My 2020 Reading

Photograph taken by on Thursday, December 31, 2020
My 2020 Reading

My 2020 Reading

This year was something of a landmark for me in terms of reading. For a while now I’ve been trying to read some of the books that I should have read in high school or college (or perhaps that I should have been supposed to read, if you follow me). Over the last dozen years or so, I’ve gotten through a significant number, including fiction by Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Dufoe, Hardy, Melville, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Zola, to name but a few. I’ve read some of the classics, including Greek and Roman historians, playwrights, and philosophers and some significant modern non-fiction, as well. Late last year, though, I decided to step it up a notch. My goal was to read 26 books with some significant number of them being big, important or serious books. As it turns out—and no one is more surprised than I am—I aimed low.

All the books I read this year are pictured here. Some of them are short and very easy to read, but a few of them are what Dorothy and I have taken to calling “Lifetime Achievement Books.” Specifically, the three volumes of The Gulag Archipelago (weighing in at a combined 1,818 pages), Moby Dick (‘only’ 459 pages but seriously, get to the whale already!), The History of the Peloponnesian War (574 pages), The Tale of Genji (1,139 pages), and War and Peace (1,136 pages).

My 2020 Reading

My 2020 Reading

Here is the full list of books read in 2020 in the order I read them. Overall, I’ve enjoyed much of what I read. Some were not so much enjoyable as worthwhile. For instance, The Gulag Archipelago is not light or enjoyable, but it’s important. Personally I think it should be required reading, along with The Hiding Place. Obviously Jack London, the Narnia books by Lewis, and a few others are on the other end of the difficulty spectrum and provided a needed respite.

Order   
Read   
Title Author Date    Notes
1 Anna Karenin Tolstoy, Leo (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910) 1878 I actually started this on December 23, 2019, so only a third or so was read this year.
2 The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Volume 1 Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich (December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008) English translation by Thomas Whitney, 1974
3 Brideshead Revisited Waugh, Evelyn (October 28, 1903 – April 10, 1966) 1945
4 Moby Dick Melville, Herman (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) 1851
5 Silas Marner Eliot, George (Mary Ann Evans, November 22, 1819 – December 22, 1880) 1864
6 The Man With The Gash London, Jack (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) 1901 Short Stories
7 In Parenthesis Jones, David (November 1, 1895 – October 28, 1974) 1937
8 Tristram Shandy Sterne, Laurence (November 24, 1713 – March 18, 1768) between 1759 and 1767
9 Beowulf: A New Verse Translation Unknown, translated in 1999 by Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939 – August 30, 2013) 8th century
10 The Republic Plato (circa 425 – circa 347 B.C.) 375 B. C.
11 Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus Shelley, Mary (August 30, 1797 – February 1, 1851) 1818
12 Confessions Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430 AD) A. D. 397
13 The Jugurthine War Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus, 86 – circa 35 B.C.) 44 B. C.
14 Macbeth Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) around 1606
15 The Tale of Genji Murasaki, Lady (circa A.D. 970 circa 1030) early 11th century
16 Recovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes Eswine, Zack (born 1969) 2014
17 The Hobbit Tolkien, J. R. R. (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) 1937
18 The Lives of the Twelve Caesars Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, circa A.D. 69 – sometime after 122) A. D. 121
19 The Canterbury Tales Chaucer, Geoffrey (c. 1340s – October 25, 1400) between 1387 and 1400
20 The Practice of the Presence of God Lawrence, Brother (c. 1614 – February 12, 1691) late 17th century Compiled by Father Joseph de Beaufort around 1692
21 The Death of Death in the Death of Christ Owen, John (1616 – August 24, 1683) 1647
22 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Carroll, Lewis, (a.k.a. C. L. Dodgson, January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898) 1865
23 The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius (Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, c. A.D. 477 – 524) A. D. 524,
24 The History Tacitus (circa A.D. 56 – sometime after 117) between A. D. 100 and 110,
25 The History of the Kings of Britain Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1095 – c. 1155) 1136
26 Five Dialogues Plato (circa 425 – circa 347 B.C.) 5th or 4th centuries, B. C.
27 The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides (circa 460 – circa 400 B.C.) circa 400 B. C. Published as The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War War, 1996, by Robert B. Strassler
28 The Magician’s Nephew Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1955
29 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1950
30 The Horse and His Boy Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1954
31 Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1951
32 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1952
33 The Silver Chair Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1953
34 The Last Battle Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1956
35 The Fire Next Time Baldwin, James (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) 1963
36 Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.) 4th century B. C.
37 The Hiding Place ten Boom, Corrie (April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983) 1971
38 Purgatory Alighieri, Dante (c. 1265 – 1321) 1308 Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers, (June 13, 1893 – December 17, 1957). I read the first portion of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno, in late 2015.
39 War and Peace Tolstoy, Leo (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910) 1869
40 The House of The Seven Gables Hawthorne, Nathaniel (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) 1851
41 The Epic of Gilgamesh Unknown possibly 18th century B. C.
42 Paradise Alighieri, Dante (c. 1265 – 1321) 1321 Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers, (June 13, 1893 – December 17, 1957)
43 Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece Fermor, Patrick Leigh (February 11, 1915 – June 10, 2011) 1966
44 The Mill on the Floss Eliot, George (Mary Ann Evans, November 22, 1819 – December 22, 1880) 1860
45 King John Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) 1595
46 Lord Jim Conrad, Joseph (December 3, 1857 – August 3, 1924) 1900
47 Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese Fermor, Patrick Leigh (February 11, 1915 – June 10, 2011) 1959
48 Beat to Quarters Forester, C. S. (August 27, 1899 – April 2, 1966) 1937 Originally published in England as The Happy Return
49 The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Volume 2 Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich (December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008) English translation by Thomas Whitney, 1974
50 Cybernetics Wiener, Norbert (November 26, 1894 – March 18, 1964) 1948
51 The Problem of Pain Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1940
42 The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Volume 3 Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich (December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008) English translation by Thomas Whitney, 1974
53 Rumours of War Mallinson, Allan (Born February 6, 1949) 2004
54 The Early History of Rome Livy (59 B.C. – A.D. 17) 29 to 27 B. C. Books 1 through 5 of Livy’s 142 volume History of Rome, which cover the period from the founding of Rome to 386 B.C.
55 The Old Man And The Sea Hemingway, Ernest (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) 1952
56 Out of Africa Dinesen, Isak (a.k.a. Karen Blixen, April 17, 1885 – September 7, 1962) 1937
57 Under The Greenwood Tree Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1872
58 Crime and Punishment Dostoevsky, Fyodor (November 11, 1821 – February 9, 1881) 1866
59 A History of My Times, (Hellenica) Xenophon (circa 430 – 354 B.C.) 4th Century B. C.
60 Smith of Wooton Manor and Farmer Giles of Ham Tolkien, J. R. R. (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) published in 1967 and 1949, respectively

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