My 2022 Reading

Photograph taken by on Saturday, December 31, 2022
My 2022 Reading

My 2022 Reading

As I finished my reading last year, I had a fairly substantial stack of 27 books waiting for me to read in 2022. That included a few larger works, such as General Sherman’s Memoirs, Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, and a book of poetry and prose by John Milton (including Paradise Lost), and the other two volumes of the extant works by Livy (The War with Hannibal and Rome and the Mediterranean. I also hoped to read six or so more plays by Shakespeare in the process of reading all 39 of them.

The year turned out differently to what I had hoped and there was a time I didn’t think I’d get through as many as 45 books. The middle of the year, in particular, was a difficult time and reading became much more difficult. Nevertheless, I managed to read at least some every day, averaging a little short of 48 pages a day. I got through the 27 books and ended up reading a total of 57 books in all. As usual, the list of books is below. This year’s reading only included four books by currently living authors, all written in this century. At the other end of the age spectrum, nine were written in the years B.C. The 19th century provided the largest number of books this year, at 16, followed by the 20th century (8 books) and 16th (7 books, all plays by Shakespeare). You can sort the table by the order read (the default), title, author, and date written by clicking on the headings.

The Books

The Books

As I finish writing this on January second, I have already begun my 2023 reading with the second volume—Their Finest Hour—of Winston Churchill’s six volume history of the Second World War. I read volume one—The Gathering Storm—in 2017 and I hope to get through all the rest this year, a total of more than 4,000 pages. Including the five by Churchill, there are 39 books on my to-read shelf, including a few long books, such as Plutarch’s Lives and Vanity Fair.

In case you are interested, here are links to my 2021 Reading and my 2020 Reading.

Title Author Date    Notes
1 A Laodicean Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1881 Subtitled, “A Story of To-day.”
2 Aku-Aku Heyerdahl, Thor (October 6, 1914 – April 18, 2002) 1957 Subtitled, “The Secret of Easter Island.” This chronicles excavations and other archaelogy on Easter Island by the author and his team in the 1950s. Very interesting reading.
3 Evenor MacDonald, George (December 10, 1824 – September 18, 1905) 1867, 1871, and 1875 A collection of three short stories: The Wise Woman (1875); The Carasoyn (1871); and The Golden Key (1867); with an introduction by Lin Carter titled “The Dubious Land.”
4 Piers the Ploughman Langland, William (circa 1332 – circa 1386) circa 1370 An allegorical narrative poem written in a Middle English sometime in the late 14th century.
5 Memoirs Sherman, William Tecumseh (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) Second Edition, published 1886, (first edition was published in 1885) Not surprisingly, the bulk of this deals with the years 1861 through 1865 and Sherman’s campaigns of the U. S. Civil War. This includes—among others—Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge, the Atlanta campaign and of course the March to the Sea.
6 The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning Magnusson, Margareta (born December 31, circa 1935) 2018 Subtitled, “How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter.” This book is not as depressing as the title may sound and considerably less depressing than dealing with someone elses ‘stuff’ (for lack of a better term).
7 The Comedy of Errors Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) circa 1594 A short farcical comedy. There are two sets of identical twins who are repeatedly mistaken, one for the other.
8 The War With Hannibal Livy (Titus Livius, 59 B.C. – A.D. 17) circa 27 B.C. Livy’s History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita Libri) contained 142 books, of which 35 are extant. This third volume contains books 21 through 30, covering the the Second Punic War, from 218 to 202 B.C.
9 Reflections On The Psalms Lewis, C. S. (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) 1959 As the title suggests, these are reflections rather than any sort of thorough study of the Psalms. I found it wonderfully written and helped me to look at these poems in a new way. I highly recommend this short book to anyone interested in the subject.
10 Euripides II Euripides (circa 480 – circa 406 B.C.) 440 through 412 B.C. The second of three volumes of plays by Euripides and volume six in the Modern Library’s The Complete Greek Tragedies. The first four plays are set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. The fifth with the son of Xuthus by Apollo and the progenitor of the Ionian people. The sixth is an event during the Trojan War, and the last with war between descendants of Oedipus. The seven plays are:

