There are Monsters Ahead

Mostly unread fiction on these shelves, all monsters exceeding five-hundred pages; some philosophy, or philosophical anthropology in Blumenberg’s case. Tolstoy is missing as is my almost complete set of Heinemann’s Anthony Powell, and two huge Arno Schmidt editions. These are all in my future and the shelves that excite me most, rabbit-holes of discovery that hold in reserve so much promise and mystery.

There are a few novels missing that I’d like to read: William Gaddis’ The Recognitions, another attempt at Infinite Jest, Pynchon, Carlos Fuentes’ Terra Nostra, possibly Louis Armand’s The Combinations, and Cáo Xuěqín’s novel, Grossman’s Life and Fate, Lessing’s space fiction novels. Ever curious about Richardson’s Clarissa, but I don’t think I could sustain myself through its entirety.

18 thoughts on “There are Monsters Ahead

  1. Several of these are in my current in-tray too, and I’m in the midst of the Gombrowicz diaries right now – a consistently brilliant book. I hope you get on with the Theroux book better than I did. I rarely cast a novel aside, but in his case I made an exception.

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  2. So many of these are on my list, too! I own and want to read 2666, Ducks, Newburyport, volume 1 of The Story of the Stone, and Anniversaries. I have read In the Eye of the Sun, and I really enjoyed it. There are a few here that I am not aware of, but I will have to check them out. Another long work that is on my tbr list (though I am not sure when I will read it) is The Tale of the Genji. I own the Tyler translation, and I took it off my shelf this week, pondering if now is the time to dig in. If I read a long book, I also like to have a short one to keep my attention, too. (I’m still reading The Sleepwalkers as it’s very dense as you know, and I just finished the short novel Welcome to America.)

    I enjoy looking at your shelves.

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    • Genji is long on my radar, and what I’ve read of it looks like my sort of thing. I bought After Adam last week on your recommendation and hope to get to it this year.

      How was Welcome to America? Michael Orthofer at The Complete Review rated it very highly so I am curious.


      • I actually read Welcome to America because of the good review it received at The Complete Review. I saw a few other positive reviews of it, as well, but his review convinced me to read it. I did not love it as much as he did. I liked it, but I thought it was a bit slight and repetitive, which I understand is the reason why many liked it (at least the repetitive part). I also don’t think I’m the best audience for this kind of book. I realize, in retrospect, that I don’t really like books told from the point of view of a child–no matter how profound their thoughts are. That’s why I couldn’t finish What Maisie Knew, and I didn’t like Such Small Hands and The Ice Palace, which also were rated highly at The Complete Review. I like coming of age novels, where you can perceive the growth of the protagonist (I have Cora Sandel on my tbr pile, too) over time, but books that focus so exclusively on the mind of a child don’t hold as much interest for me.

        I just ordered Captivity. I am very interested in the period when the early Church was coming into being, and the Hellenistic/Roman/Jewish world, and this looks very much like it’s my kind of book.

        I’ll be interested to see what you think of The Death of Adam if you post about it. I have only dipped into it.

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        • I am pleased that you mentioned POV as, for some reason, I find it hard to connect with books told from a child’s POV. It is also why I’ve never connected with The Ice Palace. You’ve saved me the trouble of trying Welcome to America.

          Paul Anderson’s Hunger’s Brides may also interest you.


  3. First off, I love seeing other people’s bookshelves, either in person or photos – so thank you! 😀

    And secondly, what lovely books! Even one I’ve read (the Trotsky, in three separate volumes, decades ago and I remember it as being wonderful). There are plenty on there I’d love to be reading, and some I have on my TBR too. I’m very drawn to the Cora Sandels…

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  4. Clarissa over Infinite Jest any time of day or night! And yes, yes to Cora Sandel – a recent discover that I have become terribly fond of! I would certainly recommend Genji. But maybe I’m a bit biased – I have 5 or 6 different editions of it…

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