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.

Amazingly, Goodreads is now tracking my ebook reading habits. This is not entirely accurate, because all it really does is track some (but not all) of  ebooks I have opened recently. Here is a list of the last 100 ebooks I’ve been reading on Kindle. .


  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. HC Andersen Fairy Tales. Second Series
  35. True Story of My Life: A Sketch by HC Andersen
  36. Eye of a Needle: And Other Stories. Cornelia Fick. South African short stories.
  37. 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!
  38. Understanding Ancient Thought by Thomas Yaeger.
  39. Various books about grant writing and consumer credit.
  40. 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.
  41. New and Selected Poems by Charles Simic. Bought it on sale, now addicted to his stuff.
  42. Collected Poems by Allen Ginsberg.
  43. Out of the Ashes by Deena Wilson. I edited a version of this memoir.
  44. 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.
  45.  Smart One by Drew Yanno. Random mystery that sounded intriguing.
  46. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Oh, I probably will get around to reading it!
  47. Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders
  48. Prevention: the most important treatment of heart disease. Gregg Yamada
  49. On the road Babadag by A. Stasium
  50. Book of Why by Judea Pearl
  51. How to write about music: excerpts from the 33 1/3
  52. Haven by Ruth Gruber.  (ALso “Witness”) Looking through a lot of her other journalistic works as well.
  53. How change and stupidity have changed history by Erik Durschmied
  54. Belles Lettres Papers by Charles Simmons
  55. Works of Donald Harington. His ebooks are really cheap on Amazon!
  56. Forgotten Man by Amity Schlaes
  57. Various essay collections by George Steiner
  58. Collected essays Elizabeth Hardwick
  59. Boomtown by Greg Williams
  60. Art of Life by John Kekes
  61. Conversations of Goethe with Eckerman
  62. Adventure Divas
  63.  How to Live on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett
  64. Great Impersonation by E. Phillips Oppenheim
  65. Illustrated short fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016
  66. Philip Sparrow Tells all: Lost Essays by Samuel Steward, Writer, Professor, Tatooed Artist
  67. Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  68. Mindware: Tools for smart thinking. richard nisbet
  69. Hans Christian Andersen: Life of a storyteller by Jackie Wullschlager
  70. Fantasyland by Kurt Anderson. Fun trek through American history and seeing generation after generation of people who could be duped.
  71.  Borges and Mathematics by Guillermo Martinez
  72. How to Be Funny by Jon Macks
  73. Woman who can’t forget by Jill Price
  74. Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
  75. Broken Places by Susan Perabo
  76. Soil by Jamie Kornegay
  77. Plan B by David Kord Murray
  78. Quicksand by Steve Toltz
  79. Life in the Lion’s Mouth by James
  80. Roadside Picnic by Arcady Strugatsky
  81. Fever of 1721
  82. Episodic Career by Farai Chideya
  83. KD by P.A. Trate. (Trash! But kind of fun reading nonetheless)
  84. Mentors, Muses and Monsters (anthology)
  85. This is your brain on sex by Kayt Sukl; Also, What do women want? Adventures in the science of female desire by Daniel Bergner; What do women want? (same title) by Erica Jong.
  86. Aphrodite’s Daughter
  87. I ain’t scared of you, by Bernie Mac (memoir, my hero!)
  88. Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strenghtens America’s Power   by Meghan O’Sullivan
  89. Tear Down this myth by Will bunch. Very well written takedown of Reagan’s legacy. Honestly, I’m amazed at how widespread this myth of Reagan competence is.
  90. How We Know What Isn’t So: Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life by Thomas Gilovich
  91. Intelligence and how to get it by Richard Nisbett
  92. Tales with a Texas Twist: by Donna Ingham. Remarkable live storyteller from Texas whose book of  stories is even more remarkable.
  93. Plays by Tom Stoppard
  94. 30 second Anatomy by Gabrielle M. Finn. Remarkable elementary picture book of anatomy (bought used for a dollar!)
  95. Boethius consolation of philosophy
  96. What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner. Very well-written journalistic book on researchers who are studying female desire and sexuality.
  97. Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, Edited by German studies/folklorist Maria Tatar. Really wonderfully book that combines scholarship with beautiful book design. Tatar has published several editions in the same series (grimm, Peter Pan, African-American Tales, etc). Get the hardback and be wowed!
  98. Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Shane Cunningham
  99. Catastrophist by Ronan Bennett
  100.  Selected Essays by Master Lu Xun.
  101.  Playwrights at Work: Interviews with Albee, Beckett, Guare, Hellman, Ionesco, Mamet, Miller, Pinter, Shepard, Simon, Stoppard, Wasserstein, Wilder, Williams, Wilson . (This is an incredible book!)
  102. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind by Siri Hustvedt. Major essayist on interdisciplinary stuff. Also married to Paul Auster!
  103. One red thread by Ernie Wood
  104. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
  105. Hype by Nina Shapiro
  106. Good Gut Cookbook by the Gut Foundation
  107. B-side Diaries by Brian Joyce
  108. Nobody Knows
  109. Asphalt Warrior by Gary Reilly
  110. What if by Randall Munroe
  111. Bark by Lorrie Moore
  112. Haunting of Maddy Claire by Simone St. James
  113. Can you solve my problems? by Alex Bellos
  114. Click here to kill everybody by Bruce Schneier
  115. Bloodchild by Octavia Butler. Mindblowing
  116. How Not to be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg
  117. Monarchy of Fear by Martha Nussbaum
  118. Not so Complete Birds Afoul of North America by Bill McGill. Hilarious stuff!
  119. Last Open Road by Burt Levy.
  120. Short Story Omnibus by William Peskett
  121. Four Chinese Classics, translated by David Hinton. Incredibly, I have still not read Analects — though armed with a new translation, I will do so.
  122. What to Read (with 33 Annotated book lists) by Mickey Pearlman.
  123. Short Stories: Five Decades  by Irwin Shaw


  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.
  20. Nocturnal Creatures
  21. Babylon 5 Season 1 and 2 and 3. Very interesting story arcs! (though some episodes stunk!). Also Season 4 and 5.
  22. Curb Your Enthusiasm, various seasons. (Didn’t like that much).
  23. Dunkirk
  24. Cabin Boy.
  25. Marvelous mrs Maisel
  26. Searching for Bobby Fisher. A really delightful movie once I understood what it was trying to do.
  27. bob newhart show Season 65.
  28. Silence. Scorcese
  29. God Knows Where I Am. Amazing documentary