OK Books
Here are some books that I found run-of-the-mill. You might like them... or not.


FICTION


Abdul Bashur, soñador de navíos/Abdul Bashur, Dreamer of Ships - Álvaro Mutis
Life perspectives from travels and love affairs, in novel form. Stories are woven from experiences, all with a romantic sigh about what was. This is apparently only a part of the great Maqroll the Navigator series of tales.
Aeneid - Virgil
After Dark - Haruki Murakami
A quick glimpse into contemporary and urban Japan, where two sisters both live up to and fail in the roles given them by others and ultimately themselves.
The American - Henry James
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
Antéchrista - Amélie Nothomb
Las armas secretas - Julio Cortazar
Short stories that are capped easily by El Perseguidor, a thinly veiled vignette about the last days of the great saxophonist Charlie Parker.
L'Avare - Moliere
Babylon Revisited - F Scott Fitzgerald
Barfly - Charles Bukowski
The Beans Of Egypt, Maine - Carolyn Chute
Be Cool - Elmore Leonard
Beggars In Spain - Nancy Kress
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Berkut - Joseph Heywood
Beowolf's Children - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Big Trouble - Dave Barry
The Bourne Identity - Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Supremacy - Robert Ludlum
The Boys From Brazil - Ira Levin
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Old money prior to World War II, a world gone by explored here.
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Captains Courageous - Rudyard Kipling
Caravan To Vaccarès - Alistair MacLean
This is pulp fiction, I guess, by someone who really used to crank them out. No shortage of stereotypes of swarthy Gypsies, noble Westerners,... yawn. This is what you sometimes get when yanking a tattered and dated paperback from a hostel shelf. Short enough to finish, though.
La Casa y el Viento - Héctor Tízon
A Case Of Need - Michael Chricton
The Cigarette Girl - Carol Wolper
Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean Auel
Clear and Present Danger - Tom Clancy
The Coffee Trader - David Liss
Cold Mountain -
Congo - Michael Crichton
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
A rather overblown tale of revenge, this one nevertheless rolls forward and easily with its adventures in 18th century France (or so). A good man is wronged early in life, both imprisoned and having to find out that his girl marries his enemy in his absence. He then spends the rest of his life seeking the opportunity to mete out a just punishment for his evildoers.
Los cuadernos de don Rigoberto - Mario Vargas Llosa
Something of a letdown from MVL's previous works, this one deals with a couple that has been separated from a year, with a precious (step/)son trying to put them back together. Something of a paean to love, hedonism, and artistry, it clunks overall while still offering nuggets of interest.
Cuba Libre - Elmore Leonard
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
Day Of the Dolphin - Robert Merle
The Day Of the Jackal - Frederick Forsyth
Dead Man's Dance - Robert Ferrigno
Death In Venice (and other short stories) - Thomas Mann
Short stories of varying interest, the earlier ones (not including the eponymous one) better. The Joker stands out.
December 6 - Martin Cruz Smith
Degree Of Guilt - Richard North Patterson
The Devil Tree - Jerzy Kosinski
Chaud les Glaçons/Diamonds Are Forever - Ian Fleming
Dirty White Boys - Stephen Hunter
Disclosure - Michael Chrichton
The Divine Comedy - Dante
Doña Bárbara - Rómolo Gallegos
The Dosadi Experiment - Frank Herbert
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
Eaters Of the Dead - Michael Chrichton
Edge - Dick Francis
The Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood
The Elephant Keeper's Children - Peter Hoeg
A weaker showing for Mr. Hoeg, but still with that Danish flavor. The children of a clergyman and his wife try to figure out where the heck they've disappeared to - and others want to beat them to the trick.
The Family Arsenal - Paul Theroux
The Firm - John Grisham
Flush - Carl Hiaasen
Written for a younger audience, this one stays true to Hiaasen's form with less edge: Stooopid crooks damage the environment and get theirs in the end.
Frankenstein - Mary W Shelley
The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles
Gai-Jin - James Clavell
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Gripping Hand - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Havana Bay - Martin Cruz Smith
Hellstrom's Hive - Frank Herbert
El héroe discreto - Mario Vargas Llosa
As usual with Llosa, stories (two) combine in unexpected ways, and conversations take place out of time and place as well. A bus company owner is blackmailed; a successful businessman decides on a very late second marriage as his (former) inheritors gear for battle. In Peru.
Hija de la fortuna - Isabel Allende
His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
Hopscotch/Rayuela - Cortázar, Julio
