shelf by shelf : from McCarthy to Murdoch

After my recent spate of DNFs, and one that I actually did finish but hated and couldn’t believe I didn’t DNF it, I don’t really have other progress to report. I am in the middle of Sweet Caress by William Boyd, which I love, and also Visitors to the Crescent by Mary Hocking, which I quite like. It’s nice to finally be back onto something I don’t hate.

In the meantime, why not give the folks what they want. A picture of a shelf.

Don't forget to click. Plenty of room to zoom.
Don’t forget to click. Plenty of room to zoom.

SHELF SEVENTEEN: 31 books, 15 unread, 16 read 52% complete

McCarthy, Mary – The Group (completed)
McCarthy, Mary – Birds of a America (completed)
A million years ago I won some sort of Virago related contest on someone’s blog. The result was I won the Virago of my choice. I think I let the blogger chose what they sent me. Or I might have had some choice and chose The Group because I had seen the cover of the newish Virago reissue all over the blogosphere in recent days and wondered why. I ended up absolutely loving it. Such a fantastic read and such an important book. That set me off buying up used McCarthy’s every chance I got. And I was totally delighted by Birds of America.  Might be one of my favorite books.

McCourt, James – Mawrdew Czgowchwz
Say that title three times fast.

McEwan, Ian – The Cement Garden (completed)
McEwan, Ian – The Comfort of Strangers (completed)
McEwan, Ian – Black Dogs
McEwan, Ian – On Chesil Beach (completed)
McEwan, Ian – Sweet Tooth (completed)
I find that McEwan is two writers. One is dark and quirky. The other is not quite as dark and not quite as quirky. If I am not mistaken The Cement Garden falls into the first category and On Chesil Beach and Sweet Tooth fall into the second category. I don’t remember enough about The Comfort of Strangers to put it in a category. I should also note that On Chesil Beach is one of my favorite books of all time.

McPherson, William – Testing the Current

McFarlane, Fiona – The Night Guest (completed)
The first ever summer read along on The Readers. I ended up liking it more after we had our discussion and hearing from our listetrners about their thoughts on the book.

McGrath, Patrick – Constance (completed)
I don’t remember anything about this novel, but I remember really liking it.

Mendelson, Cheryl – Morningside Heights (completed)
Mendelson, Cheryl – Anything for Jane (completed)
Part of a trilogy written about a group of friends/acquaintances in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. I really like these books.

Merrick, Gordon – The Strumpet Wind (completed)
A not very well-written novel about post WWII France that is, none the less an interesting read. Written by a novelist who would later go on to write gay bodice rippers in the 1970s.

Messud, Claire – The Woman Upstairs 
Since this photo wa taken I got halfway through this book and then got really bored with it. I’ve kind of liked her other novels, but not by much. It has been moved to the donate pile.

Michaels, Leonard – The Men’s Club

Miller, Merle – The Warm Feeling (completed)
Miller, Merle – Reunion (completed)
Miller, Merle – A Gay and Melancholy Sound (completed)
Miller, Merle – The Sure Thing
Miller, Merle – A Day in Late September
Miller, Merle – That Winter
Nancy Pearl is responsible for Miller being on my shelves. I had never heard of him and he remains pretty obscure. She put A Gay and Melancholy Sound on a list of books too devastating to read again, if I am not mistaken. If I remember correctly, I enjoyed Reunion and The Warm Feeling more. I just decided that sometime between now and he end of the month I am going to start reading A Day in Late September.

Mitchell, Larry – My Life as a Mole

van der Merwe, Andre Carl – Moffie
It is only because of The Dubious Salvation of Jack V. by Jacques Strauss, which I just read this week, that I now know what a moffie is. Although I did know when I bought it that it was a gay-themed South African novel.

Monette, Paul – Afterlife (completed)
And speaking of gay, I read this way back in college when all gay fiction seemed to be about AIDS. Not surprisingly and right so. This is one of the better ones. I bought it recently so I could re-read it, which hasn’t happened yet.

