Yesterday I published What I Read in Anno Domini MMXXI, where I went through each book I read last year and review it. I did this both to inform you, the reader, and as a mental exercise for myself to think on what I read and learned. In this post, I want to lay out my reading list for 2022. This list is not at all meant to be the absolute decider of what I shall be reading this year. It is a long list, and is subject to change, but it is comprehensive and most of them I do certainly want to finish. They are also representative of my current thought and interests.
When I was thinking about what I want to read this year, I realized that I have been neglecting fiction entirely for about two years now. I think the last piece of fiction I really sat down and read was Pride and Prejudice (a wonderful book by the way, I love Jane Austen). This is really quite a shame because I used to read so much fiction and now I hardly read it at all. As much as I claim to appreciate the great works of the Western world and the classics, I have not read them. This is, admittedly, a bit of hypocrisy on my part. Therefore, in 2022, I hope to turn this around. I will be reading, alongside my usual non-fiction, some of the great works of literature throughout history. In my reading list below, I have split it into non-fiction and fiction. There is no particular order I plan to read anything, except for in the non-fiction category, where the first item is what I will be reading first. With that being said, here is what I hope to read this year:
- Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
- The Unbroken Thread by Sohrab Ahmari
- The Myth of Liberalism by John Safranek
- The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry by Wendell Berry, published by Counterpoint
- Man and the State by Jacques Maritain
- Common Good Constitutionalism by Adrian Vermeule
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
- The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William Whyte
- The Art of Building Cities: City Building According to Its Artistic Fundamentals by Camillo Sitte
- Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putnam
- The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness by Emily Anthes
- The Idea of a University by St. John Henry Newman
- Utopia by St. Thomas More
- John Henry Newman by Ian Ker
- Purgatory is for Real by Karlo Broussard
- Aquinas: On Law, Morality, and Politics Second Edition by Hackett Classics
- Augustine: Political Writings by Hackett Classics
- On Temporal and Spiritual Authority by St. Bellarmine
- History of Political Philosophy by Leo Strauss
- SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- The Song of Roland
- The Aeneid by Virgil
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Now, you have probably finished this list and are now laughing because the idea that I could read all these books in only a year is absurd. I know this as well. This is my most optimistic, ambitious, idealistic list, where I pretty much give every book I would like to read, but probably not every book I will read. There are a few low priority books that I listed here that may very well either go unread or be substituted by other, better books. I also have to take into account that I will be reading textbooks in both the spring and the fall for my classes, and that I will probably slack off or be busy at times. With that being said, I do plan on being more disciplined this year in terms of my reading, spending some time every day on a book and far surpassing my total from last year. I know this is possible because when I put time to it, I can read through a book fairly quickly. It will just require dedication and willpower, which I have, at least for the moment.
As for my choices of books, I will give a short explanation. You may notice that a common thread, especially among the first few books of the non-fiction list, is that they are either critical of Liberalism or posit an alternative view. You will also notice a handful of books on urban theory and community. There is also the book about how buildings influence us which I think will be a really fascinating read. Then of course I have some philosophy, theology, and history. I did not list my spiritual readings here because I do not read them like one reads a conventional book. When it comes to fiction the list is much shorter because I plan for my fiction reading to accompany my non-fiction reading, usually before I go to bed or when I want to give my mind a rest from the more serious books. I am most excited to read Dune because I really loved the 2021 movie. I think it is one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time and perhaps one of the greatest pieces of cinema period. It is on the level of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in its worldbuilding and magnitude and I believe it has merit in what values and themes it advances, too.
All in all, I am excited to read more books this year and I look forward to the knowledge and insights that these books will impart on me. Reading books, especially good and substantial books, is a dying practice in our modern culture, but it is one that I deeply enjoy and cherish. I will likely write a few essays on those books which I feel deserve it, so be on the lookout for those. I suspect Why Liberalism Failed and Wendell Berry will receive some attention either this month or the next. Anyhow, I am pleased to have shared this list with you and I hope you may be inspired by it either to read something from it, or to create a list of your own and commit to a more rigorous habit of reading this year, whether that be of fiction or non-fiction.
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