Books Read in 1985

Following on from last month’s Books Read in 1984.

And the numbers are down slightly to 124, for which I blame Jane Austen. It took me nearly four weeks to plough through the awful Pride and Prejudice; usually I’d get through a book of that length in three or four days, but it was so bloody boring that each day I would dread picking it up, as my ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ work ethic warred with a desire to do something more interesting, like watch wallpaper peel or rust form. The only comparable reading experience I can bring to mind was Robert Graves’ almost entirely tedious The White Goddess, and even now, nearly thirty years later, I’m so bitter that writing an ‘adult’ version of the novel, Perversion and Pornography, is still on my ‘to do’ list, even if somebody got to it before me a few years back with ‘the omitted scenes’.

Okay, rant over.

On this day in 1985 I cracked open Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino.

And on the occasion of my 31st birthday I read Fantasy Art Techniques, which in practical terms meant that I probably spent a good part of the day leering over Vallejo paintings of impossible women while pretending to myself that I was so much better than those common folk who read Playboy.

Looking over what I read the only major discovery I can see is the wonderful Tom Robbins, whose Even Cowgirls just blew me away. I sampled some of the great and the good – Nabokov, Faulkner, Rendell – but wasn’t so smitten that I’ve ventured back into those waters since.

With a couple of books I have no idea who wrote them, so any suggestions are welcome. In the case of Fifty Glorious Years I’m really coming up blank, so much so that I wonder if I forgot to write all of the title down. The most likely explanation is that it was some royal anniversary book I dipped into to humour my mother, but if so I can’t pin down any significant royal events in 1985.

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

The Winds of Change – Isaac Asimov

The John Franklin Bardin Omnibus – John Franklin Bardin

Magnetic Storm – Roger Dean & Martyn Dean

Nightwings – Robert Silverberg

Reincarnation – Hans Stefan Santesson

Two Sisters – Gore Vidal

Fantastic People – Allan Scott & Michael Scott Rohan

The International Book of Comics – Denis Gifford

The Infernal Device – Michael Kurland

The Mystery of the Human Double – Ralph Shirley

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Urshurak – The Brothers Hildebrandt & Jerry Nichols

The Lost Decade – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Doctor Sally – P. G. Wodehouse

The Songs of Summer – Robert Silverberg

Fifty Glorious Years

Matters of Fact and of Fiction – Gore Vidal

The Fantasy Book – Franz Rottensteiner

The Kama-Sutra: Erotic Figures in Indian Art – Marc de Smedt

Deadeye Dick – Kurt Vonnegut

In Favour of the Sensitive Man – Anais Nin

Setting Free the Bears – John Irving

Cosmos – Carl Sagan

Fevre Dream – George R. R. Martin

Romer’s Egypt – John Romer

The Charioteer – Mary Renault

Black Spring – Henry Miller

Danse Macabre – Stephen King

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail – Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln

