Holy Cow!!! Six months down, six to go here in 2012.

As with the conclusion to all the other months, it’s time to post the monthly roundup of books I’ve read.

I don’t know about you, but I replace books on the “to be read” shelf quicker than I can read them. I’ve put myself under a “new book embargo” several times this year. My book blockades are about as effective as UN sanctions…the “to be read” shelf is groaning under the weight of new books.

Here’s the run-down for June:

  • The Secret Knowledge, by David Mamet – The writer of Glengary Glen Ross, The Untouchables, and other plays and films, takes a shot at writing political philosophy.
  • The Washington Pastime Collection Anthology – A collection like this makes for an interesting business model: run an online literary journal and print a “best of” anthology annually. While I was, ultimately, disappointed with the end product, I think it’s a good way to gain knowledge of a particular market’s publishing standards.
  • Your Path to Publication, by Kim Wright – I picked this book up in January when Kim presented a graduating seminar for us at Queens. Good overview of the publishing process, from the point of view of the writer. She covers the full gambit, from six-figure, big publishing house contracts (rare) to the run-away, self-published (or, as is now vogue, “independent author) book that makes millions (also, rare). Kim’s easy, personal, witty style comes through in this book. If you are a fledgling writer interested in knowing more about contracts, agents, social media, and such, this is a great starting point.
  • American History in Black and White, by David Barton – This book details some of the dramatic contributions to the founding of the United States from people of color and those who were against slavery from the beginning.
  • Cosmopolis, by Don Delillo – Ok. Confession. Didn’t finish it. After I chucked it into the “sell” pile and affixed an “as soon as possible” sticker to the front, I found out they are making a movie out of this book with one of the teen heart-throb vampires, I think…to each their own. I just didn’t find the story (or this character) particularly compelling. I found the story-telling difficult. Not a good combo. DeLillo is a hit-or-miss author for me, and this one was a miss.
  • Devil’s Delusion, by David Berlinski – A secular Jew takes on “atheism’s scientific pretensions”. It’s an interesting read. Would probably make a more-interesting discussion/conversation, if those sorts of things could still happen in a civil society…
  • In An Uncharted Country, by Clifford Garstang – One of the best fiction collections I’ve read in a while. Great writing, interesting characters, literary-yet-accessible…good stuff. Highly recommended.
  • Out of Sync, by Belinda Nicoll – This memoir about expatriation, post-9/11 America, and the decade of “out of sync”-ness that followed is written by my friend and fellow Queens grad, Belinda. More coming on this book as I hope to publish an author interview with Belinda in the near future.
  • The Masters Review, Vol 1. – With stories written by creative writing students from around the country, selected and edited by Lauren Groff, this collection delivers. Especially good: Coydog, the wonderful story of loss by my friend and writer of gritty-yet-beautiful prose that always makes me pause and take a deep breath, Heidi Moore.

There you go. If you want to check out the reading list from prior months, click away: January, February, March, April, May.

As always, the links that take you to Amazon are affiliate links. I’ll make $0.035  or something, if you buy it there. You are free, of course, to track these books down somewhere else, if that suits you better.

June Reading List Roundup
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  • My “to-read” list grows faster than I can read it as well, but I have an attempt at a solution: the library. Of course, there are always those books that the library doesn’t carry yet, or that really great bargain at the used book store, so I sympathize with the groaning-book-shelf syndrome. Some of the titles on your list sound interesting;I just might have to go snooping around to see what else I can find out! Thanks for sharing.

    • A couple of those were library books, actually…but the ownership of my own copies of books has always been a special sort of joy, you know? So. I still buy way more than I “rent”. (Plus, I hope some day others will buy MY books, not just share them with their neighbors via the library’s loaning.)

  • I have that list problem… except I suck at making lists (and keeping them where I can find them), so as soon as I finish a chunk of books, I’m out again… or at least I can’t remember what the heck was on the list!

    Sooo…. are you going to share your to-read list? Is it on Goodreads (I just joined, so I’m not quite familiar with it yet)?

    • My to-read list isn’t a list at all. It is two shelves of my desk unit. The books are there, ready to be picked off one by one. I try to keep it down to just those two shelves. Try the, can’t buy one until you read one of those waiting, game…

      • Well, there’s the problem right there. I’ve run out of room for books in the house (seriously, 2 kids, 2 cats, a dog, and about 1,500 books – excluding kids’ books – in our townhome). So, I’m doing lots of e-books and getting stuff from the library.

        Now, are you going to share what’s on your shelves?? 🙂

        • Not sure how I missed replying to this…but…I think I’ll just stick to listing the books I’ve actually managed to read, rather than those on the “to read” shelf…at least for now. 🙂

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