In the end I had to pass on finishing this tale told in two parts/manners - read directly through or by "hopscotching" in a predetermined manner. An expat intellectual in Paris hangs with likeminded members of his literary/intellectual bent, listening nonstop to jazz records as they bicker or debate points. On some level this sounds appealing, actually, and I like that feel as a premise given my predilections... but the execution ultimately wore me down, having to try too hard to get what, in the end, might not be that profound a tale. "Pretentious" was only coming ever more to mind.
The Horse Latitudes - Robert Ferrigno
The House of Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
Something of a whimsical tale of a 100-year-old man who decides it's not to be the nursing home for him until the end after all. Time for an adventure.
If No One Speaks Of Remarkable Things - Jon McGregor
Iliad - Homer
In Persuasion Nation - George Saunders
Invisible Cities - Italio Calvito
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Robots become ever more human-like, with increasing consequences.
Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins
Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
Kiss Kiss - Roald Dahl
Dahl's short stories, each with a signiture twist at the end... but racier than he's known for.
Ladrón de la Mente - Elías Miguel Munoz
Lanark - Alasdair Gray
Lie Down With Lions - Ken Follett
Lily White - Susan Isaacs
The Living - Annie Dillard
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
London Fields - Martin Amis
Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad
Lullaby - Chuck Palahniuk
Getting to know death in a different, twisted way.
The Man In the Iron Mask - Alexandre Dumas
Marathon Man - William Goldman
La Mare au Diable - George Sand
Millroy the Magician - Paul Theroux
An odd book to be sure, one in which one might wonder if it will go into the realm of Lolita... before instead turning into a offbeat critique on American cults and consumerism. A magician at a circus finds his muse in a confused teenage girl more than ready to leave her unpleasant home.
The Naive and Sentimental Lover - John Le Carré
Not the typical spy novel one comes to expect from this author, in fact not one at all. Which doesn't mean its bad or that his patented stylish writing isn't in effect - it just isn't as interesting in the first place.
The Negotiator - Frederick Forsyth
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Notes From Underground - Fyodor Dostyevsky
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
Ojos De Perro Azul - Gabriel García Márquez
Some of Gabo's older tales, the earlier ones are bit rougher as the later ones get more interesting.
Old Bones - Aaron Elkins
On the Beach - Nevil Shute
Other Voices, Other Rooms - Truman Capote
The Ox-bow Incident - Walter Van Tilburg Clark
El Oxido de Carmen - Ana Maria del Rio
Palomita Blanca - Enrique LaFourcade
A Partisan's Daughter - Louis de Bernières
A Passage To India - E M Forster
The Passion - Jeanette Winterson
Patriot Games - Tom Clancy
The Pelican Brief - John Grisham
Pierre et Jean - Guy de Maupassant
Pleading Guilty - Scott Turow
Post-Mortem - Patricia D Cornwell
Probable Cause - Ridley Pearson
The Quiet Girl - Peter Hoeg
Red Scarf Girl - Ji-Li Jiang
Red Storm Rising - Tom Clancy
Return Of the Native - Thomas Hardy
Rosaura A Las Diez - Marco Denevi
Rum Punch - Elmore Leonard
Running After Antelope - Scott Carrier
A Separate Peace - John Knowles
Servants Of the Twilight - Dean Koontz
The Shipping News - E. Annie Proulx
Silas Marner - George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans Cross)
Silk - Alessandro Barrico
El Sombrero de Tres Picos - Pedro Antonio de Alarcon
Sphere - Michael Crichton
Le Spleen Of Paris - Charles Baudelaire
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold - John LeCarré
Still Life With Woodpecker - Tom Robbins
The Storyteller - Mario Vargas Llosa
A Peruvian ethnologist slowly goes native, as in Amazon-fringe-of-civilization native, in a story that tells it from both sides of the yawning chasm of a divide that separates "civilized" Peru from that of the ancient peoples who were there first.
Summa de Maqroll el Gaviero: poesía reunida 1947-2003 - Alvaro Mutis
Related tales and poetry that I couldn't see fit to finish.
The Sum Of All Fears - Tom Clancy
Switch Bitch - Roald Dahl
Dahl's short stories, each with a signiture twist at the end.
Tai-Pan - James Clavell
A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ten Little Indians - Agatha Christie
The Terminal Man - Michael Chricton
Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Therese Raquin - Emile Zola
Time Bomb - Jonathon Kellerman
To The Lighthouse - Virginia Wolff
Reflections of both early 20th-century Britain and, more importantly, life and relationships fill this introspective tome. The first half is a bit tough to grab hold of, but it comes somewhat more together as it concludes.
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman - Louis de Bernières
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James
Twilight At Mac's Place - Ross Thomas
Under Cover Of Daylight - James W. Hall
Waiting For Godot - Samuel Beckett
The Walking Drum - Louis L'Amour
The War Zone - Alexander Stuart
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Whatever - Michel Houellebecq
The White Plague - Frank Herbert
Without Remorse - Tom Clancy
Yellow Dog Party - Earl Emerson
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Jules Verne


