I've had the blog down for quite a while, but I always appreciated the interest in sharing my reading acquisitions for the year. 2014 has been one hell of a year for me.
I left my full-time job as the Production Director of a Digital Ad Agency in Los Angeles. My Mother passed away after a long, long, dragged out Alzheimer's decline.
The reading list reflects the time I had to read and reflect on my life in 2014.
Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case by James DiEugenio
The first book purchased in 2014. What did you expect?
Menotti: A Biography by John Gruen
Interesting composer and man, but seems to be forgotten. If you can stand the taste, his operas were some of the 20th Century's best.
JFK: Ordeal in Africa by Richard Mahoney
Yeah, I'm a freak.
Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist by Thomas Levenson
A present for my brother who loves this kind of stuff. Seems to have been written for him.
Hollywood's Made-to-Order Punks: The Dead End Kids, Little Tough Guys, East Side Kids and the Bowery Boys by Richard Roat
A fun bit of side show history of Hollywood's Golden Age. I loved these movies as a kid. Saw most of them on Saturday afternoon.
I used to introduce myself as 'Horace Debussy Jones' as a kid.
In Danger: A Pasolini Anthology by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Very specific brand of film and social criticism. Not a light nightstand read. I was trying to understand his films better. The book didn't help.
Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A.J. Liebling
A present for my sister who loves both food and Paris.
A.J. Liebling: World War II Writings (Library of America) by A. J. Liebling
But like most things I discover, the obsession kicks in.
A.J. Liebling: The Sweet Science and Other Writings: The Earl of Louisiana / The Jollity Building / Between Meals / The Press (Library of America)
See what I mean. Sometimes I go too far.
How to Read a Film: The Art, Technology, Language, History, and Theory of Film and Media by James Monaco
One of the most influential books of my life.
Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway
I couldn't find my copy of this, so I bought it again. It makes me nervous if I don't have the full Hemingway collection on my bookcase.
Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
You got some more coming, Sister.
Peter's Choice by Joseph Orbi
Wow. Freak show of a writer. Go to Amazom.com and read the intro to Joseph Orbi. How could you not buy his books?
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris
Film criticism that is fun to read. The author picks a topic and drills down deep.
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris
Even more fun. The 'Five' are some of my favorite Directors.
Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet by Linda Herrera
I can't explain this one to well. I was listening to late night Liberal radio one night and she was being interviewed. I bought her book.
Hiroshima in America by Robert J. Lifton, Greg Mitchell
Really good historical writing.
Pasta e Verdura: 140 Vegetable Sauces for Spaghetti, Fusilli, Rigatoni, and All Other Noodles by Jack Bishop
As I grow older, it isn't all about spaghetti and Meatballs.
The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings (Collector's Edition) Hardcover by J. R. R. Tolkien
I saw this and had to have it.
James Baldwin : Collected Essays : Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / (Library of America) The Devil Finds
Work by James Baldwin
A crazy obsession started.
James Baldwin: Early Novels and Stories: Go Tell It on a Mountain / Giovanni's Room / Another Country / Going to Meet the Man (Library of America)
by James Baldwin
The obsession just rolls on. Once I start, I can't stop.
Just Above My Head by James Baldwin
See what I mean. But let me just say, Baldwin may have fallen off the bestseller lists and most of the college canons, but he was a master of American prose. His
writing, at times is unmatched. He soars higher than Mailer and Vidal and Capote in the middle of last century.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
It sure does. With this book (and AL Gore of course) we cannot tell our grandchildren we didn't see it coming.
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
The Reagan Revolution was the biggest act of treason in American History. And that's saying something.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
I wanted read this again after watching Apocalypse Now.
To the White Sea by James Dickey
I found this book a long time ago, but forgot it. This would make a great movie.
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends by Jack Bishop
I'm not a vegetarian, but these recipes are fun to make, good to eat and will make you feel superior to all the people in the Taco Bell drive-thru.
Tarzan of the Apes by Robert M. Hodes(Adapter), Edgar Rice Burroughs(Author), Burne Hogarth (Illustrator)
I bought this book after reading an interview with Vittorio Storaro and his inspiration for the cinematography for Apocalypse Now. This is the only graphic novel on the List this year, but it is a doozy. And I always though the Coppola crew were all just high.
A Dead Man In Deprtford by Anthony Burgess
I really liked this book and it got me excited about language again.
In Search of Lost Time: Proust 6-pack by Marcel Proust
Can't say I'm going to make it all the way. I thought I should at least have a copy in the house.
(See intro at the top of the page about having a lot of free time)
A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight by Henry Williamson
Okay, now this needs some explanation. This is a man's life work. 15 novels. When I get obsessed, I get fucking obsessed.