The Barbie Murders – John Varley

The Steel Tsar – Michael Moorcock

Rogue Ship – A. E. van Vogt

Cosmicomics – Italo Calvino

The Deceivers – Alfred Bester

The Ghost Pirates – William Hope Hodgson

Unaccompanied Sonata – Orson Scott Card

The Space Machine – Christopher Priest

Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome

Sandkings – George R. R. Martin

Birthstone – D. M. Thomas

Voyage to Arcturus – David Lindsay

The Venus Hunters – J. G. Ballard

Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World – Arthur C. Clarke

Opus Pistorum – Henry Miller

Stonehenge Decoded – Gerald S. Hawkins

Enchantment – Doris & Boris Vallejo

Life in Egypt in Ancient Times – Bernard Romant

The World of the Pharoahs – H. Stierlin

Meanwhile – Max Handley

The World of the Egyptians – Jacques Champollion

A Dictionary of Devils and Demons – J. Tondriau & R. Villeneuve

Galactic Cluster – James Blish

Egyptian Sculpture – T. G. H. James & W. V. Davies

The Killing Doll – Ruth Rendell

Stiletto – Harold Robbins

The Dead Zone – Stephen King

The Godfather – Mario Puzo

The Island – Peter Benchley

A Kiss Before Dying – Ira Levin

The Dark of the Sun – Wilbur Smith

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues – Tom Robbins

The Black Marble – Joseph Wambaugh

An Innocent Millionaire – Stephen Vizinczey

Lady, Lady, I Did It – Ed McBain

The Big Footprints – Hammond Innes

The Pyrates – George MacDonald Fraser

Ghost Story – Peter Straub

Songs of Stars and Shadows – George R. R. Martin

Enemies of the System – Brian W. Aldiss

Lord of the Trees – Philip Jose Farmer

The Silent Invaders – Robert Silverberg

Other Days, Other Eyes – Bob Shaw

A Touch of Strange – Theodore Sturgeon

The Imperial Stars – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

Stranglers’ Moon – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

The Clockwork Traitor – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

Getaway World – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

The Bloodstar Conspiracy – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

The Purity Plot – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

Planet of Treachery – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith & Stephen Goldin

Fireship/Mother and Child – Joan D. Vinge

Heroes and Villains – Angela Carter

Profundis – Richard Cowper

Between Time and Timbuktu – Kurt Vonnegut

Marcovaldo – Italo Calvino

The Sorcerer – Eric Ericson

The Sword and the Stallion – Michael Moorcock

Trader to the Stars – Poul Anderson

Duluth – Gore Vidal

Penny Black – Susan Moody

The Hand-Reared Boy – Brian W. Aldiss

A Soldier Erect- Brian W. Aldiss

A Rude Awakening – Brian W. Aldiss

Six of One – Rita Mae Brown

The End of the Road – John Barth

Palm Sunday – Kurt Vonnegut

Silence Among the Weapons – John Arden

Different Seasons – Stephen King

The Leopard Hunts in Darkness – Wilbur Smith

A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories – Isaac Bashevis Singer

The Last Cattle Drive – Robert Day

Puffball – Fay Weldon

Mr Sammler’s Planet – Saul Bellow

The Floating Opera – John Irving

In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin

Sneaky People – Thomas Berger

The End of a Mission – Heinrich Boll

The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter

In Search of Forever – Rodney Matthews

Mysteries – Colin Wilson

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

Tarotmania – Jan Woudhuysen

The Dark Angel: Aspects of Victorian Sexuality – Fraser Harrison

The Sound and The Fury – William Faulkner

Fantasy Art Techniques – Boris Vallejo

Partners in Wonder – Harlan Ellison & Diverse Hands

King Arthur’s Avalon – Geoffrey Ashe

Past Present Future

Art Treasures in Germany – Stephan Waetzoldt

Magic: Primitive and Modern – Ernest de Martino

Matthew, Mark, Luke & John

Good News in John – Douglas Webster

The Work & Words of Jesus – A. M. Hunter

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4 Responses to Books Read in 1985

  1. petertennant says:

    Actually, I have just noticed another major discovery for me, the achingly good Peter Straub with his monumental “Ghost Story”.

  2. Rolnikov says:

    You’re still reading quite a lot of sf at this point – does that begin to tail off soon? With me, I got to a point in my early twenties where I’d read all the sf I could lay my hands on. Weird now, when every book ever published is three quid and a click away, to remember a time when that was actually possible! I started reading more classics, cult fiction, comics and tie-ins just because there weren’t any more Jack Vance or Michael Moorcock books in our secondhand bookshops, and I had to read something.

    • petertennant says:

      Years yet to go before the SF element in my literary diet becomes negligible. Even in the early part of the 21st century I was reading and reviewing SF for TTA. There is a definite falling off though. If you exclude art and non-fiction books this year it’s just over 25% of my reading, compared to over 50% a few years back.
      In part the SF consumption was down to the fact that I still had ambitions to write SF and wanted to be well read in my chosen genre. I gradually weaned myself of that notion, with 1993 and the publication of “Winston and the Demon” in Grotesque magazine the best I can do by way of a cut off point come moment of epiphany. Until then I’d written nothing but SF, at least seriously.

  3. Pingback: Books Read in 1986 | Trumpetville

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