Thursday, December 13, 2018

Future Reading

I'm not done with heroic fantasy, not by a long shot, but I do need a break. There are a few books on my radar (or the mail) that I will definitely read, but I'm hoping to get to a lot of non-fantasy books before my Black Gate hiatus is over.

Right now I'm, simultaneously, reading Alan Le May's The Searchers and Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. The Searchers is a raw, bloody book, even more so than the movie. Le May wrote many other Westerns, several of which were filmed, and some screenplays. Reading about the latter, I'm totally planning to track down Reap the Wild Wind. It's an adventure set in the Florida Keys in the 1840s and stars Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland, and John Wayne.

There are also a passel of other Westerns I'd like to take a crack at this year. Louis L'amour was one of my dad's favorites, but I've never read anything by him. Hondo, made into a John Wayne movie, is supposed to be one of his better ones. I've read a little Elmore Leonard, but never one of his Western novels. I like the Paul Newman movie based on Hombre so I'd like to give that a go. I've still got to get to John Benteen's Fargo and Ron Hansen's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

I've long been curious about three nautical series; C.S Forester's Hornblower, Alexander Kent's Bolitho, and Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin. I'm not sure I'll pull it off, but I'd like to give the first book written in each series a go. From what I know of all three series, both Forester and Kent are more adventure oriented while O'Brian less so. I tried listening to Master and Commander and liked it but decided to really get the most out of it I'll need to actually read it.

I'd also like to read several Golden Age mysteries. I'd like to read one or two of Margery Allingham's early books, maybe Ngaio Marsh's first Roderick Alleyn book and Dorothy Sayers' first Peter Wimsey book, and reread A.A. Milne's Red House Mystery. If I get really ambitious, I'll pull out Edmund Crispin's The Moving Toyshop.

At the same time, there are lots of other books I want to read over the next year. I'd like to get to Gogol's Dead Souls and Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. And Tim Willocks' latest, Memo from Turner, and the next Captain Alatriste book, The Sun Over Breda.

And some non-fiction, like maybe finishing off Geoffrey Wawro's The Franco-Prussian War and Holger Herwig's The Marne, 1914. Oh, and Howard Andrew Jones' upcoming For the Killing of Kings, Robert Zoltan's Rogues of Merth collection, and a new one from Milton Davis called Eda Blessed. It's a lot and I'm lazy, but I'm crossing my fingers. It really would be nice to read what I want to read at my own pace after several years of doing the exact opposite.

And, of course, all this is subject to change. There used to a day when I read whatever just happened to catch my eye. That still happens occasionally and I love when it still does.


  1. An ambitious list, but I would expect nothing less from you.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks! I've actually started Allingham's Sweet Danger and it's a hoot.

  2. An inspiring list. So much to look forward to.

    I can't help but suggest that, if you were to read but one Elmore Leonard western novel, that you make it Valdez is Coming. Hombre is a fine book but the plot of Valdez is so well balanced that it's all but perfect. There are several scenes as memorable and well wrought as anything I've read in the past ten or twelve years. It's beautiful.

    Please keep a-readin' and a-writin' about it, Fletcher. Your voice is one of a kind.

    John Hocking

    1. I second the suggestion that you read Valdez is Coming.

    2. Thanks. Howard A Jones recommended Valdez very strongly. Thankfully, I have a copy on the shelf

  3. I’ve read Hombre and I really liked it, but it sounds like I too should seek out Valdez is Coming. No problem. I’m fine being told to read more Elmore.