Books by Year

An ongoing list of the most influential or important book(s) I read each year.

2023

  • Slotkin: The Fatal Environment
  • Graeber & Wengrow: The Dawn of Everything

2022

  • McGilchrist: The Master and his Emissary
  • Ong: Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue
  • Kimmerer: Braiding Sweetgrass
  • Thoreau: The Journal 1837–1861
  • Mithen: After the Ice

2021

  • Ungaretti (Brock, trns): Allegria
  • Hare & Woods: Survival of the Friendliest
  • Karen: Becoming Attached
  • Tyree, The Counterforce
  • Anthony: The Horse, The Wheel, and Language
  • van der Kolk: The Body Keeps the Score

2020

  • Odell: How to Do Nothing
  • Scott: Seeing Like State
  • Scott: Against the Grain
  • King: Gods of the Upper Air

2019

  • Kahneman: Thinking Fast & Slow
  • Hofstadter: Paranoid Style in American Politics
  • Hofstadter: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
  • Rorty: Achieving Our Country
  • Jung: Mysterium Coniunctionis
  • Cantor: Inventing the Middle Ages

2018

  • Csikszentmihalyi: Flow
  • Seldes: The Stammering Century
  • Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

2017

  • Baker: The Peregrine
  • Anderson: Imaginary Cities
  • Thomas: Ritual in Early Modern Europe (finished in 2019)
  • Russo: The Island at the Center of the World

2016

  • Russo: Amsterdam
  • Bruner: On Thinking
  • Woodard: American Nations

2015

  • Brown: Through the Eye of a Needle (finished in 2019)
  • Koslofsky: Evening’s Empire (finished in 2020)
  • Augé: Non-Places
  • Hyde: The Gift

2014

  • Hyde: Trickster Makes This World
  • Bringhurst: A Story as Sharp as a Knife
  • Richardson: Thoreau: A Life of the Mind
  • Kolodny: In Search of First Contact (finished in 2018)

2013

  • Adler: Speedboat
  • Ahern: How to Disappear
  • Slotkin: Regeneration Through Violence

2012

  • Petroski: The Pencil
  • Grünbein: The Vocation of Poetry
  • Portis: (various)

2011

  • Hoban: (various)

2010

  • Holm: The Windows of Brimnes
  • Holm: The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth
  • Davenport: (various)
  • Jacobs: Death and Life of American Cities

2009

  • Stewart: Names on the Land

2008

  • Hall: Warlock
  • Adler: Drawing Down the Moon

2007

  • (Waley): Monkey
  • Aron: The Highly Sensitive Person
  • Pynchon: Against the Day

2006

  • Pynchon: Mason & Dixon

2005

  • Tuchman: A Distant Mirror
  • Proust: In Search of Lost Time (finished in 2006)

2004

  • William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience

2003

  • Blackmore: The Meme Machine
  • PKD: (various)

2002

  • Harryette Mullen: Sleeping with the Dictionary

2001

  • Louis Menand: The Metaphysical Club
  • Isaiah Berlin: The Proper Study of Mankind

2000

  • Amato: Dust
  • Bachelard: The Poetics of Space
  • DeLillo: Underworld

1999

  • Tufte: (various)
  • Forché (ed): Against Forgetting
  • McGrath: Letter to an Imaginary Friend
  • Dawkins: The Selfish Gene

1998

  • Hamill (ed): The Gift of Tongues
  • Jung: Aion

1997

  • Kenner: The Pound Era

1996

  • Williams: Imaginations
  • Sagan: The Demon-Haunted World

1995

  • Joyce: Ulysses
  • Carruth: Suicides & Jazzers

1994

  • Ong: Orality & Literacy
  • Carruth: Collected Shorter Poems
  • Tolkien: LOTR

1993

  • Jung: Essential (Storr, ed)
  • Jung: Basic Writings (de Laszlo, ed)
  • Kingston: Tripmaster Monkey

1992

  • Epictetus (Oldfather trns): Discourses
  • Chesterton: Manalive
  • Berry: What Are People For?

1991

  • Nabokov: Pale Fire
  • Gilfillan, Magpie Rising
  • Nelson: The Island Within
  • Brautigan: In Watermelon Sugar
  • Eliade: The Sacred & the Profane

1990

  • Thoreau: Walden
  • Borges: Labyrinths
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Roofbeams & Seymour

1989

  • Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
  • Davies: The Manticore

1988

  • Dostoevsky: Crime & Punishment
  • Heller: Catch-22
  • Wolfe: Electric Kool-aid Acid Test
  • Cummings: 74 Poems & 95 Poems
  • Hofstadter: Metamagical Themas

1987

  • Pynchon: Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Hugo: Les Misérables
  • Robbins: Jitterbug Perfume

1986

  • Phillips: A Humument
  • Beagle: The Last Unicorn
  • Goldman: The Princess Bride
  • Robbins: Still Life with Woodpecker
  • Robbins: Another Roadside Attraction
  • O’Neill: Collective Unconscious of Odd Bodkins

1985

  • Vonnegut: Cat’s Cradle
  • Bach: Illusions
  • Laozi (trns, Lau): Tao Te Ching

1984

  • Hoff: The Tao of Pooh
  • Thomas: The Lives of a Cell

1983

  • White: The Once and Future King
  • Blum: The Book of Runes

1982

  • Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea

1981

  • Alexander: Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain)

1980

  • Hergé: Tintin in Tibet
  • Hergé: Flight 714

1979

  • Hergé: The Black Island
  • Hergé: King Ottokar’s Sceptre

1970—1978

  • Seuss: Sneeches & Other Stories
  • Bonsall: Who’s a Pest?
  • Richard Scarry (various)