The OF Blog: August 2011 Reads

Monday, September 12, 2011

August 2011 Reads

Been away for a while, doing things that left me with little internet time.  So to break the silence for a spell, here's a listing of what I read last month.  Most of these are first-time reads; some might even be reviewed in the near future.

286  Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia (solid novel that trods some of the same ground that A Visit from the Goon Squad does, but it stands out enough to be a good read in its own right)

287  Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (very good novel; might say more in the near future)

288  Gabriel García Márquez, Yo no vengo a decir un discurso (Spanish; Non-Fiction; collection of author's speeches over the course of his life.  Good for what it is)

289  Gabriel García Márquez, Todos los cuentos (Spanish; collection in e-book form of all of his short fictions.  Great to re-read several enchanting tales)

290  Donald Ray Pollock, The Devil All the Time (reviewed earlier)

291  Helen Schulman, This Beautiful Life (reviewed earlier)

292  Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (excellent 1930s novel)

293  Phil Edwards, Snooki in Wonderland:  The Improved Classic (reviewed earlier)

294  Tim Powers, The Bible Repairman and Other Stories (collection; solid collection of Powers' newest fictions, but few stories stood out)

295  Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly, Les diaboliques (French; these stories of women betraying their lovers was almost shocking at times.  Excellent prose)

296  Vicente Blasco Ibañez, El paraíso de las mujeres (Spanish; decent retelling of Gulliver's Travels, but it is among the author's minor works for a reason)

297  Octavio Aragão, A Mão que Cria (Portuguese; I had planned on reviewing this at length along with the Intempol anthology, but I haven't yet finished the latter.  Will note that I enjoyed reading this short novel and hopefully will have more to say in the near future)

298  José Maria Eça de Quieros,  A Cidade e as Serras (Portuguese; good)

299  Juan Gabriel Vásquez, El ruido de las cosas al caer (2011 Premio Alfaguara winner; very good; might review in full later)

300  Alice La Plante, Turn of Mind (murder mystery involving an Alzheimer's patient at its center.  Very good read)

301  Elanor Henderson, Ten Thousand Saints (good novel detailing hardcore music scene of the 1980s and the crises of a group of friends and family members)

302  Stephen Kelman, Pigeon English (this Booker Prize-shortlisted novel was promising in places, but it ultimately left me feeling that this was merely a solid, competent novel rather than anything special)

303  Thomas More, Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (Non-fiction; written just before the author's execution, this was the sort of inspirational read I wanted at the time)

304  Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays (Non-fiction; easy-to-follow philosophical work)

305  Algernon Blackwood, The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories (collection; good early weird fiction)

306  Patrick Dewitt, The Sisters Brothers (I liked this Booker-nominated work better than the Kelman; at times a visceral western, yet there were other depths discerned at times.  Satisfying, excellent read)

307  Kevin Wilson, The Family Fang (already reviewed)

308  László Krasznahorkai and Max Neumann, Animalinside (already blogged about this excellent prose/illustration piece)

309  Belina McKeon, Solace (solid, but not spectacular) 

310  Alison Pick, Far to Go (this familial slice of life just before the Holocaust was poignant, but also heavy-handed in places)

311  Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia di Dante:  Inferno (Italian; classic)

312  Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia di Dante:  Purgatorio (Italian; classic)

313  Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia di Dante:  Paradiso (Italian; classic)

314  Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, No Thoroughfare (average potboiler; below both authors' normal levels)

315  Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy (decent English translation of one of my favorite epic-length poems)

316  Wilkie Collins, Blind Love (Collins' last novel was almost a self-parody of his earlier, greater works)

317  Michael Crummey, Galore (decent, albeit forgettable, work)

318  Yvvette Edwards, A Cupboard Full of Coats (on the Booker longlist, this novel was OK, but not all that great)

319  Mario Vargas Llosa, Los cachorros (Spanish; collection; short e-book edition of a couple of Vargas Llosa's earliest short fictions.  Very good)

320  Marian Coman, Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories (translated from Romanian, this short e-book collection contains some delightfully weird fictions that are well worth the $0.99 I spent on it)

321  Mario Vargas Llosa, Los jefes (Spanish; more of Vargas Llosa's early short fictions; very good)

322  Cristina García, The Lady Matador's Hotel (very good)

323  Augusto Monterroso, Cuentos (Spanish; collection; very good)

324  Steve Erickson, The Sea Came in at Midnight (might review later)

325  Steve Erickson, Our Ecstatic Days (might review later)

326  James Boice, The Good and the Ghastly (very good)

327  Robert Irwin, The Arabian Nightmare (this has to be an overlooked masterpiece, considering the quality of the prose and how few mentions I've heard about it before reading it)

328  Mary Horlock, The Book of Lies (very good)

329  Steve Erickson, Tours of the Black Clock (might review later)

330  Anders Nilsen, Big Questions (one of the best graphic novels I've read this year)

331  Frank Herbert, Hellstrom's Hive (might review this on the SFF Masterworks page later)

332  Stuart Nader, The Book of Life (collection; very good)

333  Ernest Cline, Ready Player One (good debut novel)

So far into September, I'm half a book away from finishing #350.  Looks like I'm on pace to read well over 400 books for the third year in a row.  Any of these you've read before?  Any you want to read in the near or distant future?

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