  • Helen (412 B.C.)
  • Hecuba (424 B.C.)
  • Andromache (425 B.C.)
  • The Trojan Women (415 B.C.)
  • Ion (413 B.C.)
  • Rhesus (probably before 440 B.C.)
  • The Suppliant Women (423 B.C.).
11 The Possessed Dostoevsky, Fyodor (November 11, 1821 – February 9, 1881) 1872 Originally titled Demons (Бѣсы), this is a somewhat complicated story dealing with Dostoevsky’s views on nihilism and the social and political situation in 19th century Russia. It’s the fourth book by Dostoevsky I’ve read and is considered among his four masterworks. I need to read The Idiot to complete those four.
12 Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Metaxas, Eric (born June 27, 1963) 2010 A wonderfully written biography of a most remarkable man, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945). I’ve only read one of his works, The Cost of Discipleship, first published as Nachfolge (Discipleship) in 1937. I need to read that again and have also added two others to my ‘to read’ list: Life Together, completed in 1938 and Ethics, incomplete on his death and edited and published by his closest friend, Eberhard Bethge (August 28, 1909 – March 18, 2000).
13 Julius Caesar Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) 1599 One of the most well known of Shakespeare’s plays, giving us such lines as “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”, “those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me”, “Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war”, “This was the most unkindest cut of all,” and of course “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
14 Chronicles Of The Crusades Villehardouin, Geoffrey of (c. 1150 – c. 1213) and Joinville, Jean de (c. 1 May 1224 – 24 December 1317) early 14th century This volume is comprised of translations of two works: The Conquest of Constantinople, by Geoffrey of Villehardouin (c. 1150 – c. 1213) and The Life of Saint Louis, circa 1309, by Jean de Joinville.
15 Cheese & Dairy Lamb, Steven 2018 River Cottage Handbook No. 16, this deals with cheese making, although I didn’t learn as much from it as I might have liked. It’s a nice book but not really enough to feel confident actually trying make anything but the very simplest cheeses. It’s also geared towards the English market, where double cream is an actual thing.
16 Measure for Measure Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) 1604 Not one of Shakespeare’s better known plays, it deals with morality and power. I actually enjoyed it.
17 The Woodlanders Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1887 I made the mistake of reading the introduction to this book, which had spoilers in it. Particulary with Hardy, not knowing how the story will end is a big part of their appeal. Hardy doesn’t always end a story the way you might want. But they have considerable verisimilitude. I think I liked the ending much more than the author of the introduction.
18 Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth Gerstner, John H. (November 22, 1914 – March 24, 1996) 1991 (but third edition, 2009) This is a strongly worded polemic against dispensationalism. Although it touches briefly on eschatology, it is more focused on soteriology.
19 Timaeus and Critias Plato (428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 B.C.) circa 360 B.C. Timaeus is mostly a long monologue given by the Timaeus of Locri, speculating on the nature of the physical world, discussing the four elements and their shapes: earth (cube), fire (tetrahedron), air (octahedron), and water (icosahedron). Critias tells the story of Atlantis, its attempt to conquer Athens.
20 Henry V Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) circa 1599 A good story. The two most memorable parts or two monologues given by Henry. The first is in Act 3, Scene 1, beginning with “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” The second in Act 4, Scene 3, the ‘Saint Crispin’s day’ speach, with that well known phrase, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”
21 Euripides III Euripides (circa 480 – circa 406 B.C.) 413 through 406 B.C. The last of three volumes of plays by Euripides and volume seven in the Modern Library’s The Complete Greek Tragedies. The five plays in this volume are:

  • Orestes (408 B.C.)
  • Iphigenia In Aulis (406 B.C.)
  • Electra (413 B.C.)
  • The Phoenician Women (between 411 and 409 B.C.)
  • The Bacchae (406 B.C.)
22 The Westminster Confession of Faith Westminster Assembly, 1646 1646–7 This publication also includes the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Westminster Shorter Catechism and is published by the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
23 Two On A Tower Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1882 Thomas Hardy’s categorized his novels into three groups: Novels of Character and Environment, Romances and Fantasies, and Novels of Ingenuity. I’ve read, eight of the ten in the first category and one of the three in the third. This book is the first I’ve read in the second (of which there are five). It definitely did not end the way I would have expected. But it’s a good read.
24 An Augustine Reader Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) A.D. 427 Edited by John J. O’Meara (18 February 1915 – 12 February 2003) and published in 1973. Included in this edition are:

