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What I’m Watching/Reading 2018

As of October 2011, I created an index of books I reviewed here. I will continue to list books I am currently reading here, but I will not attempt to write capsule reviews or even to link to them. For that you should check the index of books I reviewed. Movie Reviews will continue to be listed and annotated as before. See also my my 2017 reading list,  2016 Reading/Watching List, my 2014 Reading/Watching List, my 2013 Reading/Watching List, 2012 Reading/Watching List, 2011 Reading/Watching List,  2010 Reading/Watching List, 2009 Reading/Watching List, 2008 Reading/Watching List , 2007 Reading/Watching List my previous Sept 2004 to Oct 2005 reading list or my Nov 2005 to Nov 2006 Reading List , so definitely check that out as well. See also my Best of 2006 for a scoop about favorites. See also Writers who have Changed Me. A few remarks. I’m reading several books at a time, and to be honest, sometimes I don’t read all of them depending on the content or my interest. Usually however, it’s been a matter of attention span and what other projects I’ve been doing. Also, you might want to check my favorite novels, and my Amazon.com wishlist. Also here’s an annotated photo of my bookshelf Also, I haven’t read most of these books, but I’ve been setting up Amazon lists of classic Texas novels (100 novels and counting). You also might enjoy reading my Amazon list of Unforgettable Forgettable Novels. Also see my Best of 2017 list. I’ve also started adding my book inventory to librarything.com. At the bottom of this page you will find a list of movies I’ve been watching.

Starting in 2017 I read a lot more books than I did in previous years. That is good, although I rarely read for pleasure. More often, I’m just going through nonfiction books to learn something specific — either for a book or a story. In 2018 I will be focusing more on fiction, my main love. Let’s see if I actually do it.

Finally, I wish to point out that many titles listed under READING are not things I actually finished, but merely began. It helps to list these titles. Sometimes I just glance over it, return to the library and never think about it again. More often, I have to recheck it out several times to get around to reading it.


