Spring reading 2018


Ages ago, when the world and the internet were young, I kept track of my reading by blogging seasonal lists. This post is the first in a revival of that tradition. 

A couple of notes: I've hyperlinked any title that I've blogged about previously. You can see my Goodreads annual reading challenge here, where you can click on any book from this list and, more likely than not, see a sentence or two that I've written about it by way of review.

My winter and spring reading, in order by completion, from January 1 to May 11, 2018:

  • Helena, by Evelyn Waugh
  • The Loved One, by Evelyn Waugh
  • John Ronald's Dragons, by Caroline McAlister, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
  • The Aeneid, by Virgil, translated by David Ferry
  • The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes, by Carolyne Larrington
  • Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Why Liberalism Failed, by Patrick J. Deneen
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  • No Man's Land, by Simon Tolkien
  • A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Heroides, by Ovid, translated by Harold Isbell
  • Wars of the Roses: Stormbird, by Conn Iggulden
  • Utopia, by St. Thomas More, translated by Paul Turner
  • Fools and Mortals, by Bernard Cornwell
  • Cnut: The North Sea King, by Ryan Lavelle
  • Shakespeare's Spy, by Gary Blackwood
  • Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity, by Prue Shaw
  • Decline and Fall, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Striding Folly, by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Nobody Comes Back, by Donn Pearce
  • How to Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life, by Seneca, selected and translated by James Romm
  • The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Fallen Land, by Taylor Brown
  • Munich, by Robert Harris
  • Golden Hill, by Francis Spufford
  • Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
  • The Earliest English Poems, edited and translated by Michael Alexander
  • A Time of Gifts, by Patrick Leigh Fermor
  • Black Mischief, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien
  • The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, performed by Joss Ackland
  • The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty
  • The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis, performed by the author (original radio version)
  • Richard I: The Crusader King, by Thomas Asbridge
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, performed by Barrett Whitener
  • Finnish Soldier versus Soviet Soldier: Winter War 1939-40, by David Campbell

A few superlatives, in brief:

Funniest: Three-way tie between The Loved One and Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh, and A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole.
Best surprise: The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. Surprising in that it was both scary and profoundly moving, even uplifting.
Worst all-around: Ready Player One, by far. A lazy, narcissistic, masturbatory vomit of pop-culture garbage. It kept me turning pages but I was annoyed all the way through.
Favorite kid's book: John Ronald's Dragons, a delightful, beautifully illustrated picturebook biography of JRR Tolkien.
Scariest: Lord of the Flies barely edges out The Exorcist, because while demonic possession is terrifying, a demon-possessed person doesn't feel as righteous as an anonymous member of the mob does as it metes out violence.
Favorite classic: The Aeneid, with the Seneca anthology How to Die a close second.
Favorite non-fiction: Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity. A masterful, well-written introduction to the Commedia.

Stuff I'm currently reading as we head into the summer:

  • The Art of Living, by Dietrich von Hildebrand with Alice von Hildebrand
  • The Cold War: A World History, by Odd Arne Westad
  • The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite de Angeli
  • Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages, by Etienne Gilson

Stuff I'm fixing to begin reading:

  • Unknown Soldiers, by Vaino Linna
  • A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40, by William R. Trotter
  • The Terminal List, by Jack Carr

And, of course, I'm working on Griswoldville and have some reading to do for a couple of history- and education-related projects I'm pretty excited about. More on all that later. In the meantime, I hope you've had a great spring and have a fun and literary summer!