Reading in the time of Quarantine

I have not left the apartment in nearly four weeks. (The same cannot be said for my neighbors, who seem to have an active campaign for leaving their apartment every two hours.) Coronavirus, the New York City edition, is in full swing.

What does that mean? Aside from having a constant underlying level of anxiety, leaving me listless by 4PM every day? It means finally digging through my to-be-read backlog and maybe–finally–clearing out some space on my shelves. Hurrah!

With all of this sudden free time, I have made a list, which I now present to you. With notes! Second hurrah!

If I remember, I’ll be coming back here to * titles I’ve read through. We’ll see if that happens consistently.

General Mystery/Noir

The Lady in the Lake – Raymond Chandler
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carre
Long After Midnight – Ray Bradbury
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: I Am Curious (Bloody) (I am collect these Hitchcock titles)
The Nine Tailors – Dorothy L. Sayers =
Devil May Care – Wade Miller
Quiet Horror – Stanley Ellin
Read Garden – James Barre


Different Seasons – Stephen King
*Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice
Rudyard Kipling’s Tales of Horror and Fantasy
A Barnstormer in Oz – Philip Jose Farmer (his To Your Scattered Bodies Go is one of my favorite books)
The Mind Spider and Other Stories – Fritz Leiber
A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs (bought at Bucket o’ Blood in Chicago!)
Quicksilver – Neal Stephenson
Rainbow’s End – Vernor Vinge
Coraline & Other Stories – Neil Gaiman (Hatchards in Piccadilly–bought way too much here)
The Best American Science Fiction – N.K. Jemisin

General Literature

Fires – Raymond Carver
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (…bought this copy from a long-gone used bookstore in Anaheim, CA something like twelve years ago, have been dragging it around since)
Silas Mariner – George Eliot
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Jamaica Inn – Daphne du Maurier (I adored Rebecca)
Persuasion – Jane Austen (P&P was a laugh-a-minute, so I’m hoping for the same here)
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (everyone is shocked I haven’t read this yet)
So Long, See You Tomorrow – William Maxwell
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction – J.D. Salinger
Kon-Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl
Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Miss Lonely Hearts – Nathanael West
Look Homeward, Angel – Thomas Wolfe (picked up because Ray Bradbury adores him and I adore Ray Bradbury)
The Day the Falls Stood Still – Cathy Marie Buchanan (my mother gave this to me years ago and I’m a terrible daughter)


Existentialism and Human Emotions – Jean-Paul Sartre
The Pleasure of the Text – Roland Barthes (he’s just great)
Roland Barthes – Roland Barthes (who doesn’t love him?)
A Lover’s Discourse – Roland Barthes (my fucking hero)
Essays and Aphorisms – Arthur Schopenhauer (bought this ages ago, tried to read it in a spa and the air was so moist that it started… wilting so I had to let it dry for a few days and then forgot to get back to it)


Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns – Andrea Gibson (saw her read, was great)
Back Talk City – Jon Sands (got this in Long Beach 11-12 years ago after he read–the link doesn’t go to this book, but another of his; this book no longer seems to exist)
The Elephant Engine High Dive Revival
City of Insomnia – Victor Infante
Cast Your Eyes Like Riverstones into the Exquisite Dark – Danny Sherrard (saw him read somewhere)
Drive Here and Devastate Me – Megan Falley (purchased on title alone)
Love Sonnets – Pablo Neruda

Writing/Writing Theory

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language – Steven Pinker
The Literary Mind: The Origin of Thought and Language – Mark Turner
Danse Macabre – Stephen King
Daemon Voices – Philip Pullman
Dreyer’s English – Benjamin Dreyer (I love his Twitter)
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century – Steven Pinker (I have the surprisingly hardest time reading this guy)
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers – Betsy Lerner
10 Rules of Writing – Elmore Leonard (won at a PEN Los Angeles event)
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott (every aspiring writer has this, I’ve never finished it)

Travel/Travel Theory

Prary Erth: A Deep Map – William Least Heat-Moon (his Blue Highways was wonderful)
Chasing Glory – Michael Parfit
Project Cheers – Follet, Newick, and Morris (my mother gave this too me, one of the authors/sailors is a family friend)
Driving Home: An American Journey – Jonathan Raban (tried reading this a couple years ago, couldn’t get into it, but loved his Bad Lands, so trying again)
Of Mule and Man – Mike Farrell
Wake Up and Smell the Shit – Kirsten Koza 
Midwestern Strange – B.J. Hollars (so freaking excited for this)
Out West: A Journey Through Lewis and Clark’s America – Dayton Duncan
A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor (this guy is an amazing writer, beautiful prose)
Sacred Places – John F. Sears

General Nonfiction

Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann
Living With Someone Who’s Living with Bipolar Disorder – Chelsea Lowe and Bruce Cohen
Tell Me You Love Me – Loretta Miller Mehl (self-published of my grandother’s best friend, telling stories of their lives)
Chi Running – Danner Dreyer and Katherine Dryer (when/if I start half-marathon training again)
Debt-Free U – Zach Bissonnette (picked this up 12-13 years ago, read half, found it surprisingly useful)
A Book Lover’s Guide to New York – Cleo Le-Tan
Savage Gods – Paul Kingsnorth (this guy’s prose is yowzas)
*Rising Strong – Brene Brown
In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan
The Body Keeps the Score: Brian, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma – Bessel Van der Kolk (this book keeps getting brought up, so I grabbed it at a new bookstore in Alexandria)


*Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety – Eric Schlosser (my husband recommended this when I started asking him about Game Theory)
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat – Alvin Schwartz
When Eistein Walked with Godel – Jim Holt
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder – Lawrence Weschler
Ghostland – Colin Dickey
Letters From an American Farmer – J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur
The Harvey Girls – Lesley Poling-Kempes (purchased at a bookstore in Manhattan that solely sells books about food and cooking)
Self-Exposure: Human-Interest Journalism and the Emergence of Celebrity in American, 1890-1940 – Charles L Ponce de Leon
American Film and Society Since 1945 – Quart and Auster
Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
Hotel – A.K. Sandoval-Strausz
The Kid of Coney Island: Fred Thompson and the Rise of American Amusements – Woody Register (I bought this a couple years ago as my husband pleaded that I stop buying books, that I already had so many unread ones, etc. He wasn’t wrong.)
The Death and Life of Great American Cities – Jane Jacobs
Fantasyland – Kurt Andersen
Dear Los Angeles – David Kipen

England/Europe-focused Nonfiction (why this got its own category, I don’t know)

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater – Thomas de Quincey
Watching the English – Kate Fox
The Victorian City – Judith Flanders
Jack the Ripper – Terry Lynch
The Shortest History of Europe – John Hirst (I have the UK version of this and, man, the cover is much better on that one)