Saturday, April 10, 2021



Simon's amusing graphic

Monday is start of Kaggsy and Simon's biannual year reading project; this year it's 1936 we'll be time-traveling to. Immediately after they announced the upcoming year, I created a gigantic list of books I had read, could read, might conceivably read. I've pared down, but still have more candidates than I actually will read:

That's (from top to bottom):

Graham Greene's Journey Without Maps

John P. Marquand's Thank You, Mr. Moto

Noel Coward's Tonight at 8:30 (in a collection with other plays)

Stevie Smith's Novel on Yellow Paper

James T. Farrell's A World I Never Made

Karel Čapek's War With The Newts

The bottom two would be rereads. In fact it would be the fourth (fifth?) time I've read War With The Newts, but that would be OK, it's worth it. I read Čapek's R.U.R. for the 1920 club a year ago, and I've been thinking about rereading War With The Newts since then. I'm unlikely to read them all, but I might! I'm better than halfway through the Stevie Smith currently. There are a few other things that might slip in in their place.

James T. Farrell is likely the obscure one, which makes that particularly tempting. He should be better known. He's a Irish Catholic Chicago novelist (though he later moved to New York in a fit of pique with Chicago.) He died in 1979. A World I Never Made is the first of his Danny O'Neill series, though Farrell is more famous, as much as he is, for his Studs Lonigan novels, which got the Library of America treatment a few years back. They're very good and he really oughtn't be so little-known.

I've read one 1936 novel since I started blogging: Graham Greene's A Gun For Sale. It's reviewed here.

But I definitely will *not* be reading John Maynard Keynes' General Theory, despite having read some Keynes and Keynes-related things recently and the temptation to do so...

Have you read any of these? Which look good to you? Do you have plans for the 1936 club?

What I actually did read (most likely different from above):

1.) Stevie Smith's Novel on Yellow Paper

2.) John P. Marquand's Thank You, Mr. Moto


  1. i loved the Capek; only once tho, so far... i've read a couple of Mr. Motos i think, but not that one if i recall... i think i went gunseling with Greene but not all of them, either... the others seem sedimentary in a basic sense. i read Clarence Mulford's "Hopalong Cassidy" last week. it was surprisingly interesting; he's quite a gleeful writer when it comes to plugging holes in the bad guys...

    1. I didn't even realize the Hopalong Cassidy stories were based on books--I think maybe I saw a few of the movies on TV when I was a kid.

  2. Too bad you couldn't share your whole list. I'd love to participate in this event one day but so far I've just been too busy. I haven't read any of yours but if I had to choose, I'd choose Čapek's novel on your recommendation. Have fun!

    1. Thanks! Hope it's a good busy for you.

      And well, here goes... (I was always tempted anyway):

      Owned, but not read:

      Borges/History of Eternity (essays) (read some?)
      Buchan/The Island of Sheep
      Coward/Tonight at 8:30 (in Three Plays)
      Greene/Journey Without Maps
      K. Mann/Mephisto
      Myers/History of the Great American Fortunes (1-volume edition)
      Dawn Powell/Turn, Magic Wheel
      Roth/Confession of a Murderer
      I J Singer/The Brothers Ashkenazi
      Warner/Summer Will Show

      Wentworth/Dead or Alive (own the Kindle edition, it seems)

      Owned & read

      Ambler/The Dark Frontier
      Blake/Thou Shell of Death
      Brooks/The Flowering of New England
      Capek/War With The Newts
      Carr/The Arabian Nights Murder
      Christie/The ABC Murders
      Connolly/The Rock Pool
      Dos Passos/The Big Money (3rd in series)
      Farrell/A World I Never Made
      Faulkner/Absalom, Absalom!
      Frost/A Further Range (won Pulitzer - Two Tramps in Mud Time, Neither Out Far nor In Deep)
      Greene/A Gun For Sale
      Howard/Red Nails
      Huxley/Eyeless in Gaza
      Innes/Death At The President's Lodging
      Mann/Joseph in Egypt (3rd)
      Marsh/Death In Ecstasy
      Orwell/Keep The Aspidistra Flying
      Queen/Halfway House
      Sabatini/Captain Blood
      Silone/Bread and Wine
      Stark/Southern Gates of Arabia
      Steinbeck/In Dubious Battle
      Stout/The Rubber Band
      Tolkien/Beowulf: Monsters & Critics

      Possibly Interesting

      Allingham/Flowers For The Judge
      Bernanos/Diary of a Country Priest
      Cain/Double Indemnity
      Celine/Death on the Installment Plan
      Charteris/Saint Overboard
      Christie/Murder in Mesopotamia
      Christie/Cards on the Table
      de Montherlant/Les Jeunes Filles (1st volume - on Connolly 100 key books list)
      du Maurier/Jamaica Inn
      Gardner/Sleepwalking Niece, Stuttering Bishop
      Stella Gibbons/Miss Linsey and Pa
      Keynes/General Theory
      Marquand/Thank You, Mr. Moto (at TPL)
      Henri Michaux/Voyage en Grand Garabagne (Connolly)
      Nabokov/Invitation To A Beheading
      Sandburg/The People, Yes
      Stevie Smith/Novel on Yellow Paper (at TPL)
      S. S. Van Dine/The Kidnap Murder Case (Project Gutenberg Australia)
      D. Thomas/Twenty-Five Poems
      New Provinces (Modernist Canadian poetry anthology. E. J. Pratt, et al.)

      A few late additions:

      H.G.Wells/The Croquet Player
      Shaw/Arthur and the Acetone, Cymbeline Refinished, Geneva
      Russell/Which Way To Peace?
      Rumer Godden/Chinese Puzzle

    2. i note the Gardner: have you read A.A Fair? terrific stuff!

    3. I have read some of the Cool & Lam novels--a long time ago not and not at all of them, I'm pretty sure--I remember quite liking them--sometimes think I should hunt them up again.

  3. I only read one book for the club because I am trying to read mostly from my shelves this year.

    I'm always willing to read anything by Greene. I only know the Studs Lonigan trilogy by Farell, though I've not yet read it.

    I read Double Indemnity last year (didn't blog about it). It's very good - short and tense.

    1. I should read more books from my shelves, sigh...always something new and shiny. The first two--hopefully not the only two--for this year will be from the library. And I own a bunch of possible books.

      I've seen Double Indemnity, of course, which has slightly deterred me from reading it, though I suspect I'd still enjoy it.

      You need to read Studs Lonigan, you know, that list ;-) but it is a good one, even if quite a dark story.