Essential Reading: January 2014

Hey ho! 2014 is already here and it means another year of meaningful reading, another year of exploration, and another year of growth. Before I present my reading list for the first month of the year, let me recap the books that I read on the last month of last year:

  • The Diamond as Big as The Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald (4/5)
  • Emporium by Adam Johnson (3/5)
  • Stonecutter by John J. Muth (4/5)
  • Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro (5/5)
  • Timbuktu by Paul Auster (4/5)
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (4/5)

I think I ended 2013 well, reading-wise, but I was still disappointed because I only reached the 20th page of The Golden Notebook before I decided to shelve it and read it at another time when I’m more prepared to tackle it. Anyway, what’s done is done and we should now move on to the list of books that I have for January 2014. By the way, January’s theme is books published under a special imprint:


  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (published by Vintage Classics) – Revolutionary Road is a story about a couple in a suburban rut. I may be oversimplifying things because Revolutionary Road is considered to be one of the greatest novels of modern times and it is highly recommended by a friend of mine.
  • A Schoolboy’s Diary by Robert Walser (published by NYRB Classics) – One reason why I love NYRB Classics is because they pluck writers from relative obscurity and reintroduce them to the public. One such writer is Robert Walser whose writings are admired by writers like JM Coetzee, Susan Sontag, and William Gass. There must be something to his writing and I intend to discover it for myself.
  • Where There’s Love, There’s Hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo (published under The Neversink Library by Melville House) – Casares and Ocampo hails from South America, a continent whose writers have not disappointed me yet so I have high hopes for this collaborative work of theirs about a murder and the subsequent investigation.
  • A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter (published by FSG Classics) – Considered to be one of James Salter’s masterpiece, A Sport and A Pastime tells the story of a romantic affair between an American college drop-out and a young Frenchwoman. It is often cited as a sexually-explicit book but what I really look forward to in this book is Salter’s prose.
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (published by Penguin Deluxe Classics) – Madame Bovary is often cited as a masterpiece in French literature written by one of France’s best writers. However, the selling point of this novel for me was because it was translated by Lydia Davis, considered to be the premiere French translator of our time.

I really have a strong feeling that I’m starting the year right! Aside from the books mentioned above, I’ll also be reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman because it’s our book club’s first book of the month for 2014.  What a way to start a year.

2 Responses to “Essential Reading: January 2014”
  1. I gasp at Madame Bovary! James Wood says Flaubert started it all, that is why I am very interested in it, particularly Davis’s translation (unfortunately, I don’t have a copy yet).

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