  1. Phantom Tollbooth, Annotated Edition
  2. Various bios of Erasmus; also In Praise of Folly and Colloquies. Erasmus and the Age of Reformation by Johan Huizinga.
  3. Lone Star: History of Texas and the Texans: TR Fehrenbach
  4.  Listening is an Act of Love, Anthology of Oral stories edited by Dave Isay
  5. Samuel Johnson is Indignant. Stories by Lydia Davis
  6. Madame Bovary — new Lydia Davis translation
  7. Letters of Obscure Men by Ulrich Von Hutten and others, Translated by Francis Griffin Stokes. Unfortunately this book just reprints an early 1909 translation, which is terrible. Update: the translation isn’t that awful, the book is interesting and has satirical moments, but isn’t not hilarious per se than revealing of 16th Century intellectual life.
  8. Melville Correspondence.
  9. Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn
  10. Naked in Deccan by Venkatesh Kulkarni. Highly recommended! Hidden masterpiece about the decline of the caste system in modern India written by an Indian author who lived in Houston in the 1980s and 1990s.
  11. Human Comedy by William Saroyan. (2nd time).
  12. How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark. Clark is the god of good writing.
  13. Book of Texas Birds by Gary Clark. A beautiful and informative book.
  14. Talking about Detective Fiction by PD James. I could care less about detective fiction, but I have always thought James is brilliant.
  15. Decameron. I really want to finish it this year!
  16. On Bowie by Rob Scheffield.
  17. Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat. (came highly recommended to me).
  18. Twenty Poems that could save America (and other essays) by Tony Hoagland.
  19. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais. Read and loved this in the 1990s, now re-reading selected parts for a story.
  20. Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell. Absurd time-travel adventure.
  21. Cunnilingus: better oral sex by Ian Bendtsen. (I got this as a freebie). Aside from the prurient topic, I found it fascinating as a technical writer. How would you write this kind of book?
  22. Eros and Eros by Jason Stott.
  23. Mess: One Man’s Struggle to Clean up his house and his act by Barry Yourgrau. Yourgrau is one of my favorite authors, and this topic is dear to me!
  24. Various Smashwords titles I blogged about during their Read an Ebook Week.  I’ll list them separately as I get to them.
  25. Cats on Film. by Anne Billson.  Hilarious film criticism cataloging cat cameos, but there’s also a genuine attempt to explain the function of using cats in movies. Fascinating and entertaining. Also see  Billson’s magnificent  Film Database
  26. Fine Print and Other Yarns by Dinesh Verma.
  27. Silence that Remains by Ghassan Zaqtan. Translated from Arabic of this Palestinian poet.
  28. Element of Taste: Understanding what we like and why by Benjamin Errett
  29. Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning.
  30. Shake It Up: Great American Writing on rock and pop edited by Jonathan Lethem.
  31. Anatomy of a Song by Marc Myers
  32. Future is History by Masha Gessen
  33. Her Body and other parties by Carmen Maria Machado
  34. Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick
  35. HC Andersen Fairy Tales. Second Series
  36. True Story of My Life: A Sketch by HC Andersen
  37. Eye of a Needle: And Other Stories. Cornelia Fick. South African short stories.
  38. White Mythology: Two Novellas by W.D. Clarke. Two Pynchonesque novellas by Canadian postmoden author about psychiatry and expat life in Japan. I love it!
  39. Understanding Ancient Though by Thomas Yaeger.
  40. Various books about grant writing and consumer credit.
  41. WTF:  What’s the Future and Why it’s Up to Us. Tim O’reilly. Always a tech visionary (and great writer). He’s a sort of hero for me.
  42. New and Selected Poems by Charles Simic. Bought it on sale, now addicted to his stuff.
  43. Collected Poems by Allen Ginsberg.
  44. Out of the Ashes by Deena Wilson. I edited a version of this memoir.
  45. 1000 Years of Career Advice by Paul Murphy. More of a book concept than a book. Surveys 30 year olds in various professions about how to get started in various professions.
  46. HC Andersen: Life of a Storyteller by Jackie Wullschlager. Biography
  47.  Smart One by Drew Yanno. Random mystery that sounded intriguing.
  48. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Oh, I probably will get around to reading it!
  49. Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders
  50. Prevention: the most important treatment of heart disease. Gregg Yamada
  51. KC by P.A. Trate
  52. On the road Babadag by A. Stasium
  53. Book of Why by Judea Pearl
  54. How to write about music: excerpts from the 33 1/1
  55. Haven by Ruth Gruber.  (ALso “Witness”) Looking through a lot of her other journalistic works as well.
  56. How change and stupidity have changed history by Erik Durschmied
  57. Belles Lettres Papers by Charles Simmons
  58. Works of Donald Harington. His ebooks are really cheap on Amazon!
  59. Forgotten Man by Amity Schlaes
  60. Various essay collections by George Steiner
  61. Collected essays Elizabeth Hardwick
  62. Boomtown by Greg Williams
  63. Art of Life by John Kekes
  64. Conversations of Goethe with Eckerman
  65. Adventure Divas
  66.  How to Live on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett
  67. Great Impersonation by E. Phillips Oppenheim
  68. Illustrated short fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016
  69. Philip Sparrow Tells all: Lost Essays by Samuel Steward, Writer, Professor, Tatooed Artist


  1. Manchester by the Sea
  2. Various Globetrekker Pilot Productions tourism shows… All amazing!
  3. A walk in the Woods. A wonderful unambitious comedy.
  4. Opera: Norma by Bellini,
  5. Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theater series (surprisingly entertaining for adults).
  6. Smokey and the Bandit again
  7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Had occasional moments, but the beautiful young actors and Hawaii scenery is the only reason to watch this maudlin movie.
  8. American Honey
  9. Theory of Everything
  10. Mindhunter
  11. Arrested Development Season 5
  12. 13 Going on 30. Terrible movie
  13. Inbetweeners
  14. 3%. Brazilian dystopian battle royale
  15. Servant of the People. Ukranian political satire.
  16. Mr. Roosevelt
  17. Radius — excellent indie thriller with some plot flaws (still recommended though).
  18. Founder
  19. Florida Project.