  • Soliloquies, Book 1, A.D. 386–387
  • Letters (correspondence with St. Jerome), A.D. 394–418
  • Confessions, Books 7, 8 (Manichaeism and Neoplatonism) and 11 (Creation and Time), A.D. 397–400
  • On Baptism, Book 1 (against the Donatists), A.D. 401
  • Sermon on Psalm 22, A.D. 407
  • On the Trinity, Books 2 and 8, A.D. 399–419
  • City of God, Books 5 and 22, A.D. 413–427
  • The Grace of Christ and Original Sin, Book 2 (against the Pelagians), A.D> 418
  • Christian Instruction, Book 4, A.D. 396–426
25 The Pursuit of God Tozer, Aiden Wilson (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963) 1948 I was warned before reading this that Tozer would likely make me feel inadequate. I can see where that attitude comes from but I actually liked this little book quite a bit. It put me in mind of Brother Lawrence and I found it more an encouragement to be better than I am.
26 Protagoras Plato (428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 B.C.) circa 390 B.C. The book I have contains both Protagoras and Meno. However, because I read Meno as recently as 2020, I didn’t read it again this time. Protagoras deals with the question “Can virtue be taught?”
27 Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) circa 1595 This is definitely one of Shakespeare’s best know works so there were no surprises. Spoiler alert, it ends sadly.
28 Rome and the Mediterranean Livy (Titus Livius, 59 B.C. – A.D. 17) circa 27 B.C. This fourth and final volume of Livy’s History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita Libri) contains books 31 through 45, covering the the Second Macedonian War, the War with Antiochus, and the Third Macedonian War. Books 46 through 142 are, sadly, lost.
29 The Birthmark and Other Stories Hawthorne, Nathaniel (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) 1832–1852
  • Young Goodman Brown (1835)
  • The Minister’s Black Veil (1836)
  • Feathertop: A Moralized Legend (1852)
  • Wakefield (1835)
  • The Ambitious Guest (1835)
  • The Wives of the Dead (1832)
  • The Birthmark (1843)
  • Roger Malvin’s Burial (1832)
  • My Kinsman, Major Molineux (1832)
30 Second Treatise of Government Locke, John (August, 29 1632 – October, 28 1704) 1689 Locke writes about the state of nature, conquest and slavery, property, representative government, and the right of revolution.
31 Robinson Crusoe Dufoe, Daniel (circa 1660 – April 24, 1731) 1719 Another novel that everyone knows but not everyone has actually read. As usual, there’s quite a bit more to book than the simple story that everyone knows. Well written and very engaging.
32 The Erotic Poems Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, March 20, 43 B.C. – A.D. 17 or 18) Between 16 B.C. and A.D. 8 The book contains The Amores, 16 B.C., The Art of Love, circa A.D. 2, Cures for Love, circa A.D. 2, and On Facial Treatment for Ladies, between 1 B.C. and A.D. 8.
33 The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories Hawthorn, Nathaniel (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) 1834–1851 This book turns out to include all but one (Feathertop) of the short stories that were in The Birthmark and Other Stories with the addition of the following:

