The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake- Some of you are probably familiar with this tragic story. Pancake was a West Virginia native. He grew up in Milton, in fact, which was very close to where I grew up. I've been to Milton on numerous occasions. He was widely acclaimed and looked to be on the road to literary stardom, but in 1979 he apparently committed suicide. Some believe the gunshot wound was accidental, but it was officially ruled a suicide. After his death, Kurt Vonnegut wrote this in a letter to John Casey: "I give you my word of honor that he is merely the best writer, the most sincere writer I've ever read. What I suspect is that it hurt too much, was no fun at all to be that good. You and I will never know." I'm looking forward to digging into his stories.
Town Smokes: Stories by Pinckney Benedict-Benedict is another West Virginia-born author. I've read a couple of his stories in All-Story and Image and I came away quite impressed. I'm looking forward to Town Smokes a lot.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra-I picked this up because 1) you can get the classics cheap at Borders and 2) it's on the list of novels in The Well-Educated Mind. Most people consider it the first novel ever written.
The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon-I have become an bona fide Chabon fan. I've read Wonder Boys, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and The Yiddish Policeman's Union, and all three were quite good. I'm trying to work through the rest of his stuff now.
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut-I'm a big Kurt Vonnegut fan, but I hadn't gotten to this book yet. It's considered one of his best, so it's probably about time.
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold-I bought this one on the recommendation of a friend, so it better be good. I'm looking at you, Rob Taylor.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain-I read this book years ago, but I just didn't like it. I'm not sure why, but I think I've matured as a reader since then. It's time for me to give Huck another shot.
How Fiction Works by James Wood-The New Yorker critic has written about his understanding of the nature of fiction. I've enjoyed reading his work in the past, so when I heard this book was coming out I knew I was going to buy it. So I did.
That's all I've gotten so far. I still have a about $45 left, so I'll probably end up getting the Reader's Hebrew Bible off of Amazon. I should have some left over still, but I'm not sure what I'll get. I'll keep you posted. In the mean time, look at my book pile in awe.