I can't promise you or myself that I will get to all 15 novels, but I bought them and they are looming on the bookcase. (Think C.P. Snow's Strangers & Brothers or
Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music of Time (or Proust) Here is how Wikipedia breaks down the novels:
A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight - a series of 15 novels following the life of Phillip Maddison from his birth in the late 1890s till the early 1950s, based loosely on
Williamson's own life and experiences.
The Dark Lantern (1951)
Donkey Boy (1952)
Young Phillip Maddison (1953)
How Dear Is Life (1954)
A Fox Under My Cloak (1955)
The Golden Virgin (1957)
Love and the Loveless (1958)
A Test to Destruction (1960)
The Innocent Moon (1961)
It Was the Nightingale (1962)
The Power of the Dead (1963)
The Phoenix Generation (1965)
A Solitary War (1967)
Lucifer Before Sunrise (1967)
The Gale of the World (1969)
The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans
I have the first two books in the trilogy and had to reinforce the bookshelf to add this one. Great history if you're into to this sort of thing.
Visconti: Explorations of Beauty and Decay by Henry Bacon
Every now and then I go on a director obsession and the latest was/is Luchino Visconti. One of the most important and sophisticated to come out of Italy. He started in Neorealism, but finished with exquisite novel-like masterpieces that are a high point in filmmaking.
Luchino Visconti: A Biography by Gaia Servadio
I haven't found a good biography on Visconti, including this one. The film critics seem to do a better job of explaining the man.
Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins
Good, fun historical reading.
Dark Alliance: Movie Tie-In Edition: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion by Gary Webb
A sordid chapter in the story of our times. The Decline of the America Empire, starting in 1980.
Cahiers du Cinéma: The 1950s: Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave by Jim Hillier
A collection of film criticism when films were important and could stand up to such analysis.
Cahiers du Cinéma: 1960-1968: New Wave, New Cinema, Reevaluating Hollywood by Jim Hillier
Part two of the collection put together by MR. Hiller.
The Films in My Life by François Truffaut
An important man and an important life story. Filmmakers were once giants.
The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968 by William Manchester
In trying to understand Visconti's later films, I came across this bit of odd history. An important enough topic to be covered by William Manchester.
Some very interesting facts are revealed, especially in the Post World War Two sections. (hint: Americans are becoming the bad guys... see Kennedy Assassination)
Visconti and the German Dream: Romanticism, Wagner and the Nazi Catastrophe in Film by David Huckvale
So now I have to buy Wagner Operas.
Victory by Joseph Conrad
Love this book. I have to read it every few years... like Martine Eden by Jack London. It must by a guy thing)
Zeffirelli: An Autobiography by Franco Zeffirelli
A fun bio by a pretty good Director. Some interesting tales for a movie fan.
The Wagner Clan: The Saga of Germany's Most Illustrious and Infamous Family by Jonathan Carr
I just had to after reading about Wagner and Nazis and such. The world is a fucked up place.
The Night of Long Knives by Max Gallo
Wow. Visconti got it pretty much right in The Damned. Talk about WTF?!
Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature by Anthony Heilbut
More fallout from Visconti. I have not read any Thomas Mann, so with all my free time, I figured it must be time to start down that road. Man, he really fell off the reading lists. He seemed to dominate all lists in the first half of the 20th century. But, he was one strange man. I can't help but think my reading of his works are going to be colored by this book.
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
A present to two nephews who are moving out on their own. It's a great book if you don't want to keep calling your Mom and asking her to cook stuff.
A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York by Anjelica Huston
A present to my sister. Huston seems to be writing a three part auto biography.
Watch Me: A Memoir by Anjelica Huston
And here is the other book. She certainly has entertaining stories to tell.
Death in Venice: And Seven Other Stories by Thomas Mann (Author), H.T. Lowe-Porter (Translator)
And so it begins. I think this is going to be a long journey.
The Complete INDIE Editor - 55 Essential Copy-edits for the Professional Independent Author by Kev Heritage
I was following him on Twitter and he offered a book. I found three typos in the introduction. But he has some good advice.
Old School by Tobias Wolff
I really like Tobias Wolff. He is one of those writers that make me laugh out loud and keep stopping and reading passages to people.
A Year of Graceful Living by Donna DeRosa
My sister is getting into the act. A self-help and advice book.
The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil
Fallout out from Visconti and Mann.
Endangered: A Novel by Jean Love Cush
Heard the author interviewed on the radio and bought her book. In light of what came next in America, a pretty prophetic purchase.
Look Down in Mercy by Walter Baxter
Cleaning up the previous obsession of Post-World War Two novels. This one didn't come up on the radar until recently. Some excellent war writing in the first half of
the book. Even rivaled Mailer’s The Naked and The Dead. The second half is a bit rushed and deals with its eventual main topic in a language that is so tentative that
even the author seems to just end the book instead of dealing with it. And it had two endings. Not sure which one I like better and neither could the author.
Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut
Sometimes I get lost in criticism and biography. Foster was such a great writer who let his private life constrain his work. Can't imagine how good he would have been
had he just told the world to fuck off.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel by Richard Flanagan
Came across this recommendation and really enjoyed the book.
The Kennedy Connection: A Gil Malloy Novel by R. G. Belsky
I have no excuse except I like detective thrillers and the title had Kennedy in it.
Marcel Proust: A Life by Edmund White
I can't just read his books. I have to understand more... it's a sickness.
The Story of My Heart An Autobiography by Richard Jefferies
Another piece of fallout out from Visconti and Mann.
Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46 by Jack Kerouac
Never really read Kerouac and the Beats beyond On The Road (and Ginsberg's Howl)
A bit strange and kind of not as much fun as I thought it would be.
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac
See above and add WTF?!!!
To The Ends of The Earth Trilogy By William Golding
Three individual novels of the sea all connected by the main character.
Great writing and the kind of thing one does not read today, unless forced to by school master.
Fire Down Below
Rites of Passage
Johannes Brahms: A Biography by Jan Swafford
I am not very 'Classical Music' educated but I'm trying.
The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It by John W. Dean
I love this kind of stuff. Nixon was the stuff American Dreams are made of.
To Glory Arise (Privateers & Gentlemen) by Walter Jon Williams
The first novel by a writer I like. Not very good. He gets a lot better when he deals with the virtual world and cyber punk.
The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America--and What We Can Do to Stop It by Thom Hartmann
Read it and weep.
This Is Not a Game: A Novel (Dagmar Shaw) by Walter Jon Williams
Give this guy a chance. He is not as prominent on the sci-fi/fantasy shelves as others, but he is much smarter than most.
Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made by Greg Mitchell
Fun bit of history of WW2 and Movies.
Family Dancing: Stories by David Leavitt
A writer's first published stories are always interesting to read, especially after the writer becomes a bestseller.
Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party by Max Blumenthal
Blumenthal is way too intense for his own good, but this sledge hammer of a book is important stuff that we do not find in the usual American journalism.
Cenacolo by Joseph Orbi
He's just nuts, but wonderfully so. One of my better obscure finds this year.
Boredom by Alberto Moravia
I feel I need to get more Moravia under my belt. I've only read the Conformist.
The Sea-Story Megapack: 30 Classic Nautical Works
Jack Williamson, H. P. Lovecraft, Victor Hugo, Arthur Conan Doyle, Morgan Robertson...et al
I just, it was cheap... you gotta love it.
Topaz by Leon Uris
Watched the Hitchcock movie recently (the woman in the purple dress melting into the chessboard floor movie) and decided to read the book.
Uris is a good popular novelist.
American Rust: A Novel by Philipp Meyer
I bought this after reading Meyer's the Son, which I loved.
The Son by Philipp Meyer
See above. Good book.
The Military Megapack: 25 Great Tales of War
Stephen Crane, Ambrose Bierce, Rudyard Kipling, Philip K. Dick, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy de Maupassant, Arthur J. Burks, Robert W. Nealey, George Bruce,
Benge Atlee, Eugene Cunningham, Laurence Donovan, Jay D., Lieut. Blaufox, Mark Twain, Johnston McCulley, Norman A. Daniels, David Goodis, Katherine Mansfield, Lester del Rey, Randall Garrett, Harry Harrison... et al.
Again, I can't help myself when I see such a huge pile of books packaged together so cheap.
Messiah by Gore Vidal
The last of the Gore Vidal books I had to read.
Down There on a Visit: A Novel by Christopher Isherwood
He was a good writer, very smart, but there is something about him... is it laziness? Not sure, but his books should be better, or longer, or something.
Pirates of the Levant: A Novel (Captain Altriste) by Arturo Perez-Reverte
I have no excuse. It was fun.
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris by Edmund White
I probably should like White more, but just don't.
The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America by Gerald Horne
Interesting historical writing by someone with a point of view that stands counter the the usual history books. Interesting stuff.
The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story by Glenway Wescott
Again, just let me have my fun.
The Slap: A Novel by Christos Tsiolkas
Sometimes a story comes along and it is such a great idea. Read this book with a book club. You will want to discuss it after you finish it.
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King Jr.
Interesting history and civics. Funny how prophetic some of these men were.
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
Sometimes novels are just fun, good reads.
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
This is just fantastic stuff. Forget everything else on the list and read this and The Slap
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
One of his I didn't read. It showed up on my bookshelf one day.
Walking Your Blues Away: How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being by Thom Hartmann
Thom Hartmann is becoming an important commentator and writer. Lots of good and interesting stuff comes out of him.