Reading log: September 2010


Books acquired: “Following the Equator,” Mark Twain; “1000 Record Covers,” Michael Ochs, ed.; “The New York Times Essential Library: Jazz,” Ben Ratliff; “The Innocents Abroad,” Mark Twain; “Exploring Form: John Edward Svenson, An American Sculptor,” David Svenson.

Books read: “The Good, the Bad and the Mad: Some Weird People in American History,” E. Randall Floyd; “The God of War,” Marisa Silver; “A Deadly Shade of Gold,” John D. MacDonald; “Gentleman Junkie,” Harlan Ellison.

Greetings, gang. Welcome to another installment of my monthly Reading Log, this time chronicling a month in which all four books I read had a G-word in the title. Goodness to gracious, what kind of a system am I working under? One with a sense of humor, I guess.

“The Good, the Bad and the Mad” is an intriguing but disappointing series of short profiles of classic nutty Americans, from Stonewall Jackson to Emperor Norton; “The God of War” is a very good coming-of-age novel about guilt and family bonds; “A Deadly Shade of Gold” is the fifth Travis McGee mystery, a bit long and convoluted but stylishly written as always; and “Gentleman Junkie” (subtitled “And Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation”) is a compelling 1961 collection by the acclaimed fantasy writer, except these are gritty urban tales without fantasy elements.

“God of War,” by the way, was published in 2008, a rare 21st century outing for your classically minded blogger.

As for how and when the books came into my hands, “Good” came off the discount table at the Chino Hills Barnes & Noble earlier this year; “God” was found at Powell’s in Portland this summer; “Gold” was bought used at (I think) Brand Books in Glendale last year; and the ’70s Pyramid paperback of “Gentleman” turned up at Bookfellows in Glendale maybe three years ago. (I’ve also owned an ’80s Ace paperback of “Gentleman” for more than 25 years, unread. Nice to finally cross this off my list.)

These constitute books 39 to 42 in my quest to again read at least 50 this year. Next month I expect to focus on books with an F in the title. Should be, dare I say it, fun.

Enough about me. Have you read any of these? What are you reading?

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  • Will Plunkett

    Hey, I think my comment might actually make it past the Character Police (oops, that’s 1984, not another number-related book about a future burning up) this time!

    Sadly, once the school year resumes, it’s tough for me to read full books for some time. Alas, no books read for me. But I plan to get to some this month (waiting for a library book to move from “In Processing” to “Item Being Held” for me).

    [Congratulations on eluding the Character Police. Now hit those books. — DA]

  • Doug Evans

    Aside from a few books I’ve read for two book clubs I’m in, which were interesting but maybe not blog-comment worthy, I’ve been reading the book that frequent commenter Hugh McBride has also read: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” My quest is to see if it can possibly live up to the hype that surrounds it. So far, the characters seem a little far-fetched, up to and including the girl with the titular tattoo, and the mystery (which doesn’t show up till about page 70 or so) seems like the kind of outlandish murder plot (if indeed it is a murder!) that only happens in books. But I’m still caught up in the characters, far-fetched or not, and the mystery has me intrigued, so I’m giving the book a halfway-through-it thumbs up. I hope it continues to entertain since I’ve already bought the two sequels as well.

    17 days after this blog entry originally went up… at this point, I almost held off till October’s Reading Update to comment, but the thought of this post just sitting here with only one comment on it made me too sad. I love these posts!

    [I appreciate the support. Btw, is one of the sequels “The Girl With the Titular Tattoo”? — DA]