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Reading

A list of the books I’ve read or re-read in the last few years, arranged in basically the order I read them.
Last updated 9 December 2019

Favorite fiction

  • Augustus by John Williams
  • Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Door by Magda Szabó
  • If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald
  • Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Favorite non-fiction

  • An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
  • Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher
  • The Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White
  • The Gift by Lewis Hyde
  • Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle
  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  • River of Shadows by Rebecca Solnit
  • Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence Weschler
  • The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

How to read the yearly lists

This list is in reverse chronological order—the top is most recent. If I don’t enjoy a book, I don’t finish it, so I’d recommended each book on this list to some extent.

Starred entries are very recommended. Double-starred ones are forcefully, annoyingly, overbearingly recommended.

2019

  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
  • True Grit by Charles Portis
  • Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
  • A Liberated Mind by Steven C. Hayes
  • Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven C. Hayes and Spencer Smith ★★
  • Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung
  • Walking in Wonder by John O’Donohue
  • 1491 by Charles C. Mann
  • The Three Marriages by David Whyte
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • Missing Out by Adam Phillips
  • Unforbidden Pleasures by Adam Phillips
  • The Beast in the Nursery by Adam Phillips
  • On Kindness by Adam Phillips ★★
  • On Balance by Adam Phillips
  • Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine
  • A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine
  • A Primer for Forgetting by Lewis Hyde
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Working by Robert Caro
  • How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
  • A Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Gros
  • To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
  • The Oddysey by Homer (Emily Watson translation)
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
  • The Big Picture by William Goldman
  • The Burnout Society by Byung-Chul Han
  • Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
  • The Autobiography of Michel de Montaigne Select essays by Michel de Montaigne
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
  • Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan
  • The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard by Joe Brainard
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

2018

  • Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
  • The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller
  • The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins
  • Principles by Ray Dalio
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
  • The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy
  • Bluets by Maggie Nelson
  • Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin
  • Oranges by John McPhee
  • Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
  • The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
  • Beauty by John O’Donohue
  • Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  • The World Beyond Your Head by Matthew Crawford
  • Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • Run Studio Run by Eli Altman
  • Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams
  • Consider the Oyster by MFK Fisher
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
  • Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
  • Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews by Calvin Tomkins
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  • SPQR by Mary Beard
  • Walking by Henry David Thoreau
  • The One Thing by Gary Keller
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  • Confabulations by John Berger
  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  • The Will to Change by bell hooks
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
  • Letters to a Young Painter by Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
  • Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese by Byung-Chul Han ★★
  • Art and Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland ★★
  • The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Crime and Punishment by Fydor Doystoevsky ★★
  • Augustus by John Williams
  • Selected Stories by Anton Chekov (Pevear & Volokhonsky translation) ★★
  • The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (Pevear & Volokhonsky translation) ★★
  • Sculpting in Time by Andrei Tarkovsky ★★
  • At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell

2017

  • If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin ★★
  • The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Under the Jaguar Sun by Italo Calvino
  • The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things by George Kubler
  • Sum: Forty Tales form the Afterlives by David Eagleman
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • Vertigo by W.G. Sebald
  • The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald ★★
  • The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino ★★
  • A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces by Lawrence Weschler
  • Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
  • Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes
  • Boggs: A Comedy of Values by Lawrence Weschler
  • The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams ★★
  • How Not to Die by Michael Greger
  • Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee
  • Two-Dimensional Man by Paul Sahre
  • The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald ★★
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • Why Read the Classics? by Italo Calvino
  • Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories by Italo Calvino
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ★★
  • The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space by Wolfgang Schivelbusch
  • Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories by Flannery O'Connor
  • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by Buckminster Fuller
  • A Short History of Cahiers du Cinema by Emilie Bickerton
  • The Door by Magda Szabó ★★
  • Great Thinkers: Simple Tools from 60 Great Thinkers to Improve Your Life Today by The School of Life
  • Painting As A Pastime by Winston Churchill
  • Become What You Are by Alan Watts
  • The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts
  • The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan Watts
  • Collected Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • To the Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf ★★
  • Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
  • Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
  • Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson
  • The Craftsman by Richard Sennett
  • What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund
  • Ways of Seeing by John Berger
  • The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan
  • Design as Art by Bruno Munari
  • Understanding a Photograph by John Berger
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett
  • Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littin by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
  • Parallel Thinking by Edward de Bono
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy
  • Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch
  • This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
  • The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin
  • Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists by Lawrence Weschler
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman
  • Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
  • The Awakening Body: Somatic Meditation for Discovering Our Deepest Life by Reginald Ray
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns
  • The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 1: 1950-1952 by Charles Schulz
  • The Now Habit by Neil A. Fiore
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

2016

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert ★★
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot ★★
  • Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver ★★
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • No Man's Land by Blexbolex
  • Abecederia by Blexbolex
  • A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder by Michael Pollan
  • Into the War by Italo Calvino
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • My Life in France by Julia Child ★★
  • The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron
  • Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Tales from Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  • The Mirror: A History by Sabine Melchior-Bonnet
  • Gutenberg: How One Man Remade the World with Words by John Man
  • Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★
  • Victory by Joseph Conrad
  • Turning Point: 1997-2008 by Hayao Miyazaki
  • How Music Works by David Byrne
  • Stoner by John Williams
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Last Interview and Other Conversations by David Foster Wallace
  • The Last Interview and Other Conversations by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • A Little Book on the Human Shadow by Robert Bly
  • Ballad by Blexbolex ★★
  • Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers by Leonard Koren
  • Wabi-Sabi: Further Thoughts by Leonard Koren
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★
  • The Walk by Robert Walser
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ★★
  • Here by Richard McGuire
  • How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard
  • A Room of One's Own by Virgina Woolf
  • J Dilla's Donuts by Jordan Ferguson
  • On Being Blue by William H. Gass
  • The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Bombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Books v. Cigarettes by George Orwell
  • On Solitude by Michel de Montaigne
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★
  • The Last Interview and Other Conversations by James Baldwin
  • Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ★★
  • Rising from the Plains by John McPhee
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser