Following on from last month’s Books Read in 1989.
And the total for the year has gone into free fall, dropping to 67 titles in all (42 less than in 1989). I guess 1990 was another one of those odd years when I had a life that didn’t revolve entirely round reading, though at this remove I can’t recall what it actually did revolve round.
Food is another possibility.
Or maybe I was just reading lots and lots of comics, which I’ve never bothered to list.
There doesn’t really seem to be much of a pattern to my reading in 1990. It looks like I made several attempts at ‘theme reading’, but none of them seem to have lasted for more than two or three volumes. I read a lot of very long books, including three that weighed in at more than a thousand pages.
On this day in 1990 I was finishing off Demon by John Varley. More significantly it was the night before the day when I dived into the oeuvre of Thomas Ligotti. And, on the occasion of my 36th birthday, I had just cracked open McCammon’s Swan Song, and as that’s the last book listed for 1990 I’m now wondering what the hell I was doing all through December 1990.
As to highlights of the year, as mentioned above I discovered Ligotti (though I’d read some of his stories in magazines, so not entirely terra incognito). I also sought out for the first time the work of James Ellroy and Thomas Harris, after reading features on those writers in Fear magazine, and they both became instant firm favourites.
I’m ashamed to admit that Fear was also my gateway to the work of Ramsey Campbell, who I really, really should have checked out before. It was a false start as I wasn’t taken with Ancient Images and didn’t return to his work for a few years, when I finally realised what all the fuss was about and got with the programme.
And I also believe 1990 was the year when I first stumbled across one of Ellen Datlow’s anthologies. That worked rather well.
As usual, most of the author details have been completed from memory, so if you see something that looks incorrect please shout.
Here’s the list:-
The Home Planet – Kevin W. Kelley
Tanglewood Tales – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Trillion Year Spree – Brian W. Aldiss & David Wingrove
Lightning – Dean Koontz
Wizard – John Varley
Demon – John Varley
Songs of a Dead Dreamer – Thomas Ligotti
The Psychology of Imagination – Jean-Paul Sartre
All the Grey Cats – Craig Thomas
Vicinity Cluster – Piers Anthony
Chaining the Lady – Piers Anthony
Kirlian Quest – Piers Anthony
The Big Nowhere – James Ellroy
Land of Dreams – James P. Blaylock
Ancient Images – Ramsey Campbell
Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe: A Celebration – Edited by Byron Preiss
The Order of The Day – Andrew Greig
The Messianic Legacy – Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln
Koko – Peter Straub
Malafrena – Ursula K. Le Guin
Bodywatching – Desmond Morris
The Best of A. E. Van Vogt Volume 1 – A. E. Van Vogt
The Best of A. E. Van Vogt Volume 2 – A. E. Van Vogt
The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
Prime Evil – Edited by Douglas E. Winter
There Are Doors – Gene Wolfe
Rage – Wilbur Smith
On Stranger Tides – Tim Powers
Rethink – Gordon Rattray Taylor
The Last of the Wine – Mary Renault
Red Dwarf – Grant Naylor
Empire – Gore Vidal
Ancient Iraq – Georges Roux
The Luck of Nineveh – Arnold C. Brackman
The Assyrian – Nicholas Guild
The Toynbee Convector – Ray Bradbury
Daddy’s Girl – Clifford Irving
The Jaguar Hunter – Lucius Shepard
The Journeyer – Gary Jennings
Footsteps – Bruce Norman
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
Tale of The Mayor’s Son – Glyn Maxwell
Tales of Neveryon – Samuel R. Delany
Neveryona – Samuel R. Delany
Flight from Neveryon – Samuel R. Delany
Return to Neveryon – Samuel R. Delany
The Wine-Dark Sea – Robert Aickman
The Greek Experience – C. M. Bowra
Seventh Son – Orson Scott Card
The Covenant – James Michener
Demons & Dreams – Edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
Full Moon – P. G. Wodehouse
Earthblood – Keith Laumer
All You Who Sleep Tonight – Vikram Seth
Assyrian Sculpture – Julian Reade
The Price Was High Volume Two – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Marquis de Sade – Gilbert Lely
Billy Bathgate – E. L. Doctorow
The Earth Again Redeemed – Martin Green
It – Stephen King
Philip Larkin: Collected Poems
Comet – Carl Sagan
Bluebeard’s Egg – Margaret Atwood
Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels – David Pringle
The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
The Golden Man – Philip K. Dick
Swan Song – Robert R. McCammon