The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Tag Cormac McCarthy

Readings for December 2011

I had another fairly light reading month due to the hectic nature of the holiday season and other pursuits. However, thanks to some books and periodical subscriptions I received for Christmas, I have plenty to read in the new year.

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy is an author who blurs the lines between "genre fiction" and "literature." I have ready The Road, which can be described as science fiction, and now All the Pretty Horses, which is a western. In this genre-bending McCarthy is somewhat like Ursula K. LeGuin. They are also alike in that they receive accolades from the broader literary community which do not often fall on pure genre fiction authors.

McCarthy brings his excellent writing to the western to great effect. This novel was a quick read for me due to its engaging story. The author also manages to augment the good story with some interesting language, descriptions, and conventions. Being readable and ornamental is a rare combination, especially in a western. Recommended. I understand this is the beginning of a trilogy, so I make pick up the subsequent volumes soon.


I finished only Scientific American's November 2011 issue this month, so I am even more behind than normal. My favorite article from this issue dealt with the question of the colonization of North America. It seems there is mounting evidence that people moved into the Americas earlier than previously theorized. I became familiar with this line of thinking when I read 1491 by Charles Mann last year.

In 2012 I retain SciAm and Harper's, while also adding Tin House (a quarterly literary magazine).

Year-end notes

First a few notes. I measure my reading in page counts, which is really the only way to measure (unless I start estimating word counts, or some time-consuming nonsense). No two pages are alike, and in some cases like periodicals, included pages are not actually read (like advertizements). But this gives a general picture.

In 2011 I read:

  • 25 books
  • 25 magazines
  • 14,938 pages
  • or, about 41 pages per day