  • The Gray Champion (1835)
  • The Maypole of Merry Mount (1836)
  • The Great Carbuncle (1837)
  • Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment (1837)
  • Lady Eleanore’s Mantle (1838)
  • Egotism, or, The Bosom Serpent (1834)
  • The Celestial Railroad (1843)
  • Rappaccini’s Daughter (1844)
  • The Snow Image: A Childish Miracle (1851)
  • Ethan Brand (1851)
34 The Hand of Ethelberta Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1876 The fourth Hardy book this year. Not a well known work, I don’t think, but I found it wonderfull well written and a very good story.
35 Thus Spoke Zarathustra Nietzsche, Friedrich (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) 1883 This is a work of philosophical fiction, dealing with ideas about the Übermensch, the death of God, the will to power, and eternal recurrence.
36 The Ra Expiditions Heyerdahl, Thor (October 6, 1914 – April 18, 2002) 1972 Heyerdahl chronicles the planning, building, and sailing of two rafts made of papyrus from the west coast of Africa across the Atlantic Ocean.
37 Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Milton Milton, John (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) 1673 This book includes the 300+ page Paradise Lost (1667) and the much shorter Paradise Regained (1671), which are the principle reasons I bought and read it. I found a few of the sonnets lovely, which was a nice bonus. The prose, for the most part, was quite dry and with a few exceptions, not something I’d recommend.
38 The Dhammapada Gautama, Siddhārtha (a.k.a. the Buddha, 6th or 5th century B.C.) 6th or 5th century B.C. A collection of 423 aphorisms grouped into 26 chapters, attributed to the Buddha. The title can be translated as The Path of Truth.
39 Ship of the Line Forester, C. S. (August 27, 1899 – April 2, 1966) 1938 This is the second book published in the Hornblower series but is the seventh in terms of the story timeline.
40 Pensées Pascal, Blaise (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) 1662 The Pensées (i.e. “Thoughts”) is a collection of fragments by the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, writer, and Catholic theologian.
41 The Blithedale Romance Hawthorne, Nathaniel (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) 1852 An interesting romance by Hawthorn.
42 The Histories Polybius (circa 200 – circa 118 B.C.) Mid to late 2nd century B.C. There were originally 40 volumes in this work. The translation by Robin Waterfield has the first five, which exist in their entirety, and the existing portions of volumes six and twelve. After a summary of the first war between Rome and Carthage (the First Punic War) and a corresponding summary of the situation in Illeria, Macedonia, and Greece, he begins his history proper. He discusses the causes and first three years of the Second Punic War (a.k.a. the ‘Hannibalic War’) and then the occurrences in Greece, Asia Minor, Persia, and Egypt during the same three years.
43 Desperate Remedies Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1871 One of Hardy’s so-called ‘Novels of Ingenuity’, this was his first published novel.
44a The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche, Friedrich (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) 1872 This is the first of two works in a single book. Nietzsche discusses, as the title suggests, the development and subsequent changes to the art of tragedy. I can’t say I followed his argument well enough to explain it to anyone else, but I found it interesting.
44b The Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche, Friedrich (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) 1887 This is the second work by Nietzsche in this book. He discusses
45 Flying Colours Forester, C. S. (August 27, 1899 – April 2, 1966) 1938 This is the third book published in the Hornblower series but is the eighth in terms of the story timeline.
46 Faust Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) 1829 in it’s final form This is a play, mostly written in rhymed verse, giving his version of a classic German legend based on the historical Johann Georg Faust (circa 1480–1540).
47 The Trumpet-Major Hardy, Thomas (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) 1880 Another romance by Hardy. He is among my favorite authors and I’m working on getting through all of his works.
48 If Ye Shall Ask… Chambers, Oswald (July 24, 1874 – November 15, 1917) 1915 A collection of talks on prayer given by Chambers between 1911 and 1915 at Bible Training College in Clapham Common, Greater London. It was published in 1938.
49 Beowolf Unknown author, translated by Tolkien, J. R. R. (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) 8th century This modern English prose translation of Beowulf was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien (November 21, 1924 – January 16, 2020) and published in 2014. In addition to the translation of Beowulf this volume contains Sellig Spell, Tolkien’s own retelling of the story of Beowulf, and two versions of Tolkien’s The Lay of Beowulf
50 On The Incarnation Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–298 – May 2, 373) before A.D. 319 This is a theological meditation on the divine Word made flesh. Athanasius aims to provide “an elementary instruction and an outline of the faith in Christ and his divine manifestation to us.”
51 The Rise of Silas Lapham Howells, William Dean (March 1, 1837 – May 11, 1920) 1885 This is a realist novel by William Dean Howells, nicknamed “The Dean of American Letters.” It tells the riches to rags story of Silas Lapham who nevertheless rises from moral ambiguity to clarity.
52 Gentle and Lowly Ortland, Dane This is a lovely book that provides a good reminder of who God is. I don’t often recommend what I sometimes refer to as “Christian Self-Help Books” but this is worth reading.
53 The Works of Virgil Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro, October 15, 70 B.C. – September 21, 19 B.C.) between 29 and 19 B.C. This book, with translations by J. W. Mackail, contains The Aeneid, Eclogues, and Georgics all in prose. I read them back in 2010, but thought it was time to go through them again.
54 Love’s Labor’s Lost Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) circa 1598 An early comedy by Shakespeare dealing with the relations between men and women.
55 Candide Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet, November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778) 1759 I’m not sure what to make of this. It’s a fairly easy read and moves quickly along, but everything is so exagerated that it’s hard to really take it seriously in terms of social or philosophical criticism.
56 A Midsomer Night’s Dream Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) circa 1595 or 1596 A classic by Shakespeare, this is a fun play and more fun for my having seen in performed a few years ago so I knew the story pretty well ahead of time.
57 As You Like It Shakespeare, William (circa April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) 1599 A final Shakespeare play to finish out the year, this has some of the best “banter” of the Bard’s plays as well as a happy ending. Highly recommended.

Note about dates: Not all dates—either publication dates or birth/death dates for authors—are known with any certainty and some of them are not much more than educated guesses. If the work or collection of works was written over a period of years, sorting by date will use the latest relevant date. Also, I only label dates with B.C. or A.D. if they are earlier than A.D. 1000. All unlabeled dates are A.D.

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