Books Read in 1984

Following on from last month’s Books Read in 1983.

The numbers continue to rise, with 127 books read this year, and I initially adopted a theme approach, with classics read in January, SF in February, literary fiction in March, Roman history in April, but that fell by the wayside in the second half of the year.

In parenthesis, I find it quite amazing that there was a time in my life when I spent an entire month reading books about the Roman empire, while the smutty side of my personality protests that I really should have read Sexual Life in Ancient Rome before The Climax of Rome, and not the other way round. On this day, thirty years ago, I cracked open The Buried Cities.

On the occasion of my 30th birthday I was slogging through the mighty doorstop that was Shogun by James Clavell, and a friend who observed me reading it took it upon himself to buy me another Clavell doorstop as a birthday present – he really should have asked if I was enjoying it first. I can’t be too hard on the poor guy though, as another year he got me the wonderful It by a certain Mr King.

It was the year I discovered Mary Renault and F. Scott Fitzgerald, both of whom I still adore, while my favourite books, as well as Gatsby, would have to include The Hotel New Hampshire by Irving, Benchley’s The Girl of the Sea of Cortez and Gore Vidal’s epic Creation. The biggest disappointment was John le Carré, whose The Little Drummer Girl I expected to like very much but in the event didn’t care for at all, found it all rather dull. And, while I didn’t dislike it as such, it took another reading and seeing the film before I really appreciated Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I read four delicious books by the genius that was Richard Brautigan (and looking at this list, I want to dip into his oeuvre again so badly).

It was also the year I reacquainted myself with H. Rider Haggard, another literary hero of my boyhood. He lived up the road from the village and my father bought all of his books as a matter of principle, while one house at the local school was called Haggard and we read King Solomon’s Mines just about every year. I wanted to be Allan Quartermain when I grew up.

A friend lent me the Fiona Richmond book, and she also gave me Man’s Best Friend, a quirky cartoon take on the penis. I can’t lay responsibility for reading a Molly Parkin book at anyone else’s feet though.

Here’s the list (with author names in the main added from memory, so please feel free to point out any errors):-

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells

The Talisman – Sir Walter Scott

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

Dracula – Bram Stoker

King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne

Steppe – Piers Anthony

Invaders from Earth – Robert Silverberg

The Book of Philip Jose Farmer – Philip Jose Farmer

Mortal Gods – Jonathan Fast

The Penultimate Truth – Philip K. Dick

Survival Kit – Frederik Pohl

Hothouse – Brian W. Aldiss

Alien Embassy – Ian Watson

Threshold – Ursula K. LeGuin

Venus on the Half-shell – Philip Jose Farmer

Hello America – J. G. Ballard

Shatterday – Harlan Ellison

Cities of the Red Night – William S. Burroughs

Creation – Gore Vidal

Black Tickets – Jayne Anne Phillips

Jailbird – Kurt Vonnegut

The Collector – John Fowles

Love-Act – M. E. Austen

The Tokyo-Montana Express – Richard R. Brautigan

Jack in the Box – William Kotzwinkle

Queen of Stones – Emma Tennant

If on a winter’s night a traveller – Italo Calvino

The Grandeur that was Rome – J. C. Stobart

The Age of Augustus – Donald Earl

Great Civilizations: The Cultural History of Rome – Henri Stierlin

The Buried Cities: Pompeii and Herculaneum – Alfonso De Franciscis

All Colour Book of Roman Mythology – Peter Croft

Roman Mythology – Stewart Perowne

The World of Rome – Michael Grant

The Climax of Rome – Michael Grant

Sexual Life in Ancient Rome – Otto Kiefer

Life in Rome in Ancient Times – Paul Werner

Roman Roads of Europe – N. H. H. Sitwell

The Roman World – Michael Vickers

Monuments of Civilization: Rome – Filippo Coarelli

The Little Drummer Girl – John le Carré

Poe Must Die – Marc Olden

The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving

Hungry as the Sea – Wilbur Smith

Christine – Stephen King

The Robot Who Looked Like Me – Robert Sheckley

Keepers of the Secrets – Philip Jose Farmer

If the Stars Are Gods – Gregory Benford & Gordon Eklund

The Solarians – Norman Spinrad

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder – William Hope Hodgson

The Enchanter Compleated – L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt

Pattern-Master – Octavia E. Butler

Necromancer – Gordon R. Dickson

Conan the Swordsman – L. Sprague de Camp

Conan the Liberator – L. Sprague de Camp & Lin Carter

Conan the Mercenary – Andrew J. Offutt

The Sword of Skelos – Andrew J. Offutt

The Road of Kings – Karl Edward Wagner

Spellbinder – Harold Robbins

Ghosts – Ed McBain

The Great Pursuit – Tom Sharpe

The Bull from the Sea – Mary Renault

Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice

The Dogs of War – Frederick Forsythe

Fast and Loose – Molly Parkin

The Night of Morningstar – Peter O’Donnell

M. A. S. H. Goes to San Francisco – Richard Hooker

Mike Dime – Barry Fantoni

Flash for Freedom! – George MacDonald Fraser

Sunset People – Herbert Kastle

The Girl of the Sea of Cortez – Peter Benchley

The Spy Who Loved Me – Ian Fleming

Golden Voyager – Simon Finch

The Green Ripper – John D. MacDonald

Bare Nell – Leslie Thomas

The House on the Hill – Jonathan Black

Master of the Temple – Eric Ericson

Astrology and Foretelling the Future – Thomas G. Aylesworth

The Necronomicon – Edited by George Hay with an introduction by Colin Wilson

A Reader’s Guide to Fantasy – Michael Franklin, Baird Searles & Beth Meacham

The Cosmological Eye – Henry Miller

Mirage – Boris & Doris Vallejo

The Fantastic Art of Rowena – Rowena Morrill

The King of Elfland’s Daughter – Lord Dunsany

How to Become a Virgin – Quentin Crisp

The Notched Hairpin – H. F. Heard

The Silver Arm – Jim Fitzpatrick

Hallelujah Anyway – Patrick Woodroffe

A Confederate General from Big Sur – Richard R. Brautigan

H. R. Giger’s Necronomicon – H. R. Giger

The World of the Vikings – O. Madsen

The Vikings and their Origins – David Wilson

She – H. Rider Haggard

Sudden Death – Rita Mae Brown

Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller

The Siege of Krishnapur – J. G. Farrell

Trout Fishing in America – Richard R. Brautigan

The Jungle Lovers – Paul Theroux

Legion – William Peter Blatty

Neighbours – Thomas Berger

The Delta Star – Joseph Wambaugh

Book of Friends – Henry Miller

Querelle of Brest – Jean Genet

Foundation’s Edge – Isaac Asimov

God Emperor of Dune – Frank Herbert

The Best Short Stories of Fredric Brown

Friday – Robert A. Heinlein

Little, Big – John Crowley

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Story of O – Pauline Réage

In Watermelon Sugar – Richard R. Brautigan

Little Birds – Anais Nin

The Ghost Writer – Philip Roth

The White Paper – Jean Cocteau

The Book of Sand – Jorge Luis Borges

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ – Sue Townsend

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman – Angela Carter

Man’s Best Friend – Peter Mayle & Gray Joliffe

High Spirits – Robertson Davies

Shogun – James Clavell

The Story of I – Fiona Richmond

Tender Is The Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald


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2 Responses to Books Read in 1984

  1. Rolnikov says:

    Fascinating as ever!

  2. Pingback: Books Read in 1985 | Trumpetville

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