the perspectives of others on a given book; however, for those like myself who are always reading a variety of books it limits the time available to devote to non-club reading.

James said...


Thanks for your recommendation. A year ago I started reading some of Wilder's books that I had not previously read.
More recently I was inspired to consider this novel by a listing at Mockingbird (

Parrish Lantern said...

Great list, at the moment I'm not planning too far ahead so my next two will probably be I am a Cat Natsume Soseke & Stone Junction by Jim Dodge, plus some poetry by Kate Tempest, Rosemary Tonks & Sandor Weores

James said...


Thanks for your comment. As always, plans are subject to change but a few of these books are locked in.
I should have mentioned I am trying to read some poems by Ralph Hamilton, a friend of mine. Comments pending.

Rob said...

I loved the Martian. It's so much fun.

James said...


Thanks for your comment. I've started it and I like the narrative voice.

M. said...

An interesting list, but for something completely different I recommend "Turning Points in Western Technology: A Study of Technology, Science and History," by D. S. L. Cardwell, Science History Publications/1992 (1972). Author read the sources and wrote this remarkable synthesis (and short at 225 pp + notes). Worth seeking out.

wwhidden said...

There are a few on this list that appeal to me as well, but I can't make a TBR because an image or story in the news, or something I read in my current book will turn my focus to a particular place or time and I lose interest in what I had planned to read in favor of my newly developed interest! Fortunately there books enough to choose from no matter which my mind is turned.
I am particularly interested in the Snopes book though.

James said...


Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.

James said...


Thanks for your comment. I sometimes have a similar experience and my reading plans change as a result. My tbr list is not set in stone.