NON-FICTION


The All-American Skin Game - Stanley Crouch
Autobiography Of Ben Franklin - Ben Franklin
Antes del Fin - Ernesto Sabato
The memoir the scientist-cum-writer from Argentina, which turns into something of plea for a return from the shallowness into which we've all entered in the modern age.
El Arte de la Guerra (The Art Of War) - Sun Tzu
For its ancient time of writing, a novel treatise on how to win a war. Many points are repeated ad nauseum in this short work, but a few are worth noting for being noticed at such a time in human history. Particularly interesting were the numerous comments showing restraint.
Una Breve Historia de Che Guevara (A Brief History of Che Guevara) - Gabriel Glasman
Not high brow literature, but at least not too glorious in its perfunctory telling of the history of Che Guevara. There went a soul of idealism (a bit fargone in my view), but one too that saw far more failures than successes.
Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Hemingway Adventure - Michael Palin
Hombres y Engranajes/Man and Mechanism - Ernesto Sabato
Something of a grand treatise on humanity written on such a dry scale that I couldn't make my way through it. Sabato's a renowned writer, "the last of the great Argentine writers of the old style/tradition", but that didn't help me from repeatedly nodding off.
The Importance of Louis Armstrong - Adam Woog
The Measure Of A Man - Sidney Poitier
Nine Hundred Dragon River - Peter Matthiessen
The author's history with Zen Buddhism over the years, with historical perspective on the practice itself.
The Pleasure Of My Company - Steve Martin
Una Sencilla Melodía Habanera - Oscar Hijuelos
Spokes and Dust - Eric Heide
Sweet Swing Blues On The Road - Wynton Marsalis
There Was a Country - Chinua Achebe
A tragic accountof what transpired in Nigeria in the late 60s and early 70s, when a coup served as a launchpoint for the temporary secession of the region to be called Biafra. High hopes were shortlived as the horrific civil war unfolded and 2-3 million people - largely children - died. Recounted as witnessed by the legendary writer (from the wrong side of the victory).
La Tristesse of Saint Louis - Mike Zwerin
A Year In Provence - Peter Mayle
A British couple buy their dream of living in a country house in Provence, France, for a year. Then they try to upgrade it and somehow fit in - with far less success, even as they smile their way through it.

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