Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Year Of Books


About this time a year ago, I found Brad Green’s A Year in Reading. It was staggering. It still is. This was around the same time I was getting serious about writing. I devoted myself to reading and writing as much as possible in the year ahead.

I re-read some old classics and sought out works that were new to me. I’m glad I did. I came at the reading with a different eye, the zeal of an autodidact. And now there is a list, evidence of something learned, or at least vicariously experienced.

I tracked my reading from December last year through November this year in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Next year, I’ll likely switch over to Goodreads. For obvious reasons, my reading skewed heavily toward fiction, poetry, and writing instruction. The latter was largely a bust, excepting The Art of Fiction and How Fiction Works.

A good bit was accomplished. I read more than I had in the prior few years and certainly more than I will next year. I managed to publish a few stories in journals I admire. That was a first for me. I’m around two-thirds of the way through an extensive re-write of my first novel. Still it doesn’t seem like enough. It’s never enough. There's already a distant ache weaving its way into my bones. Over Thanksgiving, my brother mentioned the sprout of gray at my temples. There is so little time, but maybe that’s the key to forward momentum, a lingering sense of the unfulfilled.

What about you? Any favorite reads you’d suggest? Any prose stylists that are also great storytellers? What about poets? I would love some suggestions.

Notes on the list: Books marked with * denote an aborted read, usually somewhere around fifty pages in. Also, I didn’t include any magazines, literary journals, or one-off short works culled from anthologies. The list is sorted in alphabetical order by author's first name.

The List

Adam Robinson, Adam Robison
Ansen Dibell, The Elements of Fiction Writing -Plot
Barnaby Conrad, Learning to Write Fiction from the Masters
Barry Hannah, Never Die *
Billy Collins, Nine Horses
Breece D'J Pancake, The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Carl Sandburg, Honey and Salt
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men
Darlyn Finch, Red Wax Rose
Denise Levertov, Evening Train
Denise Levertov, Breathing the Water
Donald Barthelme, Sixty Stories
Donigan Merritt, The Common Bond
E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel *
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (Restored Edition)
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway, The Short Stories
Etgar Keret, The Nimrod Flip Out
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Federico Garcia Lorca, The Selected Poems
Fred White, The Daily Reader
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil *
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
Harold Bloom, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? *
Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
James Joyce, Dubliners
James Salter, A Sport and a Pastime
James Salter, Dusk
James Salter, The Hunters
James Salter, Light Years
James Wood, How Fiction Works
Jason Jordan, Cloud and Other Stories
John Gardner, On Being a Novelist
John Gardner, The Art Of Fiction
Kenneth Rexroth, Collected Poems
Kent Haruf, Plainsong
Larry McMurtry, Literary Life
Lewis Turco, The Elements of Fiction Writing -Dialogue
Mario Vargas Llosa, A Writer's Reality *
Matt Bell, How They Were Found
Matthew Sweeney, Teach Yourself Writing Poetry
Paul Cobley, Introducing Semiotics
Paul Harding, Tinkers
Philip Deaver, Silent Retreats
Robert Bly, What Have I Ever Lost By Dying?
Robert Frost, A Boy's Will and North of Boston
Rovit and Waldhorn, Hemingway and Faulkner in Their Time
Sam Lipsyte, The Ask
Sigmund Freud, Three Case Histories
The Paris Review, Interviews Volume 1
The Paris Review, Interviews Volume 2
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner, Sanctuary
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
William Shakespeare, King Lear

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Published Works

Fiction

Burrow Press, "Bone Dry (Print)," February 2011
Word Riot, "Goodbye, Wynona," November 2010
Emprise Review, "The Shape of Immortality," September 2010
decomP, "Vices," July 2010
elimae, "Rooftop Dreams," May 2010

Humor/Satire

Johnny America, "The Clash," July 2010
Feathertale, "Terminator Genesis," April 2010

Other

Dark Sky, "Spotlight On Hunter Choate (Interview)," January 2011
Indie Ink, "Strange Interactions," June 2010
MONKEYBICYCLE, "Spring (A One-Sentence Story)," May 2010