2017 Reading List

In 2017, I plunged back into reading with a vigor. I started keeping a list of what I’ve read, and now I’ll share it out here. I’m putting some brief thoughts on each one to describe the book or what my general take on the book was. If you’re curious about any of these, let me know and I’ll gladly share a more detailed opinion with you.

  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Not the first time I’ve read Hobbit, but I knew it would be a good springboard back into a solid reading habit. I’m consistently fascinated by Tolkien and his Middle Earth, and the depth of the lore is an invitation that’s always open.

  • Candide – Voltaire

A hilarious satire on a shallow philosophy. If you think your life sucks, read Candide. You’ll feel better about things afterwards. 

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway

Although I’d read Old Man and the Sea before, I consider For Whom the Bell Tolls as my official introduction to Hemingway. Like everything I’ve read by Hemingway, absolutely worth the read.

  • Gullible’s Travels – Ring Lardner

I think we’ve sort of lost Lardner’s style of literary humour, and that’s a real shame. The protagonist in this book is plain-spoken and just plain funny.

  • Baghavad Gita
  • A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • On Writing Well – William Zinsser
  • Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Sparta & its Law
  • What Women Really Want – Ann-Marie Murrell, Morgan Brittany, Dr. Gina Loudon

Written by a group of conservative women and meant as a rebuttal to American liberals female agenda. I came away disappointed: the chapters felt like a series of opinionated essays that were thrown together, and the writing was mediocre at best.

  • The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion – Anon.

Anti-semitic propaganda. One of several documents that played role in influencing the negative attitudes towards Jews in the 20th century. The copy I read had a lengthy introduction detailing the proof of the Protocols’  fabrication, and every page had a disclaimer that read “This document is known propaganda.” The frightening thing was that such measures were absolutely necessary and appropriate. The lies in this book were laid out in such a believable way, I came away totally unsurprised that so many people fell for them. Chilling.

  • 95 Theses – Martin Luther

Not really a book, but certainly a document that influenced Christianity and history in general. Only takes a few minutes to read.

  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell

A book everyone should read. This book is absolutely relevant to any discussion about poverty and the social programs in place to alleviate poverty’s effects. Also an excellent read if you’re unhappy about the current state of affairs in America. Judging from the way of life depicted in this book (which, by the way, is in “modern” UK less than a century ago), we don’t know how good we have it.

  • SJW’s Always Lie – Vox Day
  • The Art of the Deal – Donald Trump

A very easy read, one that I felt gave me a useful understanding of Trump’s way of handling business. Not a great book by any means, but would still recommend if you’re having trouble making sense of Donald Trump.

  • The Book of Lies – Aleister Crowley
  • Theogony – Hesiod

Greek origin myth. Birth of the gods and all that. Found it interesting how so many of the Greek gods were really quite nasty to each other.

  • Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary – Edward Klein

An attempted explanation as to why Hillary Clinton is impossible to like. Definite right-wing bias, far from objective, and borders on an outright smear of the Clinton’s. Based on the depictions in this book, my take is that we really ought to dislike Bill much more than Hillary. Just sayin’…

  • War is a Racket! – Smedley Butler

Gen. Butler was one of only two U.S. Marines in history to earn a Medal of Honor on two separate occasions. As a bona fide war hero, that only makes his searing anti-war critique pack that much more of a punch. He rips into the American military-industrial complex of the World War I/pre-World War II era, exposing the alarming profits made off the destruction of the war.

  • Notes from Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley
  • All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • Gruesome Harvest – Ralph Keeling
  • Human, All Too Human – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The Great Omission – Dallas Willard
  • The Sound and Fury – William Faulkner
  • Letters to a Young Contrarian – Christopher Hitchens
  • Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas
  • The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
  • All of Grace – C.H. Spurgeon
  • Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Reading Walden in its entirety was a bit different from what I remember reading about Walden in high school. Yes, Thoreau idealizes nature, but ever so much more he’s a total cynic about society. He certainly was not a eco-friendly hippie, but rather more of grouch that really didn’t like most people and their ways. And yet, I thought the best parts of his book were where he talked about people, rather than about nature.

  • Howard’s End – E.M. Forster
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • The War of Art – Stephen Pressfield
  • The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer
  • The Word of the Buddha
  • 101 Ways to Improve Your Writing – Gary Provost
  • Shadow Shot – J.G. Heitzman
  • How to Think Like Da Vinci – Daniel Smith

Less of a “how-to”, and more of cursory look at Da Vinci and his habits and background. Interesting, but this book was a little too “lite” for my tastes. Not bad if you’re looking for a casual non-fiction read.

  • Desperate Marriages – Gary Chapman
  • Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
  • A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  • One More Try – Gary Chapman
  • By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept – Paulo Coelho
  • Proverbs
  • My Brother’s Keeper: James Joyce, The Early Years – Stanilaus Joyce
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Fiesta: Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  • Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  • Heart of Darknes– Joseph Conrad
  • Becoming a Writer – Dorothy Brande
Variance Explained

W. Preston Neal

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