Books in 2015

Seeing a couple of posts about reading in 2015 prompted me to share my own reading list for the year. A couple of years ago I decided to stop reading so much crap on the Internet and read books instead. I’d never gotten out of the habit of reading books. It’s more that I decided the time spent reading ephemera online would be better spent reading books, probably any book. So I started keeping an Evernote tracking what books I read in the order I completed them.

2015 was anomalous in that I read more fiction than usual, mostly because of reading a bunch of Lawrence Block mysteries in the spring. I also read more epic poetry than usual, since I usually don’t read any, and I enjoyed the Lombardo translations of Homer and Virgil.

It’s hard to say what I enjoyed the most, but probably the history of philosophy books. Alan Ryan’s 1100-page history of political thought was quite good, as was James Harris’ new biography of Hume. Hadot on Marcus Aurelius, Long on Epictetus, and Leiter on Nietzsche (not technically a history of philosophy) were also enjoyable if a bit denser than Ryan and Harris. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning–an account of his time in Nazi concentration camps and its influence on his philosophical psychology–was by far the most moving book I read this year. Hodgkinson’s How to Be Idle: a Loafer’s Manifesto probably the funniest.

For 120 days I spent a few minutes every morning reading one of Seneca’s 120 moral letters, and he joined a group of writers I now have a special sympathy for, along with Nietzsche, Orwell, and the possibly fictional Chuang Tzu.

Even though I also have two degrees in English literature, I didn’t read nearly as many books as this librarian, but I don’t care if I keep up with the literary conversation. What I like about being a librarian is having the freedom to read pretty much anything I want while having access to almost everything ever published.

  1. Aho, Existentialism: an Introduction
  2. Rogers, On Becoming a Person
  3. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
  4. May, The Discovery of Being
  5. Block, Burglars Can’t Be Choosers
  6. Block, The Burglar in the Closet
  7. Block, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling
  8. Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
  9. Wu Jyh Cherng (trans.), Daoist Meditation
  10. Slingerland, Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity
  11. Book of Chuang-Tzu (Kohn trans.)
  12. Block, Sins of the Fathers
  13. Block, The Thief Who Couldn’t Sleep
  14. Block, The Cancelled Czech
  15. Block, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Spinoza
  16. Lieh-Tzu, A Taoist Guide to Practical Living (Wong trans.)
  17. Block, Time to Murder and Create
  18. Homer, The Iliad (Lombardo trans.)
  19. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life
  20. Robertson, Stoicism and the Art of Happiness
  21. Brennan, The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, Fate
  22. Voltaire, Candide
  23. Homer, The Odyssey (Lombardo trans.)
  24. Virgil, Aeneid (Lombard trans.)
  25. Stephens, Marcus Aurelius: a Guide for the Perplexed
  26. Musonius Rufus, Lectures and Sayings
  27. Hadot, The Inner Citadel: the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
  28. Block, The Burglar who Painted Like Mondrian
  29. Ryan, On Politics: a History of Political Thought
  30. Holowchak, The Stoics: a Guide for the Perplexed
  31. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (Farquharson trans.)
  32. Krakauer, Into the Wild
  33. Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way
  34. Block, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams
  35. Long, Epictetus: a Stoic and Socratic Way of Life
  36. Woolf, Rome: an Empire’s Story
  37. Larson, Evolution: the Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory
  38. Epictetus, Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Hard trans.)
  39. Edmunds, Would You Kill the Fat Man?
  40. Xenophon, Socrates’ Defense & The Memoirs of Socrates
  41. Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ
  42. The Dhammapada (Fronsdal trans.)
  43. Seneca, Moral Letters
  44. Blanning, The Romantic Revolution: a History
  45. Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
  46. Just, Social and Cultural Anthropology: a Very Short Introduction
  47. Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle: a Loafer’s Manifesto
  48. Smith & Davies, Anthropology for Dummies
  49. Kabat-Zinn: Wherever You Go, There You Are
  50. Tanahashi, Essential Zen
  51. Batchelor, Buddhism without Beliefs
  52. Roberts, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life
  53. Becker, A New Stoicism
  54. Beck, Everyday Zen
  55. Erickson and Murphy, A History of Anthropological Theory, 4th ed.
  56. Morris, The Stoic Art of Living
  57. Thorpe, Nothing Lasts Forever
  58. Godey, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
  59. Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality, 2nd ed.
  60. Harris, Hume: an Intellectual Biography

2 thoughts on “Books in 2015

    • Thanks! FYI, my daughter thinks _The Cancelled Czech_ is the best book title ever.

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