2018 Experiment: A Reading List

Background: I have thousands of books in my book queue that I would like to read, but never seem to find the time for. In 2018, instead of reading whatever seems good at the moment, I’m going to try sticking to an idiosyncrastic list of 101 books and/or collections I’d like to read in the coming year.

I’ll consider it a success if I manage to read a quarter of the titles on this list by the end of 2018. If I can manage a third of them, I’ll consider that an excellent outcome.

In the end, it is alright if I end up reading a handful of these books. I also intend to either do a book review when I complete a title or post interesting quotes as I find them.

Methods: Stick with the list. If I want to read a book off list, I’ll review this book list and ask: Is this off-list book more interesting than all the unread titles on this list? If not, then it can wait for next year’s list.

Results: All the titles below that are in bold I read about eight titles completely. Those that are in italics  I at least checked out and either skimmed or read portions of them. For each, there are around fourteen titles a piece.

Discussion: There is a real disconnect with a list and the actual reading. Each had different problems. For example, I read about half of a Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and lost interest. The Art of Looking Sideways is really better as a coffee or side table book, and it is not something most people would read straight through. While I am interested in reading SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, its availability from the library didn’t coincide with motivation on my part.

Conclusions: If a list like this is going to work. It needs to be fewer titles, and the titles there need to be either really short, really good or something that really interests me. A lot of the books here missed for one or more of those reasons.


  1. Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah.
  2. Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations.
  3. Beard, Mary. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.
  4. Bowles, Paul. The Stories of Paul Bowles.
  5. Bradbury, Ray. The Stories of Ray Bradbury.
  6. Browne, Harry. How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.
  7. Butler, Octavia E. Bloodchild and Other Stories.
  8. Calvino, Italo. Italian Folktales.
  9. Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities.
  10. Carroll, Peter J. Liber Null and Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic.
  11. Carter, Angela. Burning Your Boats.
  12. Cerón, Rocío. Diorama.
  13. Chagdud, Tulku. Gates to Buddhist Practice.
  14. Congdon, Lisa. A Glorious Freedom.
  15. Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1).
  16. Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
  17. Dinesen, Isak. Carnival: Entertainments and Posthumous Tales.
  18. Endō, Shūsaku. Silence.
  19. Epictetus. Discourses and Selected Writings.
  20. Etheridge, Chuck. Border Cantos Trilogy: Book I.
  21. Euripides. Medea and Other Plays: Medea / Alcestis / The Children of Heracles / Hippolytus.
  22. Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.
  23. Fletcher, Alan. The Art of Looking Sideways.
  24. Frank, Pat. Alas, Babylon.
  25. Galbraith, Carrie. Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society.
  26. Galeano, Eduardo. Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone.
  27. Gallwey, W. Timothy. The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance.
  28. Garson, Scott. Is That You, John Wayne?
  29. Gessel, Van C. The Shōwa Anthology: Modern Japanese Short Stories.
  30. Girard, René. Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World.
  31. Gorey, Edward. The Gashlycrumb Tinies (The Vinegar Works, #1).
  32. Gracián, Baltasar. The Art of Worldly Wisdom.
  33. Grass, Günter. The Danzig Trilogy: The Tin Drum / Cat and Mouse / Dog Years.
  34. Graves, Robert. I, Claudius (Claudius, #1).
  35. Greitens, Eric. Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life.
  36. Gyasi, Yaa. Homegoing.
  37. Hadot, Pierre. Philosophy As a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault.
  38. Hagy, Jessica. How to Be Interesting: An Instruction Manual.
  39. Hamel, Christopher De. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts.
  40. Hansberry, Lorraine. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: An Informal Autobiography.
  41. Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
  42. Hwoschinsky, Carol. Listening With The Heart: A Guide For Compassionate Listening.
  43. Ingalls, Rachel. Three Masquerades: Novellas. 12/2017.
  44. Jaeger, Werner Wilhelm. Paideia 1: The Ideals of Greek Culture: Archaic Greece: The Mind of Athens.
  45. Johnson, Denis. Jesus’ Son.
  46. Keene, John. Counternarratives.
  47. Kelly, Joe. I Kill Giants.
  48. Kennett, Jiyu. Selling Water by the River: Manual of Zen Training. 12/2017.
  49. Khema, Ayya. Be an Island: The Buddhist Practice of Inner Peace.
  50. King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
  51. Kreider, Tim. We Learn Nothing.
  52. Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness.
  53. Le Guin, Ursula K. The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories.
  54. Lee, Min Jin. Pachinko.
  55. Van Lente, Fred. Action Philosophers!
  56. Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph. The Waste Books. 12/2017.
  57. Lin Yutang. The Importance of Living.
  58. Liu, Cixin. The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1).
  59. Liu, Cixin. The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2).
  60. Liu, Cixin. Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3).
  61. Manguel, Alberto. The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.
  62. Matthiessen, Peter. The Snow Leopard.
  63. McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.
  64. McLuhan, Marshall. The Book of Probes.
  65. McMurtry, Larry. Lonesome Dove.
  66. McPhee, John. Draft No. 4.
  67. Mercier, Hugo. The Enigma of Reason.
  68. Mirtalipova, Dinara. Imagine A Forest: 45 Step by Step Lessons to Create Enchanting Folk Art.
  69. Miłosz, Czesław. Selected and Last Poems 1931-2004.
  70. Moore, Alan. Jerusalem.
  71. Moten, Fred. The Little Edges.
  72. Newport, Cal. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
  73. Novy, Adam. The Avian Gospels, Book I.
  74. O’Connor, Flannery. The Complete Stories.
  75. Ōe, Kenzaburō. Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: Four Short Novels.
  76. Palmer, Ada. Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota, #1).
  77. Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects.
  78. Rothenberg, Jerome. Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Bought.
  79. Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1).
  80. Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2).
  81. Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3).
  82. Sapolsky, Robert M. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.
  83. Scharf, Caleb. The Zoomable Universe: An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing.
  84. Schopenhauer, Arthur. Essays and Aphorisms.
  85. Seneca. Letters from a Stoic.
  86. Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography.
  87. Shepard, Lucius. The Jaguar Hunter.
  88. Shklovsky, Victor. Zoo or Letters Not About Love.
  89. Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
  90. Spiegelman, Art. Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1).
  91. VanderMeer, Jeff. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction.
  92. Vargas Llosa, Mario. Conversation in the Cathedral.
  93. Vonnegut Jr., Kurt. The Sirens of Titan.
  94. Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing.
  95. Ware, Chris. Building Stories.
  96. Willink, Jocko. Extreme Ownership: How U. S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. 12/2017.
  97. Wilson, August. Three Plays: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom / Fences / Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
  98. Woodring, Jim. Congress of the Animals.
  99. Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own.
  100. Zehme, Bill. Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman.
  101. Zweig, Stefan. The World of Yesterday.