This is the first year that I’ve really made an effort to keep track of my leisure reading. One of my goals for the year was to read less internet-based news and more books, and I think I was more or less successful, though some months were better for reading than others. In the end, leaving aside everything I read to our son (lots of graphic novels this year!), for my work as an educational technology consultant and for my ongoing dissertation project on the Objectivist poets, I read 60 books for pleasure in 2017. Here’s the full list of my 2017 leisure reading, nearly all of which I read in ebook form on my iPad, usually at night after our son had gone to bed:
Fiction [26 titles]
- Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things. [Recommended by Jeff]
- Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. [Recommended by Josh & Jeff]
- Ancillary Sword.
- Ancillary Mercy.
- Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. [Recommended by Dave]
- Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese.
- All 20 books in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series. [Recommended by Dave]
My favorite of these were O’Brian’s novels.
Nonfiction [25 titles]
- Kenneth Cox, The Art of Language: Selected Essays, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
- Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.
- Michael Holt’s By One Vote: The Disputed Presidential Election of 1876.
- Rick Telander’s Heaven is Playground.
- David Bach’s Debt Free for Life.
- David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years.
- David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.
- David Graeber’s The Democracy Project: A History, A Crisis, A Movement.
- Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction.
- Zephyr Teachout’s Corruption in America.
- Matthew Desmond’s Evicted. [The Go Big Read book at UW-Madison]
- Michael Glennon’s National Security and Double Government.
- Keaanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. [Recommended by Mark]
- Burton Malkiel and Charles Ellis’ The Elements of Investing.
- Harry Redknapp’s A Man Walks On To A Pitch.
- Leslie Holmes’ A Very Short Introduction to Communism.
- Sabina Knight’s A Very Short Introduction to Chinese Literature.
- Damien Keown’s Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction.
- Owen Davies’ Paganism: A Very Short Introduction.
- Eleanor Nesbitt’s Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction.
- William Langewiesche’s Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight.
- Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law.
- Simon Reid-Henry’s The Political Origins of Inequality.
- David Lagercrantz’ I Am Zlatan.
- Robert Biswas-Diener and Rajiv Jhangiani’s edited collection: Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science.
My five favorite nonfiction books of the year were:
- Rothstein’s The Color of Law
- Graeber’s Debt
- Glennon’s National Security and Double Government
- O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction
- Desmond’s Evicted
Poetry [9 titles]
- George Seferis’ Collected Poems: 1924-1955.
- August Kleinzahler’s The Hotel Oneira.
- Ron Czerwien’s A Ragged Tear Down the Middle of Our Flag.
- Gabe Gudding’s Bed From Government
- Andrea Sloan Pink’s Prison and Other Ideas.
- Jesse Weise’s edited collection Locked Out: Voices from America’s Second Prison.
- CA Conrad’s Circle M.
- Ron Silliman’s Against Conceptual Poetry.
- Robert Fitterman’s Holocaust Museum.
My favorite of these was Kleinzahler’s book.
It’s funny looking back at the list–I don’t feel particularly impressed by the overall quality of my reading for the year, despite the volume. My big goal for 2018 is to finish and defend my dissertation, which means that I’ll dedicate most of my reading energy to that for the first several months of the year. When it comes to leisure reading, my goal is to diminish my online news consumption even further and keep up the pace with books, particularly nonfiction–my goal is to read another 60 books in 2018.
Featured image by RJ.