Moody, Rick – Hotels of North America
This one is on my pile of 27 newish hardcovers that I am pushing to finish or DNF and donate by the end of the year.

Moorcock, Michael – Mother London
A novel about London I picked up for 50 cents. Worth a chance.

Mordden, Ethan – How Long Has this Been Going On? (completed)
Without Googling to check, I am pretty sure this is an omnibus of Mordden’s three volumes of short stories. Part of my reassessment of gay fiction I read in high school and college. Haven’t yet re-read it.

Morley, Christopher – The Haunted Bookshop

Munro, Alice – The Progress of Love
I have never read any Alice Munro and this was free somewhere.

Murdoch, Iris – The Message to the Planet
I am going to save any discussion of Murdoch until next time when I have a whole mess of them to comment on.

NEXT TIME: Murdoch to O’Farrell


8 thoughts on “shelf by shelf : from McCarthy to Murdoch

  1. Karen September 17, 2016 / 10:58 am

    okay, I felt a physical reaction to “I have never read Alice Munro and this was free somewhere”.
    run, don’t walk, to your nearest seat and pick up Munro! Start reading! (Although I should say I have never read this particular volume). But – Lives of Girls and Women and Something I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You and Who Do You Think You Are? are among my very favorite reading experiences.


  2. Liz Dexter September 17, 2016 / 11:24 am

    Look forward to your Murdoch piece next time! I’ll just say here that Message to the Planet is one of my two least favourites of hers …


  3. Laila@BigReadingLife September 17, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    I adored Morningside Heights but didn’t love the other two in the loose series as much. It’s okay, it didn’t diminish my love for Morningside Heights. Nice to see it get some attention,

    I read The Progress of Love earlier this year. Only my second Munro collection. It was terrific. My favorite stories were the title story, Lichen, and White Dump. But she’s just exquisite.


  4. Deb September 17, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    I must have terrible OCD: it would kill me to have one book by a writer at the end of a shelf and the rest of the writer’s books on the next shelf. Or perhaps I’m just bummed because Iris Murdoch is one of my favorite writers and I’m very interested in reading your opinions on her work.

    I have to make one comment about THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS. To me, the ending bordered on utter nihilism. Perhaps I just wasn’t prepared for it to end the way it did, but I found it shocking–and not in a thrilling or “wow, did not see that coming” way, but more in a “why the hell would he end the book like that” way. But I’m still thinking about it years later, so it must have had something.


  5. Kate W September 18, 2016 / 6:14 am

    I’ve had The Group in my TBR stack forever – your endorsement has reminded me of it and I’ll move it up the stack.

    I’ve also got some Rick Moody, Hotels and Ice Storm (Ang Lee’s movie of Ice Storm is one of my favourite movies).

    Agree that Chesil Beach is one of McEwan’s greatest hits and that he’s two different writers – I didn’t like books like Solar and Enduring Love but Chesil, Atonement and The Children Act were a different thing altogether. Just about to start his latest, Nutshell – hope it’s the McEwan I love!


  6. Anthony Catanzariti September 18, 2016 / 6:08 pm

    You should try the Rick Moody novel. Do you remember that great film from about 15 years ago, The Ice Storm? He wrote that.


  7. Dottiemi September 19, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    i just listened to Ian McEwan being interviewed on The Guardian podcast, very interesting. Nutshell sounds intriguing. Did anyone else hear it?


  8. Susan in TX September 20, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    I recently picked up a copy of Morningside Heights. I first heard of it back in March on the What Should I Read Next podcast, and I’ve never heard anyone else mention it. Nice to see it on your shelves and have a “second” on the selection. Don’t know when I’ll actually read it as I’m reading more and more on whim these days. I’ve never read any Alice Munro either, and she’s another that many have recommended. Happy reading to you – nice to see the shelves again! :)


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