Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reading to the (Bitter) End

Now, I’m not buying into this whole reading of the Mayan calendar that claims we’re in for apocalyptic and literally earth-shattering events tomorrow. We have already survived more than a few predicted ends of the world over the last 2,000 years. Why believe these latest prognostications of doom, especially when they may we be based on a misunderstanding? As the Los Angeles Times reports, “NASA scientists and Mayan scholars say there is no reason to fear Dec. 21. They say the date simply marks the end of one 5,125-year cycle of the complex Mayan calendar and the beginning of another one.”

There’s nothing wrong, though, with employing this latest end-of-the-planet scenario as entertainment. Several media sources have already provided suggestions of what to read, if we actually have just a few pitiful hours left in which to bury our noses in books. (Cormac McCarthy’s The Road seems to be a popular choice.)

But what I want to know is this:

If our beloved but puny globe at the edge of the Milky Way does meet with destruction tomorrow, and we’re all swept away in a sea of fire, say, or a cataclysmic cascade of asteroids, what books will you not have finished reading?

I am not looking for your whole to-be-read list, just the titles and authors of books you’ve already begun.

OK, so I’ll go first. Here are the works of fiction and non-fiction that I would be leaving behind, only partially completed:

An Instrument of Slaughter, by Edward Marston (Allison & Busby)
Whiskey Island, by Les Roberts (Gray & Company)
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas (Penguin)
Fobbit, by David Abrams (Black Cat/Grove Atlantic)
The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took On the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad, by Dennis Drabelle (St. Martin’s Press)

Now it’s your turn. List in the Comments section of this post the one or more books you’re in the midst of consuming, but wouldn’t have time to finish before the end of the day tomorrow, Friday.

I hope you will play along.

READ MORE:The Maya Apocalypse Is Not Nigh,” by Alex Halperin (Salon); “The End of the World As We Know It, Again,” by Christopher Morgan (Criminal Element); “The Mayan Apocalypse: By the Numbers,” by Harold Maass (Mental Floss); “12 Signs That It’s the End of the World (As We Know It),” by Deborah Montesano (Addicting Info).


mybillcrider said...

Fangs Out, David Freed
Latest issues of EQMM & AHMM

Randy Johnson said...

Ratlines by Stuart Neville

pattinase (abbott) said...

Trust Your Eyes (Barclay)Best Short Stories of 2012 (ed. Tom Perotta; Long Desire, Evan S. Connelly

michael said...

The Singapore Wink by Ross Thomas

Books To Die For ed by John Connolly and Declan Burke

Lexicographer's Dilemma by Jack Lynch

Further Foolishness by Stephen Leacock

Walker Martin said...

SOONER LAND by George Washington Ogden, a western serial appearing in WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE in 1927.

FROM DEEP WATERS by L. Patrick Greene, a story collection about the series starring The Major from ADVENTURE and SHORT STORIES magazine.

railbear said...


MY BOOKSTORE edited by Ronald Rice and Booksellers Across America

Ann Parker said...

Here are the "in the middle of" books on my bedstand (because when the apocalypse occurs, it'll be in the middle of the night... right? ;-) ):
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Bitch by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood
The Circus and Victorian Society by Brenda Assael

Linda L. Richards said...

• The Purchase, by Linda Spalding (McLelland & Stewart)
• Lola, California, by Edie Meidav (FSG)
• NW, by Zadie Smith (Penguin)
• The Teleportation Accident, by Ned Beauman (Bloomsbury)
• Finnegan’s Wake, by James Joyce (Don’t hold your breath on this one. I’ve been at it for a while.)

Peter Rozovsky said...

I am confident that if I do not finish The Man Without Qualities (Robert Musil), The Radetzky March (Joseph Roth), Bleak House (Dickens), Undercover (Bill James), and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Luo Guanzhong), it will not be because the world has ended.

I am pleased to see Leacock on someone's list. Pick up that one now. At least you'll die laughing.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Anonymous said...

Alexander to Actium: the Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age by Peter Green

A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

David Copperfield by Charles Dickins

Ray Kolb

Anonymous said...

How To Live - Sarah Bakewell
The Likeness - Tana French
Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis
Hidden Depths - Ann Cleeves

J F Norris said...

Fittingly, it's THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, Dickens' unfinised last novel. I'm also nearly done with THE UNFINSHED CRIME by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. Too ironic, eh?

Richard L. Pangburn said...

This Mayan thing is like the Fiscal Cliff. Just another fear rumor rumor manufactured by those whose real agenda is to kick that can down the road until another is found to milk.

Reading now:

Mischa Hiller's SHAKE OFF which seems bound to make my Thriller Best of the Year list.

Unknown said...

Happy that I'll be able to finish these:
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (fitting, right?)
Kenneth Oppel's Such Wicked Intent (reading with my son)
Stuart Neville's Ratlines

Happy Holidays!