The year in books

AE5F0F0D-FCBC-4AC5-8FC6-249C04896317The year opened with the usual goal: read 100 books from my shelves (i.e., books in my collection before the end of 2021), including at least 24 non-fiction titles and at least one book from each of the following categories: Shakespeare (about or retold), poetry, NYRB, Kurt Vonnegut (by or about), Joyce Carol Oates, philosophy, art, and children’s / YA. As it turns out, I read 139 books in 2022, of which 76 were from the shelves. Of those read from the shelves, nineteen were non-fiction titles; and while I met the poetry, NYRB, philosophy, and art challenges, I missed Shakespeare, Vonnegut, Oates, and children’s / YA.

Still. It was a pretty spectacular year of reading, one that included (finally) the bible. Here are some of the other projects, courses, and groups that shaped my reading year.

With the Cardiff BookTalk, I read:
A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess; 1962. Fiction.)
The Waste Land (Norton Critical Edition) (T.S. Eliot. 1922. Poetry.)

The 100 Days of Dante relaunched this year, but I participated in the first cycle, which began in 2021 and continued into 2022. In addition to Purgatorio and Paradiso, I read two related books (marked with asterisks):
Purgatorio (Dante Alighieri; 1320. (Trans. Robin Kirkpatrick; 2008.) Poetry.)
Paradiso (Dante Alighieri; 1320. (Trans. Robin Kirkpatrick; 2008.) Poetry.)
Dante’s Divine Comedy (Seymour Chwast; 2010. Graphic fiction.)
Dante (R.W.B. Lewis; 2001. Non-Fiction.) RFS

For two Guardian Live events:
Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern (Mary Beard; 2021. Non-fiction.)
The Essex Serpent (Sarah Perry; 2016. Fiction.)

With A Public Space / APS Together:
Childhood (Tove Ditlevsen; 1967/2021. Fiction.)
Youth (Tove Ditlevsen; 1967/2021. Fiction.)
Dependence (Tove Ditlevsen; 1971/2021. Fiction.)
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (Herman Melville; 1851. Fiction.)
Cane (Jean Toomer. 1923. Fiction.)
W-3: A Memoir (Bette Howland; 1974. Non-fiction.)
Villette (Charlotte Brontë; 1853. Fiction.)

For three Night School Bar courses:
Debt: The First 5,000 Years (David Graeber; 2011. Non-fiction.)
Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation (Silvia Federici; 2004. Non-fiction.)
Capital Realism (Mark Fisher; 2009. Non-fiction.)

For a Newberry Library course:
The Emigrants (W.G. Sebald; 1992/1996. Fiction.)
The Rings of Saturn (W.G. Sebald; 1995/1998. Fiction.)
Austerlitz (W.G. Sebald; 2001. Fiction.)
Speak, Silence: In Search of W.G. Sebald (Carole Angier; 2022. Non-fiction.)

With Catherine Project reading groups (supplementary texts are marked with asterisks):
Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy; 1878. (Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.) Fiction.)
Apology (Plato; 399 BC. (Trans. G.M.A. Grube; 2002.) Non-fiction.)
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (Herman Melville; 1851. Fiction.)
The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway. 1926. Fiction.)
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway; 1952. Fiction.)
A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway. 1929. Fiction.)
On the Origin of Species (Charles Darwin. 1859. Non-fiction.)
* Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (Sabina Radeva; 2019. Graphic non-fiction.)
* The Tree of Life (Peter Sís; 2003. Graphic non-fiction.)
* Darwin: Portrait of a Genius (Paul Johnson; 2012. Non-fiction.)
* Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation (Michael Keller. 2009. Graphic non-fiction.)
A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Flannery O’Connor; 1953. Fiction.)
Everything That Rises Must Converge (Flannery O’Connor; 1965. Fiction.)

Several readers in the Hemingway group decided to continue reading together:
A Moveable Feast (Ernest Hemingway; 1964. Non-fiction.)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway. 1940. Fiction.)
East of Eden (John Steinbeck. 1952. Fiction.)
Fathers and Sons (Ivan Turgenev (Trans. Constance Garnett); 1862. Fiction.)

And three of us in that group decided to meet, too:
The Pearl (John Steinbeck. 1947. Fiction.)
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov; 1955. Fiction.)

With the UCSC Deep Read:
Transcendent Kingdom (Yaa Gyasi; 2020. Fiction.)

With The Readers Karamazov:
The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco; 1980. Fiction.)
* The Key to The Name of the Rose (Adele J. Haft, et al.; 1987/1999. Non-Fiction.)
A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller; 1959. Fiction.)
The Sign of Four (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; 1890. Fiction.)
A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole. 1981. Fiction.)

For a course with the Premise Institute:
The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka; 1915. (Trans. Ian Johnston.) Fiction.)
The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka; 1915. (Trans. Susan Bernofsky.) Fiction.)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Jean-Dominique Bauby; 1997. Non-fiction.)
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath. 1963. Fiction.)
Nausea (Jean Paul Sarte. 1938. Fiction.)
Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope (Johann Hari; 2018. Non-fiction.)

In advance of a Theater of War event:
The Suppliants (Aeschylus; 460 BC. Drama.)

In November, I deleted my Twitter account, but I certainly miss the reading groups with whom I read:
Europe Central (William T. Vollmann. 2005. Fiction.)
A Mapmaker’s Dream (James Cowan. 1996. Fiction.)
A Lost Lady (Willa Cather. 1923. Fiction.)
Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace. 1996. Fiction.)
Zeno’s Conscience (Italo Svevo; 1923. Fiction.)

With the T Book Club:
Desperate Characters (Paula Fox; 1970. Fiction.)
Specimen Days (Michael Cunningham; 2005. Fiction.)

With the SciFri Book Club:
Upgrade (Blake Crouch. 2022. Fiction.)

Looking ahead, this winter, I’m taking classes with the University of Chicago Graham School, the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, and Night School Bar. The Premise Course in which I’m enrolled will meet once in January and conclude in February. I’m hoping to participate in a Catherine Project tutorial beginning later this month, and the band of merry readers who remained following Hemingway (and Steinbeck and Turgenev) is tackling Crime and Punishment over the next few months. If I manage to keep up with these exciting pursuits, I’d like to participate in the February SciFri Book Club. More another time.

2 thoughts on “The year in books

  1. Finally, someone who reads my kind of lists. I love classical books as you have listed. After completing many other lists, I am slowly working through 1000 Books to Read Before You Die.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you have had a amazing year and joined some interesting groups. Educational, enlightening, and entertaining. Mine was more mundane and unfortunately didn’t get to the nonfiction. Plan to concentrate more on non fiction this year. I don’t know if you were aware that I retired from hosting 52 books on WTM at the end of this year and another BAWer took over posting a more casual thread. Continuing with the challenge on the website and glad to see you linked up. Cheers to a brand new reading year and best wishes with all your classes. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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